Thailand to sign rail pact with Laos and China at forum

  • ASEAN+
  • Wednesday, 24 Apr 2019

BANGKOK: Thailand will sign a memorandum of cooperation with China and Laos for a rail link aimed at fulfilling a regional connectivity ambition, when Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha visits Beijing this week for the second Belt and Road Forum, the Foreign Ministry said.

Transport Minister Arkhom Term­pit­tayapaisith will sign the pact with his Laotian counterpart Bounchanh Sinthavong and China’s vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission Hu Zucai tomorrow on the sideline of the forum.

The memorandum will detail the framework for the three countries in relation to the railway network from southern China via Laos to Thailand.

The pact will also cover the construction of a new bridge across the Mekong River linking the Laotian capital with Nong Khai province, Vilawan Mangklatanakul, director of the Foreign Ministry’s International Economic Affairs Department, said on Monday.

China has invested in and is helping Laos build a 400km railway track from the China-Laos border to Vientiane.

The construction is halfway through, while Thailand’s 3.5km high-speed railway is also making good progress.

Prayut, who is attending the forum in his capacity as Asean chair, will update the forum on the Asean connectivity masterplan, said Vilawan.

The junta’s brainchild – the Eastern Economic Corridor – will also be promoted at the forum to lure investors, notably from China, she said, adding that the plan is to transform Thailand into a regional supply-­chain hub. — The Nation/Asia News Network

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