Friday, April 29, 2016
Stop it before it becomes too late: The Railway of Invasion by Communist China
Next Big Future: China continues building the Pan Asian High speed railway network
By the early 2020s, rail commuters in Asia will be able to travel by rail between Kunming, a major transportation hub in southwestern China, and the tiny city state of Singapore in just 10 hours. Construction has begun on several parts of the "Pan-Asia Railway Network," a mega plan that will see three 4,500-5,500 kilometer (2,800-3,400 mile) railway lines link China with mainland Southeast Asia, carrying passengers and freight services. The central line will cross Laos and Thailand before heading south towards Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur and then Singapore.
The eastern line will run through Vietnam and Cambodia before linking up with the central line in Bangkok. The western line will cross more of southwestern China and much of Myanmar before joining up in Bangkok.
The cities of Kunming and the Thai capital, Bangkok, will serve as the main hubs for the network.
High and medium-speed rail services are expected to connect 10 major cities between Kunming in China and Singapore. China is negotiating with seven Southeast Asian countries.
Transport analyst Dr. Ruth Banomyong thinks the economic benefits of a modern railway network are now too tempting for many poorer Southeast Asian countries to pass up.
"High speed rail is very expensive and none of the countries - Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, or Cambodia - can really afford one," Banomyong, who is a professor at Bangkok's Thammasat University, told DW.
He added that there is also a question mark over the cost of the proposed route through Thailand, a middle income country. Although the costs for the whole project haven't been revealed, the Thai section alone is estimated to be worth 20 billion euros ($23 billion.)
Construction has already finished on the Vietnam stretch of the rail link, while work got underway last December to connect landlocked Laos to Kunming.
China is also bidding to build high speed railway lines in India and has proposed a direct rail link to the Iranian capital, Tehran.
The rail route between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur already exists but the contract to upgrade to high-speed lines is expected to be taken by the end of the year. Local media reports suggest that Singapore prefers a Japanese or European bidder but Malaysia favors a Chinese firm.
Construction of sections connecting China with Vietnam, China with Myanmar and Laos with Vietnam are under way.
SOURCES - Deutsche Welle, Wikipedia,