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Kra Isthmus shortcut would mean big shifts in Southeast Asia

BEIJING -- The Kra Isthmus is rapidly becoming a focus of international interest as rumors swirl over plans to build a canal or a railroad across a strip of land less than 100km wide between the Andaman Sea, which is part of the Indian Ocean, and the Gulf of Thailand, an arm of the South China Sea.

     If such a project is completed, new shipping routes could open up that would offer an alternative to the Strait of Malacca. While the feasibility of building a shortcut is unclear, Chinese President Xi Jinping's One Belt, One Road initiative has clearly raised interest in the area.

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