China’s 120mph Railway Arriving in Laos
Big China plans to build a high speed rail line across its little neighbors, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia, all the way to Singapore. The first leg of this international HSR network will be across impoverished Laos.
China will import 20,000 Chinese workers to build the system in Laos, and provide all the engineering expertise. Laos gets to pay for it.
Yet despite the vast economic disparity between Laos and its giant neighbour, it is Vientiane which will foot the bill for the rail link.
Using untapped minerals as collateral, Laos plans to borrow £4.5 billion from Beijing to pay for its section of the railway. Equivalent to almost 90 per cent of Laos’s annual GDP of £5.2 billion, the loan will instantly make Laos the world’s fourth most-indebted nation after Japan, Zimbabwe and Greece.
Many international financial bodies regard the loan as a disaster waiting to happen. The Asian Development Bank has described it simply as “unaffordable”.
I would describe it as just plain stupid. The Lao party bosses have basically made Laos an indentured servant of China.