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Chinese Infrastructure Development in ASEAN

The Belt and Road Initiative includes 42 of the 49 Asian nations and all ten Southeast Asian countries, from Brunei to Indonesia. For China, the ASEAN region holds a crucial geopolitical position, serving as a crossroads for major maritime routes and attracting the interest of every global power.


In the last quarter of 2023, Indonesia inaugurated its first high-speed rail network, with President Joko Widodo taking a bullet train trip between the capital Jakarta and the city of Bandung. This USD 7.3 billion investment covers a 140-kilometer route built by Chinese and Indonesian companies, allowing travel at a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour, facilitating trade and logistics in the region.


In November 2023, the first high-speed passenger train connecting Beijing, the Chinese capital, and Vientiane, the capital of Laos, was launched. This is part of the China-Laos railway, adding to the routes between Yunnan province and the ASEAN region inaugurated in the previous two years. A symbolic project for the relations between Southeast Asia and the People's Republic of China, it is part of the Belt and Road Initiative, aiming to promote the movement of people and goods between southern China and Southeast Asia.


These infrastructures are part of a larger project that will connect Beijing with Singapore through Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia, covering over 5,000 kilometers of high-speed rail network. It will connect the capitals of Vientiane, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore to promote regional logistics, trade, and tourism.

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