World Bulletin / News Desk
A Chinese firm announced that is it preparing to spend up to $150 billion on a huge high-speed rail project which will link China's autonomous province of East Turkestan (Xinjiang) to Turkey across Central Asia.
CSR chairman Zhao Shiaoyang said that the 6,000 kilometer-long train line will cut across Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran all the way to Turkey, the China Daily newspaper reported.
Saying that most of the line will be open to service by 2020, the CSR chief said it would be complete by 2030, calling the project the 'New Silk Road'.
The line will enable commuters to travel up to 200 kilometers an hour across the Asian continent, while freight trains will have a speed to 160 kilometers an hour.
While experts noted that finansors in Pekin would be very generous in supporting the project, they also noted that geo-political compromise would need to be achieved between central Asian states in order for the project to become a reality.
Currently China exports around $4 trillion of goods annually, half of which is imported by Europe, the Middle-East and central Asia. However, the trade is largely dependent on sea routes.
However, China has been involved in a dispute with neighboring countries Japan, Philippines and Vietnam over territorial waters in the Pacific, as increased co-operation between the far-eastern US allies threatens China's sea borders.
This has consquently added importance to the central Asian rail project, which is likely to join with Turkey's own national high-speed train project which will reduce traveling time between the capital Ankara and biggest city Istanbul to just 3.5 hours.
The Ankara-Istanbul line is due to open on July 11 after two delays and technical problems during testing.
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