Pipeline Politics: Comparative Bargaining Capacity in the Sino-Japanese Competition for Siberian Oil

Abstract This article analyzes the relative bargaining capabilities of China and Japan in their drawn-out quest for Siberian oil. We apply an institutional analysis that examines over-time and cross-country variations in government-business relations and elite bureaucratic interests in responding to domestic energy needs and international oil supply options. While one might have expected China’s authoritarian policymaking process to convey an advantage in bilateral negotiations with Moscow, in fact Beijing became bogged down over the ten-year negotiation period with shifting corporate interests of national oil companies, bureaucratic preferences through administrative reform and succession politics, and elite redefinitions of energy security and ways to diversify the sources of imported crude oil. As a result, Beijing faltered in its commitment to Siberian oil. In contrast, the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi exercised executive autonomy to secure a pipeline deal with Russia before seeking a consensus among the divided domestic bureaucratic and corporate interests. Our surprising findings highlight political economic contingencies that shape China’s and Japan’s strategies in addressing fundamental energy needs, with implications for the contentious nature of energy and security cooperation in Northeast Asia.
Date 2012 10
Author Dr. Kun-Chin Lin
Publisher Centre for Rising Powers
Link http://mws.polis.cam.ac.uk/crp/research/workingpapers/pdf/CRP_Working_Paper_6_Pipeline_Politics_Lin_and_Williams.pdf
Series Working Paper #6
3 Oil & Gas, 3.4 China's International Oil Relations