Japan eyes high-speed rail bid
Japanese investors are keen to invest in Thailand's high-speed train project, a flagship scheme of the Yingluck Shinawatra government, the prime minister's secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva says.
- Published: 24/05/2013 at 12:57 AM
- Newspaper section: news
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed interest in the train project during talks with Ms Yingluck in Tokyo yesterday, Mr Suranand said.
Prime Ministers Yingluck Shinawatra and Shinzo Abe face each other across the table during Ms Yingluck's four-day official visit to Japan which began on Thursday. (Government House photo)
Thailand plans to build four high-speed train lines from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Nong Khai, Rayong and to Padang Besar on the Malaysian border.
The routes are part of the government's 2-trillion-baht investment plan to improve the country's infrastructure in transport and logistics. The rail scheme is slated to be implemented from next year to 2019.
The high-speed train routes will be built in phases, with only the route to Rayong via Pattaya likely to be constructed in one stage.
Ms Yingluck welcomed Japan's interest in joining the bidding for the project, Mr Suranand said.
At least four other countries - China, France, South Korea and Spain - have expressed interest in bidding for the high-speed train contracts.
During the discussion, Ms Yingluck also sought support for the development of the Dawei deep-sea port in Myanmar and Thailand's 350-billion-baht water management scheme, Mr Suranand said.
The Dawei project, which includes the port and an industrial complex, would benefit Japanese investment as its location would facilitate links with markets in South Asia, the Middle East and Europe, Mr Suranand quoted Ms Yingluck as saying.
Ms Yingluck also made efforts to entice Japanese investors to support the Dawei project during an interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK yesterday morning.
She reiterated that the Dawei project will transform the Myanmar port town into a maritime hub and thriving industrial zone, government spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi said.
Once the Asean Economic Community comes into effect in 2015, Thailand and Myanmar will become gateways to Asia and nearby regions, she said.
Ms Yingluck pointed out that in addition to implementing the 2-trillion-baht infrastructure scheme, the Thai government has raised the daily minimum wage to 300 baht, as well as devising measures to lower production costs in a bid to equip the Thai population with higher spending power.
"With more purchasing power, Thai people can buy more Japanese products," Mr Teerat quoted the prime minister as saying.
During the interview, Ms Yingluck said she was confident Thailand's political conflicts can be resolved if every party is patient and engages one another in a democratic manner.
She said she has tried her best during the past two years to create an atmosphere that is conducive to foreign investment and restore international confidence in the Thai economy.
Asked about the role of her brother Thaksin, she said she is administering the country without him but admitted she has not abandoned his policies due to their popularity, the spokesman said.
During the interview, the premier also addressed the nation's internal conflicts, which included the violence in the deep South, saying that disputes could be settled only through peaceful and democratic means.
She said the ongoing peace dialogue with southern insurgents is aimed at building mutual trust and confidence.
Mr Suranand said that, during the discussion with Mr Abe, Ms Yingluck emphasised Thailand's support for peaceful means to solve conflicts in the South China Sea.
The country also welcomes talks to bring about peace on the Korean Peninsula, which should be nuclear-free, Mr Suranand said.
Thailand is the coordinator between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China this year.
China, Taiwan and four Asean members - the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei - claim total or partial sovereignty over the Spratlys and other islands in the disputed territorial waters in the South China Sea.
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- Writer: Post Reporters
- Position: Reporters