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5 Jul, 2015

Thai-China railway talks making good progress

BANGKOK, July 2 (NNN-XINHUA) — China and Thailand have made concrete progress in their talks on the construction of a railway in Thailand which will connect the northeastern Thai province on Nong Khai with Bangkok and Rayong Province in eastern Thailand on the Gulf of Thaialnd, says the Chinese chief negotiator, Wang Xiaotao.

Wang said after the 5th meeting of Joint Committee on Railway Co-operation between the Thailand and China here Wednesday that the two sides had reached a wide range of consensus and achievements on the feasibility study, investment frame and personnel training for the project.

Wang added that China was conducting the feasibility study on the project, and had completed the route design. The Chinese side had forwarded its design and proposals to the Thai side.

According to the agreement, China has also detailed programmes for the control centre and fiber optic communications network.

Thai Transport Minister Prajin Juntong told reporters that the talks had made concrete progress in terms of the running routes and feasibility study.

Expressing his appreciation and gratitude for the efficient work of the Chinese side, he said the two sides had agreed to speed up the feasibility study and set up a joint team on the negotiations for an engineering, procurement and construction contract.

The Thai side proposed at the meeting that Thailand hopes to run and manage the railway with a joint-venture between Thailand and China. The Chinese side will consider providing credit on favourable terms to Thailand with a fixed interest rate.

The next round of meeting will be held in China’s northwestern city of Xi’an in early August.

Thailand and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last year on jointly developing a medium-speed railway to connect Nong Khai province, Bangkok and Rayong province. It is expected that the first-phase construction of the 867-kilometre-long railway will start in October this year. — NNN-XINHUA