China has unveiled its most expensive Belt and Road Initiative to date, a $58 billion railway system connecting Pakistan to western China, which aims to reduce Western trade dependence, according to a report by the South China Morning Post.
The plan, reviewed by state-owned China Railway First Survey and Design Institute Group Co Ltd., has been deemed worth the investment despite the hefty price tag.
The 1,860-mile rail system will connect Pakistan’s port of Gwadar to China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and could reshape not only trade but geopolitics, according to the proposal’s review board.
The Chinese team of analysts said in a report published earlier this month in the Chinese journal Railway Transport and Economy, “The government and financial institutions should provide strong support, increase coordination and collaboration among relevant domestic departments, strive for the injection of support funds and provide strong policy support and guarantees for the construction of this project.”
This would be China’s biggest transport project yet, although China Railway First Survey and Design Institute Group Co Ltd. helped with Asia’s first high-speed rail system, the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail line in Indonesia.
The new railway connecting China to Pakistan is expected to encourage additional train systems that could connect China to Turkey and Iran, significantly opening up direct access to these regions, according to the South China Morning Post.
This trade initiative is part of Beijing’s broader Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to establish China as a world superpower and promote global domination in the trade sector.
The initiative aims to shift the focus away from historical trade routes dominated by Western nations to better improve China’s economic goals and encourage a “multipolar world” to diminish Western power.
This is a move that top autocratic nations like Russia and Iran have also been eager to encourage as geopolitical tensions with the West continue to escalate.