China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway to start construction in 2023: Kyrgyz President tells local media
Published: Jun 02, 2022 11:12 PM Updated: Jun 02, 2022 11:31 PM


While China has kept running more than 1,000 China-Europe Railway Express trains for 24 months in row, with more new routes being constantly added, the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan (CKU) railway, which has been in the planning for two decades, has finally received a significant boost. Once completed, the new route will further shorten the transport distance from China to Europe and to the Middle East.

The construction of the CKU railroad will begin next year, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov told Kabar Agency on Monday.

"We will start in 2023 after the feasibility study is completed this year. The feasibility study is being prepared with the participation of three parties. There will be jobs. Our economy will boom," said Zhaparov, noting that it has been 20 years since Kyrgyzstan wanted to build this railway.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan, also said that the construction of the CKU railway will begin soon. 

Mirziyoyev made the remarks at the summit of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on Friday, according to media reports.

Uzbek officials have previously said that when completed, the railway will be the shortest route to transport goods from China to Europe and the Middle East, cutting the freight journey by 900 kilometers and saving seven to eight days in shipping time.

The CKU route, which will become the southern part of China-Europe freight rail, will link China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to Central and Eastern Europe via Iran and Turkey. 

According to plan, the total length of the CKU railway is about 523 kilometers, including 213 kilometers in China, 260 kilometers in Kyrgyzstan and about 50 kilometers in Uzbekistan.

The railway has been planned for at least 25 years. As early as 1997, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan signed a memorandum of understanding on the construction of a railway linking the three countries.

"Development of the railway network is one of the priorities of the cabinet. In autumn, it is planned to begin construction of the largest project in the history of our independence - the CKU railway. It is necessary to support this project," said Akylbek Japarov, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, on May 20, during a cabinet meeting, which approved the country's main directions of development of railway transport for 2022-2026.

"All agreements, including with all interested countries, have been completed. We expect that during the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in September, the leaders of the three countries will sign a document to begin construction of the railway. The Kyrgyz government, the Uzbek government and the Chinese government are preparing for the document," said Japarov.

Negotiations to build the railway are under way, said Jiang Yan, Ambassador of China to Uzbekistan, on May 19 during a video interview with local media.

"We need to start building. The railway belongs to all three countries. We must work together," said Jiang. 

Back in February, Du Dewen, Chinese Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, said in an interview with Kabar Agency that the position of the Chinese side on the construction of the CKU railroad is positive, open and consistent.

"The railroad project was one of the important topics of the meeting of leaders of two countries in Beijing. Kyrgyzstan pays increased attention to this issue," Du said.

Global Times