A contentious Chinese high-speed rail project in Thailand has emerged as an important test of both Beijing’s regional ambitions. Critics have branded the project the “Train to Nowhere” after the two countries said they wanted to push ahead with a $5.2bn first phase but pointed to initial construction of only 3.5km of track. The Mekong rail initiative has also been plagued by delays and disagreements that highlight wider regional obstacles to Chinese dominance and its “One Belt, One Road” trade route strategy. The Financial Times reports more than a dozen bilateral meetings on the proposed 873km Sino-Thai railway co-operation had still failed to resolve some big disagreements. These included how the project would be funded and what the conditions of any loans from China would be.
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