China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are building a railroad to Europe bypassing Russia

China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have agreed on the construction of a railway line that will allow goods to be delivered to Europe bypassing Russia, Radio Liberty reports.

The document on the next steps of the project, which China proposed last fall, was signed at the summit in Xi’an late last week, where Chinese President Xi Jinping met for the first time in person with the leader of the five Central Asian republics of the former USSR.

The nearly 500-kilometre highway, which will shorten the journey to Europe by 7-8 days and bypass Russia, which is “toxic” due to sanctions, will start at the Torugart Pass in Kyrgyzstan and will go north to Jalal-Abad, where it will connect to the railway network of Uzbekistan .

From there, the route is to be extended to Turkey, terminating on the EU rail system. According to preliminary estimates, the volume of traffic on the new motorway may reach 5 million tons per year.

After talks with the leaders of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Xi promised them 26 billion yuan ($3.6 billion) in financial support and “free aid” and offered to expand military cooperation.

According to Xinhua, Xi announced China’s readiness to “strengthen the defense” of the Central Asian republics, increase their security capabilities in order to “guarantee peace in the region.”

According to official Chinese statistics, last year China’s trade with the five Central Asian republics of the former USSR amounted to USD 70.2 billion, and 80% of goods traffic to Europe was transited through these countries.


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