Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thailand set to sign rail link pact with Laos, China

Thailand set to sign rail link pact with Laos, China

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (centre left) and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (centre right) shake hands during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Stung Bot International Checkpoint on Monday. THE NATION (THAILAND)

Thailand set to sign rail link pact with Laos, China

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 on Monday.

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 on Thursday 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, said Vilawan Mangklatanakul, director of the Foreign Ministry’s International Economic Affairs Department.

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.

Prayut, attending the second Belt and Road Forum from April 25 to 27 in his capacity as Asean chair, will update the forum on the Asean connectivity master plan, Vilawan said.

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 the kingdom into a regional supply-chain hub.

Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 to link his country with other countries via many infrastructure development projects.

So far, 124 countries and 29 international organisations have signed cooperation pacts on the initiative with China.

The first summit on the initiative was held in 2017, while the second forum this week is expected to conclude with a joint communique to forge cooperation among regional countries.

Prayut is to meet with Chinese President Xi and his counterpart, Premier Li Keqiang, to update them about Thailand’s role as Asean chair and other bilateral issues, Vilawan said.

Connectivity has emerged as the key element of regional development, and Prayut on Monday joined Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to inaugurate a new railway link between the two countries at the border towns of Aranyaprathet and Poipet.

The two premiers also witnessed a signing ceremony at a Thai border post before riding together to the Cambodian town of Poipet on a train donated by Thailand.

Hun Sen described their journey as “historic” and thanked Thailand for its efforts “to reconnect Cambodia and Thailand”.

The rail link will also serve as a connection between Laos and its Southeast Asian neighbours, Hun Sen said.

Bilateral trade between Thailand and Cambodia currently stands at $6 billion.

THE NATION (THAILAND)/ANN

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group