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High-speed rail: Japan's Foreign Minister visits Thailand

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha before announcing the Mekong initiative at a speech at Chulalongkorn University on Monday. (Government House photo)

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Japan to help countries along Mekong river improve infrastructure & bolster development with US$7 billion over three years. High-speed rail projects underway.


High-speed rail: Japan Foreign Minister visits Thailand

Chatrudee Theparat & Reuters News Agency

Japan's foreign minister Fumio Kishida began a week-long visit to the ASEAN region on Sunday.


Japan's foreign minister has made a pledge to help Southeast Asian economies.

"Japan would like to work with the countries of the Mekong region to create a framework to support efforts by the Mekong countries in a detailed manner, on a region-by-region basis or on a theme-by-theme basis," Mr Kishida said in a speech at Chulalongkorn University. Japan announced the three-year plan last year.

Japan will help countries in the lower Mekong river basin improve infrastructure and bolster development with 750 billion yen (US$7 billion) in aid over a period of three years.


Japan competes with China for influence in the ASEAN region, but the foreign minister did not mention China in his speech. He is also due to visit Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. China has offered billions of dollars in infrastructure loans and government aid programmes to Southeast Asian countries.

On Sunday, Mr Kishida reaffirmed Japan's economic ties with Thailand, an important base for many Japanese companies, after Japanese investment in the country nosedived in 2015.

On Monday, the foreign minister met Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Thailand has drawn closer to China since the coup which many western countries have criticised. Taking a different approach, Mr Kishida and Gen Prayut discussed Thailand's political process, regional terrorism threats and economic challenges, a Japanese official said. In his speech in Bangkok, Mr Kishida addressed maritime security and renewed a call for countries to respect the rule of law. He also backed a Southeast Asian bid to  draft a code of conduct for the South China Sea, where China's claim to virtually the entire sea clashes with claims to parts of it by Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.


Thailand is calling on Japan to speed up joint development of the ambitious high-speed train project linking Bangkok and Chiang Mai and the one-metre gauge double-track railway route linking Bangkok with eastern and western provinces.

Speaking after meeting Japan's foreign affairs minister Fumio Kishida yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the rail projects would play a crucial role in logistics services for Asean.

Thailand and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last year to form a joint investment in a 635km high-speed rail line linking Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and a metre- gauge double- track line linking Bangkok and Kanchanaburi to Laem Chabang, where Thailand's main container port is located, and Sa Kaeo's Aranyaprathet, but development has not started yet.


Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith also met with Japan's foreign minister and said preliminary studies for both planned routes are expected in June, with a full-fledged study likely completed by year-end. The studies cover estimated cost, number of passengers, investment return, economic rate of return, and type of investment.

The government is also conducting a feasibility study on the economic rate of return for land development along the rail route to add value to the project. Both the preliminary and feasibility studies for land development will be submitted for cabinet approval by mid-year.

The 575km East-West Corridor rail project will comprise three sections: 180km linking Bangkok and Kanchanaburi, 225km linking Bangkok and Aranyaprathet, and 139km linking Bangkok and Laem Chabang. This route is slated mainly for goods transport, linking the Cambodian border, Eastern seaboard and the planned deep-sea port in Dawei, Myanmar.


Mr Somkid also urged Japan to invest more in Thailand's telecom sector and digital economy as well as the Eastern Economic Corridor project.

The Eastern Economic Corridor will span 26,000 rai of land owned by both the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand and private industrial estates in Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao. Agencies are working out special privileges, investment facilitation, infrastructure/logistics, town planning and the environmental impacts.



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address : to try to deal with a problem or question - จัดการกับปัญหา

aid : help; assistance - ความช่วยเหลือ

ambitious : difficult and needing a lot of effort to succeed - ความทะเยอทยาน

announce : to tell people something officially, especially about a decision, plans, etc - ประกาศ, แจ้ง, แจ้งให้ทราบ

approval : agreement to do or accept something - ความเห็นชอบด้วย

back : to support - สนับสนุน

base (noun): a place from where an activity can be planned or controlled - ฐาน, ฐานที่มั่น

basin : a large area of land whose surface water all flows into a particular river or lake - ลุ่มน้ำ

basis : the important ideas, facts, or actions from which something can develop - รากฐาน, หลักพื้นฐาน, หลัก

