Railways in the GMS: Regional Linkages VS Regional Development

September 11

ASEAN’s Regional Connectivity scheme is one of the most significant regional development plans which aims to help Southeast Asia to improve its regional linkages. In mainland Southeast Asia, the development of economic corridors and railway systems have gained a significant interest from the governments and external regional actors, such as Japan, China, USA, South Korea, and regional development organizations. The financial and technical assistance has been allocated through many platforms and channels to support the construction and development of both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ infrastructure.

Apart from economic corridors which seek to link region, the railway also plays important role in facilitating the mobilization of goods, services and people. However, the railway system in the GMS area was developed under different regional connectivity development scheme. As ADB proposed in the ‘Review of Configuration of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Corridors’ (2018) that the railway and other modes of transportation should be integrated more into the regional development scheme. Nevertheless, the implications and significances of GMS railway have not been widely discussed. Particularly, the railway development is now also one of the areas of cooperation that Japan and China have been contributed to and engaged with. The Chinese and Japanese government have been allocated its financial and technical assistance to ‘develop’ the GMS area. The engagement of Japan and China have shaped the regional infrastructure arrangements in many aspects, geopolitical and economic dimensions in particular.

This seminar will provide a platform for scholars to present their analyses and opinions on GMS railway development. The main questions of this seminar are based on three main questions. Firstly, how could the railway development contribute to regional development? Secondly, what is the current situation of railway development in the GMS area? Thirdly, what would be the implications and prospects of GMS railway development?


08.30-09.00 Registration
09.00-.09.10 Welcome Remarks by Thanyawat Rattanasak
(Dean, Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, Chiang Mai University)
09.10-09.40 “Railway for Further Regional Development”
Daisuke Hiratsuka
(Director of IDE-JETRO Bangkok Research Centre)
09.40-09.50 Q&A
10.00-10.30 “The Lao-Chinese High-Speed Railway”*
Souknilanh Keola
(Researcher, IDE-JETRO Bangkok Research Centre)
10.30-10.40 Q&A
10.40-11.10 “ASEAN Connectivity Revisited:
Prospects and Implications of Roads and Railways in the GMS”
Narut Charoensri
(Lecturer, Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, Chiang Mai University)
11.10-11.20 Q&A
11.20-12.00 Roundtable Discussion
Daisuke Hiratsuka
Souknilanh Keola
Narut Charoensri
Discussant: Nisit Phantamit
(Director of Center for ASEAN Studies, Chiang Mai University)

Event Details

Timing: 9am - 12pm

Strategic Meeting Room