Executive Intelligence Review


China Considers South American Bioceanic Railway Strategic

Feb. 15, 2018 (EIRNS)—Today, the Global Times reported that it had received a statement from China’s Embassy in Brasilia, reporting that

“China, Brazil and Peru have reached consensus on cooperation involving a new 5,000-km railway between Brazil and Peru that would open a new trade route between China and South America by bypassing the Panama Canal.”

The embassy wrote that Brazilian and Peruvian officials have “highly praised the ‘professional and efficient’ work of the Chinese team which prepared the final feasibility story,” according to Global Times. The daily continued:

“For the next stage of development, the two Latin American countries will study and research detailed questions regarding financing of construction and the sustainability of the railway, the statement said. When that part of the process is completed they will select ‘important routes to promote the railway project step by step.’ ”

“Chinese companies respect the willingness of countries involved and will cooperate in relevant works,” stated the embassy.

It is otherwise notable that Brazil’s Vice Planning Minister for International Affairs Jorge Arbache has been forced to walk back his Feb. 2 interview with Reuters, in which he announced that Brazil had definitively pulled out of the Brazil-Peru-China transcontinental rail project agreed on in 2014. Arbache went out of his way in that Reuters interview to insult China’s premier China Railway Engineering Corp., which had carried out the feasibility study for the rail project. Arbache was quoted by Reuters:

“The project has stopped, because it was extremely costly and the feasibility study was very unsatisfactory. At this time, the railway is not on the government’s agenda. The engineering challenges were absurd....”

But then, days later, Arbache was quoted in a Feb. 8 interview with Xinhua (“Brazil Confirms Interest in Chinese-funded Amazon Railway”) that he “reiterated the Brazilian government’s ‘strong support for the project,’ since it sees its economic ties with China as ‘of extreme importance.’ ”

It is clear that China conveyed to the Brazilian government that it considers the transcontinental railway strategic, while not imposing any specific route upon the participating nations.