Kunming–Singapore Railway

The Kunming–Singapore railway, increasingly called the Pan-Asia railway Network is a network of railways, being planned or under construction, that would connect China, Singapore and all the countries of mainland Southeast Asia. The concept originated with British and French imperialists, who sought to link the railways they had built in southwest China, Indochina and Malaya, but international conflicts in the 20th century kept regional railways fragmented. The idea was formally revived in October 2006 when 18 Asian and Eurasian countries signed the Trans-Asian railway Network Agreement, which designates the Kunming–Singapore railway as one of several planned trans-Asian railways.

The proposed network consists of three main routes from Kunming, China to Bangkok, Thailand: the Eastern route via Vietnam and Cambodia; the central route via Laos, and the western route via Myanmar. The southern half of the network from Bangkok to Singapore has long been operational, though a high-speed line has been proposed.

As of January 2014, construction of sections connecting China with Vietnam, China with Myanmar and Laos with Vietnam are under way. Work on sections in Laos began in December 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2021 with Chinese assistance.Those sections are expected to be completed in 2020. The railway network is expected to increase regional economic integration and increase China’s economic ties with Southeast Asia. A high-speed rail project in Vietnam with Japanese support was canceled in 2010 due to high cost. However it will be re-considered during 2019 communist party session, as Vietnam’s economy is growing at much faster pace than anticipated.