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China plans high speed rail connection between Piraeus and Europe

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who is visiting Belgrade, Serbia, signed a deal to finance a high-speed bullet train between Budapest and Belgrade yesterday (12.18 ), a key link in Beijing’s expanding network for getting its goods to European markets.

At a joint press conference with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, Li said the construction of the railway network from Belgrade to Budapest constitutes the first section of a rapid rail network that will extend to Greece. "The Greek railways and the port of Piraeus will also form part of the rapid maritime and land route connecting China to Europe," he added.

China hopes to turn the Greek port of Piraeus – where the Chinese shipping giant Cosco has a 35-year concession to hugely expand its two container terminals – into a new hub for trade with the continent. The signing was the centerpiece of a summit in Belgrade with 16 Central and Eastern European leaders designed to cement Beijing’s plans for new transport links to funnel exports into Europe.