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Understanding the Belt and Road Initiative in one minute

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CNTV, October 4, 2015
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High-speed railways have witnessed rapid development in China, after the initial import of technology in 2004. At present, the country’s high-speed rail network extends to 17,000 kilometers, accounting for 55 percent of the world's total.

China’s high-speed rail technology is relatively mature. With plans of going global, countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road are among the first that will see an improvement to their rail networks.

For instance, take a look at the Thailand-China railway deal agreed upon in August 2015. It is the first project under the initiative in Southeast Asia.

Once the network is operationalized, it will increase ease of travel and cut costs. In fact, the round-trip fare from Kunming to Bangkok will be cut down to just 700 yuan per person.

But travel is just one advantage of such connectivity. Trade between the countries along the Belt and Road Initiative cannot flourish without adequate freight transportation facilities.

One example of such a link is the nearly 11,200-kilometer-long Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe International Railway network. It begins in Chongqing, moves through the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to cross into Kazakhstan, and then passes through Russia, Belarus and Poland before reaching its final destination in Duisburg, Germany.

With the help of this network, coal and iron ore from the Xinjiang and Gansu Province are transferred to inland China, and goods from neighboring provinces and countries are transported to the Shapingba Tuanjiecun railway terminal and sent to Central Asia and Europe.

Camels were once the preferred mode of transport across the vast trade routes along the ancient Silk Road, today it is the railways.

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