Global Insider: North Korea the True Target for China-South Korea Pipeline Proposal

Jiang Jiemin, the chairman of the China National Petroleum Corp., has reportedly floated the idea of building an undersea pipeline that would deliver Russian natural gas to South Korea via China, as an alternative to a long-discussed plan to build a pipeline connecting Russia, North Korea and South Korea. In an email interview, Se Hyun Ahn, chair of the department of international relations at the University of Seoul, discussed the prospect of a Russia-China-South Korea pipeline.

WPR: What are South Korea's sources of natural gas, and how is it delivered?

Se Hyun Ahn: South Korea imports all of its natural gas in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG), not pipeline natural gas (PNG). South Korea began importing LNG from Indonesia in 1986. Since then, most of its LNG imports have come from Southeast Asia and the Middle East. But the LNG import landscape has slightly changed in recent years with the addition of Russian and Australian LNG. Currently, South Korea imports 34 million tons of LNG from Qatar, Indonesia, Oman, Malaysia, Yemen, Russia, Australia, Brunei and others. South Korea is planning to diversify the LNG import market, with the target breakdown as follows: Middle East, 30 percent; Southeast Asia, 30 percent; Russia, 30 percent; and others, 10 percent

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