Beijing: China, which was once famous for its ancient ‘silk route’, is mulling to build another ‘New Silk Road’ that will navigate through Central Asia and head for Europe to facilitate commerce, an official said.

Construction will soon commence on a 213-km expressway that will run between Kashgar and Erkeshtam and it is expected to be put to use in September 2013, said a China Daily.
   
It will cost 4.3 billion yuan (USD 660 million) and has been described as the first expressway to cross the Pamirs Plateau and give access to Central Asia.

The original Silk Road linked Europe and Asia and it was the most well-known trading route of ancient Chinese civilization. Trade in silk went up under the Han Dynasty (202 BC - AD 220) in the first and second centuries AD. The old 7,000-mile route went through China, Northern India, Central Asia, and the Parthian and Roman empires.

Ju Chengzhi, a senior official at the transport ministry, told China Daily that Kashgar-Erkeshtam expressway is a section of the proposed new link between Asia and Europe.

The route will start in Lianyungang in Jiangsu province, and traverse through Xi'an, in Shaanxi province, before reaching the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Ju said the proposed route will run through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Turkey before reaching Europe.

'The route will link China with major countries in Central Asia, Western Asia and Europe. It will pass these countries' administrative centers, major cities and resource-producing areas,' Ju said.

Ju said China has also proposed two other roads between China and Europe. While one is proposed to go through Kazakhstan and Russia, the other will go through Kazakhstan via the Caspian Sea.

Agencies