China’s plans for a straight connection to Europe on high-speed rail are already about halfway through. With its internal projects relating to the construction of the largest high-speed rail (HSR) network in the world with also the fastest trains in it getting closer to completion, China’s goal is to continue on with an HSR revolution internationally in order to create two-day HSR trip times between Beijing and London.
The South China Morning Post has reported that the international network is supposed to include a total of 17 countries. As mapped, this is likely to be the largest infrastructure project in history. It would also extend south to Singapore and northeast into Mongolia and Russia. Another connection to Europe would likely go through India, Pakistan and West Asia, although exact routes are not yet determined.
Negotiations with the relevant 17 countries are reported to be already under way. China would like to fund the whole project itself in exchange for natural resources it lacks. One of the senior consultants working on the project has said, “We would actually prefer the other countries to pay in natural resources rather than make their own capital investment.” China wants to complete this network in 10 years.
Creating such a network would solidify China’s central role in the Asian economy and perhaps even the world economy. Nonetheless, China says that other countries approached it for help and that is how the idea got started.