Beijing [China], March 28: According to China's ambition in the "Belt and Road" Initiative, a railway line more than 3,000 km long will cross Southeast Asia.
At that time, trains in southwestern China traveling at high speed (sometimes reaching more than 250 km/h) will pass more than 3,200 km to Singapore in less than 30 hours, according to Xinhua News Agency.
The project caused a lot of controversy
In 2021, Reuters reported that the semi-high-speed railway (which can reach a maximum speed of 160 km/h) across the Laos-China border will begin operating, connecting China's commercial center of Kunming to Laos capital Vientiane. The entire journey lasts 10 hours, covering a distance of about 1,000 km.
Currently, the second project of the Southeast Asia high-speed railway is underway in Thailand, with the goal of connecting the Laos - China railway with Bangkok (Thailand's capital). Implemented in each specific phase, the Thai government expects to fully open the route by 2028, according to CNN. Meanwhile, the Chinese government has not yet mentioned detailed timelines.
However, the project is causing a lot of controversy in Thailand , with Reuters citing some analysts saying that this could be a "fiscal trap" for the Bangkok government. The host country agrees to bear all construction costs in the first phase, expected to be about 5 billion USD. The Chinese side will be responsible for setting up systems, design and supply.
Once the line is complete, the plan is to extend it to northern Malaysia, connecting to the capital Kuala Lumpur before ending 350km south in Singapore. In January this year, Kyodo News reported that Japanese companies, including East Japan Railway, abandoned plans to participate in the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed railway. The reason is that the Japanese side believes it will be too risky without financial contribution from the Malaysian government .
The project is estimated to require 100 billion ringgit (about 21 billion USD), but the Malaysian government intends to rely on private financing instead of budget spending. While Japanese companies give up, some domestic companies plan to cooperate with Chinese and European partners to participate in the bidding.
Attraction from Southeast Asia
Experts note that Southeast Asia has a strong attraction for foreign tourists, from ancient temples in Laos to pristine beaches of Thailand, from tropical rainforests and tours. ecology in Malaysia.
Besides, rail travel is becoming more popular than before, especially among young travelers from China and Southeast Asian countries. Today's generation is oriented towards sustainable travel and looking for a new sense of adventure, Mr. Bowerman said.
CNN quoted Gary Bowerman, founder of travel market research company Check-in Asia, saying that connecting Chinese cities to Laos and other Southeast Asian countries will create favorable conditions. making it easier for more Chinese tourists to visit these countries than before.
Source: Thanh Nien Newspaper