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China to build new railway in Xinjiang
Xinhuanet (3 Aug 2004)

URUMQI, CHINA: China plans to start building a railway in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region within this year, which will be part of the trans-continental railway network linking China's coastal regions with southern European countries.

At a total cost of 6.2 billion yuan (747 million US dollars), the Jinghe-Ili-Horgos Railway will run 295.73 kilometers through the Mongolia Autonomous Prefecture of Bortala and the Kazak Autonomous Prefecture of Ili, which are both situated in the western part of Xinjiang, according to the regional government.

A feasibility study for the railway construction, which was jointly launched by the State Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Railways and the regional government, was completed by the end of July and the whole project is expected to be finished in 2008.

The railway will not only greatly tighten the economic ties between Xinjiang and the country's other inland provinces and regions, but will also largely ease the transportation tension between China and central Asian countries, according to the regional government.

The 10,000-km Asia-Europe continental bridge, known as a new Silk Road, starts from east China's Lianyungang port, and goes west to Kashi City in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, then extends to Uzbekistan and joins the railway network in central and southern Europe.

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