Possible Impacts of the Sino-Thai Kra Isthmus Canal

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Possible Impacts of the Sino-Thai Kra Isthmus Canal

Fuangfa Ampornstira and John Walsh

This paper will be presented at the forthcoming IFRD Conference.

Abstract

Discussions continue as to whether a canal should be dug across the Kra Isthmus in southern Thailand, thereby enabling ships to bypass the Straits of Malacca. This would have considerable implications for shipping and for security for the region, not least for China’s energy security. Consequently, it is not surprising to find that the Chinese government has been involved in negotiations as to where and how it should be built, together with the issue of who should pay for the project. The construction would have numerous impacts on the economy and society of southern Thailand and of the region more widely and some of these are more predictable than others. This paper explores the likely impacts of the announcement of such a project and the unfolding events as they might occur. Comparable examples are sought, including the cases from Latin America. Some recommendations are drawn from the analysis.

Keywords: canal, China, Kra Isthmus, security, Thailand

Fuangfa Ampornstira is a faculty member of the School of Management, Shinawatra University, Thailand

Dr. John Walsh is Director, SIU Research Centre, School of Management, Shinawatra University, Thailand

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