The establishment of a Kra Canal in Thailand may soon become a reality as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The canal would permit ships to bypass the Malacca Strait, a crucial maritime chokepoint, amplifying the strategic significance of the project.

Throughout history, there have been multiple attempts by the Thai monarchy and European colonists to capitalize on the commercial and strategic importance of the region by constructing a canal across the narrow isthmus that connects Thailand to the Malay peninsula. In recent times, China’s global vision of a new Maritime Silk Road has renewed the attention on the possibility of developing the Kra Canal. The modern Kra or Thai Canal project would be connected to the various Chinese infrastructure and connectivity projects in the region.

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This article was originally published in the Diplomat.