Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) and his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai attend a joint press conference in Bangkok, Thailand, on July 24, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Mangmang)
BANGKOK, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday that Thailand-China railway project is conducive to the long-term development of Thailand and meets the interests of the Thai people.
Speaking at a press conference alongside his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai, Wang said Thailand-China railway is an important project in the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
The railway project is also an important connectivity project under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, he added.
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of Silk Road.
Wang noted that building of Thailand-China railway will not only bring about growth and prosperity of local industries along the railway in Thailand, but also achieve breakthrough of the Pan-Asian railway network.
Furthermore, the project will lay the foundation for Thailand to be the hub for regional connectivity as well as an important center of ASEAN economy, he stressed.
"No matter judging from a domestic or regional perspective, the project will benefit Thailand in the long run and meet the interests of the Thai people," Wang said.
While noting that it is inevitable to encounter some difficulties in pushing forward the project, Wang said that with the personal endeavor of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the technical bottleneck has been broken and major progress has been made in the negotiation of the project.
The two sides have worked out a roadmap for cooperation including the time of launching construction of the project and its anticipated completion, the Chinese minister said.
Wang also highlighted that China is willing to share high-speed railway technology with Thailand, help the Thai side train technicians and management personnel.
Thai cabinet early this month approved the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima high speed railway project under Thailand-China rail cooperation, which is set to start operation in 2021.
The cabinet approved the proposal of the Ministry of Transport for the construction of the 252-kilometer-long stretch of the high speed rail project between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima province, with an estimated 179 billion baht (5.2 billion U.S. dollars) in funding, all of which is to be raised by Thai government.