Chinese offer help on €17bn Scandinavian railway
Image: A Norwegian train travelling from Lier to Oslo (YouTube)
A Chinese trade body may invest in a multibillion-euro high-speed rail link under consideration between Norway and Sweden.
A delegation from the China Association for Promoting International Economic & Technical Cooperation visited Norway to discuss the link between its capital Oslo and Stockholm, capital of Norway.
Such a link could cut travel time between the two cities from about five hours now to under three.
“We discussed how China can assist, possibly, with funding and expansion capacity and competence,” said Alf Johansen, member the Border Committee of Värmland-Østfold, the body co-ordinating the project, Radio Sweden reported.
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The committee must choose between two options for the project. One is to upgrade the existing track at a cost of about €5.1bn, another is to build a new line for €17.1bn.
The Chinese representatives favour the latter option, and would be willing to provide funding and technical consultancy.
Huang Xin, vice president of the Chinese association, told Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen: “We would like to cooperate with Norway and Sweden on this project with our labour, our expertise and by contributing to the financing of it.”
He added: “It’s in Norway and Sweden’s, as well as China’s, interests to build a profitable, safe, environmentally friendly high-speed rail between Oslo and Stockholm. This will contribute to better cooperation in the Nordic region and faster development.”
The New Europe website, which also reported the meeting, comments that Norway has been more receptive to Beijing’s overture than Sweden.
Swedish opinion appears to be lukewarm to the offer, partly owing to resistance to Chinese plans to build a megaport in Lysekil, about 30km north of Gothenburg.
The plan has been backed by the local council, but there has been public resistance over environmental and security concerns, and the Chinese investors have pulled out, reports GB Times.