China is expecting to connect Nepal via tunnel under the Everest by 2020

Ticket to HeavenChina is considering extending a railway line linking the country to Nepal via a tunnel under Mount Everest, according to Chinese state media.

The Qinghai-Tibet railway already links the rest of China with the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, and beyond, and an extension running as far as the international border is already being planned “at Nepal’s request”, the China Daily quoted a railway expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering as saying.

The project is expected to be completed by 2020, the newspaper cited a Tibetan official as saying. Extending the line would potentially forge a crucial link between China and the huge markets of India. It was raised by the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, on a visit to Kathmandu in December, according to Nepalese reports.

Chinese Rail Map for Asia

“The line will probably have to go through Qomolangma so that workers may have to dig some very long tunnels,” railway expert Wang Mengshu told the China Daily, referring to Mount Everest by its Tibetan name.

Owing to the challenging Himalayan terrain, with its remarkable changes in elevation, trains on any line to Kathmandu would probably have a maximum speed of 75mph (120km/h), he added.

The number of tourists from China is also rising rapidly. Though overall tourist arrivals by air declined in 2014,visitors from China grew by nearly 20% to more than 71,107. More flight connections are also planned.

Chinese-made goods flood to the market of Kathmandu and Pokhara, the western Nepalese city, and new language schools teaching Mandarin – generously subsidized by Beijing – are increasingly popular.

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