Govt starts review of Kra canal

Govt starts review of Kra canal

The government says it is reviewing the controversial Kra Canal project that would connect the Gulf of Thailand to the Andaman Sea across southern Thailand, significantly shortcutting the marine route between the two water bodies.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday the government is dealing with several other development projects currently taking priority over the Kra canal project, also called the Klong Thai Project.

Lt Gen Sansern said the government is studying the pros and cons of the project, including its implications for national security and budget expenditures.

He added the public should be wary of any news stories about the project going ahead.

He was responding to a movement of people preparing to rally support for the canal project. The group has been encouraging the public to share the campaign’s message of endorsing the Kra Canal online.

“Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has emphasised the [pro-Kra Canal] movement has not been not approved by the government and the project is still pending a study,” said Lt Gen Sansern.

In early 2016, former prime minister and then-privy councillor Tanin Kraivixien submitted an open letter to Gen Prayut, urging him to review the Kra Canal project’s implications.

In the letter, Mr Tanin said the project had been suspended earlier due to international relations and security-related issues.

However, China and other Asia-Pacific nations have expressed interest in studying new maritime routes.

Mr Tanin further wrote that a feasibility study of the project was a good idea.

At the time, Gen Prayut recognised the government could not cover the steep costs to properly build the Kra Canal, which would require 135km of digging.

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