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Route proposed to link Tibet to southwest China

A Chinese legislator has proposed the construction of an over 2,000 km new road to connect the Tibetan provincial capital of Lhasa with the southwest city of Kunming.

world Updated: Mar 13, 2012 13:05 IST

A Chinese legislator has proposed the construction of an over 2,000 km new road to connect the Tibetan provincial capital of Lhasa with the southwest city of Kunming, a project that will give a major boost to connectivity to areas close to Arunachal Pradesh.

Ding Xiuhua, a deputy of the National People's Conference, (NPC) from Nujiang prefecture, close to the Myanmar border has suggested construction of a new route linking Yunnan province with Tibet.

The new route proposed by her would originate in Kunming, Yunnan's provincial capital, and pass through the city of Dali and the Lisu autonomous prefecture of Nujiang to reach Lhasa.

It would connect the resource-rich, but impoverished regions of Nujiang in Yunnan province and Nyingchi county in Tibet to the outside world and make their resources accessible, state-run Xinhua quoted her as saying.

Nyingchi county is close to Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as part of southern Tibet.

The proposal appeared significant as it is highlighted by the state media.

It was submitted during the current session of the NPC being held here.

The road is of "strategic significance" in promoting the local economy, boosting ethnic solidarity and maintaining stability in the border region, Ding said.

The current route from Kunming to Lhasa is 2,314 km, but the new route would be just about 2,055 km, she said.

The current route is hazardous, as it traverses three major rivers and more than 10 mountains with altitudes of over 4,000 metres, making it almost impassable in winter, Ding argued.

The new route would be passable year-round if two 1,600-metre tunnels were created, she said adding that it will also boost economic development along the road.

China over the years has heavily developed road, rail and air infrastructure in Tibet asserting that it was aimed at developing the impoverished Tibetan areas.

But that same it provided capability to its military to mobilise troops and resources in shortest possible time in the disputed border area.