China to play a key role in Serbia-Hungary high-speed railway

Updated: 2013-11-26 04:34

By ZHAO YINAN in Bucharest, Romania (

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A railway connecting Serbia and Hungary will start construction with the cooperation of Chinese companies, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his counterparts of the two European countries announced on Monday.

"After deep and candid talks, we have reached a significant agreement to jointly build a railway linking Serbia and Hungary. A working group has been set up to work out details of project," Li said at a news conference during a four-day visit in Bucharest, Romania.

Being called a "landmark" project in upgrading China's cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries, the railway construction is expected to improve local infrastructure.

China now boasts the world's second-longest mileage of ordinary railway and the longest mileage of high-speed railway.

"For years, products being made in China have won its reputation on the globe. Now, equipment made in China is also going abroad and is expected to win a high prestige too," Li said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said China's investment in the project is of great assistance not only to the country, but also to the entire European Union.

He said the agreement is beyond the traditional win-win pattern, since it can benefit Hungary, Serbia, China and the European Union altogether.

"The need to construct the railway is urgent. But Hungary is not able to finance the project and the EU is not in the position to do it either, so China's decision to come in is of great historic significance," Orban said.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said the railway plan, when being completed, can set the standard in the region and influence the whole transport through countries in the area, and he is almost certain that "other countries will join the project soon".

The Hungary-Serbia railway project is the second railway construction agreement being announced on Monday, following the Romania's plan to construct a high-speed railway with Chinese technologies.

Romanian Prime Minister Ponta announced the plan as he and Premier Li met with press on Monday afternoon in Bucharest. Apart from the high-speed railway project, a number of infrastructure projects, including nuclear power plants and telecommunications, were also signed.

As almost all of the economic deals being reached on Monday focused on infrastructures, analysts said the efforts of Chinese enterprises to go global have advanced from the manufacturing of daily necessities to large-scale equipment.