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  1. #1
    Utopian Expat
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    Thailand plans regional alternative to Belt and Road



    This picture taken on April 9, 2015 shows migrant labourers assembling a scaffolding in Ton Pheung, a special economic zone set in northwestern Laos along the Mekong river, at the border with Thailand and Myanmar. Source: AFP
    THAILAND plans to create a regional fund along with several of its neighbours in order to reduce reliance on Chinese investment in Southeast Asia.
    The Nikkei Asian Review reported earlier this month that Bangkok hopes to launch the fund “as soon as possible”, which would help fund infrastructure and development projects in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Vietnam.

    Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is expected to propose the idea to leaders of these nations the 8th Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Summit on June 16, a forum for cooperation on issues including trade, transport and investment.
    SEE ALSO: Vietnam protests over feared 99-year leases for China
    China has funded major infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia under the Belt and Road Initiative including the Sino-Thai railway for which construction began in December 2017. Beijing aims to establish a China-Indochina Peninsula Corridor which will run from southern China to Singapore.
    Thailand’s proposed regional fund for the Mekong countries would provide funding for projects under ACMECS’ 2019-2023 master plan, aimed primarily at increasing connectivity between the five nations through trade harmonisation and improved infrastructure.
    In January, China pledged $800 million in development assistance for Laos and has previously pledged $615 million for improvements to healthcare over the next three years.
    This picture taken on May 31, 2016 shows a Chinese-run construction site along the Mekong River in Vientiane. Grain by grain, truckload by truckload, Laos’ section of the Mekong river is being dredged of sand to make cement — a commodity being devoured by a Chinese-led building boom in the capital. But the hollowing out of the riverbed is also damaging a vital waterway that feeds hundreds of thousands of fishermen and farmers in the poverty-stricken nation. Source: Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP

    It has also invested heavily in Cambodia, where growing Chinese influence has emboldened Prime Minister Hun Sen to crackdown against political opposition and the media.
    “Many of the countries in the region, while they welcome investment from certain countries, they want to keep a balance … not [to rely] on only one country,” said deputy permanent secretary of Thailand’s ministry of foreign affairs as quoted by the Nikkei Asian Review.

    “The increasing dependence on China is a big issue in Asean,” said Professor Prapat Thepchatree at Thammasat University. “Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia have been relying heavily on investment and trade but that comes with a trade-off of their economic freedom.”
    Local concerns about rising Chinese influence in the region have, however, been dismissed by China as “outdated” and “irresponsible”.
    “It represents a serious misunderstanding of China’s opening-up policy, which adheres to developing extensive economic, trade and technological exchanges and cooperation with countries and regions on the basis of equality and mutual benefit,” argued the Global Timesin a January editorial.
    China has been Asean’s largest trading partner since 2009.


    Read more at https://asiancorrespondent.com/2018/...Lu4ALfS9zMb.99

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
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    I'm sure the Thais government will be very lenient with their repayment conditions/guarantees on the sums received by the ASEAN countries and the Thai "fees" for voting/reimbursed Thai politicians, for the losses experienced by the Thai taxpayers.

    The Fianacial/benefit questions:

    How has Thai FDI in ASEAN countries faired historically?

    How much FDI does Thailand invest annually?

    What projects have been completed?

    What benefits have the FDI brought to the ASEAN citizens?

    What "investments" have been repaid/written off?
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  3. #3
    เกี่ยวข้อง HuangLao's Avatar
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    Another white elephant benefiting the usual few....

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