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A nation must think before it acts.
China’s emergence as a global economic powerhouse has caused the world economy to become more oil intensive and energy policy to become a key component of China’s foreign policy. Responsibility for the country’s energy policy is split among various commissions and is further complicated by overlaps with social, industrial, local-central governmental relations, and geopolitical considerations. To the extent China’s leadership succeeds in meeting these challenges, it will have major repercussions for the rest of the world, and in particular on China’s relations with the United States. But conflict between the United States and China is far from inevitable, as long as the global price mechanism operates reasonably efficiently and Washington and Beijing can operate in partnership rather than rivalry.