Dealing with the malacca dilemma: China's effort to protect its energy supply

You Ji*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


China's dependence on ship-borne energy resources forms the bedrock of its energy security. Critical to this is the issue of sea lane of communications (SLOCs) safety. SLOC safety is at once a non-conventional security challenge and a military one, which may trigger maritime conflicts. The difficulty in dealing with this challenge is that it is integral to geopolitics and hence subject to complicated major power relations. Geo-strategic politics will increasingly determine Beijing's SLOC policy of political cooperation and military hedging. While the former is the dominant, the latter is being pursued in a gradual manner. For China, energy transportaion is crucially linked to its national security. Without enough oil, China will have to think twice before launching any large-scale military action. This underlines the efforts of the People's Liberation Army to back up a policy of cooperation with credible naval strength. The factor of SLOCs has been added to China's maritime strategy and provided a new guidance for navy transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-489
Number of pages23
JournalStrategic Analysis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2007
Externally publishedYes


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