A deputy to China's top legislature has suggested constructing a new route linking southwestern Yunnan province with Tibet autonomous region.
The new route would originate in Kunming, Yunnan's capital, and pass through the city of Dali and the Lisu autonomous prefecture of Nujiang to reach Lhasa, capital of Tibet, and is of "strategic significance" in promoting the local economy, boosting ethnic solidarity and maintaining stability in the border region, said Ding Xiuhua, a National People's Conference deputy from Nujiang prefecture.
The current route from Kunming to Lhasa is 2,314 kilometers, but the new route would be just 2,055 kilometers, she said.
The current route is hazardous, as it traverses three major rivers and more than 10 mountains with altitudes of over 4,000 meters, making it almost impassable in winter, according to Ding.
The new route would be passable year-round if two 1,600-meter tunnels were created, Ding said.
"The construction of the new route will also boost economic development along the road," Ding said.
Moreover, the route would connect the resource-rich, but impoverished regions of Nujiang in Yunnan province and Nyingchi county in Tibet to the outside world and make their resources accessible, Ding said.