With economic growth, oil has become China''s economic lifeline of blood. Since 1993, China has become one of the oil-importing countries, increasingly depending on foreign countries. In 2006, the imports reached 180 million tons, the external dependence of nearly 50 percent. China''s energy development report of 2007 shows that the external dependence of more than 50% is a very dangerous level. It must be treated from the national security point of view. An Analysis of China''s oil security strategy can start from "increasing domestic production," "speed up oil reserves", "dispersed sources of imports."
Although China is committed to decentralizing sources of oil imports, but its importing sources are focusing on the Middle East and Africa. Its major means of transport are through sea transport. The shipping route from Africa and the Middle East to the Northeast Asia is not safe for China. In addition to the well-known existence of pirates and terrorists in the Malacca Strait, China must face the geopolitical risks, including the military threats of the United States, Japan, and India, as well as marine interests and the sovereignty disputes with neighboring countries in the South China Sea, Taiwan Straits, East China Sea.
Based on the complexity of the risk of maritime oil transport routes, China is using military, diplomatic and economic strategies and measures to respond. In the military aspect, besides of using its growing submarine forces and the new surface ships to safeguard the security of their transport routes, the development of Navy aircraft carriers and the shifting focus of the Navy to the south means that China is expected to develop "ocean navy" to intervene in the affairs of the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, so as to safeguard the security of oil shipping routes. In the diplomatic aspect, China is taking "shelving the sovereignty and seeking common development" means to reduce the risk of regional conflicts. In the economic aspect, China is looking for ways to intervene on the ASEAN Free Trade Area and on energy cooperation, as well as on cooperation and development of ports, railways and pipelines with regional countries to avoid the risk of maritime transport.
Taiwan is located on the key position of China''s oil transport channel. If any conflict occurred across the Taiwan Strait, China''s offshore oil transport safety will be affected. So this is why China plays a double –face strategy on the Taiwan. In addition to China’s refusing to abandon the use of force against Taiwan, it has adopted a series of "soft measures" to improve the relationship across the strait, one of the main purposes is that China doesn’t want to see Taiwan become the pawn for the United States, Japan, or other countries to cut off China''s offshore oil shipping routes.