Dawei also on Tokyo's agenda, top aide says
JAPAN YESTERDAY signalled its intention to help develop multibillion-baht high-speed railway routes in Thailand while also investing in the Dawei port and industrial-estate projects in Myanmar.
The development followed a meeting between Hiroto Izumi, special economic adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House.
Transport Minister Prajin Juntong said Thailand would sign a memo of cooperation with Japan this month on joint development of the Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi-Bangkok-Laem Chabang and Bangkok to Sa Kaew rail lines. Further study would be done on the Mae Sot to Mukdahan route.
Prajin said Deputy Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith would sign the deal with Japanese railroad authorities during a trip to Tokyo on May 26-27.
Izumi expressed his country’s strong interest in developing the projects, especially the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route.
Besides the rail schemes, Japan also hopes to sign a tripartite agreement with Thailand and Myanmar in July to develop jointly the Dawei deep-sea port and industrial estate, Izumi said.
Earlier this year, Prayut visited Japan and signed a memorandum of understanding with Abe to develop three railway projects jointly – the Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi-Bangkok-Sa Kaew, and Mae Sot-Mukdahan routes.
Prajin said cooperation with China on railway projects was also going ahead, with the Kaeng Khoi-Nakhon Ratchasima route the most ready among four routes, which also include the Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi, Kaeng Khoi-Map Ta Phut, and Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai routes.
On the multibillion-dollar Dawei projects, Izumi said Japan was ready to invest in the “special-purpose vehicle” to develop the projects with the Myanmar and Thai governments.
The Japanese role will be led by its state agencies, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and Japan Bank for International Cooperation, which have already assigned experts to help both Thailand and Myanmar implement the projects.
Japanese involvement in the projects will boost the scheme’s feasibility thanks to its huge financial and other resources needed to build them in a manner similar to the Eastern Seaboard development. The projects are close to Kanchanaburi, so the Kanchanaburi-Bangkok-Sa Kaew railway line has been proposed to serve as a crucial link for industries in Thailand and Myanmar, many of which Japanese companies have invested in.