New Silk Road linking China to west Europe to be completed within 10

New Silk Road linking China to west Europe to be completed within 10 years

Agence France Presse — English
October 27, 2004 Wednesday 5:18 AM GMT

BEIJING Oct 27 — A new Silk Road connecting China’s hinterland with
the industrial centers of western Europe is expected to be completed
within 10 years, officials involved in the project were cited as
saying Wednesday.

The road will extend westward from eastern China through central
Asian and European countries to the Atlantic Ocean.

“Ten years is a reasonable goal,” Antony Pearce, acting
director-general of the International Road Federation (IRF), was
quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency.

“If you look at what China has achieved in the last five years,
it is an achievable goal.”

The IRF advocated rehabilitating the ancient Silk Road seven years
ago to meet the increasing demand for businesses among countries
along the route.

China completed its section stretching 4,395 kilometres (2,724 miles)
from Lianyungang in east Jiangsu province to Helgus in northwest
Xinjiang region this month, cutting a two-week journey to 50 hours.

Chaos caused by war in some regions along the road has temporarily
delayed progress over the past five years, but officials remain
confident of its completion within their expected timeframe.

At present, transportation capacity of the section from Turkey
to China, crossing Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and
Kazakhstan, cannot meet the demand.

Pearce said the job at hand was to “connect the missing link.”

“The important thing is that this road crosses many countries, what
we need to do is collaboration and cooperation of these countries to
realize the goal of reconstructing this road,” he said.

Transportation ministers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia,
Iran, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey,
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are currently meeting in China to discuss
the project.

In a statement, they said they would exploit ways of financing from
international institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, and
further increase investment in transport infrastructure.

They also agreed to create favorable trans-boundary and cross-border
transport conditions to further remove non-physical barriers.

Agreement was also reached to establish an open and sustainable
integrated transport system to provide safe and reliable services
for passengers and freight.

Xinhua said China has already drafted several transport pacts with
central Asian countries.

With rapid development in China and other central Asian regions,
Europe is increasing turning its eyes towards their markets, and a
road network is seen as vital to transport goods.

The Silk Road has a history of more than 2,000 years and served as
an important bridge for economic and cultural exchanges between the
East and the West.

It connected the ancient Chinese, Indian, Persian, Arabic, Greek and
Roman civilizations.