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Memperluas Great Silk Road sampai ke Afrika Tengah

Memperluas Great Silk Road sampai ke Afrika Tengah

The Great Silk Road is an ancient trading route that dates back some 3,000-years which connected across Asia between China and the Mediterranean lands. Advances in maritime transportation technology that date back over 1,000-years moved the trade from land to sea.

 Memperluas Great Silk Road sampai ke Afrika Tengah

Boats with a central longitudinal-vertical plank installed under the hull, a triangular sail and a plank at the stern that rotated about a vertical axis eased the task of navigation while using wind from any direction as a source of propulsion. The maritime industry could therefore move more goods at greater speed and at lower transportation coast that overland transport.

In more recent years, China has sought to re-activate the overland Great Silk Road with railway lines and pipelines. Trains have already travelled the railway line that link Beijing and Tehran, from where branch railway lines extend to the coast of the Strait of Hormuz. Oman and Iran have already discussed the possibility of building a bridge or causeway across the Strait of Hormuz, while the Bin Laden construction is a proposed bridge across the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb which separates the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aden.

Railway Tunnel Option

The alternative to building causeways across channels and straits is to excavate tunnels under the sea, as railway corridors. Previous undersea tunnels include Japan’s Seikan tunnel that includes a 14.5-mile (24 kilometer) section under the seabed, which has its lowest point 790 feet (240 meters) below sea level. The English Channel tunnel includes a section that runs for 23.5 miles (38 kilometers) below the sea and up to 75 meters below the sea bed.

A distance of 29 nautical miles (54 kilometers) separates Oman from Iran, while channels of 20 miles (32 kilometers) and 2 miles (3 kilometers) separate Djibouti from Yemen.

A railway line connects between Djibouti and Addis Ababa with branch lines extending from Addis Ababa toward the borders with Kenya and Sudan. Perhaps at a future time when Yemen is less politically volatile, a railway line could connect across the southern area of the Arabian Peninsula to connect between the Strait of Hormuz and Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb.

A future railway line linking Nairobi and Addis Ababa may be a future possibility, especially given that East African Railways connects to Lake Victoria northern ports that mat serve as terminals to a future trans-African inland navigable waterway.

Waterway Connection

The headwaters that flow into Lake Victoria are within close proximity to headwaters that flow into Lake Tanzania, offering the future possibility of an interconnecting navigable barge canal. Lake Tanzania flows into the headwaters of the Congo River, sections of which are already navigable.

One possible option for the long-term future would be to develop barge navigation along the Congo River between its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Tanzania. A future African section of the Great Silk Road could include inland barge navigation between the mouth of the Congo River and Lake Victoria northern ports.

A future railway line could connect between Lake Victoria and a future undersea tunnel between Djibouti and Yemen. At such time, ocean going ships would carry lower priority container freight to and from the Port of Mombasa with trains carrying the containers between Lake Victoria ports and Mombasa.

Railways could carry higher priority freight at higher speed between Lake Victoria and Tehran than maritime transport. A railway hub at Tehran would offer connections into Turkey, Western Russia and into China. Future political developments between India and Pakistan would determine future railway connections into those countries.

Future Trade Routes

There is potential for increased future train between Central-West Africa and the Middle and Far East into China. Development of barge navigation between the mouth of the Congo River and Lake Tanzania would greatly reduce the sailing distance via Cape Town and via the Strait of Gibraltar.

Sections of the Congo River are already navigable and extending navigability would greatly enhance future trade. A railway line connects the Indian Ocean Port of Dar-es-Salaam to the port at Ujiji/Kigoma on eastern Lake Tanzania and improved future navigation on the Congo Rover would require railway upgrading.

An east-west railway/waterway connection across Central Africa offers the combined potential to enhance the movement of trade between Central West and Central East Africa, between Central West Africa and the eastern Middle East into Asia, also between Central East Africa and South Eastern United States. Development of barge navigation between Lake Tanzania and Lake Victoria would connect to the East African Railways at Entebbe (Uganda) and Kisumu (Kenya).

A future railway connection would extend north to Ethiopia to connect to existing railway lines that will be in need of upgrade that connect to Addis Ababa and Djibouti.

Political Concern

The American State Department has expressed discomfort over a proposed causeway linking Yemen and Djibouti, citing instability in both Yemen and Somalia as being problematic. However, Somali pirates sailing in small boats have regularly intercepted ships far offshore, suggesting that they already have transportation across the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb.

