VO China announces that it will offer US.5 billion in loans and aid to the five Mekong countries
INTRO: China has announced that it will offer US.5 billion in loans and aid to the five Mekong countries of Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for future projects.
STORY: The announcement was made by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the 5th GMS Summit in Bangkok, Thailand on Saturday which was also attended by Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and other leaders from GMS countries.
Premier Li Keqiang pledged US billion in funding for infrastructure, US0 million in aid for poverty reduction, and US billion in “special loans”
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told the summit that China will offer the five neighbouring nations opportunities to share the Mekong River funds and production capacity aid so as to help promote infrastructure connectivity, poverty reduction and production capacity. China is a good neighbour of Laos which sees rising cooperation in all fields ranging from politics to economics and socio-culture.
In September 2013, China announced its grant aid of 300 million yuan (more than US million) and non-interest loans worth 200 million yuan (more than US.6 million) to Laos. That announcement was made during the bilateral talks in China between Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang which was held on the sidelines of the 10th Asean-China Expo from September 3-6 in Nanning.
Trade between the two countries reached US.03 billion in 2013, an increase of almost 30 percent compared to the year before. In the meantime, Chinese investment in Laos is worth over US billion in 2013 making it amongst the largest foreign investors in the country.
Also during the GMS summit, the Chinese and Thai governments agreed to build US.6 billion railway projects in Thailand, one of which will connect to northeast Thailand’s Nong Khai province.
The project could create a momentum to move forward a railway project linking Vientiane to the Lao-China border over a distance of 421km. In addition to railway cooperation, China also promised to invest US.4 million to dredge waterways along the Mekong River in a bid to prevent natural disasters.
Mr Li said China is going to finance infrastructure inter-connectivity and industrial production capacity for export by offering special loans as well as allowing currency swaps in cross-border transactions with the participation of private enterprises.
Six countries sharing the Mekong River during the GMS summit have agreed to spend US billion on development projects mainly to link one another over the next 10 years. These projects reflected a continuing need to fill the remaining transport gaps along GMS corridors.
Meanwhile, Thailand is keen to upgrade the importance of Laos’ national Roads No. 8 and 12 for more cross-border transport.
Since its inception in 1992, the GMS programme has undertaken 69 projects across 10 sectors. Of US.8 billion in total project investments, about one third was financed by development partners, a third by ADB – which is the Secretariat for the GMS Programme – and a further third by the GMS countries themselves.