Chinese experts complete field surveys for China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway
BISHKEK. Dec 9 (Interfax) - A team of Chinese experts has completed field work on the project to build the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway and the feasibility study will soon be given to the two Central Asian countries for review, Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua said at a meeting with Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, the latter's press service reported.
He said that the parties will hopefully actively promote the railway project and thereby ensure smooth trade and economic relations between the countries.
Japarov said the project "will have an incalculable positive influence on the economic development of the whole region and become an important element in the implementation of Chinese President Xi Jinping's One Belt One Road initiative."
Eighty experts from a Chinese engineering institute arrived in Kyrgyzstan in early August to prepare the feasibility study for the construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway.
The transport ministries of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and China's National Development and Reform Commission signed a trilateral agreement in September to cooperate on the project to build the railway. The document calls for completing all work on the feasibility study for building the railway through Kyrgyzstan in the first half of 2023. The countries also agreed on how to finance and distribute the costs of the study.
The construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway has been discussed since the early 2000s and negotiations entered an active phase in 2017-2018.
Kyrgyzstan wants two offloading stations to be built in the country as part of the project, while China is insisting on a direct route without stops in Kyrgyzstan.
The railway will make it possible to create a new transport corridor for shipping freight to Eastern Europe through the Trans-Caucasus corridor, and reduce the time it takes to deliver freight from China and Central Asian countries to the European Union and countries in the Middle East.