China has approved a $6.3 billion project to build three railways linking its Yunnan province to Vietnam, Laos, and Burma, with the goal to eventually extend the railways further South to Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
The railways, which is to start this year, will be built in two phases. The first phase linking China's Yunnan province to Vietnam, Laos and Burma is expected to be completed by 2010, with completion of the second phase - from Vietnam to Cambodia, Laos to Thailand, and from Burma to Thailand and eventually to Malaysia and Singapore - expected in 2015 at the latest.
Meanwhile, Lao authorities say the construction of the rail track linking the Friendship Bridge to Vikentiane's Tha Nalaeng port has started and is expected to be complete in 2008.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details.