TRANSPORT CORRIDOR WITH DIFFERENT OPTIONS

TRANSPORT CORRIDOR WITH DIFFERENT OPTIONS

By Arthur Dunn

Everybody knows , China is a quiet expansion in the world, including the Central Asian region. And if the success of expansion, for example, in Kazakhstan, impede the stable political situation in the country and the strong influence of Russia, these reasons are much weaker in neighboring Kyrgyzstan. In this country there are still echoes of the revolutionary events, conducted an internal clan struggle in the country occupy a strong position in extremist religious organizations. The same great level of corruption, which enhances the effects of manipulation of the players in this struggle.

 

Currently, through Kyrgyzstan it is scheduled for a major transport corridor, which will link China with the Middle East and in Turkey - with the European Union.

 

The idea of ​​building a transit corridor across the Central Asian region was discussed since the mid 90s. The flow of goods from China to Europe and back is huge, the sea route, though cheap, but quite long. And in an age when time is money - every day, their weight in gold. The project railway "China-Middle East" is part of a global development strategy of China's "Silk Road". Over the next 30 years, China is going to expand its economic impact, both in the region and around the world.

 

It is assumed that the railway "China - Kyrgyzstan - Uzbekistan - Turkenistan - Iran" will become part of the "China - Middle East - Europe" conditionally divided into several parts. The first of which - the construction of China-Kyrgyzstan road. The line will be 472 kilometers long with a European gauge - 1,435 mm. Moreover, this track will be on throughout the highway through the post-Soviet countries (against the broad gauge, inherited from the Soviet Union). Incidentally, the width of the road was one of the points of Bishkek trading with China during the discussion of the draft prospects. A discussion went on for a long time and very hard.

 

According to experts, Kyrgyzstan is simply no money to implement this level of large-scale projects: the cost of construction of the railway on the territory of Kyrgyzstan is estimated at nearly $ 2 billion.. And because China will pay for the construction. Kyrgyzstan, for its part provides the territory of China for 50 years for the construction of roads and development of deposits. Then the railroad must pass through Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan to Iran.

 

What attracts China in Kyrgyzstan is clear: the geopolitical position and natural resources. However, the creation of a corridor through Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan carries huge risks, both logistical and political. For example, the cargo during transportation to the ports of the Middle East will have to pass a lot of boundaries: only to Iran they will be four. Next, another border with Turkey, two ferries across the lake Van and through the Bosphorus, and only after that the output to Europe. In other words, transit would be too expensive and not too fast.

 

The second risk - political. Today president Atambayev's position is not so strong. The opposition intensifies the pressure on the current government. And do not rule out the possibility of a new political upheaval in Bishkek, for the already known scenario.

 

The third threat - Islamic growth and transformation of Kyrgyzstan into a bulwark Daesh in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan - the only country in the region, where officially allowed and even supported by the official authorities, the activities of "Tablighi Jamaat" - an organization that is a base for training terrorists from Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Daesh. And in recent years, experts are increasingly talking about the growing threat of internal manifestations of destabilizing forces, play the card of the construction of the Caliphate in the territory of this country.

 

Uzbekistan is also preparing to repel a massive attack of the Islamists, who, according to the Uzbek security forces in northern Afghanistan has accumulated to tens of thousands. In the case of terrorist acts on the territory of one of the countries in the region, will automatically fire spread to the adjacent "risky" state: Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. And Kyrgyzstan may become the first.

 

For a very long instability in Afghanistan and the current Syrian conflict could still be delayed not for one decade. That is, the Islamist terrorist threat will hang over the region for a long time.

 

All this means only one thing - expensive transport corridor along the border with Afghanistan could be unprofitable: goods will be stolen or explode during the passage through the Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

 

Therefore, experts suggest an alternative to the new way - a little to the north, through Kazakhstan and Russia with the same access to the EU. Here and safer, and there are no internal borders. It is worth mentioning that the participating countries of the Customs Union.

 

The second option is the road Kazakhstan - Turkmenistan - Iran international transport corridor North - South. By the way, the Chinese project is planned to be adapted to this transport corridor to Turkmenistan. And then the goods will have to go to Iran for already constructed branch. Today is also a network of railways from China to Turkmenistan borders.

 

These two options are quite beneficial as it involves relatively low rail tariffs.

 

And finally, the third way: the highway Western Europe-Western China.

 

There is a possibility that in the event of destabilization of the situation in Kyrgyzstan, the flow of goods, which counts as Bishkek, may be suspended, since there are plenty of safe alternative corridors. And the country will receive less than $200 million in annual revenue from transit. But it remains to be billions of dollars in China, which is almost for nothing (in exchange for the construction of the road) gives to the development of their own field.

 

By the way, a couple of years ago, the President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev spoke against construction of highway China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan, stating that the railway will serve the interests of other countries, without bringing tangible benefits to Kyrgyzstan. But, apparently, China has offered Bishkek too good, but the conditions of non-public ...

 

 

20.07.2016

 

 

 
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