The energy factor in China’s foreign policy
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This paper argues that China’s foreign policy behavior has been influenced by growing energy dependence. As a major importer, China can pursue energy security through strategies that result in conflict; alternatively, energy vulnerability might lead it toward cooperation with rival oil consuming nations through participation in multilateral organizations and other forums. After outlining the argument for the strategic nature of energy, China’s increasing energy dependence is assessed, as are Beijing’s efforts to shift China’s energy balance. China’s energy diplomacy with the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, the Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America are examined, and Beijing’s efforts toward greater energy security through multilateral organizations are discussed. The evidence supports the liberal hypothesis that economic interdependence promotes international cooperation. Energy demands have accelerated China’s rise to global prominence, and appear to moderate conflictual aspects of Chinese foreign policy.
Key wordsChina Energy International resources Security Foreign policy
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