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China-Kyrgyz-Uzbek railway route to be finalized in April

By Xu He | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-01-17 14:06

The China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway route will be determined in April 2018, participants at tripartite talks decided in Tashkent in late December, The Times of Central Asia, a Kyrgyzstan-based outlet, reported on Saturday.

The meeting discussed the timing of the project, sources of financing and the development of its feasibility study.

According to reports, Kyrgyzstan has suggested that the $5 billion railroad should run through the southern regions of the country to contribute to the development of its trade and economic relations.

President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov called the project historic and strategically important when he visited Tashkent in December.

"The more trains will travel through a larger number of settlements, the greater will be the benefits for the economic development of the country," Jeenbekov said.

"The railway will contribute to the development of the Osh province in the south of Kyrgyzstan, and create new jobs," he added. 

According to China's Ministry of Commerce, Jeenbekov said in October that the railroad would not only promote China-Kyrgyz-Uzbek relations, but also strengthen trade ties with Turkmenistan and Iran and provide access to the Indian Ocean.

The construction of the railway fully meets the interests of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Its early construction will help increase the attractiveness of Central Asia as the most profitable and efficient transit corridor in the region, the Uzbek UzTAG news agency said.

The possibility of constructing the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway has been under discussion for many years. In 2002, China proposed that the route was to travel to Uzbekistan through the Torugart Pass, located in Southern Kyrgyzstan. The length of the route across Kyrgyzstan was 268 km. 

In 2012, Kyrgyzstan presented its project, according to which, the route would run through more areas in the south of the country, with the route increased to 380 km.

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