Lao, Thai PM Want More Bridges to Connect their Countries

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Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha (left) and Lao PM Phankham Viphavanh on Friday

Lao Prime Minister, Phankham Viphavanh and his Thai counterpart, Prayut Chan-o-cha agree that more bridges are required to link their respective countries across the Mekong river.

The two leaders met on Friday for the foundation stone laying ceremony of the fifth Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge which will be completed by April 2024. The leaders also feel that the Thai rail network should be linked with the new Laos-China railway line to offer better connectivity to travelers in the region.

Thai PM’s secretary-general, Mr. Anucha Buraphachaisi informed that the ceremony to lay foundation stones for the fifth Lao-Thai friendship bridge took place on both sides of the Mekong river, in Bolikhamxay province in Laos and Bueng Kan province in Thailand.

Construction on both sides started on January 2021 and the Lao government was given a loan worth THB 1,380 million (USD 36,283) by Thailand’s Neighboring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) for the project, and the cost would be borne by the two countries.

“This bridge will provide another convenient route for visits between people along the border and there will be more bridges at other locations,” said PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha.

The two prime ministers are positive that the fifth bridge will help boost economic development for both nations and facilitate transport between Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, Mr. Anucha stated.

He added that the two PMs also mulled over the development of the Laos-Thai Railway and ways to reduce hurdles to connecting Thai Railways with the railway line that connects Laos and China.

The fifth Lao-Thai friendship bridge is a cable-stayed structure connecting the two nations on a 16.34-kilometer route. When complete, it would offer convenient connectivity from Laos to Vietnam and Southern China.

The first four existing bridges over the Mekong river see the connection between Vientiane Capital-Nong Khai, Savannakhet-Mukdahan-, Khammouane-Nakhon Phanom, and Huay Xai routes-Chiang Khong.