High-speed rail to connect China with Thailand, Laos

15:36, December 08, 2010      

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China has signed agreements with Thailand and Laos to build high-speed railways connecting the two Southeast Asian countries to China.

Thailand's deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said during the seventh World Congress on High Speed Rail that China is cooperating on high-speed railways with the countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Suthep says that Thailand's parliament has approved the project, and the two countries have signed the framework agreement.

Deputy Prime Minister of Laos Somsavat Lengsavad told the Congress that based on the agreement with China the high-speed railway linking the Lao capital Vientiane with Beijing will begin construction in 2011 and be completed in 2015. Bilateral trade between China and Laos grew by more than half in 2009 to 751.8 million U.S. dollars.

Laos is already connected to Thailand by rail, though only up to just outside its capital Vientiane.

Both Suthep and Somsavat hoped the high-speed railways will be built as soon as possible to boost the two nations' economic ties with China.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

A China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement came into effect in January, forming an economic bloc of 1.9 billion people.

China is operating the world's longest high-speed rail network with a combined length of 7,531 kilometers. By 2012 this figure will almost double to 13,000 kilometers.

China's CRH-380A train Friday set a speed record for unmodified commercial use at 486.1 kilometers per hour on a test run on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway. Next year, China aims to break the 574.8-kilometers-per-hour speed record set by France's TGV train in April 2007, an unnamed source with CSR Corporation Limited (CSR) said on Tuesday at the Congress.


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