Source: Bangkokpost.com

Thailand and China have vowed to speed up a delayed joint railway project, aiming to start construction before the year’s end, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said on October 10.

Pramudwinai made the announcement to Thai media following talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during a visit marking four decades of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

He said the Chinese government was keen to start the railway. The two countries’ prime ministers signed an agreement on the project last December.

The recent meeting centred on bilateral cooperation to develop the railway lines, Pramudwinai added.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed the need for an early start. He said it would facilitate trade and people-to-people exchanges between China, Thailand and the Indochina region.

Under the project, China will build an 873km double-track route from Nong Khai province to Map Ta Phut in Rayong and Bangkok. The system will carry medium-speed trains mainly for freight, and cost 11.2 billion USD.

Thailand signed another railway construction agreement with Japan, which is interested in building a high-speed line linking Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said he hoped to use his visit to Japan later this month to persuade Japanese investors to build two medium-speed east-west lines from Map Ta Phut to Kanchanaburi province and Mukdahan in the northeast to Mae Sot district in Tak province.-VNA