Energy Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Conference
Tokyo, Japan 17-19 April 2007
1. Purpose. The Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) conducted an outreach event based on Ambassador Thomas Schieffer’s (USEMB Japan) proposal for a multi-national forum to improve regional understanding and cooperation on Asia-Pacific energy issues. The Conference provided a unique venue for robust and candid discussion of various national perspectives and policy options among senior security practitioners and energy experts.
2. Discussion. APCSS co-hosted the conference with the Japan Institute of International Affairs (academically independent institution affiliated with the Japanese MFA ) in Tokyo. Keynote address by Ambassador Schieffer, USEMB Japan. Specifically,
- Attendance profile: 41 participants/observers from Australia, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Panama, ROK, Russia, U.S.
- Objectives: 1) Develop framework for characterizing dimensions of Asia-Pacific energy security. 2) Identify areas for coordinated institutional and policy action. 3) Re-examine existing, and formulate fresh, regional approaches to energy management. 4) Articulate effective strategies/instruments for sustained cooperative action.
- Framework: 1) Focused presentations in plenary sessions on key issues in energy security, regional perspectives on energy cooperation, and alternative energy resources. 2) Break-out working groups identifying institutional and policy actions on topics of energy transportation, nuclear energy management, and energy investment/conservation. 3) Recommended next steps for synchronizing/integrating energy policy efforts produced by working groups.
3. Key findings:
- AMB Schieffer underscored that no forums are more important to Asia than the development of coordinated policies on energy and the environment. Further, that energy – its security, stability and deliverability – drives much of our respective foreign policies, thus vital we explore new ways to look beyond our differences toward cooperative solutions.
- Regional economic growth will continue with strong dependence on energy consumption. Consequently, lowering energy intensity, enhancing conservation will remain most viable approach to rationalizing energy consumption and avoiding potential energy resource conflict.
- General appreciation for the importance and urgency of developing alternative energy sources and addressing CO2 generated climate change with the realistic expectation of dependency on hydrocarbon fuels in near future. Nuclear energy seen as most promising alternative, requiring regional collaboration.
- Oil and coal will remain the dominating consumption resource driven by India and China’s energy needs. Gas consumption preferred but hampered by the high cost of coal conversion to gas and transportation challenges. Encourage and assist India and China in building adequate strategic reserves.
- Maritime transportation of energy will dominate in the region despite growth in pipeline networks. Thus, continued reliance on U.S. for security of sea lanes and strategic straits.
- Japan’s energy strategy, based on conservation, advanced and safe technologies, recognized as possible model for developing energy sectors in countries in the region. Particularly, China is interested in receiving Japanese energy technology.
4. Action Plans / Next Steps
- Identify and promote energy cooperation opportunities in international and regional organizations (ASEAN, ARF, APEC, IAEA etc.) and the private sector.
- Engage China to dispel suspicions about U.S. energy ambitions and use energy dialogue with China as a Confidence Building Measure.
- Use important regional forums, such as annual “Kuala Lumpur Roundtable on Asia-Pacific Security” to advance energy cooperation and operationalize workshop findings and recommendations.
- Exploit role of APCSS as a catalyst and clearing house for follow-on activities with regional partners and organizations for the purpose of enhancing regional energy cooperation and confidence building.