China has won the China-Thailand Railway project. [Photo/Xinhua]
After many ups and downs, China has finally won the railway cooperation project with Thailand. Zhu Xijun, general manager of the Southeast Asia Company of China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), said on Aug 26 that after six rounds of negotiation, both sides plan to sign the inter-governmental framework agreement on the China-Thailand Railway project in early September, and the commencement ceremony of the project is expected to be held in the end of October, Xinhua reported.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-Thailand diplomatic ties and the first year of implementation of the “One Belt and One Road”initiative proposed by China. The China-Thailand Railway, which has a historical significance, has attracted tremendous attention.
According to Zhu Xijun, the project, which will be completed in 3 years, will bring actual benefits to the socioeconomic development of Thailand. After the railway puts into use, people will enjoy a much more convenient and cheaper transportation between China and Thailand. The price of a railway passenger ticket between Kunming and Bangkok will be about 3,600 Thai Baht or 700 yuan ($109.62), which is about a half or a third of an airline ticket, and the railway freight cost is only one ninth of the air freight.
The railway is estimated to add two million more Chinese tourists to Thailand every year and will provide further convenience to its agricultural product export. With this railway, Thailand will be a new transportation hub of ASEAN countries.
Wu Zhiwu, Charge d’Affaires ad Interim of Chinese Embassy in Thailand, said that the cooperation on China-Thailand Railway will be a good example of the implementation of the “One Belt and One Road” initiative. On the basis of this railway, China and Thailand can further cooperate on the construction of ports, airports and other infrastructures.
The planned China-Thailand Railway is 867 kilometers long, with an agreed operation speed of 180km/h, which is slower than the previous version of 250km/h due to cost control. The railway will connect northeast Thailand’s Nong Khai province, capital Bangkok and eastern Rayong province.