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MoUs with China to be inked today on deals for dual-track railways, rice and rubber

Dec 18. 2014
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By The Nation

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Thailand and China will today sign two memoranda of understanding in relation to the construction of dual-track railways in the Kingdom and China's purchase of Thai rice and rubber.
The Government House event will be witnessed by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and Premier Li Keqiang.
The first MoU is for development of two standard-gauge dual-track railways – a 734-kilometre route linking Nong Khai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Saraburi’s Kaeng Khoi district and Map Ta Phut Port in Rayong, and a 133km line linking Bangkok and Kaeng Khoi. 
It will be signed by Transport Minister Prajin Juntong and the director of China’s National Development and Reform Council. 
Construction of the railways is expected to commence in 2016, and the project is part of Thailand’s transport infrastructure development plan for 2015-2022.
The second MoU, for China’s purchase of Thai rice and rubber, will be signed by Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikalya and China’s agriculture minister. China has promised to buy 2 million tonnes of rice and 200,000 tonnes of rubber, Deputy Transport Minister Akom Termpitayapaisit said.
The two countries, which celebrate the 40th anniversary of their bilateral ties next year, will discuss in detail at a later date the exact amount of rice and rubber to be sold to China, according to Akom, who is also secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board.
Last month, the Cabinet approved the draft MoU between Thailand and China on the development of the dual-track railways, which was proposed by the Transport Ministry. 
The Cabinet at the that time also approved a proposal to set up a joint committee between the two countries to carry out the railway projects, which will be jointly chaired by Prajin and the chief of China’s National Development and Reform Council.
Earlier, China agreed to lend Thailand cash to fund the construction of the railways, as part of a government-to-government agreement to extend the regional transport links. The deal was reached at a recent meeting between Prayut and Li, who had bilateral discussions during three international summits in Italy, China and Myanmar. 
The Chinese premier is scheduled to arrive at Government House at 4pm today, where he will be welcomed by Prayut. The delegations from both countries will convene their meeting at 4.40pm.
After the discussion is completed, the MoUs will be signed.
Prayut will make an official visit to China on Monday and Tuesday at the invitation of the Chinese government.

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