China's Pursuit of Energy Security: Implications for U.S.-China Relations
Hosios, Ilana F.
- This thesis examines whether China's pursuit of energy security is based solely on growing demand and the most economic solutions to meet that demand or if it is intended to weaken American power projection in highly strategic areas. The main argument is that China's economic interests are the driving force behind its pursuit of energy security. While China has acted increasingly aggressive toward... read mores the U.S. or U.S. interests in the context of energy security, it will only do so to a point due to the detrimental economic impact of a Sino-American conflict. China has three core interests: to maintain China's fundamental system and state security, to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to continue the stable development of the economy and society. China's national security strategy is intended to protect these interests. This thesis examines how China's pursuit of energy security relates to China's national security strategy. It analyzes three components of China's pursuit of energy security: China's energy sector, China's maritime strategy and the China's alliances in the Middle East. In the first chapter, the analysis of China's energy sector reveals that the government agencies involved with energy security lack the funding and manpower to be able to develop and implement a national strategy. Additionally, there is a significant disconnect between China's national oil companies and the central government. The companies pursue their corporate interests without considering foreign policy implications. The second chapter focuses on China's naval strategy with respect to energy security. It examines the China's rapid naval modernization and aggressive activity in sea-lanes of communication and the South and East China Seas. With respect to energy security and national security it is advantageous for China's naval strategy to be aggressive while ensuring that it does not lead to a conflict with the U.S. The final chapter examines China's pursuit of energy security in the Middle East, specifically in Saudi Arabia and Iran. With respect to both countries, China is primarily interested in oil. At times, China has taken advantage of its relations in the Middle East to diminish U.S. influence in the region. Nonetheless, when the well being of China's economy is at stake, it is more interested in cooperating rather than challenging the U.S.read less