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Belt and Road

Southeast Asia's Belt and Road rail hopes beset by delays

Only small fraction of Thailand's segment completed after 4 years

A rail line from Kunming, China, to Vientiane, Laos, is slated to open on Dec. 2. But other parts of the pan-Asia railway face setbacks. (Photo by Vientiane Times)

BANGKOK -- Much fanfare greeted a Chinese plan to connect Southeast Asia through more than 3,000 km of high-speed rail when it arrived in Thailand in 2017. But on the ground near one of its many pieces, the project has so little visibility that a train station attendant struggled to find it.

"A construction site for high-speed rail?" the mystified attendant in Nakhon Ratchasima, a two-hour drive north of Bangkok, said last month. "I don't know where it is."

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