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Sun,Dec 21,2014
>>Foreign Affairs

China joins hands with neighbors to elevate subregional development

(Xinhua)    09:21, December 21, 2014
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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the fifth summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation in Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 20, 2014. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

BANGKOK, Dec. 20 -- China and its southeast neighbors will soon embark on a series of major cooperation projects after Premier Li Keqiang wrapped up his fruitful visit to Thailand on Saturday.

MAJOR BILATERAL PROJECTS

China eyes deeper cooperation with Thailand and hopes for a more balanced bilateral trade and economic relationship, Li told reporters after meeting with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday.

The two governments have agreed to kickstart mutually beneficial cooperation on agro-product trade and railway.

With the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on farm produce trade cooperation, Li said China has agreed to double its purchase on the basis of the volume the two sides agreed upon last year, and expects the new initiative to empower both countries to resist risks of international market fluctuations and help improve the livelihood of Thai farmers.

"Only China has such a big market and a huge purchasing power which could consume the big agricultural production of rice, rubber and others of Thailand," said Li.

In addition, China and Thailand inked a MoU on railway cooperation, agreeing to jointly build Thailand's first standard-gauge railway lines with a total length of more than 800 km, which has been approved by the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand.

The project is estimated to cost some 10.6 billion U.S. dollars, and will connect northeast Thailand's Nong Khai province, Bangkok and eastern Rayong province.

"This is the expansion, extension and further confirmation of the previous agreement that the Chinese and Thai governments reached last year," said Li, while urging the two sides to speed up preparation for the railway project and lay a solid basis for the beginning of construction at an early date.

The new railway will also benefit neighboring countries if being extended to other places of the region, Li said.

Chinese standards, equipment and manufacturing capacity will all be used in building the Thai railway, which helps China export its manufacturing capacity to the rest of the world, Li said.

For his part, Prayut said Thailand and China are friends sharing weal and woe, and his country highly values its relations with China.

Bilateral cooperation on railway and farm produce trade is of vital significance to Thailand, and is conducive to regional inter-connectivity and development, said Prayut, adding that Thailand will cooperate closely with the Chinese side to facilitate the implementation of relevant cooperation agreements.

Thailand, he said, will take the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties next year as an opportunity to elevate its relationship with China to a new height.


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(Editor:Sun Zhao,Yao Chun)
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