July 1, 2005
Written by C.N.
Several news agencies such as Salon.com report that China is seeking to purchase Unocal Corp., one of the largest oil companies in the world. You’ve probably heard that supposedly, one of the reasons why the price of oil (and as a result, of gasoline) is China’s increasing appetite for oil (nevermind that the U.S.’s demand for oil still far outweighs that of China’s). Some critics of China see this potential takeover as a national security threat, or at the least, the latest example of China’s economic imperialism:
The prospect of a Chinese oil company gobbling up an American one has stirred up fears that U.S. energy and national security are at risk, yet the supposed dangers — that China will hoard energy resources or use deepwater drilling technology for military purposes — appear far from certain.
The Chinese government is going after these energy supplies to control them and lock them up,” said Richard D’Amato, chairman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. D’Amato said the amount of oil and natural gas produced by Unocal — less than 1 percent of U.S. consumption — may not be enough to cause alarm, but he’s worried that after a couple more deals like this one China’s oil industry will have a worrisome level of influence in the market.
Economists . . . dismiss his underlying fear for two reasons: oil is a fungible commodity that CNOOC is likely to trade to accumulate wealth and, even if China does decide to use Unocal’s production for itself, it means the country will be that much less dependent on other supplies that the U.S. and others would consume.
I suppose it is inevitable that when an Asian company or country tries to buy a U.S. corporation, it’s look upon with significant suspicion, that somehow the Asians are taking over the country. This happened in the 1980s with Japan and led to tons of Japan-bashing and apparently, it’s now the latest rage among neo-conservatives here regarding anything China does.
You’ll recall that the Japan-bashing in the 1980s led to suspicions, hostilities, and violence against Asians, whether they were Japanese or not. How soon will history start to repeat itself here — if it hasn’t started already — regarding China-bashing?
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Fears Over China’s Bid for More Oil" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/07/fears-over-chinas-bid-for-more-oil/> ().
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