China will offer funds and production capacity assistance to five neighboring countries sharing the Mekong River with it, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced in the Thai capital of Bangkok on Saturday (20 Dec 2014).
The aid will help reduce poverty and improve infrastructure connectivity and production capacity, according to Xinhua news agency.
The offer includes US$1 billion for infrastructure inter-connectivity, US$490 million in grant for poverty alleviation and US$1.6 billion in special loans for China’s production capacity export, Li said.
In a speech to the 5th summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation held in the Thai capital of Bangkok, 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 US$10.6 billion dollars.
Li voiced the hope that the new railway lines would benefit neighboring countries if extended to other places in the region.
The GMS Economic Cooperation Program was launched in 1992 by six countries along the Mekong River, namely Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.