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Groundbreaking of First Phase of China-Thailand Railway Project

  On December 21, the groundbreaking ceremony of the first phase of China-Thailand railway cooperation project was held in Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima Province. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sent a congratulatory message to the ceremony. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha attended and addressed the ceremony. Nearly 600 people including Chairman of the Chinese side of the Joint Committee on Railway Cooperation between Thailand and China, Deputy head of China's National Development and Reform Commission Wang Xiaotao, Chinese Ambassador Lyu Jian, Thai Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Thai Minister of Interior Affairs Anupong Paojinda, as well as representatives from the governmental departments of China and Thailand, railway administrations, relevant enterprises and media attended the ceremony.

  In his congratulatory message, Premier Li Keqiang extended his warm congratulation on the start-up of the project and expressed his sincere thanks to those who have long been dedicated to promoting China-Thailand railway cooperation and common development. He also said that the China-Thailand railway project is a flagship project of bilateral cooperation in production capacity under the Belt and Road initiative, which reflects the spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. It will effectively improve infrastructure and connectivity in Thailand and the region, facilitate the sustainable development of Thailand, drive the development and prosperity in the region and improve people's livelihood.Premier Li hoped the two sides would keep close cooperation, complete the first phase of the railway with high quality, and steadily push ahead with the second phase, so as to join the China-Laos railway at an early date and facilitate trade and travel of people in the countries along the railway.

  Premier Li Keqiang stressed in his message that Chinese and Thai are like one family and, as a friendly neighbor of Thailand, China attaches great importance to the development of the friendly relations. China is willing to work together with Thailand to enhance the complementarity of their respective development strategies, constantly advance win-win pragmatic cooperation between the two countries with the railway cooperation project as a new platform, further promote the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, and bring more benefits to both peoples.

  In his speech, Prime Minister Prayut said that China-Thailand friendship has a long history and the two sides have conducted fruitful cooperation in economic, social and cultural fields. China is Thailand's largest trading partner and tourist source as well as the third largest investment source.The Thailand-China high-speed railway project will not only promote Thailand's economic development, but also facilitate regional connectivity and will link Thailand with its neighboring countries as part of the "Belt and Road" transportation network, making Thailand a transport and logistics center of ASEAN and enabling Thailand to achieve sustainable development and move towards a high-income country.

  In order to combine this project with the overall development of Thailand, the Thai government has formulated a development plan for transportation infrastructure, including roads, railways, waterways and aviation, and will make adjustments to relevant laws and regulations. At the same time, the Thai government has set up an institute for research and development of railway technology, which is responsible for teaching and developing the related technologies as well as for personnel training to meet the needs of railway development in the future. Thailand is ready to work with China to forge ahead with the construction of the railway project and regional connectivity. It is believed that everything can go smoothly with the two countries' joint efforts.

  Representatives from both sides shoveled earth together to launch the project and then visited related exhibitions including locomotive models and the history of the development of railway in Thailand.

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