BEIJING, July 28 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese railway official Wednesday denied claims that China forces foreign companies to transfer technologies when they win contracts for work on the country's high-speed rail network.
Ministry of Railways (MOR) chief engineer He Huawu said at press conference that Chinese companies did not press foreign partners to transfer high-speed rail technologies.
He was responding to a question by a Financial Times reporter regarding claims that China had pressed foreign companies to transfer their technologies in return for market access.
China's high-speed rail networks had developed rapidly as independent technological innovation based on existing technologies helped the country make trains that could travel up to 350 kilometers per hour, He said.
"But the 350 km/h speed is not the end as we are aiming at a 380 km/h speed for the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway," he said.
Construction of the 1,318-km rail line between the two cities started in 2008. The railway is scheduled to open by 2012, "but we are trying to open the line sooner," said He.
Travel time on the new line would be reduced to less than five hours compared with the present 10-hour journey by train between the two cities.
Chinese companies had sought cooperation with their foreign partners including Siemens, Bombardier and Alstom.
China opened its first high-speed rail line linking Beijing and Tianjin in 2008 in cooperation with Germany-based Siemens.
France's Alstom has bid in March to supply locomotives for the world's fastest rail line in China as it also considered offering high-speed train maintenance services to China.
China would host the World Congress on High Speed Rail for the first time, when the event is held in Beijing from Dec. 7 to 9 in Beijing, He said.
The MOR would co-host the congress with the UIC (International Union of Railways). The past six congresses were all held in Europe, He Huawu, MOR chief engineer, said at a press conference.
The high-speed rail congress has been initiated and organized by the UIC since 1992 as an international event for showcasing and exchanging the achievements made in high-speed rail sector.
China already has the world's biggest high-speed rail network with 6,920 km of lines in operation.
By 2012, China would have a railway network of 110,000 km, of which 13,000 km would be high-speed lines.
Trains traveling at up to 350 km/h, including the Beijing-Tianjin, Wuhan-Guangzhou, Zhengzhou-Xi'an and Shanghai-Nanjing services, are already the fastest in the world.