This paper explores China’s perspectives and practices in its quest for overseas energy supply security and its participation in international energy cooperation since becoming a net oil import country in 1993. It compares the traditional approach, in which China mainly focuses on bilateral means to pursue its overseas energy supply security, and the new concept of energy security, in which greater involvement in global energy governance, in particular in the Group of Twenty (G20), is highlighted to promote China’s energy security. The paper argues that China still retains a bilateral and regional cooperation approach, while making progress in developing closer cooperation with existing major global energy governing institutions. The One Belt, One Road strategy proposed in 2013 is regarded as a strengthened version of the bilateral and regional cooperation approach. Chinese academic circles constitute the main forces advocating China’s more positive participation in global energy governance. The G20 provides significant institutional arrangements to coordinate big powers to govern the international energy markets and to address climate change. This paper suggests that, given China’s growing prominence at the G20, it could be the proper platform for the country to play a more active role in global energy governance.

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CIGI Papers present in-depth analysis and discussion on governance-related subjects. They include policy papers that present CIGI experts' positions or contributions to policy debates, and background papers that contain research findings, insights and data that contribute to the development of policy positions.
  • Xingqiang (Alex) He is a CIGI research fellow. Alex is an expert on China and global economic governance, the Group of Twenty, domestic politics in China and their role in China’s foreign economic policy making, and Canada-China economic relations.