Hard-pedaling soft power, China helps launch $13 billion Belt and Road rail project in Malaysia — “Game Changer”

Peace and Freedom


KUANTAN, Malaysia (Reuters) – China and Malaysia broke ground on Wednesday on a $13 billion rail project linking peninsular Malaysia’s east and west, the largest such project in the country and a major part of Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure push.

The planned 688-km (430-mile) East Coast Rail Link will connect the South China Sea, large parts of which are claimed by China, at the Thai border in the east with the strategic shipping routes of the Straits of Malacca in the west.

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Malaysia — Prime Minister Najib Razak walks along the platform during the official launch of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang rail line in Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2017. PHOTO by AFP

It is among the most prominent projects in China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build a modern-day “Silk Road” connecting the world’s second-largest economy by land corridors to Southeast Asia, Pakistan and…

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