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China to boost infrastructure of neighbors with new aid offer

(Xinhua)    10:32, December 21, 2014
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BANGKOK, Dec. 20 -- China will offer five neighboring countries opportunities of sharing with the Mekong River funds and production capacity aid to improve infrastructure connectivity and poverty reduction, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced here Saturday.

The offer includes 1 billion U.S. dollars for infrastructure inter-connectivity, 490 million dollars in grant for poverty alleviation and 10 billion dollars in special loans, Li said.

In a speech to the fifth summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation held in the Thai capital, Li said that infrastructure inter-connectivity, particularly transportation facilities, is vital to boosting economy and development.

The Chinese and Thai governments have agreed to build Thailand's first standard-gauge railway lines with a total length of more than 800 km, which is estimated to cost some 10.6 billion dollars.

Li voiced the hope that the high-calibre, high-quality and cost-effective new railway lines would benefit neighboring countries if extended to other places in the region.

The GMS Economic Cooperation Program, which was launched in 1992 by six countries along the Mekong River -- Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, is aimed at pooling joint efforts to improve regional infrastructure, enhancing trade, investment and economic growth.

In addition to railway cooperation, China also promised to invest 16.4 million dollars to dredge waterways along the Mekong River and prevent natural disasters, said Li.

Calling for innovation in GMS economic cooperation, the premier said China expects to export its high-level production capacity in such industries as electricity, telecommunication, steel and cement to neighboring countries, especially those on regional transportation routes.

China is going to finance infrastructure inter-connectivity and industrial production capacity exports by offering special loans as well as allowing currency swap in cross-border transactions and participation of private enterprises, Li said.

China will also provide 490 million dollars in aid next year to finance subregional poverty alleviation efforts, he said.

Such efforts, together with the farm produce trade cooperation agreed by China and Thailand Friday, are aimed at improving the people's livelihood in the subregion, particularly farmers' life, said Li, adding that China will offer traning programs for 3,000 people in next three years to the GMS countries for professionals of agriculture and health.

On a broader scale, Li said, the GMS economic cooperation, with a total trade volume of 150 billion dollars in 2013, will further enrich China's partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

China stands ready to cultivate stable, peaceful and friendly relations with its ASEAN neighbors, he said.

China also welcomes the rest of the world to participate in the GMS development, Li said.

Of China's ASEAN neighbors, the five GMS countries are the closest, he said.

Side by side with the five, China is willing to make unremitting efforts to achieve long-term prosperity, stability and development in the region by propelling economic growth, enhancing people's livelihood, and deepening mutually-beneficial cooperation in various fields, he stressed.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Sun Zhao,Yao Chun)
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