Chinese, Kyrgyz, and Uzbek officials signed an agreement on the CKU railway project on 6 June according to Chinese state media. 

Spokesperson for Beijing’s Ministry of Transport Mao Ning confirmed the signing and said “the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway project demonstrated the common aspiration for cooperation and development shared by the three countries.”

The Central Asian rail link has been discussed for almost 30 years, but after several false starts it was given renewed hope in April, as Railway Technology reported, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov met with China Railway’s deputy director general Wang Tunjun and sparked hope the project might soon break ground. 

Although details of the new agreement remain sparse, it was reportedly signed by  Kyrgyzstan’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Tilek Tekebaev; China’s Chairman of the State Committee for Development and Reform, Zheng Shanjie; and Uzbekistan’s  Minister of Transport, Ilkhom Makhkamov. 

Japarov said the feasibility study had been completed, and the new treaty showed: “The governments of the three countries are ready to support the implementation of the project.” 

He said the state railway operators had agreed “the mechanism of project implementation by creating a joint venture.” It remains unclear if that joint venture vehicle has yet been officially registered. 

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Although other transport and infrastructure links from China to the rest of the word have taken precedence in recent years, but Mao said the line would become a popular part of the extensive Belt and Road Initiative. 

“It is another testament to the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative and demonstrated the popularity of the vision for a community with a shared future for mankind in Central Asia,” she said.