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Unasur to talk to China on Trans-Oceanic Railway financing

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-10-28 16:54

LA PAZ - The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) has received the go-ahead from Bolivian President Evo Morales to discuss with China the financing of a railroad which will connect the Atlantic to the Pacific.

"We have received authorization from President Morales to take the first financing steps with the Chinese government," Ernesto Samper, Unasur's secretary-general, told a press conference on Thursday.

He added that Unasur fully supported the trans-continental railway as it is good for Bolivia's growth, and also a tool for regional integration.

"It is worth clarifying that this is not a project for a Bolivian train but a multi-national project involving ... Brazil, Argentina and Peru, as well as certainly being relevant for Paraguay," said Samper.

According to Unasur, by 2021, the completed railway should transport 7 million passengers and 10 million tons of cargo.

The railway, which links the Atlantic and the Pacific, will begin at Puerto Santos in Brazil, cross Bolivia at Puerto Suarez, pass the municipalities of Santa Cruz, Montero and Bulo Bulo before entering Peru and ending at Puerto de Ilo.

The coast-to-coast railway was one of the main cooperation projects between China and Latin America promoted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his four-nation tour of South America in May 2015, which included Peru and Brazil.

Bolivia is currently carrying out pre-investment studies to outline the commercial and logistical prospects, the strategic nature of the transport corridor along which the train would run, an environmental impact assessment, a preliminary design and the construction cost calculation.

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