ACD nations issue energy strategy
Twenty-two member nations of the Asia Co-operative Dialogue (ACD) -- both oil producers and consumers --issued a "Qingdao Initiative" on energy co-operation, pledging to stockpile strategic energy reserves and a regional energy transportation network.
"This document will allow Asian countries to share challenges and successes so that all of them can benefit from the solutions," said Han Wenke, deputy director of the Energy Research Institute with National Development and Reform Commission.
The document, a framework agreement on energy co-operation in Asia, came after oil producers and consumers met at the International Energy Forum in Amsterdam late last month and the intergovernmental Conference on Renewable Energy in Germany earlier this month.
"Enhanced energy co-operation is necessary to safeguard Asian energy security and promote economic development in all countries," said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Tuesday at opening ceremonies of the Third ACD Foreign Ministers Meeting.
"Therefore, the Chinese Government is actively pushing for the publication of the Qingdao Initiative," Wen said.
Participants were responding to an urgent need to develop long-term policies and strategies to supply security in the energy sector and to ensure continuity of economic growth for countries in the region.
In the framework document, the members also called on shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy resources and energy-saving measures.
Surakiart Sathirathai, the Thai minister of Foreign Affairs, said the meeting provided a greatly needed political impetus for ACD countries to formulate common energy security strategies in response to the current energy crisis.
"Under the framework document, we can work together and take joint research efforts in various fields such as energy conservation and renewable energy," he said.
Views and measures from China, one of the world's fastest growing oil importers, are regarded by observers as reassuring so that the giant country will not have crushing impact on the world's energy supplies.
Wen's speech gave a clear illustration of China's standpoint.
He said the Chinese Government stands for "accommodating the interests of others while safeguarding a country's own interests, and achieving common development through consultation and co-operation," Wen said.
"We stand ready to conduct energy dialogue and to co-operate with other countries in Asia and the world at large on the basis of equality and mutual benefits."
The premier assured the nations that China, whose economy has sustained rapid growth, will mainly rely on the development of domestic energy resources, adding that the world's most populated nation will step up the development and utilization of coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear energy and various types of new energies.
"We will also take energy-saving measures and building an energy-saving society as important state policies, promote technological processes and encourage rational consumption through economic restructuring," Wen said.
ACD embraces new members
The participants also announced a declaration on further promoting co-operation in areas such as the reduction of poverty and developing bond markets in the region.
The accession of three new member States -- the United Arab Emirates, Mongolia and Iran -- were approved at the meeting which concluded Tuesday, bringing the member countries to 25.
The ACD Foreign Ministers' Meeting is an informal, non-institutionalized forum for dialogue and consultation, established two years ago. It is based on the awareness that a co-operative body for comprehensive co-operation is needed for all of Asia, including East Asia, South Asia and West Asia.