बीजिंग Beijing: China secured a deal on Wednesday to construct a high-speed train link between the Belgrade and Budapest that will cut travel time between the Serbian and Hungarian capitals from eight hours to less than three.
The 400-kilometer (250 mile) railway is part of China’s ambitious plan to speed up the delivery of its exports to central Europe through Greece’s port of Piraeus. The Belgrade-Budapest line is to be completed by mid-2017.
The project, worth $3.1 billion, is to be financed by the China Development Bank and executed by Chinese state-owned enterprises.
China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang attended the signing of rail and customs documents by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban. The ceremony took place at an economic summit in Belgrade between China and 16 central and eastern European states.
The railway agreement “shows that China and Europe have found possibility to cooperate on mutual benefits in decades to come,” Orban said through a translator after the ceremony. Li called the project “a corridor between China and Europe.”