[原创][ 美国 咨询周刊 ] 中国为什么想建一条横跨南美的铁路
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WhyChina wants to build a railway across South America
By Lily Kuo @lilkuo July 18, 2014
Sometimesthe view is better by rail. Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino
China’s president Xi Jinping wants to builda railway across South America, Beijing’s latest majorinfrastructure proposal for a region that it has been drawing closer toboth economically and politically.
Xi, on a tour through the region this week,suggested that China, Peru and Brazil form a work group to lay plans for arailway link between Peru’s Pacific coast to Brazil’s Atlantic coast, accordingto Chinese state media. Officials are expected to issue a joint statement soon.
The proposal is one of a slew of tran-SouthAmerican transportation projects in the works, all of which have Chineseinvolvement. Last summer, China signed a memorandum of understanding withHonduras to build a railway between Amapala on thePacific coast and the northern port city of Castilla. Colombian and Chineseofficials say a rail link project connect Colombia’s Atlantic and Pacific coastis still under discussion. Other projects under considerationinclude several railways within Brazil, and a Chinese telecom magnate isworking with Nicaragua to build a 275km-long inter-oceanic canal that wouldserve as an alternative to the Panama Canal.
Whythe push to build railways criss-crossing South America? Part of the answer—besidesthe fact that China knows a thing or two aboutconstructing long railways at high altitudes—lies in the region’s burgeoningtrade with China, which needs raw materials to fuel its economy and new marketsfor its exports. China is already Brazil’s largest tradingpartner. Moreover, Beijing and Lima havejust signed a slew of trade deals worth $70 million.
Currently, the bulk of Chinese imports fromSouth America have to travel through the Panama Canal, where the cost oftransporting a ship through it has tripled over the last five years. Overlandroutes from Brazil, from whom China imports billions of dollars worth of ironore, oil, soy and other commodities, to the Pacific could lower shipping costs.
Throughout the 2000s, Latin American tradewith China increased more than any other region, according to United Nationsdata.United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
South America’s InterOceanica,a highway that runs from Peru through the Andes and the Amazon to Brazil’sPacific coast, was originally hailed as a way to ramp up trade with Asia.Analysts predicted it would reduce shipping costs from Brazil to Asia bypossibly $100 per ton, but today the roads still aren’t equipped for heavy,long-haul shipping.
The railway can also be seen within the context of China’s larger diplomatic overturesin the region—a campaign that some say is Beijing’s attempt to wield influencein America’s backyard in response to expanding US presence in Asia. Last year,China lent $15 billion to the region, four times as much as the year before.But China’s growing ties with the region have come with tensions. Brazilianshave taken to the streets to protest China’s purchase of land in Bahia stateand Brazilian officials have been frustrated by Embraer’s slow progress in theChinese market. A transcontinental railway accomplished with Chinese assistancemight help resolve some of those problems.
[ 转自铁血社区 http://bbs.tiexue.net/ ]