China takes another journey on old Silk Road – Jonathan Watts
The Guardian reports on a new highway network that will reconnect countries along the old Silk Road:
China is at the heart of the network. In addition to existing roads, it is building more than 10,000 miles of new highways. The push into central Asia is making some of the world’s most remote regions more accessible. Last summer, the China Road and Bridge Corporation began work on a three-mile tunnel in the mountainous Sughd region of Tajikstan. Construction has also begun on the stretch of Asian Highway One through Kyrgyzstan.
The primary motivation is to boost trade with neighbouring countries and raise living standards in the far west. In recent years, Beijing has wooed central Asian states with political and economic incentives. The Shanghai Economic Cooperation, a loose grouping of states in the region, controls almost a quarter of the world’s oil supplies and is building pipelines across the region. [Full text]