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Economist Says Energy Key to Belt and Road

Belt and Road countries will complement each other in energy security, expert says.

By Han Bingbin Updated May.18

Energy will be a key sector for cooperation between China and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, said Lin Boqiang, professor of energy economics at Xiamen University, adding that the Belt and Road countries complement each other's energy production and needs and also provide an important market for each other in infrastructure development. Lin was writing in his personal blog in Caixin.com.  

Protecting oil and gas safety is an important goal of China’s energy security strategy, Lin said. While carrying forward reform in the country’s energy system, he said, the Chinese government has enhanced cooperation with Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and other regions in developing oil and gas resources, building oil and gas pipelines as well as reserve facilities. The construction of oil and gas pipeline networks is expected to significantly change the energy trade structure in those regions, he said.  

But it would be one-sided to understand Belt and Road cooperation purely from the perspective of safeguarding energy security, Lin noted. An important part of the scheme is encouraging Chinese companies to head out to the involved countries, where less developed infrastructure is expected to provide a huge market.  

In clean energy, for example, Lin said, countries like Kazakhstan provide rich resources in wind power and solar energy, while China has mature experience and technologies in developing and using these energies. China and Kazakhstan are expected to complement each other well to push forward both countries’ transition to a green economy, he said.  

In the meantime, as developing countries, China and the many countries in the Belt and Road Initiative share many similarities, like the challenge of environmental protection, Lin said. He added that China has many experiences to share in this aspect as many countries seek to balance environmental and economic needs.