China’s Quest for Energy; Impact upon Foreign and Security Policy


  • Kiesow Ingolf

Publish date: 2004-01-01

Report number: FOI-R--1371--SE

Pages: 66

Written in: English


Contrary to Chinese intentions, the proportion of China´s imports coming from potentially unstable countries is steadily increasing. As a response, China tries to diversify its sources of import and to own the oil when loaded in an export harbour. In spite of very high costs and political problems, China tries to import oil and gas from owned fields in Central Asia through pipelines. In the case of China, the competition is evident on the highest international level. Especially with Japan, this tends to make already previously sensitive relations deteriorate. China has territorial disputes with several neighbouring countries that are becoming more complicated by the fact that there is oil and gas on the bottom of the sea in the disputed area. Relations with Russia have been complicated. Since the 1990s they are on their way of being steadily improved, but they become strained, when Japan is given priority access to oilfields in Siberia. The sensitive relations with the U.S. tend to be impaired by China´s ways of getting access to more secure supply of oil and gas. Chinese efforts to get a more attractive foreign policy profile is on the other hand alleviating but does not eliminate the potential of the energy issue to complicate. China´s foreign and security policy relations. The European Union seems to be on its way to introduce energy questions as a field of common policy. This is a reason for Sweden to study the development. It is a matter of special interest that China has proposed an "Energy Dialogue between Asia and Europe" about the resources and the Eurasian continent. The Chinese example illustrates the need for a Swedish energy security policy and plans for energy crisis preparedness.