The Xinhua news agency reported that the planned highways would connect China with Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan.
According to the plans, the longest highway would stretch 1,680 kilometers from Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang region, to Istanbul. The highway would also pass through the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, and the Iranian city of Mashhad.
China has been steadily expanding trade with Central Asia since the Soviet breakup in the early 1990s.
Chinese President Jiang Zemin visiting the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis in April 2002 (epa)
TWO REEMERGING CULTURES: At a joint RFE/RL-Radio Free Asia briefing at RFE/RL's Washington, D.C., office on November 9, John Calabrese -- scholar in residence at the Middle East Institute who teaches foreign policy at American University -- discussed the growing ties between China and Iran in the context of China's economic boom and its overall relations with the Middle East. He also looked at potential sore points in the two countries' bilateral relations.
LISTENListen to the complete discussion (about 90 minutes):
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