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Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and other leaders at the 10th China-ASEAN Summit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov. 21, 2015 (AP photo by Vincent Thian).

China’s Grand Plans in Southeast Asia on Track With Thai Rail Deal

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016

In early December, China and Thailand finally signed a deal to build a multibillion-dollar railway line linking the two countries. If realized, the move has the potential to be not only a boost for bilateral ties, but also a feather in the cap of Beijing’s geopolitical ambitions in Southeast Asia.

The idea of a Sino-Thai rail project has been in the works for years, with the latest plans unveiled in December 2014 during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Thailand, alongside rice and rubber deals. The rail agreement comprises two routes covering more than 530 miles and costing 350 billion baht, or about $9.7 billion, with the trains running at top speeds of up to 110 miles per hour. ...

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