2003 July 13 Sunday
Japan, China Competing For Russian Oil

Peter Baker has a great article in The Washington Post about the competition between Japan and China over whether an oil pipeline will be built from Russia into China or to the Russian port of Nakhodka to be loaded on tankers to ship to Japan.

The Japanese, said one person involved on the Russian side, are playing on Russia's historical fears of China, with which it shares a long border. The Japanese, "in order to persuade the Russians, play a geopolitical game. They say, 'Do you want to be gobbled up by the Chinese?' And of course we don't. We're white people."

Issei Nomura, Japan's ambassador to Moscow, disputed such characterizations. "Don't put it that it's a war between Japan and China over Russian oil," he said. "This is not the case." Yet in an interview he also raised the issue of Russia's dwindling population in the Far East just north of China, touching on Moscow's historic fear of Chinese encroachment. "It's a serious demographic problem," Nomura said.

No, no, we are not playing on your demographic fears of of your shrinking Far Eastern population next to the huge growing Chinese population that increasingly comes up to the Far Eastern part of Russia to trade and gain influence and who eventually might try to seize Siberia. No, we are not reminding you Russians that you face a grave long term threat to your Siberian holdings. Make no mistake that we are not going to bring up your demographic problems! Count on us not to ever say that China is a threat.

Chinese demand for oil will more than triple by 2020. The proposed pipeline would only supply about a third of their current demand. Note that the competition here is between Japan and China. What is notably missing? The US. The United States ought to wake up and realize that rising world demand is going to raise prices and increase the amount of money flowing to Muslim nations that embrace a hostile religious ideology.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 July 13 09:23 PM  Politics Grand Strategy


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