China begins construction of vital, most challenging section of Sichuan-Tibet Railway, stressing its strategic importance

A construction site on the Lhasa-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway in Tibet. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua)

(, Nov08’20) – Chinese President Xi Jinping has underlined the strategic importance of the 1,838-kilometer-long Sichuan-Tibet Railway project by calling for efforts to advance its construction with high quality. The project will connect Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, with Tibet’s capital Lhasa, with its route passing close to the border of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh which China claims as part of occupied Tibet.

Xi called the project a major step in safeguarding national unity and consolidating border stability, and significant to promoting economic and social development of western region, reported the official Nov 8.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the instruction ahead of the beginning of the construction of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway’s Ya’an-Nyingchi section, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Nov 8.

A mobilization meeting for the construction of the Ya’an-Nyingchi section was held in Beijing on Nov 8 via video, the report said. The section runs 1,011 kilometers and includes 26 stations.

While the Lhasa-Nyingchi (Tibetan: Nyingtri) section of the railway is nearing completion, the Chengdu-Ya’an section is already operational. The Ya’an-Nyingchi section is the most challenging one, which is why its building has been held up until now.

The report noted that the Chengdu-Ya’an section started operation in Dec 2018 and the construction of the Lhasa-Nyingchi section started in Jun 2015.

The report said Vice Premier Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, delivered Xi’s important instructions, and announced the start of construction of the railway from Ya’an to Nyingchi.

Xi was reported to have noted that the difficulty involved in the construction was rarely seen elsewhere, due to the complex geological and climatic conditions and fragile ecological environment along the railway. He has therefore stressed the necessity “to make full use of the advantages of China’s socialist system, which can concentrate resources to accomplish a major task.”

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was reported to have pointed out that the construction of the Sichuan-Tibet railway was a major strategic plan put forward by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council based on the overall situation and with a long-term perspective.


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