SHANGHAI China has completed two new high-speed rail links connecting Kunming, the capital of southwestern Yunnan province, with Shanghai and Guangzhou on the eastern coast, according to a transport ministry notice.
China is in the middle of an ambitious railway building programme and aims to criss-cross the country with four north-south and four east-west bullet train connections and expand its total network to 150,000 km (93,200 miles) by the end of the decade.
Its high-speed rail network will reach a length of 30,000 km (18,640 miles) by 2020, the state planning agency said in its "five-year plan" for the sector published earlier this year.
The new railway connecting Kunming with Shanghai was formally opened on Wednesday, and is China's longest east-west high-speed link. It stretches 2,252 kilometres (1,400 miles) and will take 11 hours and 15 minutes, less than half the previous travelling time, the notice said.
According to the official China Daily, 29 of China's 31 provinces and regions are now served by high-speed rail, with only the regions of Tibet and Ningxia in the northwest yet to be connected.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Paul Tait)