Thailand has been discussing with Lao officials the plans regarding a high-speed rail connection to promote a more seamless connection from Thailand to China via the intermediary country.
Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob on Thursday met Laos' Minister of Public Works and Transport and related agencies in the capital Vientiane to discuss the interlinking railway service.
During the meeting, Mr Anutin said the two countries agreed to upgrade bilateral relations to that of strategic partners for economic growth and sustainable development.
He said the China-Laos high-speed railway linking Vientiane to Kunming in China's southern Yunnan province will also benefit Thailand in terms of logistics and tourism.
The government will connect the high-speed service from Vientiane to Nong Khai province in Thailand with an eye on extending it to Bangkok in the future, he said.
Mr Saksayam said the rail connection between the three countries will create an opportunity for Thailand and Laos to expand their industries, agriculture, trade, and investment.
Thailand has already been preparing for the rail connection project which is divided into two phases.
The first phase is to link Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima. The project is under construction and is expected to be completed in 2026.
In addition, the Transport Ministry will ask the cabinet to approve the construction of a 167-kilometre double-track rail route linking Khon Kaen to Nong Khai this year.
Thailand and Laos have agreed to jointly invest in the construction of a new bridge across the Mekong River linking Nong Khai and Vientiane.
The bridge will be located 30km from the first Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge, also in Nong Khai province, Mr Saksayam said.