Work starts on China-Thailand high-speed railway

Work starts on China-Thailand high-speed railway

Following years of often tough negotiations, work on Thailand’s first high-speed railway, financed by China, began on 21 December.

The whole project will eventually run 253km from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchisima in the northeast of Thailand and is part of China’s long term plan to link its southern border to Singapore by rail.

With just the Thai phase expected to cost more than USD5 billion, the ceremony hosted at the end of December inaugurated just 3.5km of line between two stations in Bangkok, Klang Dong and Pang Asok.

First agreed in an MoU in 2014, China’s financial support for the line is a flagship project in its One Belt, One Road initiative.  However, cooperation has been marred by disagreements over costs, operating rights and the repayment schedule with the Thai government pulling out of the deal in 2016, before both sides reached final agreement in early 2017.

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