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Reviving ancient maritime silk road, Chinese container ship sets sail for Europe

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While Piraeus [in the Mediterrenean] is China’s main port infrastructure project at the western end of the Maritime Silk Road, the many major seaports in China itself – Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong being the largest – constitute its eastern end.

Between these two ends, the two most important strategic passages are the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal. The main ports in the Strait of Malacca are Singapore and Port Klang (Malaysia), in both of which Chinese involvement is limited.

Singapore, in particular, is important for maritime shipping, as it is the main logistical hub for South-East Asia and the world’s second largest container port. While COSCO is a minority shareholder in (part of) a Singaporean container terminal, the port of Singapore is firmly controlled by the city-state itself.

On the east coast of the Malay peninsula, China intends to spend US$ 2 billion to improve the port of Kuantan.

There has been some speculation as to whether China might become involved in the construction of a canal across southern Thailand to connect the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea (the Kra Canal). This would create a route that is an alternative to the Strait of Malacca. However, no such canal project has as yet been initiated.

[SOURCE: Clingendael Strategic Foresight report published March 2015]

VIDEO SOURCE: Xinhuanet

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