Laos says railway to China finished by 2014

BEIJING Tue Dec 7, 2010 12:21pm IST

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - The poor and landlocked Southeast Asian nation of Laos expects its rail link with China to be finished by 2014, boosting trade links with its giant neighbour and the rest of Asia, its deputy prime minister said on Tuesday.

The railway is part of a broader plan to connect Kunming city in southwestern China with Singapore, including Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The country's Deputy Prime Minister, Somsavat Lengsavad, told a conference in Beijing that the Laos-to-China part of the railway should start construction early in 2011 and take four years to complete, after the two sides signed an agreement in April.

"To free our country from the least developed status ... our government has invested much in communication infrastructure development in order to complement both intra-ASEAN and ASEAN-China integration," he said.

"We believe that this project will contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of Laos, as well as to the promotion of economic cooperation between ASEAN and China," Lengsavad added.

The railway will also help with "the masterplan for ASEAN connectivity and the implementation of the ASEAN-China free trade area", he said. It would be a "high speed" line, Lengsavad added, without elaborating.

Laos is already connected to Thailand by rail, though only up to just outside its capital Vientiane.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

A China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement came into effect in January, forming an economic bloc of 1.9 billion people.

Chinese companies are increasingly involved in logging and hydropower projects in Laos, and Chinese aid has helped build roads, markets and other infrastructure in the country, challenging Laos' traditional close ties with Vietnam.

Bilateral trade between China and Laos grew by more than half in 2009 to $751.8 million.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ken Wills)

FILED UNDER:

Ferguson Unrest

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Nifty Above 8,600

Nifty Above 8,600

Nifty hits record high above 8,600; state-run lenders gain  Full Article 

Indian in Iraq

Indian in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Essar Group

Essar Group

Exclusive - Essar's planned oil-for-steel deal tests Iran sanctions  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Fiscal Deficit

Fiscal Deficit

April-October fiscal deficit nears 90 pct of full-year target  Full Article 

Oil Prices

Oil Prices

Oil hits new four-year low post OPEC as glut looms  Full Article 

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage