February 6 - Reports in the international media suggest that 200-year-old plans to build a canal through Thailand are gaining traction again, with rumours that the Chinese are willing to invest in the project.

The Kra Canal, which would link the South China Sea with the Andaman Sea, could be part of China's new Maritime Silk Road, say reports.

The route, which is less than 100 km long, is expected to cost about USD20 billion to build and would avoid the congested Malacca Straits, saving at least two days off journeys between Asia and Europe.

Reports quote Pakdee Tanapura, a member of the national committee for the study of the canal, as saying that China could be interested in assisting construction of this South East Asian waterway, having recently signed up to help build a new pan-Thai railroad.