SPECIAL REPORT - COMMUNIST CHINA IMPROVING BORDER TRANSPORT CAPABILITIES

Created: 8/21/1964

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COMMUNIST CHINA IMPROYINg'bOIIDEB TRANSPORT CAPABILITIES

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY* 'of.j e'u l, i" g'g n'ce;

4 COMMUNIST CHINA IMPROVING BORDER TRANSPORT CAPABILITIES

Communist China la continuing to construct transport routes along its southern border even though existing roada can already supportcampaigns larger in scale than tfiat against India

A decade of steady work has comploted well-developed networks of roads to the central Tibetan and southeast Asian borders,mall number of roads to the western Tibetan border. These roade are being maintained and in some cases im-provod.

Three major new routes are under construction. TbeRoad willonnection with India through Nepal. The remaining tworail connection between Chungking andand constructionouthern road sbortonlng tha length of tbe Szecbwnn-Tlbetimprove access froa tbe main parts of China to Kunming and Lhasa, tbo primary staging, points for southeast Asia and central Tibet.

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Central Tibetan Border

Most land traffic from China proper to Lhasa presently rone overile Tsinghai-Tlbot andlle Szecbwan-Tlbet roads. Nevertheless tbe relatively small capacity of trucks, the altitude and rugged-ness of tbe terrain, and tbeobstructions from weather still keep Lhasa relativelyfrom the main parts of China. Tbe Chinese started to surveyailroad from Tslnghal to Tibet6 but stopped aftor preliminary survoys wore completed

Aside from this plan, major Improvements in access to Lhasa do not appear feasible. The route betwoen Szecbwan and Tibet is bolng shortened by building

a road betwoenand Pangta which will cut theto Lhasa byiles. Priority for this project la not higb. howevor.

uspensionyettbe upper reaches of the Yangtze River and further improvements at the western end.

Onco pastetwork of roads runs to six locations within Tibet along tbe border from central Nepal to central North East Frontier AgencyTbe capacity of this network is estimated to exceed that of the two major access routes to Lhasa.

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almost-completed Lhasa-Kodari section of theRoad willeventh

poke-to thia network. More however, tbe Kodari-

Katmandu section will give thehirdIndia.

1 The central

Tibetan network now connects with India through Yatung opposite Slkklm and through Towang InNEFA.

Within Nepal, amile road already exists from Katmandu to Banepa. The Banepa to Kodari section is under construction by Nepalese laborers and Chinese technicians, supplied with some heavy equipment sent from Chinese engineers are also working on the Barabblse-Kodari section of the road in Nepal. The Chinese reportedly plan to have the entire section of the road within Nepal usable by jeep-slze vehicles by the end of They are deferringof major bridges,facilities, and embankment reinforcements to attain this goa 1.

Tho Southeast Asian Border

The Chinese road network leading to the southeast Asian countries starts at Kunslng, which liestill reached with difficulty

fron the main parts of China. From the Chinese interior,is served by many roads, but the main supply lino Is by standard-gauge railroad fromand Hengyang to Dong Dang, North Vietnam, then by narrow gauge to Hanoi, Lao Kay and The North Vietnamesefrom Dong Dang to Lao Kay has probably carried as muchas Vietnamese freight inyears, even though lt Is an expensive and Inconvenient route for Chinese shipmonts. Forfreight originatingew hundred miles north ofmust be movedhousand miles, in the process being transshipped from water to land as well as standard- to narrow-gauge railroad.

This situation willwhen the railroadthrough Kwelyangis completed. Workduring theyearare somo reports thatresumed. The manytunnels required by thecomplicate railroad. however, that this line

has high military priority,is progressing,and thatbe opened to trafficyear

Yr (C)

There Is no evidence that the Chinese are adding roads to the existing network from Kunming to the Burmese, Laotian, and North Vietnamese borders or constructing roads within those countries. They are, however, making significant improvements to existing routes,

SYrs (S)

as construction of ths brldgo over the Mekong at ChelL. Tbls bridge, tbe piers andof which were completed ln the spring ofilleinforced concrete structure and should be completed by Furthermore, in Burma tbeare ready to start construction on the Knnlong bridge over the Salwoon Rlvor. Both these bridges aro projects ofears' standing and do notraeh construction program. The Choll bridge will replace fords which tbe Chinese press clalns ars usable throughout the year. The Kunlong bridge ls notstrategic since it lies on an eastward extension from tbe Burma road. rail exists between tbe bridge site and tbe Chinese border.

At present, tho Chinese road network to tho Burmeso and

Laotian borders is far wore ex-tenelva than road nets across tbe borders. In Hurra, only tbe Burma Road connects with the Chinese notwork. Tho only connection in Laos is tho short road terminating at Phong Saly in the northern tip of that country.

In contrast, North Vietnam has at least five road and two railroad connections. Nonmlll-tary traffic does not depend on tbe road conoectlone but on the railroads from Kunming and Plngh-siang to Hanoi or the sea lanes to Haiphong. However, ln tbe event of a large increase intary traffic, tbe Chineae could reach Hanoi by rail and then fan out over the Hanoi-Vinh railroad and over routoa, 8, o reacb every part of (forth Vletnaa as well as roads leading to South Vietnaa and northern,nd atouthern Laos.

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