While a causeway carrying road traffic across the strait would offer easy access to/from Yemen, a railway tunnel and people who board passenger carriages may be easier to monitor.


Future east-west trade across Central and equatorial Africa would depend on improved future transportation access. The combination of improved inland waterway transportation between the Gulf of Guinea and East Africa’s large lakes along with improved railway connections in East Africa would contribute greatly to improving the east-west movement across Central Africa.

While the United States State Department may be uneasy with a future road or future railway connection between Djibouti and Yemen, there will be a need to develop possible solutions to the perceived problems in the interest of international trade.

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 Memperluas Great Silk Road sampai ke Afrika Tengah


With the last track laid yesterday for the 2,100 km Kunming to Shanghai High Speed Railway, completed and operational in stages since late 2010, the entire length of the rail link will come into service later this year.

The Kunming to Nanning (Guangxi) HSR started its service end of last year. A new HSR linking Kunming northward to Chengdu in Sichuan is at an advanced stage of planning, and is likely to start work next year.

Kunming is not only a major rail hub in Western China, it will also be the starting point for high speed railways connecting China to Singapore, the Pan Asia Rail. The project is at various stages of planning by the countries participating in the project.

China proposed last year to India for a 2,800 km HSR linking China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Kolkata in India. China is prepared to commit USD 40 billion to the project, which will be a great boost to the BCIM Corridor with an annual trade potential in excess of USD 130 billion.
For China, HSR has transformed the entire country into one giant and interlinked transport grid, cutting travel time over land by up to 70% or more. HSR will also be a major building bloc for OBOR, the iron Road.

This is another one Chinese miracle unfolding! OBOR would be transformed by the superlative efforts of the Chinese engineers and technocrats. The world would really be made a better place by the Chinese century and beyond!

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High-speed railway linking Shanghai and Kunming completed

GUIYANG, June 16, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Workers finish the last part track of the high-speed railway linking Shanghai and Kunming in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province, June 16, 2016. The whole track laying work of the 2,266 kilometer-long high-speed railway linking Shanghai in east China and Kunming in southwest China's Yunnan Province was completed on Thursday. With the design speed of 300 to 350 kilometers per hour, the high-speed railway will reduce the traveling time between Shanghai and Kunming from over 20 hours to around 8 hours.

 Memperluas Great Silk Road sampai ke Afrika Tengah

 Memperluas Great Silk Road sampai ke Afrika Tengah

 Memperluas Great Silk Road sampai ke Afrika Tengah

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Chinese leading banks and China Railway Group Limited will provide support to the project of Bandar Malaysia, a future transport, business and commercial hub for the Malaysian capital.

 Memperluas Great Silk Road sampai ke Afrika Tengah
Photo taken on June 16, 2016 shows the signing ceremony of the Bandar Malaysia project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung)

KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese leading banks and company on Thursday express their support for a flagship project in the Malaysian capital, which will also house the terminal of the proposed high speed rail linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank will join hands with HSBC and several leading local banks to provide funding to the investors of the Bandar Malaysiaproject, according to a memorandum of understanding signed here Thursday.

Located about 7 km from the Kuala Lumpur city center, BandarMalaysia will serve as a future transport, business and commercial hub for Kuala Lumpur.

China Railway Group Limited (CREC), one of China's largest state-owned companies, owns 24 percent equity of the project.

The Malaysian government, through the finance ministry, owns the majority stake of the project.

"The ministry of finance in particular is proud to partner with CREC, a major international developer that is also a Chinese state-owned company", said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who also holds the finance minister portfolio.

"This commitment by CREC is as a clear endorsement by China of its continued confidence in the strength and resilience of the Malaysian economy," he added.

Najib pointed out that the joint venture between Malaysia and China in the Bandar Malaysia project was "another indication of the strong and vibrant relations between the two countries."

 Memperluas Great Silk Road sampai ke Afrika Tengah
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (5th R, front) visit the model of the Bandar Malaysia project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, June 16, 2016. (Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung)

Source: Xinhua

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Serbia leads China-CEE cooperation on Belt and Road

BELGRADE, June 17 (Xinhua) -- It normally takes six hours to travel to Belgrade from Budapest by train. But this will soon be history: When the planned Hungary-Serbia railway is completed by the end of 2017 as scheduled, the journey will be shortened to less than three hours.

The 350-km railroad, 184 km of which will run in Serbia, is designed for electrified passenger and cargo trains whose maximum speed could reach 200 km per hour.

Though tens of thousands of miles away from China, the railway, being constructed by a consortium of Chinese, Serbian and Hungarian companies, represents a flagship project of cooperation between the world's second-largest economy and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.

