Chinese Developments for Friday, July 18
July 18, 2014 • 9:42AM

There are several developments from China we have to report to you today:

China Invites Thailand To Join AIIB

Thailand has been invited by China to become one of the founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a proposal supported by Thailand’s central bank.

“There was no reason to refuse,” Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said yesterday. Thailand was offered a primary signing agreement as a member for the period October to November, according to a report by the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO).

As an AIIB member, Thailand would be entitled to benefits in terms of financial assistance, particularly for the infrastructure mega-projects that the country plans to invest in. These include a country-wide water-management plan to alleviate both flooding and droughts; three high-speed rail lines connecting to China high-speed railroad network; double tracking and otherwise upgrading the remainder of the Thai railroad system. Construction of the Kra Canal -- to directly connect the Indian Ocean/Andaman Sea to the Pacific Ocean/Gulf of Thailand -- is also under serious consideration.

China Offers Joint Development of South American Trans-oceanic Railroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed to Peruvian President Ollanta Humala that China, Peru, and Brazil form a working group to promote cooperation on building a railway across the South American continent, China Daily reported after the two presidents met in Brasilia, after both participated in the sixth BRICS summit in Brazil.

“The Chinese president proposed that a trilateral work group be established to guide their cooperation in all related aspects, including the planning, design, construction and operation of the transcontinental railway,” China Daily reported.

The project was also discussed between Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Xi when they met the following day.

Europe and China Broadening Space Cooperation, “Alarming Washington”

While attending the annual Farnborough Air Show in England this week, European Space Agency (ESA) Director- General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, described the broadening cooperation in space that is under discussion between ESA and China. The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of an interview Dordain gave, notes that this prospect “threatens to alarm Washington.” NASA is forbidden to work with China on a bilateral basis in manned and most other space-exploration projects. Dordain reported, last year, that ESA will be training European astronauts for future flights on a Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft. Candidates are already taking classes in Chinese.