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Economy

Influential Thais in push for Kra Canal project

China's Belt and Road Initiative may kick-start long-envisaged $28bn seaway

Sunset over the Andaman Sea near the proposed entrance to the Kra Canal (Photo by William Mellor)

SIKAO, Thailand -- Fisherman Sittichai Bohmung lounges on a remote pier beside a ramshackle waterfront village in this southern Thai district and recalls the time last year when a bunch of retired generals from Bangkok and businessmen from China came calling.

Fisherman Sittichai Bohmung guided generals from Bangkok around the Andaman coast when they surveyed the Kra Canal route (Photo by William Mellor)

"I didn't believe it when I heard they wanted to see me," said Sittichai, 48, as the crimson rays of an Andaman Sea sunset silhouetted the bays and inlets he has navigated since childhood. "Someone had told them how well I know this coastline and they hired me to take them out in my boat and be their guide. They even asked for my opinion about their plan."

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