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Russian president backs China's Silk Road proposal
By ZHANG YUNBI ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-04-09 04:53:13

Russian President Vladimir Putin has voiced support for China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, which is aimed at reviving the ancient Eurasian trading route.

Putin told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in the Kremlin on Tuesday that Moscow supports the initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping, and "steadfastly supports China's efforts in championing core interests".

An official release issued after an earlier meeting between Wang and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov said both countries are ready to "proactively explore" cooperation on the Silk Road plan and Russia's idea of creating a "passage" between Asia and Europe and integrating Eurasian economies.

Countries including Russia and Central Asian nations have shown increasing interest in the Silk Road Economic Belt, proposed by Xi in 2013.

Xing Guangcheng, a senior scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the consensus on Tuesday indicates the two countries are "taking a tangible step forward".

They are shifting from preliminary supportive language for each other to joint efforts in initiating working-level liaison on the two concepts, Xing said.

In late March, the State Council authorized a landmark document — "Vision and Actions on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road—to be issued, outlining the blueprints.

At his meeting with Putin, Wang suggested "docking" the Chinese and Russian initiatives "in order to tackle new changes in the international and regional situation".

Wang told a joint news conference that Russia's "look East" policy and China's accelerated westward openings "have created historic opportunities for docking the two countries' development strategies".

Li Hui, China's ambassador to Russia, said in a speech to university students in Moscow in February that "the Belt and Road" could meet bilateral cooperation programs halfway, such as Sino-Russian oil and gas pipelines and China's participation in the development of Russia's Far East.

Yang Cheng, deputy director of the Center for Russian Studies at East China Normal University, said the bilateral readiness on "docking" shows that Russia has a deeper understanding of the strategic benefit to come.

Putin also said he expects that Xi will visit Moscow in May for celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II.

Wang, who laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow's Red Square earlier in the day, said

the 70th anniversary of victory in WWII is an opportunity to strengthen coordination on international affairs and to uphold mutual interests.

Both countries agreed after the foreign ministers' discussions that they "have both the duty and obligation to support each other" when they host the commemorations jointly or separately, in order to remember history, inspire following generations and better ensure world peace.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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Kenyan President launches SGR Phase 2A construction
20 Oct 2016
KENYA: Construction works for the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway project were officially launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta with a ceremony at the Embulbul work site in Ngong Town on October 19.

Phase 2A covers the 120 km Nairobi – Naivasha section of the 2 937 km MoKaKi corridor. It was approved by the government in May 2015, in order to serve a new economic development zone in the Rift Valley. The US$1·5bn project is being funded by a loan from the Chinese government.

Construction is to be undertaken by China Road & Bridge Corp, which is currently building the 473 km Phase 1 line between Mombasa and a new terminus at Embakasi on the outskirts of the capital. Phase 1 is now expected to open in January 2017.

The construction contract for Phase 2A was signed by Kenya Railway Corp Managing Director Atanas Maina and CRBC Chairman Wen Gang in September 2015. CRBC has already started work at Embulbul, where the 8 km Kajiado tunnel is being bored to carry the 1 435 mm gauge line through the Ngong hills west of Nairobi.

There has been some controversy over the planned route of the new line through the Nairobi National Park to the south of the capital, but KRC announced on October 19 that it had signed an agreement with the Kenya Wildlife Service, adding that the alignment had been selected to minimise the gradients between Nairobi and the Rift Valley. Maina pointed out that 123 km of Phase I had been built through the Tsavo National Park with appropriate mitigation measures including a lengthy viaduct. Work in the Nairobi park would be completed within 18 months including full remediation, he emphasised.

A separate agreement covering Phase 2B from Naivasha to Kisumu and 2C from Kisumu to the Ugandan border at Malaba was signed with CRBC's parent China Communications Construction Co in March.
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Mombasa-Nairobi railway

Infrasctructure construction - Mombasa-Nairobi railway
Photo taken on May 10, 2017 shows the Emali station on Kenya's Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

NAIROBI, May 29 -- The 480 km railway linking Kenya's largest port city Mombasa to capital Nairobi, slated to be officially launched on May 31, will be a key infrastructure project that will push forward the East Africa nation's modernization drive, a senior company executive said Monday.
"The launch of the standard gauge railway (SGR) will undoubtedly contribute to Kenya's economic and social development as well as improve people's livelihoods and lead the country to prosperity," said Chen Yun, Vice President of China Communications Construction Company, parent company of the China Road and Bridge Corporation which built the mega-project.
In an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of a ceremony held here in Nairobi for the release of the company's social responsibility report regarding the SGR project, Chen said that the company has endeavored to build the Kenya SGR project into a quality project that will endure the test of time.
"The Mombasa-Nairobi railway is also a way of cooperation, mutual benefits and prosperity," Chen said.
According to the report, the SGR project has created more than 46,000 jobs for the locals and the number of local workers who received training hit 45,000, gaining the much-needed skills and technical knowhow to help them grow. The SGR project is also estimated to be adding 1.5 percentage points to Kenya's GDP growth, a figure the Kenyan government reckons with.
As Africa strives for integration, Chen believed that Africa will continue to see the birth of many more railway projects on the continent.
He revealed that during a recent talk between him and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the president said he would promote SGRs in the east Africa region so that the region can upgrade and renovate existing railways and enhance transport capacity.
Chen added that the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China, which aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes, will also provide immense opportunities for African countries, and companies involved.
Interview: Chinese-built railway pushes forward Kenya's modernization drive - Xinhua |
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Aerial view of Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway May 29, 2017
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Soubre hydroelectric power station

Cote d'Ivoire on Thursday inaugurated the Chinese-built Soubre hydroelectric power station, the largest of its kind in the West African country. The 4.5-km-long hydropower dam at Naoua Falls on the Sassandra River, with an installed capacity of 275 megawatts (MW).
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