Northeast Asian countries, including China, South Korea, Russia
and Japan, should strengthen their cooperation in energy sector as
a way to ensure energy security, ward off economic ups and downs,
and tackle environment deterioration, experts said at a forum on
The Second Northeast Asia Economic Cooperation Forum (Sept 2-4)
in Changchun, Jilin Province, is jointly organized by the UN
Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UN Development
Program (UNDP), and the Organizing Committee of the Northeast Asia
Investment and Trade Expo.
Energy issues are top of the agenda of the session. Rising
international crude oil prices have a significant impact on oil
importing nations like China, Japan and South Korea. Statistics
show that in 2004, oil consumption in the three countries accounted
for 20 percent of the world's total. About 90 percent of Japan and
South Korea's crude oil, and 40 percent of China's are imported.
Moreover, China has stepped up imports to sustain the rapid growth
of its economy.
"Regional energy cooperation will bring a win-win situation,"
said Zhu Xianping, vice president of the Northeast Asia Research
Institute of Jilin University.
"Energy cooperation will improve their bargaining powers in the
international crude oil market, and eliminate existing 'Asian'
price, which raises the expenses of oil-importing countries like
China, South Korea and Japan."
The three countries are reportedly paying extra for their oil
However, unsolved territory and historical disputes in the
region have been an obstacle to the setting up of regional energy
cooperation organization or coordinating group.
In Zhu's opinion, Russia, with huge reserves of oil and natural
gas in the region, is an ideal source for oil supplies.
"Regional energy cooperation will be good for Russia, too," he
said. "About 40 percent of Russia's fiscal revenue comes from its
oil exports, and accordingly is prone to fluctuate, while the huge
consumption market in northeast Asia will guarantee Russia steady
"What's more, energy cooperation can accelerate economic
cooperation in the Greater Tumen River region, improve
intergovernmental negotiations, maintain political stability and
promote regional economic integration," Zhu added.
The Tumen Secretariat, a UNDP organization for the development
of northeast Asia countries, has been working towards developing
intergovernmental policy dialogue since it was set up in early
1990s. Priority is given to regional cooperation projects in
transportation, energy, tourism, investment and environment.
According to Onder Yucer, acting director of the Tumen
Secretariat, a ministerial meeting will be held in late October
this year in Vladivostok, Russia. One of the issues on the agenda
is the establishment of a regional energy working committee.
The Second Northeast Asia Economic Cooperation Forum consists of
four key sessions: the rejuvenation of the old industrial base in
northeast China, the development of logistics in the EU, investment
and development in the greater Tumen River region, and Northeast
Asia economic cooperation and legal service.
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Tang Fuchun, September 4,