Crouching Tiger, Swimming Dragon

Nearly six hundred years after Chinese ships visited the Persian Gulf, the ground is being laid again for a permanent Chinese presence in the area through which some 40 percent of the world's oil resources travel. As Nayan Chanda writes, Chinese diplomatic visit to Pakistan last week resulted in an agreement to expand a Chinese-built port there, leaving US, Japanese, and Indian governments to ponder the potential consequences. Today's Chinese interest in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf is directly linked to its desire to reduce its dependence on the long and potentially insecure oil supply line through the Malacca Straits. A West that has been investing heavily in Chinese industry producing the increasing thirst for oil would have to understand China's need for alternate and secure land routes that the port of Gwadar could provide. But the stationing of Chinese naval vessels in the Arabian Sea could be counterproductive as it would only increase tension without increasing the energy security that China seeks. –YaleGlobal

Crouching Tiger, Swimming Dragon

Nayan Chanda
Monday, April 11, 2005

Click here for the original article on The New York Times website.

Nayan Chanda, a former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review, is the editor of YaleGlobal Online.

© 2005 The New York Times Company