China schemes to dig railway tunnel under Everest

Delhi: China is planning to burrow deep below Mount Everest to build a new rail link to Nepal, which could one day make train travel between Calcutta and Beijing a possibility.

A railway line already runs from Xining in central China as far as Tibet. But Chinese officials said that Nepal had asked for the route to be extended up to the border and on to Kathmandu.

Reports in Kathmandu suggested the proposed line could then continue to Lumbini, a World Heritage Site, passing under Everest to get there. Continue reading

In China, Projects to Make Great Wall Feel Small

Dalian, China:  The plan here seems far-fetched – a $36 billion tunnel that would run twice the length of the one under the English Channel, and bore deep into one of Asia’s active earthquake zones. When completed, it would be the world’s longest underwater tunnel, creating a rail link between two northern port cities.

Throughout China, equally ambitious projects with multibillion-dollar price tags are already underway. The world’s largest bridge. The biggest airport. The longest gas pipeline. An $80 billion effort to divert water from the south of the country, where it is abundant, to a parched section of the north, along a route that covers more than 1,500 miles.

Such enormous infrastructure projects are a Chinese tradition. From the Great Wall to the Grand Canal and the Three Gorges Dam, this nation for centuries has used colossal public-works projects to showcase its engineering prowess and project its economic might. Continue reading

Israel-China Alliance Moves Forward With $2 Billion ‘Red-Med’ Freight Rail Link Alternative to Suez Canal

The growing economic alliance between Israel and China is moving forward with a $2 billion, 300 kilometer freight rail link connecting Eilat, on the Red Sea, with Ashdod Port, on the Mediterranean, Germany’s Deutsche Welle news magazine reported on Monday.

The project, nicknamed the ‘Red-Med,’ was greenlit by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, and construction, which is expected to take five years, will begin within the year.

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Putin in Seoul to push new ‘Silk Road’ via North Korea

Russia’s president pursues dream of new ‘Silk Road’ passing through North Korea into the South en route to Europe during Seoul visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin was in South Korea on Wednesday to push a pet project for a new major trading route linking Asia and Europe by rail that requires prying open North Korea.

Putin hopes his brief visit will include the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the ambitious project, which envisages an ‘Iron Silk Road’ uniting the rail networks of South and North Korea and connecting them to Europe via the Trans-Siberian Railway. Continue reading

Putin Builds North Korea Rail to Circumvent Suez Canal

Russia last month completed the first land link that North Korea’s Stalinist regime has allowed to the outside world since 2003. Running between Khasan in Russia’s southeastern corner and North Korea’s rebuilt port of Rajin, the 54-kilometer rail link is part of a project President Putin is pushing that would reunite the railway systems of the two Koreas and tie them to the Trans-Siberian Railway.

That would give Putin partial control over links to European train networks 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) away. The route is as much as three times faster than shipping via Egypt’s Suez Canal, which handles 17,000 ships a year, accounts for about 8 percent of maritime trade — and is increasingly beset by pirates and political instability in Egypt and Syria. Continue reading