From BusinessWeek, via The Brookings Institution:
The emergence of China over the past decade as a major importer of oil has catapulted energy toward the top of the list of issues — up there with trade and Taiwan — that are major sources of friction in Sino-American relations. China’s rapidly rising demand for energy is stoking anxiety in Washington that there is not enough oil in the world to satisfy the appetites both of America’s 300 million gas-guzzling citizens and of 1.3 billion Chinese. In turn, America’s unease has raised concerns in Beijing that the U.S. might deny China access to the oil it needs for continued economic growth.
Much has been made over this looming fight. Yet the real conflict brewing between the two powers isn’t because of direct competition for physical barrels of crude, but rather because oil is inextricably linked to other foreign policy issues on which Beijing and Washington don’t see eye to eye. [Full Text]