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New freight train symbol of cooperation with China: Austrian president

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-04-28 11:39

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen (1st R, Front), Austrian Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs Margarete Schrambock (2nd R, Front) and other guests inspect a new China-Europe freight train from Chengdu to Vienna at the Vienna South Freight Center in Vienna, Austria, on April 27, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

VIENNA - A new China-Europe freight train arrived in Vienna on Friday, which Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen described as a symbol of the cooperation between China and Austria.

The train -- carrying 41 containers of goods valued at 1.5 million US dollars, including LED displays, tires and lamps -- departed from Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province on April 12.

It traveled a 9,800-kilometer-long journey for 15 days through Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Slovakia, and slowly pulled into Vienna South Freight Center. From the station, the goods will be transported to the destination.

"This is really a symbol of the cooperation between China and Austria," Van der Bellen told Xinhua. "We really hope this train is the first step of closer cooperation between China and Austria."

With the new train, Austria is included into the network of China-Europe freight train service under the Belt and Road Initiative.

China-Europe freight trains have made 1,000 trips in the first three months, up 75 percent compared with the same period last year, according to China Railway Corporation.

The cross-border rail network links 43 Chinese cities with 41 European cities in 13 countries. Chengdu has 16 routes to cities including Nuremberg, Milan and Prague.

The first direct freight train came after Austria's largest delegation visited China from April 7 to 12, during which both sides enhanced bilateral ties, especially Belt and Road cooperation.

Chinese Ambassador to Austria Li Xiaosi told Xinhua that the Austrian President had paid a successful visit to China.

After the new China-Europe cargo train in Vienna, both nations would work closely to facilitate more cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative, said Li.

Austria will build a new station as a terminal for the Belt and Road in the middle of the Europe, according to a memorandum of cooperation signed by Austrian OBB Holding AG and Chengdu International Rail Port Investment & Development (Group) Co., Ltd.

According to China's Ministry of Commerce, the total trade volume between the two countries reached a historic high of 8.39 billion US dollars in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 15.5 percent from 2016.

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