By CAROLYN CHEEKS KILPATRICK
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
YES: China's third-largest oil producer has made an $18.5 billion bid for Unocal, America's ninth-largest oil company. The move by China's state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp., or CNOOC, marks the communist nation's most ambitious attempt yet to acquire a Western company, setting the stage for potential national security issues.
Do we really want to assist China in meeting its energy needs, allowing it to compete against our interests? I say no. That's why I attached an amendment to a spending bill prohibiting the Treasury Department from approving CNOOC's takeover bid. The House approved the measure 333-92, sending a message to the White House and Treasury Secretary John Snow to take a serious look at China's interest in purchasing critical U.S. assets important to America's energy security, as well as its national and economic security.
When the Defense Department released a 2001 review following the 9/11 attacks, it highlighted the rise of a "military competitor" in Asia with a vast "resource base."
The Pentagon was referring to China.
China is ascending as an economic power as well as a geopolitical military force, and its economic transition within the past 20 years is to be admired. The country's aggregate Gross National Product has grown by approximately 10 percent each year since the 1970s, compared with U.S. annual growth of 3.5 percent. But the prospect of China's economy surging ahead of the U.S. by 2050 is startling. The U.S. economy is approximately twice that of China, $11 trillion versus $6 trillion-plus. U.S. per capita income is nearly eight times higher than China's.
China's energy needs
To fuel China's economic growth, it must demand more of the world's energy resources. It is this demand that has forced oil prices to soar. To supply its energy needs, China is acquiring oil fields in Kazakhstan and securing strategic energy supplies from Iran and Sudan. CNOOC has invested $699 million for the purchase of a liquefied natural gas field in Australia, $592 million for oil assets in Indonesia and is now seeking to acquire Unocal. China's rise must not be fueled at the cost of America's security.
X Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., is a member of the House Appropriations Committee. She wrote this for the New York Daily News. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.