Oil Issue Looms as Chinese President Visits White House

Environmentalists were disappointed last week when a White House visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao yielded little if any substantive discussion about one of the world’s top hot button issues: energy use. After all, the U.S. remains the world’s top energy consumer, but China is coming on strong with its recent development push.

Hu Jintao's recent White House visit raises questions of global energy use.

The Bush administration remains concerned that China is trying to lock up global energy supplies to help fuel its unprecedented development. One of the purported purposes of Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington was for the two countries to start hashing out how they could better align their energy concerns for mutual benefit. But China’s friendliness with Sudan, Iran and Venezuela—including the promises of huge loans in exchange for sweetheart deals on oil pricing—has caused tension with the U.S., which would prefer that the Chinese government follow along in its own geopolitical footsteps.

“We don’t have that much influence over Chinese oil interests,” says Robert Ebel, of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former top U.S. energy official. “We’re watching. That’s about all we can do.”

Source: www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060420.CHINA20/TPStory/TPInternational