China Secures Construction of European Railway

Wed December 31, 2014 - National Edition

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) China secured a deal on Dec. 17 to construct a high-speed train link between Belgrade and Budapest that will cut travel time between the Serbian and Hungarian capitals from eight hours to less than three.

The 250 mi. (400 km) railway is part of China’s ambitious plan to speed up the delivery of its exports to central Europe through Greece’s port of Piraeus. The Belgrade-Budapest line is to be completed by mid-2017.

The project, worth $3.1 billion, is to be financed by the China Development Bank and executed by Chinese state-owned enterprises.

China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang attended the signing of rail and customs documents by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban. The ceremony took place at an economic summit in Belgrade between China and 16 central and eastern European states.

The railway agreement “shows that China and Europe have found possibility to cooperate on mutual benefits in decades to come,’’ Orban said through a translator after the ceremony. Li called the project “a corridor between China and Europe.’’