Wind of change in Kyrgyzstan: Jeenbekov talks China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway

Wind of change in Kyrgyzstan: Jeenbekov talks China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 29

By Fikret Dolukhanov – Trend:

Kyrgyzstan is paying special attention to implementation of plans on construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, because it will help develop the economy and increase the investment attractiveness of the country, RIA Novosti reported citing President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

“Among the long-term projects, we pay special attention to plans on construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway. Recently, I made a state visit to China. Negotiations are being held with interested countries for implementation of this project. We are discussing this topic with the Russian Federation and clarifying the positions,” the president said.

According to him, Kyrgyzstan needs to get out of the infrastructure impasse and to become a part of the transit corridor originating in China and reaching the seaports of Eurasia.

“Kyrgyzstan needs to build roads and railways, to improve power transmission lines and communications. They are the main factors for improving the investment attractiveness of our country,” Jeenbekov added.

He noted that there are a number of infrastructure projects that can give impetus to development of the state economy. The Kyrgyz authorities are planning to implement them in the coming years. Among the projects is construction of an alternative road that will connect the northern and southern regions of the country, separated by hard-to-reach mountain passes, reconstruction of the ring road around the Issyk-Kul resort lake, as well as restoration of domestic flights.

The project for the construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway has been under discussion for about 20 years. The project aims to shorten the delivery time of Chinese goods to the countries of the Persian Gulf and the EU. For many countries, this route will be the shortest from China. According to preliminary calculations, the reduction of the route from East Asia to the countries of the Middle East and Southern Europe will be about 900 km, and the delivery time will be decreased by 7-8 days.

Kyrgyzstan has always been quite skeptical regarding this project, because the country does not get really much out of it.

Bruce Pannier, an expert on Central Asia, earlier told Trend that the railway is important for Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan because it gives them a new connection to China for exports and imports.

According to Pannier, the interesting question will be how Chinese exports enter Kyrgyzstan and reach Uzbekistan. Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which has its own trade rules, whereas Uzbekistan is not an EEU member.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @FDolukhanov

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