China-Japan energy disputes to bubble on the sidelines of Apec

Filed on November 15, 2004 | Last updated on April 2, 2015 at 10.31 am

BEIJING - China and Japan’s voracious appetite for oil is set to become a major topic at the Apec summit in Chile, as high prices threaten the world economic outlook and the two neighbours battle over global reserves.

Chinese President Hu Jintao will propose an energy initiative at the November 20-21 meeting to try to stabililise energy markets in the wake of his country’s growing demand and the war in Iraq, said Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang.

But Chinese officials refused to say if Hu would hold a bilateral summit with Japanese Prime Minister Junihiro Koizumi, despite an increasingly testy row over energy that has seen the two oil-strapped nations vie for resources around the world and in disputed territory in their own backyards.

Hu will present an initiative “to improve cooperation in terms of energy resources, developing new energy and energy poverty alleviation,” Shen told reporters.

“The aim is to create an energy environment that will benefit all parties to deal with the challenges in the fluctuations of the energy market and the rise in the oil prices and achieve sustainable development,” he said.

China’s breakneck economic growth, expected to come in at 9.25 percent this year, has been accompanied by a skyrocketing demand for energy.

The world’s most populous nation in 2003 overtook Japan as the world’s second largest oil importer after the United States.

In bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit, Japanese and Chinese participation in huge Russian energy projects was also likely to be debated, diplomats said.

Japan and China have for years been competing over the eventual destination for a multi-billion dollar oil pipeline from Siberia as they seek alternative energy sources in a tight market and amid continued violence in the Middle East.

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