United States-China energy relations three decades ago began with a narrow focus and limited stakeholders in a relationship that was essentially cooperative. Since then, numerous groups have become involved in the bilateral energy/ environmental relationship building on the original cooperative framework, generating multiple channels of energy relations, both cooperative and competitive. The key driver of increased US-China competition was Beijing’s securitization of its dependence on oil imports, the bureaucracy’s inability to control domestic energy demand, and domestic electricity shortages. Chinese analysts indicate securitization happened in 2000 when Chinese oil imports dramatically increased – 37 million metric tons (MMT) in 1999 to 72 MMT in 2000, while world oil prices tripled during that period.1 An Amer ican analyst focuses on the energy crisis of 2003-4 which she argues had domestic determinants but nevertheless led to Beijing’s concern with external threats to China’s oil supply.2 Some analysts believe the Chinese national oil company (NOC) might have promoted securitization to deflect domestic criticism of their investment strategies.3 Amer ican analysis portrayed China’s global search for oil as leading to USChina competition for scarce oil resources.4 In the 2000s, securitization led to energy security rising to the top of the Chinese policy agenda. Securitization of energy was reinforced with the linking of energy security to maritime security. Some Chinese analysts pinpoint Chinese securitization of energy to then President Hu Jintao’s December 2003 reference to China’s “Malacca Strait wilemma,” i.e., China’s dependence on the sea lines of communication (SLOC) from the Middle East for its oil supply which transit the Malacca Strait, a major choke point. The US has been the guarantor of SLOC security on which China depends. Chinese vulnerability was much discussed by Chinese and Amer ican analysts, exacerbating perceptions of an adversarial relationship.5 The energy-maritime nexus has been a source of tension although it could have been a vehicle for collaboration in jointly guarding the SLOCs.6 When US Admiral Michael Mullen in 2006 proposed Chinese participation in a

“thousand-ship navy” global maritime partnership jointly protecting SLOCs, Beijing’s response was ambiguous but not negative. Chinese and Amer ican scholars are divided over whether cooperation is possible as competition increases. Different authors place more emphasis on one or the other, with some recognizing a mix of cooperation and competition.7 One Chinese energy analyst has tried to explain US-China energy relations as a condition of simultaneous conflict and cooperation, with US-China competition in upstream oil development, a struggle over oil resources governed by the theoretical perspective of realism, and US-China cooperation in energy efficiency following the logic of interdependence.8 Cooperation occurs when there is a shared awareness of a common security interest, often called “win-win” by the Chinese. Competition occurs when either one side or both sides perceive a zero-sum situation. There are many additional situations when one side or the other is not clear on whether there are common security interests. This requires additional concepts beyond cooperation or competition. Instead of placing US-China energy relations into rigid categories of cooperation or competition, a Chinese scholar has offered a framework that places bilateral interests in a wider array of common, complementary, conflicting, and confrontational categories, identifying different functional issues within each category.9 Adapting this framework to energy relations provides a useful way of thinking about energy interests that are complementary, neither overtly cooperative nor confrontational, but rather moving in a parallel direction, a form of parallelism that exists simultaneously with cooperation and competition.10 Many of the US energy initiatives in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR) have been complementary to China’s energy interests, within which Chinese participate with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Parallelism is found in US-China maritime cooperation, where since 2009 there has been parallel behavior in the Gulf of Aden fighting piracy that went through stages of increased cooperation as the Chinese learned to cooperate.11 US-China overt cooperation did not happen until September 2012, when the US and China held their first joint anti-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden.12