The Golden Waterway
Perhaps the most controversial potential project around the Silk Road is a proposed canal through the Isthmus of Kra in Thailand. The canal would cut through the thinnest part of Thailand (around 30 km) and allow ships a short cut from China to Europe, avoiding the congested Straits of Malacca. But the project has met with local and international opposition from Thais fearing it would divide the country as well as being highly expensive. Naturally Singapore is opposed as it would undermine its strategic position overseeing and docking a huge proportion of the world’s container traffic. For now Thailand has failed to back the project, but the Chinese still view a long term opportunity to finance and develop a canal which could then fall under their sphere of influence, giving them more power over the sea lanes to China.