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Thai 'land bridge' project caught in Sino-U.S. tug of war

Will Japan join the fray to help contain China's advance in Indian Ocean?

The government of Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is expected to complete by next year a feasibility study on a "land bridge" across the Kra Isthmus to connect ports on either side of the Malay Peninsula. (Nikkei montage/Reuters/Getty Images)

BANGKOK -- The favorite candidate site for Thailand's envisioned new gateway to the Indian Ocean is a small peninsula jutting out into the Andaman Sea.

The Ao Ang district in Ranong Province in southwestern Thailand, located about 30 km south of the province's urban area, is mostly covered with primeval forest and can be accessed only by sea. But the backwater district is now attracting a growing number of people as a candidate site for a new port, said a fisherman operating the boat the writer chartered at a nearby village. It took an hour to sail to the area near the site.

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