Construction Frontline

Construction of the 20-year-old China-Kyrgyzstan-Ukraine railway starts

Seetao 2022-06-02 16:58
  • The railway is the shortest route from China to Europe and the Middle East, time can save 7-8 days
  • The President of Kyrgyzstan said recently that the China-Kyrgyzstan-Ukraine Railway is an integral part of the southern passage of the China-Europe Railway Express. The railway, which has been planned for 25 years, is finally about to start construction.
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As an important part of the southern passage of the China Railway Express, the China-Gyrgyzstan-Ukraine Railway, which has been planned for at least 25 years, is finally about to start construction. Kyrgyzstan President Zaparov said in an interview on May 30, 2022 that after he explained to Russian Putin that Kyrgyzstan needs the China-Gyrgyzstan-Ukraine railway just like it needs "air and water", Putin said he would no longer oppose the project.

It's finally building

According to reports, Zaparov said that the country has been trying to build the China-Gyrgyzstan-Ukraine railway for more than 20 years, but it has not started at all. Because so far, no one has been able to explain to the Russian side the importance of this railway to Kyrgyzstan. Zaparov said he spoke with Putin for about half an hour during a recent CSTO summit. "In the end, Putin understood that we need this railway as much as we need air and water, and said that Russia has no objection to it, and we can build it if we need it."

"God bless, we will start (construction) in 2023 after we complete the feasibility study." Zaparov told reporters excitedly that after the completion of the China-Gyrgyzstan railway, Kyrgyzstan will become a transit country, thus leaving the "abyss" . According to him, the railway will bring jobs, a source of capital, and Kyrgyzstan's economy will prosper, free from worries about not being able to repay its foreign debt.

"The road ahead is straight. Our future is bright. As long as there is peace, everything will be fine," said Zaparov, a former opposition leader in Kyrgyzstan. In October 2020, the domestic political situation in Kyrgyzstan suddenly changed, and then Zaparov became acting president. He said at that time that developing friendly cooperation with China is the priority of Kyrgyzstan's foreign policy.

According to local media "Uzdaily" (Uzdaily), the Kyrgyz cabinet recently approved the main direction of railway transportation development in 2022-2026. The Minister of the Cabinet stated that the development of the railway industry is one of the priorities of the Cabinet. "In the autumn of 2022, the largest project after independence of our country, the my country-Kyrgyzstan-Ukraine Railway, is planned to be launched, and we need to support this project."

During a video conference of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEC) held on May 27, 2022, Almaz Turgunbaev, Deputy Minister of Transport of Kyrgyzstan, introduced that the China-Kyrgyzstan-Ukraine Railway is a promising project connecting China And Europe, it's too early to talk about the success of the project. He noted, however, that the ministry aims to complete a feasibility study by the end of 2022, "if the project is successful, then it will promote a leap in economic development in our country and in all countries of the Eurasian Economic Union".

Uzbekistan's President Mirziyoyev also mentioned the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway project at the Eurasian Economic Union meeting on the 27th, saying that the project will be implemented in the near future. He also said that the China-Kyrgyzstan-Ukraine railway project will strengthen transport connectivity in the southern and eastern directions of the region and will create more opportunities for countries to enter the Asia-Pacific market. The southern passage of the China Railway Express is a new strategic passage from China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to Central and Eastern Europe via Iran and Turkey. The China-Kyrgyzstan-Ukraine Railway is an important part of the southern passage of the China-Europe Railway Express, which has been planned for at least 25 years.

As early as 1997, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan signed a memorandum on the construction of a railway project connecting the three countries. China has been working hard to promote the implementation of the project, but due to multiple obstacles within Kyrgyzstan, there has been no substantial progress.

First, Kyrgyzstan's domestic politics are complex, and the decisions of the previous government are often overruled by the successor. Secondly, China and Kyrgyzstan have not formed a unified opinion on which gauge to adopt. The Chinese railway system adopts the international standard gauge of 1435mm. Kyrgyzstan, part of the former Soviet Union, uses a 1520mm wide gauge. Finally, there is the issue of funds. Kyrgyzstan has no construction funds, and related issues such as how to raise funds have aroused suspicion and dissatisfaction among some people, resulting in increased resistance to railway construction in Kyrgyzstan.

On August 1, 2019, the heads of state of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan held talks, saying that the two countries are currently working together to conclude the negotiations on the construction of the China-Uzbekistan-Uzbekistan railway as soon as possible. The total length of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway is about 523 kilometers, of which 213 kilometers are in China, 260 kilometers in Kyrgyzstan and 50 kilometers in Uzbekistan. According to the plan, the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan-Uzbekistan railway project is planned to leave the country from Kashgar, Xinjiang, China, to Andijan, Uzbekistan, via Karasu, Kyrgyzstan. After the completion of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Ukraine Railway, it will be the shortest route for transporting goods from China to Europe and the Middle East. The freight distance will be shortened by 900 kilometers and the time will be saved by 7 to 8 days.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the completion of the China-Jiangsu-Ukraine Railway will improve the southern passage of the New Eurasian Continental Bridge and form a convenient transportation channel from East Asia and Southeast Asia to Central Asia, West Asia, North Africa and Southern Europe; it will expand the transportation scope of the New Eurasian Continental Bridge. It will improve the status of the New Eurasian Continental Bridge in international transportation; it will change the traffic pattern in Xinjiang and even the entire western part of China, and accelerate the pace of western development; it will be beneficial to the development and utilization of oil in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea, and will open up new oil imports in China. It is of great significance to adjust China's energy development strategy.Editor/XuNing