- The first train from Kunming, the capital and largest city in China's Yunnan province, has departed for Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, reported The Hindu Thursday.
- The new direct sea rail and freight service will cut transport costs between the two regions by more than 50%, alleged the state-run Xinhua news agency.
- The plan marks the first resurgence of the Silk Road, and is in fact part of China’s Maritime Silk Road initiative, funded by the $46 billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC).
The original, much-storied Silk Road operated from the 2nd century BC to the 14th century AD, when global factors including plague, cultural and political fragmenting, and increased sea travel in the region gradually dissolved free trade among the participants.
Its current revival is an outgrowth of Chinese overproduction and a need for expansion of traffic within new markets. Further, via penetration into regions previously unavailable for trade, the Chinese seek to establish both political and trade dominance at a time when issues of economic isolation have threatened to return it to a suffocating and economically disadvantaged past.
It is clear that excess production is one of the driving forces behind the re-establishment of the Silk Road. A clear path leading from China's abundance of retail and textile goods will continue to flood into the Pakistani markets, the trade goods have the potential to import the Chinese culture as well, including their desire to shape global trade policy.