An interesting article (very short, as these ex-pat rags are known to do it). Basically says the deal is all but done for China to build a railway through Laos.
And it's not paid for by China it's paid for by Laos. In fact, this project may very well bankrupt Laos. Read about it here:
Quote from link above:
"Yet despite the vast economic disparity between Laos and its giant neighbour, it is Vientiane which will foot the bill for the rail link.
Using untapped minerals as collateral, Laos plans to borrow Â£4.5 billion from Beijing to pay for its section of the railway. Equivalent to almost 90 per cent of Laosâ€™s annual GDP of Â£5.2 billion, the loan will instantly make Laos the worldâ€™s fourth most-indebted nation after Japan, Zimbabwe and Greece.
Many international financial bodies regard the loan as a disaster waiting to happen. The Asian Development Bank has described it simply as â€œunaffordableâ€.
--Furthermore, Laos will essentially be borrowing 90% of its GDP from China to pay for 20,000 Chinese workers to come and work on Lao soil.
Good point Greg, I should have written a clearer title. Similarly, when I was in southern Laos a few years ago I hung out with a lot of Chinese workers who were doing damn construction projects. The Chinese often handle investment that way, as in Africa. I wasn't taking a stance either way on the development, just found it interesting that the plan I'd been hearing about for years looks to have taken a lurch forward.