At a launching ceremony late last year in Serbia's second-largest city, Novi Sad, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic stressed that the new railway significantly brings Serbia closer to the central zones of Europe and will help transform Serbia into a regional hub of transportation and logistics.


The railway project is a typical example of the intensifying cooperation between China and Serbia. As the first CEE country to establish a strategic partnership with China in August 2009, the Balkan state has since witnessed a growing number of China-related infrastructure projects breaking earth on its soil.

"China and Serbia have given each other firm support on issues concerning their core interests, which shows the essence of a strategic relationship," Li Manchang, the Chinese ambassador to Serbia, told Xinhua.

Major achievements in bilateral cooperation in recent years include the Pupin Bridge over the Danube River in Belgrade, which was China's first big infrastructure investment on the European continent and has greatly improved the city's traffic conditions since its 2014 inauguration, and the Kostolac power plant, the first Chinese electric power project in Europe.

The two countries have also broadened their cooperation in areas like energy, iron and steel, telecommunication and finance. The model of cooperation has also shifted from traditional loan granting to direct investment or joint ventures.

"Such cooperation places emphasis on improving local people's livelihood, so that they can see the actual benefits from closer bilateral ties," said Li.

In 2015, China and Serbia signed a Memorandum of Understanding, pledging to jointly push ahead the Belt and Road Initiative.

"This shows Serbia's strong support of the China-proposed initiative, while the two countries have set a great example for win-win cooperation between China and the CEE countries," the ambassador said.


Actually, since the global financial crisis in 2008, the CEE countries have seen steady development of their cooperative relationships with China, which reached an unprecedented level in 2012 with the establishment of the 16+1 mechanism, a cooperation platform for China and the CEE countries, and the convening of the first 16+1 summit in Warsaw, Poland.

In the past five years, the two sides have also started to reap fruits of their cooperation. In 2015, China and the CEE countries scored an overall trade volume of 56.2 billion U.S. dollars despite the sluggish global economic growth. Chinese companies have invested roughly 5 billion U.S. dollars in the CEE countries, which have also made investments worth an estimated total of 1.2 billion dollars in China.

Meeting with leaders from 16 CEE countries last November in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China welcomes the participation of the CEE countries in the Belt and Road Initiative.

With China having signed cooperation deals with Poland, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Slovakia, further steps were taken in synergizing China's development plan with those of the five CEE countries.

The Belt and Road Initiative, first proposed by President Xi in 2013, is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes, of which the CEE countries are an essential part as a quarter of the countries along the routes are located in the region.

Over the past three years, the initiative has achieved a good start through promoting interconnectivity construction, establishing financial platforms such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, expanding investment and trade in related countries, boosting cultural exchanges and enhancing mutual understanding.

According to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, over 70 countries and international organizations have voiced their support for the initiative, with 34 of them having signed inter-governmental agreements on co-constructing it.


"Aligning the 16+1 mechanism with the Belt and Road Initiative will provide new opportunities for China and the CEE countries to deepen cooperation in production capacity, transportation, infrastructure and finance," said Cui Hongjian, a China-Europe relations specialist at the China Institute of International Studies.

Yet China rejects comparing the Belt and Road Initiative to the Marshall Plan, or the U.S.-led European Recovery Program launched after World War II and under the shadow of the Cold War.

"The Belt and Road Initiative opposes seeking dominance in regional affairs or sphere of influence, does not intervene in internal affairs of regional countries, and is in accord with existing regional mechanisms and cooperative proposals," said Liu Jianchao, a former Chinese assistant foreign minister.

The initiative encourages related countries to join hands voluntarily, follow market and business rules, and push ahead on an equal and mutually beneficial basis, he said.

For the CEE countries, joining the Belt and Road Initiative can benefit their integration with the European Union (EU), Wang Yiwei, head of the European Union Research Center at China's Renmin University, told Xinhua.

The China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation, adopted at the 2013 China-EU summit, has endorsed the establishment of the 16+1 mechanism and clarified its role, said Wang, citing the fact that 11 of the CEE countries are EU members and the remaining five are also applying to join the bloc.

"Some EU countries once suspected that the birth of 16+1 might be a 'divide and rule' strategy of China toward Europe," said Wang. "They have now realized that the mechanism is actually a new platform quite helpful for the European integration."

 Memperluas Great Silk Road sampai ke Afrika Tengah

 Memperluas Great Silk Road sampai ke Afrika Tengah

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