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Route Completed Linking S China with N Thailand via Laos

Leaders of from the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries attended a ceremony Monday for the completion of Route 3 along the GMS North-South Economic Corridor (NSEC), which will create more business opportunities and provide people with easier access to social services.

The Kunming-Chiang Khong road in the NSEC (Route 3 in Laos), which links China's Yunnan Province with northern Thailand via Laos, is the last remaining stretch of road in an overland route joining China's Beijing and Singapore.

Route 3 passes through 94 villages and towns in Laos' poor, northwest region with a total length of 220 kilometers. The total cost of Route 3 in Laos is US$97 million, to which China, Thailand, and the Asian Development Bank contributed 30 million dollars each.

At the ceremony, Lao Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh said he thanked the financial assistance of the Chinese and Thai governments in construction of the route.

Also on March 31, the prime ministers from the six countries sharing the Mekong River -- Laos, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand -- witnessed a completion ceremony of phase one of the GMS Information Superhighway Project, the signing of an memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the road-map for implementing the GMS cross-border power trading, and the inking of another MOU toward the sustainable and balanced development of the GMS North-South Economic Corridor and enhanced organizational effectiveness for developing economic corridors in the sub-region.

During the 3rd GMS Summit in Vientiane from March 30-31, the six leaders and representatives from the bank touched upon connectivity and competitiveness issues such as the establishment of transport corridors, power interconnection systems and telecommunications networks, improvement of infrastructure links, and measures to facilitate the cross-border movement of goods and services.

The leaders agreed that the fourth GMS Summit will be held in Myanmar in 2011.

(Xinhua News Agency April 1, 2008)

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