The Foreign Ministry of Thailand has confirmed that they did not sign any agreement with China over the recently much reported construction of the Kra Canal. The Transport Ministry of Thailand has also confirmed that the project is not in their plan.
Although an official admit that China is pushing for the Kra Canal project to go through, the Thai Government raised concerns about national security over the construction of the canal.
However, the Thai officials do not rule out private ventures.
Photo by NextBigFuture
Photo by NextBigFuture
The Thai Security Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister said that news media has most probably misunderstood from the feasibility studies by the Kra Canal Committee who consisted of businessmen and former government officials from both sides. Officially, both governments did not arrive to a deal.
The China ambassador to Thailand has also denied official involvement with the project.
The Kra Canal news stemmed from media reports in China, which later went international with news media like the Daily Telegraph and maritime industry watchers like the International Institute of Marine Surveying.
States Times Review has also carried the report previously, and would like to apologize for the error.
China and Thailand were reportedly to have signed an estimated US$20 billion deal to build a man-made canal across Kra Isthmus, South Thailand linking the Andaman Sea and South China Sea. Also known as the Thai Canal, the proposed estimated 26m deep and 102km long sea route has been on the drawing board of Thailand since 1677. In 1897, the British Empire and the Thai Kingdom agreed not to build the canal to protect Singapore’s harbour.
Fast forward 118 years later, the Thai Canal project is finally back and the deal was sealed in Guangzhou last week. The completion of the Thai Canal will bolster several economies like Myanmar’s, Cambodia’s, Vietnam’s and of course Thailand’s. Other beneficiaries of the Thai Canal will be Japan, Taiwan, Korea and India, who would save on shipping costs and avoid the overcrowded Straits at Singapore. The canal might even possibly position Thailand as the world’s busiest sea port. Like a zero sum game, there will be serious implications on Singapore’s maritime industry.
Singapore may have no natural resources, but it’s strategic position is probably one of the best in the world that sits exactly on international sea routes linking the East and West Asia. A trading port since 1819 by its founding father Sir Stamford Raffles, Singapore thrived and prospered with the increase in sea trade over the past 196 years. The Singapore PAP government has also conveniently took advantage of the economic progress brought by the luxurious sea trade, attributing Singapore’s economical success to their politics.
Have a look at the major oil shipping lanes below, do you think Singapore can continue to prosper once the Thai Canal is built?