Dancing with the Dragon: The Trans-Asia Railway and Its Impact on Thailand


ผศ.ดร.Renliang Li


ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute


By all accounts, China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative seeks to accommodate the development of its neighbouring nations and create a new corridor for international economic cooperation. The Trans-Asia Railway is part of this vision.

A key segment in the Trans-Asia Railway is the Thailand-China railway cooperation project. This runs through Bangkok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Nongkhai, Kaeng Khoi and Map Ta Phut, and has a total length of 873 kilometres; with investments into it expected to amount to about 500 billion Baht.

However, greater connectivity with China demands a drastic upgrading of Thailand’s transport capabilities. On 28 March 2015 the Thai Cabinet passed the transport infrastructure investment plan, which spans seven years from 2015 to 2022, and will involve a total investment of 1.9 trillion Baht.

There will be certain benefits in it for Thailand. It will heighten connectivity in general if domestic railways are made to link to neighbouring countries and if proper operational interfaces are implemented with ASEAN countries. The Trans-Asia Railway may enable Thailand to reduce logistical costs and also support the country’s ambitions to become a hub for aviation and shipping.

The Thailand-China Railway will help Thailand capitalize on its regional advantages and, from China’s perspective and to its advantage, nurture Thailand’s centrality within ASEAN.

(2559). Dancing with the Dragon: The Trans-Asia Railway and Its Impact on Thailand. ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, 2016(9), 1-9.