Sunday, September 2, 2007

Thailand to be part of $10 billion 7,000 km rail project

October Seminar To Seek Funds For $10 Billion
China - Southeast Asia railway

Manila, Philippines (AHN) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) investment roadshow in New York on Oct. 24 will include a seminar that will try to attract private investors to the planned railway linking China to Singapore and other ASEAN countries, the Philippine media reported.

In a joint statement after their ASEAN-Mekong Basin Development Cooperation (AMBDC) meeting in Manila on Monday, ministers and officials of the regional economic bloc and China said the seminar hopes to attract investments to the $2 billion Singapore-Kunming Rail Link (SKRL) project of the AMBDC.

ASEAN Secretary General Ong Keng Yong told reporters that the SKRL funding is intended for the building or repair of 342 miles (550 kilometers) of missing or dilapidated sections of the 4,350-mile (7,000-kilometer) circular rail system. The railway links Kunming, capital of China's southern province of Yunnan, with Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore. The entire loop will cost about $10 billion.

The SKRL is among the economic development projects set in 1996 by the AMBDC for the underdeveloped areas of Southeast Asia. But Ong said implementation of the project has been delayed due to lack of funds and technical issues.

The official said the AMBDC wants the railway completed by 2015, when ASEAN countries formally integrate into an economic bloc similar to the European Union.

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