Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic (C) speaks at the opening ceremony for the construction works at Belgrade-Stara Pazova segment of Belgrade-Budapest railway in Belgrade, Serbia on Nov. 28, 2017. Work to modernize and reconstruct the Belgrade-Stara Pazova segment of Belgrade-Budapest Railway started on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Wang Huijuan)
BELGRADE, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Work to modernize and reconstruct the Belgrade-Stara Pazova segment of Belgrade-Budapest Railway started on Tuesday.
The 34.5 km-long segment, the railway's first part to start construction, is expected to be completed in three years.
The segment in Serbia, with an investment of 350 million U.S. dollars, was kicked off at a ceremony at Zemun railway station in Belgrade by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic, and Wang Xiaotao, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission of China.
The railway linking Budapest with Belgrade is the first cross-border project jointly realized by Serbia, Hungary and China within the framework of the cooperation between China and the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC), said Brnabic.
It has a total length of 350 km, with 184 km in Serbia. It is designed for electrified passenger and cargo trains with a maximum speed of 200 km per hour.
Brnabic said that Serbia had the most projects among the regional participants of the Belt and Road Initiative and the 16+1 cooperation format between China and the CEEC.
"Project Belgrade-Budapest implies that Serbia is developing in a smart and a strategic way," Brnabic added.
"Our wish is to attract people to use trains, as well as those who transport cargoes across Serbia," Mihajlovic said, noting that with this project Serbia has truly become a part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Yang Zhongmin, chairman of state-owned China Railway International Company Ltd., said that the railway was a leading project in the 16+1 cooperation format and an example of the comprehensive strategic cooperation between China and Serbia.
Yang said the Chinese companies will fulfill their obligations concerning procedures, employment and environment,and adhere to Serbian regulations.
"We are looking forward to the opening of Belgrade-Budapest railway -- the day when we will together with the people of Serbia enjoy the fruits of the development of Serbia-China cooperation," Yang said.
Wang said that since the project to modernize the Belgrade-Budapest railway was initially agreed on at the 2013 China-CEEC leaders' meeting in Bucharest, China and Serbia have carried out close cooperation.
"I hope workers from the two countries will work devotedly and complete the project with high quality, to make the Belgrade-Budapest railway a road of friendship, cooperation and development and to become a new milestone of China-Serbia friendship," Wang said.