‘Sino-US energy cooperation must’

Chicago, January 18:

China and the United States must cooperate to ensure a secure supply of energy and to find alternatives to oil, China’s ambassador to the United States said.

“Energy is an increasingly serious issue for the world,” ambassador Zhou Wenzhong told the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, “China and the US should cooperate closer to find ways to maintain a continuous supply, relatively stable price and a safe shipping corridor while exploring the development of green and renewable energy.”

Zhou said China’s goal was to rely on domestic energy supplies for the bulk of its needs, noting that China had vast reserves of coal and that he expects it will become the country’s main source of energy in the future. “Ninety-four per cent of our energy needs were met by domestic production so I think we will keep that around 90 per cent,” he said, “China will continue to import oil but the majority of the increase of oil imports is dropping. So that is to say China will not rely on oil for its energy needs.”

Zhou noted that China was working closely with US-based companies such as Chevron and ConocoPhillips to develop its domestic oil reserves and described China’s relationship with the United States as ‘a picture of cooperation’ rather than a ‘confrontation’ over scarce resources.

“The best way to make the prices more stable is to work together to find new sources of energy, particularly to use coal in a way that is more environmentally friendly,” he said.

Zhou also said the US must play a more active role in rectifying the trade imbalance between the two countries. He said calls by US politicians to devalue the yuan by two digits were not ‘reasonable’ or ‘rational.’ “Down the road, eventually the Chinese currency will be freely convertible based on supply and demand of the market,” he said, “We are working on that and making steady progress to our goal, but it can’t happen overnight.”

Zhou said the US must work to expand its exports to China and noted that 50 to 60 per cent of the products China exports to the US are manufactured by American companies.

‘Energy Police’

BEIJING: Shopping malls and offices in this Chinese capital will soon be patrolled by ‘energy policemen’ who will penalise any wastage of power. Complexes with indoor temperatures set too high in winter or buildings having lights on during the day will be fined by these officers, China Daily reported on Wednesday quoting the Zhang Mao, vice-mayor of Beijing. Zhang said the municipal government w-ould soon recruit more than 20 dedicated workers to supe-rvise energy efficiency in the city. Supporting regulations will also be made to facilitate the law enforcement. — Xinhua


CANBERRA: Australia was due to begin formal negotiations with China on Wednesday over the export of uranium for the Asian giant’s nuclear power plants, including safeguards against its use in weapons. Australia’s foreign affairs department said the talks would last for two days and would be led by John Carlson, director-general of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation office. China is planning a massive nuclear power expansion to help meet the growing demand for energy from its booming economy, but Australia has insisted that Beijing will have to agree to stringent non-proliferation safeguards. — AFP