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Thailand and Japan near the deal on highway

Staff writer |
Tokyo has agreed in principle to partner with Thailand in developing the East-West Economic corridor project following a visit to Japan by a Thai delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.

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The agreement followed a meeting between the Thai delegation and Japan's Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, and Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Akihiro Ota, Bangkok Post reports.

According to a senior Foreign Ministry official who accompanied the Thai delegation, the agreement reached between the governments is the most significant deal Japan has entered into with Thailand for many years.

The East-West Economic corridor is a development programme initiated during a ministerial conference of the Greater Mekong Sub-region in 1998 with the aim to promote development and integration of four Asean countries, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

The economic corridor features a 1,450-kilometre-long highway from the west of Mawlamyine in Myanmar, linking Thailand's Tak province before cutting through the upper part of Thailand to enter Laos' Savannakhet province through Mukdahan and ending at Danang City in Vietnam.

Under the agreement, Japan will help Thailand develop the highway link between Tak and Mukdahan.

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