China's Energy Insecurity and the South China Sea Dispute
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Chinas unprecedented economic growth and military modernization have accelerated its demand for energy resources, especially oil. Recently, China emerged as the second largest consumer of oil behind the United States and now imports over 50 percent of its oil requirement. In fact, analysts estimate that Chinas demand for oil will exceed global production capacity by 2030, or possibly sooner. As the global demand for energy rises, Chinas geostrategy includes securing access to oil while possibly leveraging the ability to deny access to others. Chinas Go Out economic policy and its mercantilist approach to controlling energy resources combined with aggressive trade agreements that include weapons, advanced technology, andor loan deals for oil reflect Chinas growing energy security dilemma. The South China Seas 7.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves as well as extraordinary estimates of oilnatural gas reserves in the heavily disputed Spratly and Paracel Island regions stand to raise the stakes of interested parties, including the United States. Given Chinas rise and its territorial claims to not only the islands, but the vast majority of the South China Sea and its resources, it remains unclear whether such claims will become a platform for cooperation or conflict.
- Government and Political Science
- Geology, Geochemistry and Mineralogy