Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016

Thai-Chinese railway project to begin by the end of 2016: Thai media

By Yuan Can (People's Daily Online)    16:53, February 16, 2016

Thai-Chinese Bt500-billion medium-speed railway project could be signed by the end of this year, Thai media outlets reported on Monday.

During a panel discussion on major Thai-Chinese issues hosted by Suthichai Yoon for Nation TV's Timeline programme, Aksornsri Phanishsarn, director of the Thai-Chinese Strategic Research Centre, said that if implemented, Thailand's northeastern provinces would gain the most economic benefits from the proposed 800-kilometer-plus railway project linking Nong Khai with Laos and southern China, The Nation reported.

"It will upgrade the country's logistics capability and significantly shorten the transportation time for Thai exports to Europe," she said.

The report also cited Sarasin Viraphol, executive vice president of Charoen Pokphand Group, who told the panel discussion that he expected the project to take off within this year after both countries had negotiated for more than three years.

China and Thailand agreed in a memorandum of understanding to build a long-mooted railway from the Thai-Lao border to Bangkok, said Thailand's transport minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith on Dec. 3, 2015.

A foundation stone-laying ceremony of a planned China-Thailand Railway project was held on Dec. 19, 2015 at Chiang Rak Noi Station in central Thailand's Ayutthaya province, where the future Operations Control Center of the railway project will be located.

For Thailand, Deputy Premier Somkid Jatusripitak said it was necessary for both countries to set up a joint venture company first and then finalize the project's cost, interest rate on loans and resolution of other issues.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, during the visit to China by Thailand's Transport and Finance Ministers, they suggested that the double-track railway line should be reduced to a single-track line.

The report on The Nation said that the Chinese side has not responded to Thailand's latest proposal for China to hold the majority 60-per-cent stake in the entire project since it was previously tentatively agreed that China would only hold shares in a joint venture company that would operate the railway service.

Joe Horn Phathanothai of Strategy 613, a Thai-Chinese consultancy, said it was not unusual for both countries to take time to iron out differences since the project required huge investment and had many details, according to the report.

The 10th round of Thai-Chinese negotiations will take place in China soon and it greatly depends on the Chinese side as to whether there will be a deal by the end of this year.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yuan Can,Wu Chengliang)

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