China’s aggressive efforts to secure natural resources around the world have sometimes made it an opponent of other importing nations, most recently South Korea. But a shared hunger for commodities can bring countries closer to together too.
Take Tuesday’s deal between Mitsui, one of Japan’s biggest trading houses, and Shenhua, the Chinese state-owned energy and mining company. The two groups agreed to work together to develop coal deposits in Mongolia, and perhaps in other countries in the future.Most of the coal is likely to be sold to Chinese power plants, but some will also find its way to Japan, according to Mitsui. The Japanese group will take a share of the profits regardless, making its investment a partial bet on further growth in Chinese demand.