China presses hard on high-speed rail projects in Thailand

Sunday, 09 December 2012 By  MCOT

BANGKOK, Dec 8 – China has reaffirmed its determination to invest in a high-speed rail system in Thailand as clearly stated in an earlier memorandum of understanding (MoU). 

Luo Chunfang, China’s deputy minister for railway, raised the issue in a meeting with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday and assured that an joint investment with China on the system would be much cheaper than with Germany or Japan.

According to the MoU signed on April 17 this year, Thailand and China will cooperate in the development of high-speed rail system on two routes: Bangkok-Chiang Mai, 677 km, and Bangkok-Nong Khai, 615 km.

Mr Luo said construction of high-speed rail by China costs US$20 million per km while the German system is US$50 million per km and Japan US$81 million per km.

It would take 6-7 years to finish while speeds can reach 250 km/hour or 300 km/hour, he said, adding that workers for the projects will be hired locally to spur domestic employment.

Ms Yingluck said she hoped the Thai-Chinese cooperation would materialise.

She asked the Chinese deputy minister to give priority to safety and take into consideration integration of Thailand’s existing rail system and development of communities and the environment along rail routes.

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  • Comment Link Wednesday, 12 December 2012 09:50 posted by Peter

    it is not a matter of who should built it or even who will hold concessions for the next 25 years. The benefits that will flow into the eastern Seaboard Communities and Economy will be so enormous it will be hard to ever imagine the place the way it is now. The Chinese say they can built it in 2 years which is fine if it is in China where thay are able to use the Army manpower for such tasks. 800 km of tracks in a short period of time is not a problem for a contingent of troops that do not ask questions. But where is Thailand going to find the labour to built such a big project?

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