BANGKOK -- Thailand will be connected with China via a high-speed railway running through northern Laos within the next seven years, assured Thai Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt.
Delivering a key-note speech on Thursday at a seminar and exhibition entitled "Thailand 2020" in the Thai northeastern province of Nakorn Ratchasima, the transport minister said the government has planned to build a 625 km rail system to link Bangkok with the northeastern border province of Nong Khai, across Mekong River from the Lao capital of Vientiane while Chinese high- speed trains will arrive from southern China.
During the initial stage of a 730-billion-U.S.-dollar rail and logistical program, designed for reconstruction of major rail routes in all regions of Thailand, a 250 km Bangkok-Nakorn Ratchasima route will be built first.
Then, the next phase will see a 375 km Nakorn Ratchasima-Nong Khai route built up for the Thai high-speed train to shuttle passengers and cargoes, especially including fruits and vegetables, between Thailand and Laos, which will be connected via the high- speed train with southern China, Chadchart said.
Given such a modernized rail system, Thai food will be delivered fresh and daily to China, according to the transport minister.
"Nakorn Ratchasima is not only the economic hub of the entire northeastern region of Thailand but a gateway to welcome an ASEANEconomic Community, which will open in 2015," he commented.
Thailand will have one rail system for all high-speed trains to run throughout the country, including the Bangkok-Phitsanuloak- Chiang Mai route to the North, the Bangkok-Hua Hin route to the South and the Bangkok-Pattaya-Rayong route to the East and the Bangkok-Nakorn Ratchasima-Nong Khai route to the Northeast.
Besides, the Thai government will build motorways to accommodate prompt logistics and transportation between Bangkok's outlying areas and major provinces, including a Nonthaburi- Kanchanaburi motorway and an Ayudhya-Nakorn Ratchasima motorway.
Kanchanaburi, a western Thai province, will be linked via rail and roads with Dawei, a southeastern Myanmar town, where a deep- sea port and Special Economic Zone project is being built by a Thai construction giant.