Govt wants China in on key projects

Govt wants China in on key projects

Thailand has invited China to enter into closer cooperation on the former's Motorway-Rail Map (MR Map) project and Southern Land Bridge scheme.

The invitation was reportedly extended by Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob through Han Zhiqiang, the Chinese ambassador to Thailand during their meeting yesterday.

The MR Map is a government effort which will see the construction of major roads and rail lines between the country's strategic regions to help boost connectivity, while the Southern Land Bridge project will enable cargo transport between the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.

These two projects are also aimed at connecting Thailand with its neighbours in order to build new sustainable economic, trade and investment opportunities, said Mr Saksayam after yesterday's meeting. He said he had also discussed with the Chinese ambassador progress in the Thai-Chinese railway project, among other areas of cooperation between the two nations.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha now wants to accelerate the implementation of the Thai-Chinese railway project so that the new rail system can be connected as soon as possible with the Boten–Vientiane railway that was opened on Dec 2, said Mr Saksayam.

The first phase of the Thai-Chinese railway project, being constructed from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, is expected to be ready to begin operating in 2026, while the design of the railway's second phase running from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai is now complete, he said.

As for the last part of the railway to stretch from Nong Khai to Vientiane, talks are being carried out between Thailand, Laos and China to complete development of the route.

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