Chinese funded railway in Laos brings worry of debt

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China has already begun building a railroad that would connect Laos' capital, Vientiane, to China's Yunnan province but the construction has sparked fear of debt among Laotians.

According to a statement published on China's Belt and Road Initiative official page, the China-Laos Railway will measure 414 kilometers, connecting Vientiane and China's Yunnan province.

It is designed for trains to travel at 160 kilometers per hour, making it possible to travel from Yunnan to Vientiane in just 3 hours. The railway is expected to be fully operational in December 2021.

The project is part of the Belt and Road Initiative, a Chinese development strategy involving infrastructure development and investment in 152 countries.

According to an NPR report, the total cost of building the high-speed railroad is $6 billion, of which China will pay 70 percent. The Laotian government will finance the rest of the project through loans from Chinese financial institutions.

Chinese authorities claim that building the railroad will bring economic prosperity to the country, however, locals have told NPR that those who were removed from their lands for construction haven't received proper compensation. And Chinese tourists that have come to Laos mostly shop in businesses and restaurants owned by Chinese residents.


RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Size of railroad and speed of highspeed trains
2. Belt Road Initiative
3. Financing the China-Laos Railroad
4. Consequences of China-Laos Railroad

VOICEOVER (in English):

"According to a statement published on China's Belt and Road Initiative official page, the China-Laos Railway will measure 414 kilometers, connecting Vientiane and China's Yunnan province."

"It is designed for trains to travel at 160 kilometers per hour, making it possible to travel from Yunnan to Vientiane in just 3 hours. The railway is expected to be fully operational in December 2021."

"The project is part of the Belt and Road Initiative, a Chinese development strategy involving infrastructure development and investment in 152 countries."

"According to an NPR report, the total cost of building the high-speed railroad is $6 billion, of which China will pay 70 percent. The Laotian government will finance the rest of the project through loans from Chinese financial institutions."

"Chinese authorities claim that building the railroad will bring economic prosperity to the country, however, locals have told NPR that those who were removed from their lands for construction haven't received proper compensation. And Chinese tourists that have come to Laos mostly shop in businesses and restaurants owned by Chinese residents."


SOURCES:
Belt and Road Portal, NPR
https://eng.yidaiyilu.gov.cn/qwyw/rdxw/76546.htm
https://www.npr.org/2019/04/26/707091267/in-laos-a-chinese-funded-railway-sparks-hope-for-growth-and-fears-of-debt?utm_campa