Date
21 October 2017
Chinese leader Xi Jinping (right) meets Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters
Chinese leader Xi Jinping (right) meets Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Peru throws cold water on Chinese railway plan

Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said a transcontinental railway proposed by China to slash the costs of shipping Brazilian goods to Asia could be too expensive and environmentally harmful to build.

Kuczynski, who took office in July, said in an interview with local broadcaster RPP from Beijing that he flagged his concerns about the potential project with China’s main railway builder during an official visit to the Asian powerhouse, Reuters reports.

“I told them, without getting confrontational, that this trans-Amazonic train has very high costs, it could have environmental impacts and we have to look at that carefully,” Kuczynski said.

Peru and its top trade partner China agreed to study the feasibility of a 5,300-kilometer railroad to link Brazil’s Atlantic coast with a port on Peru’s Pacific shores last year during the term of Kuczynski’s predecessor, Ollanta Humala.

Environmentalists said the project, which would cross the Amazon and the Andes, could destroy rainforests and put indigenous tribes at risk.

Kuczynski said the Chinese railway company, which he did not name, was interested in building a commuter train on Peru’s central coast that he has pitched as part of his bid to boost economic growth through infrastructure development.

Kuczynski, a 77-year-old former Wall Street banker, traveled to China over the weekend for a five-day visit aimed at finding investments in refineries, ports and railways and broadening access to food markets.

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RA/CG

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