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International Railroad Discussion > China-Lao Railway


Date: 10/01/20 18:02
China-Lao Railway
Author: Soo715

Construction continues on a high-speed railway from China through northern Laos to its capitol, Vientiane, and then a connection over the Mekong River to Thailand. The idea is compelling--a connection for the first time from China to much of mainland Southeast Asia. The possibility of riding from Bangkok, or even Singapore, all the way to China.

I've been there and watched some of the construction and it is an amazing engineering feat with 75 tunnels. However, there are also major problems and issues. For one thing Thailand has meter gauge while this new line is standard gauge. Thailand is supposed to build a standard gauge line from Bangkok to connect with the Chinese rail line...but isn't exactly moving fast on that.

You could argue that China should be paying Laos for building across their country so China can connect with Thailand. But instead they rooked Laos into borrowing US $3.5 billion to pay for the line, something corrupt Lao officials who knew there were many kickbacks to be had, jumped at.  Local people are basically just having their land confiscated without just compensation, something that is par for the course in Laos. So...there are a lot of downsides. The opening of the line is planned for December, 2021.

https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/long-reads/article/3102795/china-laos-railway-way-out-poverty-or-white



Date: 10/02/20 13:05
Re: China-Lao Railway
Author: PHall

I just love how China says how bad the old Colonial Powers (US, UK, France) were and then they go and do the exact same things!



Date: 10/04/20 08:02
Re: China-Lao Railway
Author: cchan006

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I just love how China says how bad the old
> Colonial Powers (US, UK, France) were and then
> they go and do the exact same things!

Shouldn't be a surprise. The playbook hasn't changed for hundreds, if not thousands of years to become a major world power. Only the "tools" have changed. Off topic, but there's always labor oppression to achieve economic "success." (Same playbook)



Date: 10/04/20 09:42
Re: China-Lao Railway
Author: TAW

cchan006 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Shouldn't be a surprise. The playbook hasn't
> changed for hundreds, if not thousands of years to
> become a major world power. Only the "tools" have
> changed. Off topic, but there's always labor
> oppression to achieve economic "success." (Same
> playbook)

You're one of the few I've encountered who gets is.

TAW



Date: 10/05/20 08:41
Re: China-Lao Railway
Author: RRTom

Pot/Kettle/Blackness alert: Read the book, "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" to show how the US has been doing the same thing.  At least China gets some useful infrastructure while with the US, the infrastructure (like a dam in some stupid jungle in Ecuador) was only a means to get the country into unrepayable debt.



Date: 10/09/20 13:52
Re: China-Lao Railway
Author: Lackawanna484

RRTom Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Pot/Kettle/Blackness alert: Read the book,
> "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" to show how
> the US has been doing the same thing.  At least
> China gets some useful infrastructure while with
> the US, the infrastructure (like a dam in some
> stupid jungle in Ecuador) was only a means to get
> the country into unrepayable debt.

US aid does help create a very wealthy elite class in many places, though.

US and Canadian railroads exist today because British and French investors put cash into "crazy" deals like transcontinental railroads back in the 1860s and 1870s.  Junius Morgan, father of JP, ran an outstanding intermediary business in London seeking funds for US railroads.  Credit Mobilier made a lot of President Grant's friends quite wealthy, but they did build some of the Union Pacific. Before it exploded.



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