April 6, 2007 -- China has announced plans to build 12 highways by 2010 linking its remote northwest to Central Asia.
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.