Mr. President, today I will deliver my third speech in two weeks on the issue of China's increasing global influence. In these past speeches I addressed alarming trends such as China's proliferation problem, the distressing potential that the EU may drop their Arms embargo, and other events that have obvious impact on our national security.
In 2000, Congress established the bipartisan U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission to collect and provide Congress with authoritative information on how our relationship with China affects our economy and industrial base, the impact of China's military and weapons proliferation on our security, and the status of our national interests in Asia. I fear that the Commission's findings have largely been ignored. I will continue to draw America's attention to the issue until we address it.
As China becomes increasingly interdependent with its Asian neighbors, it is presenting its economic rise as a win-win situation for its trade and investment partners. According to political economist Francis Fukuyama, "Over the long run, [China] wants to organize East Asia in a way that puts them in the center of regional politics." The implications of this are disturbing. As the 2004 Commission report points out: "…the United States' influence and vital long-term interests in Asia are being challenged by China's robust regional economic engagement and diplomacy, and that greater attention must be paid to U.S. relations in the region." The Commission recommends that the US increase visibility in Asia through initiatives that demonstrate our commitment to regional security. One avenue for this is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC).
A careful look will show that China's regional outreach is at best inconsistent. It certainly has not offered win-win benefits to Taiwan or Hong Kong. As the tense situation in Taiwan continues to simmer, China's ongoing intimidation of this country seems to undermine the rosy picture they are trying to paint. A few weeks ago the Chinese Communist Party formalized a new stance on Taiwan. The following was approved by the National Peoples Congress: "If possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the state shall employ nonpeaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity." This represents a change from earlier ambiguous language that would have allowed China flexibility to consider other options should conflict arise. As it is, China has taken away its own alternatives.
China has also backed itself into a troubling situation with its skyrocketing demand for oil; since my floor speeches in 1999 its oil imports have doubled, and last year alone surged upwards of 57 percent. Some analysts project China's oil needs will double again by 2010 and it will use up its reserves within fourteen years. China's alarming need for oil has caused it to look around the world for new sources, sources that are often problematic states with security concerns for the United States.
In Venezuela, anti-American President Hugo Chavez announced a $3 billion trade strategy with China, including provisions for oil and gas. This came on the heels of his statement, "We have invaded the United States, but with our oil."
Beijing recently signed a $70 billion oil/gas deal with Iran, from whom it receives 11 percent of its oil imports. Naturally, China has come out firmly against the U.N. Security Council holding Iran economically accountable for its nuclear program.
Likewise, in Sudan, China seeks to defuse or delay any U.N. sanctions against Khartoum. It hardly seems coincidence that 4 percent of its oil imports come from that conflict-stricken country, a supply that China seems ready to protect at all costs.
The US and EU have sanctioned Zimbabwe, hoping to pressure its corrupt regime into reforms. China, on the other hand, has boosted aid and investment, working to blunt the sanctions.
The sources China has used to meet its oil needs and increase its world standing are clearly questionable. The Commission makes an unpopular but straightforward observation:
"…[China's] pursuit of oil diplomacy may support objectives beyond just energy supply. Beijing's bilateral arrangements with oil-rich Middle Eastern states also helped create diplomatic and strategic alliances with countries that were hostile to the United States. For example, with U.S. interests precluded from entering Iran, China may hope to achieve a long-term competitive advantage relative to the United States. Over time, Beijing's relationship-building may counter U.S. power and enhance Beijing's ability to influence political and military outcomes. One of Beijing's stated goals is to reduce what it considers U.S. superpower dominance in favor of a multipolar global power structure in which China attains superpower status on par with the United States.
And while the search for energy is not yet a zero-sum game, the way the US and China acquire oil is strikingly different. James Caverly, of the US Department of Energy states, "The US strategic framework makes certain that plenty of oil is available in the world market so that the price will remain low and the economy will benefit." China, in contrast, seeks to "gain control of the oil at the source. Geopolitically, this could soon bring the United States and Chinese energy interests into conflict." Behind me is a chart [Chart A] that shows the countries that China has been buying oil from. This is the most up-to date information available. What I would like to point out is how China is using whatever leverage it can to find new energy sources, particularly in Africa. If you add up these amounts, China is acquiring about one third of its oil from African countries like Angola, Sudan, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Libya. Other countries China has begun seeking oil from are Algeria, Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, and Guinea.
I have been traveling to Africa for many years. I just got back from a trip through Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda. Chinese influence is everywhere. I see conference centers and sports stadiums being constructed, donated by the Chinese. China has been expanding its influence throughout Africa with projects like this. One saying I heard was, "The U.S. tells you what you need, but China gives you what you want." Has China suddenly become compassionate and generous? I think the fact these countries have large oil and mineral deposits paints the real picture.
Last year, China spent nearly $10 billion on African oil. As I said, this is nearly one third of its total crude oil imports. To gain access to these resources, China shows no qualms about catering to some of the worst governments. The fact is that China is ignoring western sanctions and redrawing the usual geopolitical map to help it level whatever advantages the US may have.
The US-China Commission has been doing an outstanding job in translating how recent these events affect our national security. Their observations in the 2004 US-China Economic and Security Review Commission report demand our attention.
he Commission outlines how China's energy search has both economic and security concerns for the United States: "China's rising energy demand has put added pressure on global petroleum supplies and prices. Indeed, the recent escalation in gasoline prices in the United States has been attributed, in part, to the impact of China's growing pressure on world oil supplies and the absence of any mechanism in place to counter this pressure and maintain stable prices for consumers…China's growing energy needs, linked to its rapidly expanding economy, are creating economic and security concerns for the United States. China's energy security policies are driving it into bilateral arrangements that undermine multilateral efforts to stabilize oil supplies and prices, and in some cases may involve dangerous weapons transfers."
I plan on giving another speech highlighting the significance of these illegal weapons transfers, followed by a resolution to effect the Commission's recommendations. This is a critical issue and will become a greater threat as we continue to ignore it; I hope America is listening.