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China On Board With Oil Release, But Wants to Show Independence

  • Beijing doesn’t want to look like it’s following Washington
  • China wants to sell on its own terms; no details released
China is world’s biggest oil importer.

China is world’s biggest oil importer.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China’s ambiguity on whether it will join the U.S.-led coordinated release of oil reserves is aimed at a domestic audience to show Beijing isn’t following Washington, according to government officials involved in the discussions.

The world’s biggest oil importer is committed to drawing crude from its stockpiles along with the U.S., Japan, South Korea, India and the U.K., the officials said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. Beijing want to ensure that a release is seen as independent, and the public don’t misconstrue the cooperation as taking orders from Washington, they said.