China looks to pump up oil supply

China's president arrived in Morocco on Monday at the start of a short African tour, the last leg of a worldwide swing to smooth trade ties and secure oil supplies for his country's economic transformation.

    King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Hu discussed oil and security

    Analysts say soaring oil prices and China's double-digit growth have made energy supply an economic and a national security priority.

     

    After visiting the United States and Saudi Arabia last week, Hu Jintao, the president, will spend the next five days courting Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya in the quest to secure fresh oil supplies and pry open new export markets for Chinese manufacturers.

     

    For decades, Beijing has played on its solidarity with developing African nations for influence. In recent years, it has looked to the continent as a source of energy and natural resources as well as a growing market for goods.

      

    Analysts point to China's interest in African oil, saying the  country - the world's second-largest oil consumer after the United  States - is looking to top up imports from traditional supplier Indonesia, which has been struggling to maintain production levels.

     

    Unsavoury regimes

     

    Hu signed energy deals with the world's top producer, Saudi Arabia, and discussed a plan with Riyadh to set up a strategic oil reserve in China.

     

    Chinese efforts in the region paid off on Thursday, when China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) completed a deal to buy a 45% stake in a Nigerian oil block for more than $2 billion.

     

    Hu will travel to Nigeria on Wednesday.

     

    On Friday, he will reach Kenya, where he will reciprocate for President Mwai Kibaki's visit to Beijing in August.

     

    China's dollar diplomacy in the region has sparked US and European criticism of Beijing's willingness to develop trade ties with nations including Sudan and Zimbabwe.

     

    Although Beijing insists it is merely doing business and adhering to its policy of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs, analysts believe China is implementing a two-pronged strategy.

     

    "China has to get that oil - and if there is nowhere else to go, it will go to Sudan, Zimbabwe, Angola where the Western powers are not engaged," they said.

     

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Assassinating Kim Jong-un could go so wrong

    Assassinating Kim Jong-un could go so wrong

    The many ways in which the assassination of the North Korean leader could lead to a total disaster.

    Lebanon has a racism problem

    Lebanon has a racism problem

    The problem of racism in Lebanon goes beyond xenophobic attitudes towards Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

    The life and death of Salman Rushdie, gentleman author

    The life and death of Salman Rushdie, gentleman author

    The man we call 'Salman Rushdie' today is not the brilliant author of the Satanic Verses, but a Picassoesque imposter.