Last year and this year, when visiting Central and Eastern Europe and Africa, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang strongly promoted Chinese high speed rail infrastructure and equipment. On June 17, when meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Li Keqiang suggested that China and Britain should actively cooperate in the areas of nuclear power, high speed rail and other infrastructure projects. Cameron agreed to strengthen cooperation on high speed rail with China. On the same day, "high speed rail" was included in the joint statement from the two countries.
What is China's strategic rollout of high speed rail?
As early as 2009, China had confirmed its strategic network of three high speed rail lines, and they are the Eurasian High Speed Rail, the Central Asia High Speed Rail, and the Pan-Asian High Speed Rail.
Wang Mengshu, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told media that China has conducted analysis and planning for the above-mentioned lines, and now we need to talk with the other countries involved one by one. China will maintain its own technical standards. We have reached deals with several countries, such as Uzbekistan and Myanmar.
China has plans to build high speed rail throughout the world. According to Wang Mengshu, China is negotiating with more than 20 countries on high speed rail construction. These transnational high speed railways will be funded by China and apply Chinese technology. Local resources, such as natural gas in Central Asia, can be used to pay for the construction cost.
High speed rail appeared twice in the joint statement
The cooperation between China and Britain on high speed rail fits with China's strategy of "high speed rail going global". During Prime Minister Li Keqiang's five visits to foreign countries, he has spoken about high speed rail on four occasions, earnign the accolade of "super salesman" from the media.
The potential project for cooperation in the UK is the HS2 high speed rail connecting London and the north of England, which will cost about 50 billion pounds.
Chinese high speed rail is cheaper
When Prime Minister Cameron visited China last year, he and Prime Minister Li Keqiang announced at their press conference that China might invest in the HS2 high speed rail project.
According to some British media reports, British officials originally said that foreign investment would not be involved in the construction of the project, which meant that China could only bid for the operation right of HS2 or invest in peripheral projects such as development projects around the stations.
Chen Mingming, former Chinese Ambassador to Sweden, told the media that many railways in Europe were outdated and in need of upgrading. Exporting complete high speed rail packages to Europe is an important part of China's commercial strategy. We have Germany and France as competitors, but their financing capacity is not as strong as China, and their equipment is more expensive.
The article is edited and translated from《中国“高铁战略”布局：正与数十国家谈合作》, source: The Beijing News, author: Chu Xinyan.