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China Not a Threat to Global Energy Security
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China poses no threat to world energy security as the country's consumption and import are low, said Ma Kai, minister of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Wednesday.

China's per capita oil consumption in 2005 is 242 kilograms, compared with the world average of 590 kilograms, over 3 tons in the US and 1.9 tons in Japan, Ma said at a press conference held on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC).

For per capita oil import, the figure in China is 100 kilograms, 400 for the world average, 2.1 tons for the US and roughly 2 tons for Japan, added the minister.

"So I can't imagine why some people are saying that we, with a low consumption and import, pose a threat to global energy security, instead of those countries with high consumption and import," said Ma. "It is unfair."

The minister went on to describe China as an active factor to maintain global energy security. "As a developing country, China, on its own, solved the problem of providing energy for 22 percent of the world's population," said Ma. "This is a tremendous contribution to world energy security."

"In a word, China did not, does not and will not pose threat to the global energy security, "noted Ma.

Ma said China has been making active efforts to establish oil reserves to ensure national energy and economy safety.

In line with international practice, petroleum will be stored at oil bases by both government and enterprise. "The two sectors of the oil reserve system are well underway," said Ma, noting that it takes time to make the reserves perfect.

Wei Liucheng, Communist Party chief of China's southernmost province of Hainan, said Tuesday the province is actively seeking to establish an oil reserve base.

Declining to give more details, Wei said the provincial government is negotiating with international petroleum syndicates on the issue and "Hainan boasts distinctive advantages for building both national strategic oil reserve base and commercial oil reserve base."

He pointed out that the tropical island is located near the main international sea routes for oil shipping, and that a 300,000- ton crude oil wharf is already in operation in the Yangpu Economic Development Zone on the island.

On China's economic growth rate, Ma told the country to shun off a blind pursuit of GDP growth, calling for an improvement of the quality of the economic development.

The lowering of this year's GDP growth target to 8 percent aimed to encourage the country to focus on transforming the growth mode, adjusting structures and improving the quality of economic development, said Ma.

China's GDP registered a 10.7 percent increase last year, the fourth year in a row that saw a double-digit growth. While believing the speed is normal, the minister expressed his worries as "the price paid for the economic development is too high".

The minister explained why Premier Wen Jiabao failed to mention this year's target in energy conservation and pollution reduction which are determined by various factors. Some measures may produce visible outcomes within the year while others may take effect years later, noted the minister.

But the central government's determination has not changed, said Ma, adding that the government's efforts and achievement in this field could be judged in a five-year perspective. 

Ma also rejected the suggestion that China triggered the recent global stock market rout, echoing an earlier statement by Shang Fulin, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

"The recent fluctuation of the Chinese stock market should not be blamed for a major cause of the ups and downs of stock markets in other countries. They should have checked their own problems," Ma said.

In his response to the comment that China was the "curse" of the recent global stock market tremor, Ma said China's share market is still "relatively small" and the country has not yet given a green light to the full convertibility of the yuan under capital accounts, so it is impossible for the fledgling market to have strong worldwide impact.

"The volatility of the market, no matter bullish or bearish, only depends on trading," he said, adding investors should have a rational judgment on the risks and gains.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2007)

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