(Yicai Global) May 31 -- Construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railroad is expected to kick off this year as economic relationships between China and Uzbekistan are becoming closer, according to an Uzbek official.
The China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan rail link will provide Uzbekistan and Central Asian countries with the shortest and most accessible passage to international markets and improve the status of Central Asia, which will become an important hub between Europe and Asia, Umidulla Ibragimov, head of the marketing and logistics department of Uzbekistan Railways, told Yicai Global.
Trains traveling along the 523-kilometer line will depart from Kashgar in China's western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and arrive in Andijan in Uzbekistan after passing through Karasu in Kyrgyzstan.
The railway will also contribute to Central Asia's economic, cultural, and technological development, Ibragimov noted.
China will also benefit from the new rail connection, as it will change the transportation pattern of Xinjiang and the whole of western China and accelerate the West China Development Project, Xinhua News Agency reported. Moreover, it will promote the development and use of oil in the Central Asia and Caspian Sea areas, open up new sources of oil imports to China, and change the country's energy development strategy, Xinhua added.
With the Uzbek and Chinese heads of state visiting each other's country and the successful completion of the first China-Central Asia Summit, cooperation between the two nations will bear great fruits, Wei Jinshen, associate professor at the Institute for Central Asian Studies of Lanzhou University, told Yicai Global.
In the first quarter of 2023, China topped Russia to become Uzbekistan's largest trading partner, with trade between the two rising 7.3 percent to nearly USD2.35 billion, accounting for almost 16 percent of Uzbekistan's total foreign trade, according to data released in April by the statistics agency of the Uzbek president’s office.
As of May 1, there were more than 1,800 Chinese firms in Uzbekistan, ranking second after Russia and ahead of Turkey. Demand for Chinese talent in the Central Asian country has surged.
Between 70 percent and 80 percent of this year's undergraduate students had already found jobs as of early this month, Qahramon Imomnazarov, head of the Sinology department at Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies, told Yicai Global. Most of their jobs are related to Chinese language and China, and many Chinese companies are recruiting from this department.
Most of the other students chose to continue studying, he added, noting that more than 20 of them have received offers from Chinese universities.
Working as a Chinese translator pays almost twice that of an ordinary job, according to a graduate student at Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies. An experienced translator can earn over CNY8,000 (USD1,130) per month.
Editors: Shi Yi, Futura Costaglione