ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
The Chinese government has helped fund the fourth Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge that opens in Bokeo province today, which is expected to boost trade, investment and tourism among the countries of the region.
The border checkpoint building on the Lao side, the connection road and of the bridge work itself were funded through grant aid provided by the Chinese government.
The official handover ceremony of the fourth Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge, connecting road and Huayxai International Border Check Point building took place yesterday evening.
Deputy Prime Minister of Laos Somsavat Lengsavad, represented the Lao government at the official handover alongside Chinese Ambassador to Laos Guan Huabing.
Somsavat said he was assigned by Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong to attend the handover ceremony of the Bokeo bridge.
“We highly value the assistance from the Chinese government, which provided a large sum of grant aid to the Lao government and our people,” he announced.
The 630-metre bridge connecting Chiang Rai in Thailand to Kumming in China via the R3 route in Laos forms a vital link in the North South Economic Corridor which will facilitate trade and transportation between Laos, Thailand and China.
It will also improve local transportation in landlocked areas of northern Laos, providing an accessible route for goods transport to domestic markets and providing international market opportunities as well.
The ceremony to officially open the bridge to traffic will take place today, to be attended by Vice President of Laos Bounnhang Vorachit and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand.
Works on the Lao side of the bridge were 100 percent complete as of the end of October, including the 6km of asphalt road linking the bridge to Road R3.
Initial construction work on the bridge began in June 2010 and an extension to the initial deadline was approved after early delays.
The bridge is part of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region North-South Economic Corridor, which links Chiang Rai province in Thailand to Yunnan province in China via Laos.
Locally, it will connect Done village in Bokeo's Huayxai district with Ing village in Chiang Rai province.
The 14.7m-wide bridge will speed up transport of goods between Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and China, and open up the area to further tourism development.
The project is being jointly funded by Thailand and Laos (via grant aid), with the total cost exceeding over US$48 million.
The new bridge in Bokeo will be the fourth to cross the Mekong into Thailand from Laos.
The first Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge was built in Vientiane, with a further two constructed in Savannakhet and Khammuan provinces and another slated for Borikhamxay.
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