20 August 2015
American-backed project could provide vital link amid increasing China-US competition for Asean projects and influence
Talk just won’t go away about a possible shipping lane – the Kra Canal – that, if it ever were to materialise, would be built through Thailand’s Kra Isthmus, enabling ships to bypass the Strait of Malacca, and, in the process, Singapore’s port hub.
The long-touted idea of such a canal, while conveniently linking the Gulf of Thailand with the Indian Ocean, is fraught with regional geopolitical sensitivities. Recent developments would elevate that to include China-United States sensitivities, as well. This is particularly so after Chinese media reported in May that China and Thailand had signed a memorandum of understanding in Guangzhou to build the Kra Canal for US$28 billion (S$39.4 billion).
Officials from both countries quickly denied the report in a matter of days.
… The writer is a research fellow at the Institute for Defence and Strategic Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 16/11/2015