China woos Saudis for oil – Philip Sherwell and Peter Goff

From The Age (link):

President Hu Jintao of China flew in to an enthusiastic welcome in at the weekend to negotiate new oil supplies.

His three-day visit, aimed at improving relations between the world’s largest oil producer and its second largest oil consumer, is a sign that China is stepping up the policy of “black gold diplomacy” that it launched in response to the United States’ invasion of Iraq.

As the battle for access to the world’s precious energy reserves turns into the new “great game” of the 21st century, Mr Hu’s progress is being followed closely by US President George Bush, his host last week.

America is worried by Beijing’s efforts to “lock up” oil supplies with new ventures in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Record world oil prices and spiralling costs at the petrol pump are fuelling the White House’s concerns and have helped drive Mr Bush’s popularity ratings to record lows.

See also China Oil via CIA.

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