Energy Security the Centerpiece of China’s Foreign Policy

Publication: China Brief Volume: 8 Issue: 16

Liu Jianchao, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry

The 2008 People’s Republic of China (PRC) White Paper on Diplomacy placed energy security as a major centerpiece of the country’s foreign policy. The White Paper represents “China’s foreign policy and China’s view on the international situation and introducing the status of China’s foreign relations in the previous year” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, July 18). According to a Chinese report based on an exclusive preview granted to the Hong Kong-based newspaper Wen Wei Po a day before its official launch, the first chapter of the White Paper is reportedly on “The Issue of Energy Security During the Period of High Oil Prices,” in which it states that the current high oil demands have put enormous strain on global energy security, and have grave implications for the global economy, security and political stability (Wen Wei Po, July 18). According to the White Paper, in 2007 competition for global energy resources has become more severe, while regional competition has exacerbated the global energy security problem. The White Paper asserts that high oil prices have increased global inflationary pressure, undermined the international financial system, added an economic burden for oil importing countries, and under the current high risk environment, the problem of high oil prices is becoming increasingly conspicuous (Wen Wei Po, July 18). The White Paper further states that under globalization, energy security is increasingly a global problem, the majority of countries cannot escape international cooperation to achieve the guarantees of energy security. The rise of oil prices, from a long term perspective, is not beneficial for both oil producing and consuming countries. The international community needs to move forward with dialogue and cooperation, to seek a common solution to the problem of high oil prices (Wen Wei Po, July 18). The White Paper specifically emphasized that China is currently the world’s second largest producer and consumer of energy, and therefore an indispensable part of the global energy market, and is increasingly playing a prominent role in ensuring global energy security (Wen Wei Po, July 18).