Peru’s Leader Floats China as Partner for Mega-Railway Project


China may be partnering with Bolivia and Peru to create an intercontinental railway project, Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra told Reuters Friday,

“Between the two of us (Peru and Bolivia) we need a third partner to help turn it into reality,” Vizcarra said, adding that China could possibly be the missing piece, given that they pitched the railway idea over two years ago.

“We need a partner that benefits from the project … Is (China) the only one? No.”

When China first broached the topic of a major US$60 billion railway that would connect Brazil’s Atlantic coast with Peru’s Pacific coast, Peruvian officials dismissed the initiative as too expensive.

Vizcarra, who was previously vice president and transportation minister, took office a year ago when his predecessor resigned in a graft scandal. Since then, he has governed as an investor-friendly pragmatist in the midst of an increasingly heated rivalry between China and the United States.

Last month, Peru signed onto China’s global Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, despite U.S. warnings to Latin America against strengthening ties with Beijing.

China overtook the United States as Peru’s largest trade partner years ago, thanks largely to its imports of copper and other minerals from the South American country.
“We’re going to take another look, because since then studies have continued, so we’ll have more elements to make decisions from,” Vizcarra said.

The president said he plans to discuss the multinational project with his Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales, later this month.

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