11 July 2024

Thailand has agreed to help Laos fulfil its plan to transform from a land-locked to land-linked country, to help in the development of infrastructure projects and to secure low-interest loans, said Government Spokesman Chai Watcharonke today (Monday).

The Thai prime minister led a delegation to Vientiane today (Monday) for talks with his Laotian counterpart on bilateral cooperation, encompassing trade, logistics, tourism and development.

Chai said that the Thai prime minister voiced his support for economic cooperation between Thailand and Laos, to turn Laos and Thailand’s north-eastern region into a growth area for mutual benefit, with both sides agreeing to facilitate bilateral trade to the tune of about US$11 billion per annum within the next two years.

Regarding the rail connection between the two countries, Chai said he urged the two sides to conclude talks quickly on the construction of a new bridge across the Mekong River, linking Thailand’s Nong Khai with the Laotian capital, adding that Srettha also called for the rapid conclusion of a technical agreement for the train service between the Thanaleng and Vientiane stations in Laos.

The two prime ministers were satisfied with progress in the construction of the 5th Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River, linking Boeng Karn province with Bolikhamsai province of Laos, said Chai.

They have also agreed to build the 6th Friendship Bridge, linking Ubon Ratchathani with Salavan in Laos, and to develop Highway 12, linking Nakhon Phanom with Thakhek, Bolikhamsai and Quang Binh province in Vietnam, said the spokesman.

He also said that Srettha urged Laos to set the handling charge quickly for Thai goods unloaded at Vientiane Logistics Park, so Thai businesses can make plans in advance for exports to Laos by rail.

The two leaders also agreed on a joint action plan, involving Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, to tackle the cross-border air pollution problem caused by forest fires, with Thailand providing support in making a fire risk maps and technical training for Lao and Myanmar officials.

After the talks today, the two prime ministers witnessed the signing of two memoranda of understanding. One was on cultural exchange and the other relates to technical assistance for capacity building for locomotive driving and ticketing systems and the development of a business model for Lao National Railway, the handover of a friendship botanical park to commemorate the 70th anniversary of bilateral relations between Thailand and Laos and the delivery of an agricultural training centre in Attapeu.