bid : an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม 

bolster : to make something stronger or more effective - ทำให้เข้มแข็ง

border : the official line separating two areas, regions or countries - เขตแดน อาณาเขต

cabinet : the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี

call (noun): a request, an order or a demand for somebody to do something or to go somewhere - ข้อเรียกร้อง

calling on : requesting or asking someone to do something - ขอ, ขอร้อง, เรียกร้อง

challenge : something that needs a lot of skill, energy, and determination to deal with or achieve - สิ่งที่ท้าทาย, การท้าทาย

claim (noun): saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา

claim : to demand or ask for something because you believe it is your legal right to own or to have it - อ้างสิทธิ, ยืนยัน

code of conduct : rules of proper behaviour for a particular job, organisation, etc. -

compete : to try to be more successful or better than somebody else who is trying to do the same as you - แข่งขัน

complete (verb): to finish something; to bring some project to an end after having done everything successfully - ทำเสร็จ, ทำให้สมบูรณ์

comprise : to consist or be made up of two or more things - ประกอบด้วย

conduct : to do something in an organised way; to carry out — - ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ

container : a large metal or wooden box of a standard size in which goods are packed so that they can easily be lifted onto a ship, train, etc. to be transported - ตู้บรรจุสินค้า

corridor (noun): a long narrow area along which something travels - เส้นทาง, ระเบียง,เฉลียง

cost : an amount of money that people need to pay for something - ค่า

coup : the seizure of power in a country by a group of people, usually members of the armed forces - รัฐประหาร

cover : include -

criticised : receiving words of disapproval over something that you have supposedly done wrong - ถูกวิจารณ์, โดนว่า

crucial (adj): extremely important because it effects the result of something - สำคัญยิ่ง

deep-sea port : a very deep port where big ships can park and load and unload goods -

detailed : giving many details and a lot of information; paying great attention to details - ซึ่งมีรายละเอียดมาก

development : the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc - การพัฒนา

development : the process of using an area of land, especially to make a profit by building on it, etc - การพัฒนา

discuss (verb): to talk about something with somebody, especially in order to decide something - สนทนา, โต้ตอบ

draft : to write a document, plan, etc. that may be changed before it is finally accepted - ร่าง

due to : scheduled to - มีกำหนด

Eastern Seaboard : the well-developed affluent area with many factories that runs from south of Bangkok to Bang Na to Sri Racha to Chonburi and to Rayong. -

effort : an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม

entire : including everything, everyone or every part - ทั้งหมด

environmental : involving the place in which people live and work, including all the physical conditions that affect them - เกี่ยวกับสภาพแวดล้อม, สิ่งแวดล้อม

estimated : thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available - ประมาณการ

expect (verb): to think or believe that something will happen or that somebody will do something - คาด, คาดว่า, คาดการณ์

feasibility study (noun): when experts study in detail what is possible to achieve in a project or whether the project is possible - การศึกษาความเป็นไป

foreign minister : the minister in charge of maintaining relations with other countries and looking after the interests of its citizens living abroad who heads the Foreign Ministry or - รัฐมนตรีว่าการต่างประเทศ

framework : a system of rules, ideas or beliefs that is used to plan or decide something - ขอบข่ายงาน, โครงร่าง

full-fledged : the fully grown and developed, mature version of something - ซึ่งเติบโตเต็มที่, ซึ่งเจริญเต็มที่

gauge : the distance between the rails of a railway/railroad track or the wheels of a train -

goods : things that are produced to be sold; possessions that can be moved - สินค้า, สิ่งของ

impact (noun): an effect or influence - ผลกระทบ

industrial estate : an area of land where industrial companies have their buildings - นิคมอุตสาหกรรม

Industrial Estate Authority (noun): a state enterprise under control of the Ministry of Industry of Thailand responsible for creating and organising industrial estates - การนิคมอุตสาหกรรมแห่งประเทศไทย

influence : the power to have an effect on people or things - อิทธิพล

infrastructure : a set of systems within a place or organisation that affect how well it operates, e.g., the telephone and transport systems in a country or the system of train tracks that a railway uses - สาธารณูปโภค

investment (noun): the act of investing money in something - การลงทุน

joint : belonging to or shared between two or more people - ร่วม, ที่ร่วมกัน

line (noun): a public transportation route that a bus or train travels along sending people from one place to another place -

link : to connect - เชื่อม

loan : an amount of money that a person, business, or country borrows, especially from a bank - เงินกู้

located : where something is - ตั้งอยู่

logistics : the practical arrangements that are necessary in order to organise something successfully, especially something involving a lot of people or equipment - การส่งกำลังบำรุง

manner : way - ลักษณะท่าทาง, กิริยาท่าทาง, วิธีการ

maritime : connected with human activity at sea; near the sea or coast - ทางทะเล, เกี่ยวกับทะเล

memorandum of understanding (MOU) : a document used to describe a form of a written agreement between two or more groups, countries, etc. The document is not as strong as a contract but outlines a commitment between the two to work together toward the same purpose or goals -

mention : the act of referring to someone or something in speech or writing - การกล่าวถึง, การเอ่ยถึง, การพูดถึง

nosedive (verb): decrease quickly (like an airplane falling ("diving") to the ground "nose" first -

official : someone with an important position in an organisation - เจ้าหน้าที่

passenger : someone who travels in a motor vehicle, aircraft, train, or ship but is not the driver or one of the people who works on it - ผู้โดยสาร

pledge : a serious promise - คำมั่้นสัญญา

port : an area of water where ships stop, including the buildings around it - ท่าเรือ

preliminary : early; not final - ขั้นต้น, ขั้นแรก, เบื้องต้น, ชั้นต้น

private : involving groups, businesses or industries that are not owned or controlled by the government - เอกชน

privilege : a special benefit that is available only to a particular person or group - เอกสิทธิ์

process : a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ

project : a planned piece of work that is designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ

province : one of many divisions of the government of a country into smaller parts - จังหวัด

rate : the level or speed at which something happens or changes, or the amount or number of times it happens or changes in a particular period - อัตรา

rate of return : a profit on an investment over a period of time, expressed as a proportion of the original investment (Source: Wikipedia) -

reaffirm : to give your support to a person, plan, idea, etc. for a second time; to strengthen - ยืนยันใหม่

region : a large area of land or space, usually without exact limits or borders - ภูมิภาค, ขอบเขต, แถบ, บริเวณ

regional : of or relating to a region - เกี่ยวกับภูมิภาค

renew : to start something again - เริ่มใหม่

respect : to accept the importance of something; to act according to a rule or law - เคารพ

return : the amount of profit that you get from something; the amount of money you earn - เงินรายได้

role : the position or purpose that someone or something has in a situation, organisation, society or relationship - บทบาท

route : the way that planes, buses, trains, or ships travel regularly - เส้นทางของรถ เรือ เครื่องบิน,etc.

rule of law (noun): the condition in which all members of society, including its rulers, accept the authority of the law - หลักนิติธรรม

security : protection; safety from attack, harm, or damage - ความมั่นคง, ระบบรักษาความปลอดภั, ความปลอดภัย

sign : sign agreement, put your signature on an agreement; agree to do something in exchange for something such as money - เซ็นสัญญา

slate : to plan that something will happen at a particular time in the future - วางแผนสำหรับสิ่งที่จะเกิดขึ้นในาในอนาคต

span : to include the whole of an area; to stretch - ขยายออก, ยืดออก

speed up (verb): make go faster -

study : a project that looks at some subject in great detail and produces a report to share the information - งานวิจัย

submitted (verb): formally given to someone, usually, but not always, so that they can make a decision about it - ยื่น

support : to give help, encouragement or sympathy to somebody - สนับสนุน, เป็นกำลังใจ

telecom : a business in the telecommunications industry - โทรคมนาคม)

terrorism : the use of violence to achieve political aims - การใช้ความรุนแรงเพื่อข้อเรียกร้องทางการเมือง

theme : the main subject of something - ใจความสำคัญ, ประเด็นหลัก

threat : a danger - อันตราย

track (noun): the two long metal strips that a train travels along - รางรถไฟ

transport : moving people or things from one place to another - การขนส่ง

Transport Minister (noun): The government minister who heads the Ministry of Transport - รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงคมนาคม

urge : to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take - ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น

virtually : almost - เกือบจะ


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