IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

China's hunt for oil in Africa in perspective

Listed author(s):
  • Zhang, ZhongXiang

China is concerned about the security of its sea-lanes for imports and desires to diversify its oil supplies from the Middle East in order to sustain economic growth. These concerns have sparked China’s interest in trying to ensure oil supplies from as many sources as possible and in reducing its overwhelming reliance on seaborne imports of oil, which, in China’s view, is considered less vulnerable to disruption than oil arriving by tankers. In this context, China has turned the eyes on the emerging oil and gas fields in Africa. Through its high-profile oil diplomacy, China has been successful in developing its access to African oil and gas resources. However, China’s oil diplomacy in Africa has been roundly criticized in Western capitals. Washington increasingly perceives that Beijing’s ties to the so-called rogue states undermine the U.S. goals of isolating or punishing these states that fail to prompt democracy, limit nuclear proliferation or respect human rights. This paper argues that China’s hunt for oil in Africa has been exaggerated by partly-informed commentators, sometimes based on erroneous information, not to mention those that deliberately paint the distorted picture. That said, the paper suggests that, in pursuing its oil diplomacy, Beijing should take into account many factors including Washington concerns, in particular when U.S. concerns also reflect those of a large section of the international community. The paper points out that devoting more resources to build a better future for all and help to eliminate the fear of another Rwanda or Darfur is a positive form that Beijing should take in its engagement with Africa. This way of engagement would be considered more positive by the broad community of states, and helps to enhance China’s security of energy supply and at the same time would significantly reduce one source of tension with Washington. Overall, it will greatly benefit Africa as well as China.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 12829.

in new window

Date of creation: Sep 2006
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:12829
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2459
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-992459
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:12829. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.