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New railway deal connects China to Europe via Central Asia

In Beijing, an agreement was signed regarding constructing a railway line from China through Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan. This will be a new route connecting China with Europe. The implementation of the project is set to begin by the end of 2024. Xi Jinping has called it a “strategic project.”

According to information provided in Beijing, the planned railway line will have a length of 302 miles, of which 194 miles will run through Kyrgyzstan, including 57 tunnels. The lengths of the sections in the other two countries were not disclosed. The construction is estimated to cost $8 billion, but no sources of funding for the project were revealed.

The leaders of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, both landlocked countries, have long held high hopes for the new railway line project. They believe it will bring economic and strategic benefits.

The agreement was signed by Tilek Tekebayev, the Kyrgyzstan Minister of Transport and Communications; Zheng Shanjie, Chairman of the Chinese State Development and Reform Committee; and Ilhom Mahkamov, the Uzbekistan Minister of Transport. On this occasion, the leaders of all three countries sent video messages.

Bridge in the Eurasian space

The President of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov, emphasized that this project will be an essential element of the famous Belt and Road Initiative. It will become a symbol of cooperation within the framework of a comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era between the Kyrgyz Republic, the People’s Republic of China, and the Republic of Uzbekistan. “Undoubtedly, it will have a comprehensive positive impact on trade and economic cooperation between our countries,” he added.

The President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, addressed the meeting participants where the agreement was signed, saying, “This railway line will become the shortest land ‘arm’ connecting China with our region. In the future, this railway will enable access to the markets of South Asia and the Middle East through a “promising” trans-Afghan corridor.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev added that the annual volume of freight traffic on the new railway line could reach as much as 15 million tons, and delivery times of goods to end consumers will be reduced by 7 days.

Strategic project for China

Xi Jinping, the leader of China, highlighted the significance of the agreement, claiming it will make a great contribution to strategic cooperation with Central Asian countries.

“The China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway is a strategic project for China’s connectivity with Central Asia and a landmark project for [our] three countries to jointly build the Belt and Road Initiative,” said the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.

Source: MSN