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Thailand deepens China links as hedge against US ties

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Subject

Outlook for Thai-US-China relations.

Significance

Chatchai Thipsunaree, Thailand’s permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport, confirmed on May 17 that construction of the long-awaited Thai-China high-speed railway will begin this year. The project reflects the growing momentum in Thailand’s relations with China, and refiguring of ties with the United States.

Impacts

  • Trump administration officials see less strategic imperative in the US-Thailand alliance than previous administrations.
  • China’s growing presence in South-east Asia, particularly on the Mekong, will trigger resistance from affected populations in Thailand.
  • Thai officials will allow Chinese infrastructure projects to proceed despite local protests.
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