As China’s energy demand grows at a rapid pace alongside its economy, it seeks to secure access to the oil and natural gas needed to sustain this level of development. This paper examines two approaches that it uses to do so: opening up markets to its state-controlled oil companies and pushing territorial claims that hold rich potential reserves. Although these strategies create international tensions that increase the threat of conflict, this paper argues that a broader clash between major powers is unlikely. More probable is that global economic ties will encourage China to lean towards international collaboration over competition until renewable technologies replace petroleum.
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