Thailand pushes for train project in Laos
- Published: 19/05/2013 at 03:44 PM
- Online news:
CHIANG MAI - Thailand has offered to convene a meeting with Laos and China on the high-speed train project linking the three countries, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Sunday.
The Thai and Lao ministers led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, fifth right, and Lao Premier Thongsing Thammavong, fourth right, shake hands during the joint cabinet meeting in Chiang Mai province on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Government House)
The proposal, tabled in talks between the Thai and Lao cabinets, underlines Thailand's concern about a delay to the project on the Lao side which could be a setback on the regional plan to build a railroad link.
Ms Yingluck said after meeting with Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and his cabinet ministers that the host had relayed the delay concern to Laos.
Thailand will build four high-speed train lines, one of them from Bangkok to Nong Khai province. It will be linked to a train route from southern China to Vientiane, the Lao capital. The first phase of the Nong Khai train will be laid to Nakhon Ratchasima province.
China has offered to build the train project in Laos but it is being delayed because of unsettled details about Chinese support.
Ms Yingluck did not go into details of the proposed meeting but deputy government spokesman Chalitrat Chandrubeksa said Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt would have a key role in arranging the meeting on the tracks and train carriages to be used for the project.
The two governments also agreed to tackle narcotics, bolster trade and investment on Roads 8 and 12 in Laos, fight human trafficking and speed up border demarcation.
The two roads in Laos are connected to Thailand via the Mekong River bridge in Nakhon Phanom province.
Thailand upgraded the Phudu crossing in Ban Khok district of Uttaradit province from a temporary to a permanent checkpoint on Sunday to coincide with the meeting of the cabinets, the Thai News Agency reported.
The checkpoint in the northern province links Thailand with Laos' Xayabouri province. About 100,000 tourists used the pass, and trade totalled about 250 million baht, a year when it was a temporary checkpoint open only on Fridays and Saturdays.
Uttaradit governor Chalermchai Fuengkhon predicted trade and tourism would jump after the checkpoint was allowed to operate every day after the opening ceremony at the border on Sunday.
About the author
- Writer: Patsara Jikkham