Laos' Ministry of Public Works reports that the construction of Route 3 connecting southern China to Thailand via Luang Namtha and Bokeo provinces is virtually completed, and the highway will be inaugurated before the third annual summit of the GMS nations that Laos is hosting at the end of this month.
Construction of the 228 km-long highway began in 2004 at a cost of almost 74 million dollars, funded by grants and long-term loans from the Asian Development Bank, Thailand and China as part of the plan to develop economic cooperation among members of the Greater Mekong Sub-region or GMS, aimed at boosting trade and tourism among others, and supported by ADB and the World Bank.
Meanwhile, Thailand's Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama says his government will begin coordinating with Lao officials on the plan to launch a ground-breaking ceremony as soon as possible for the construction of the third Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge. The Thai Foreign Minister confirms that the bridge, linking Thakek on the Lao side with Nakorn Phanom on the Thai side, will be funded 100% by Thai assistance. He adds that Thailand will also work on ways to help improve and renovate Savannakhet's international airport.
In another develoment, Malaysia's Pacifica Streams Development Corporation has been licenced by the Lao government to be a joint-investor in the Savannakhet-Seno Special Economic Zone. The Special Zone will be built on Route 9 in Kaysone Phomvihan district. The Malaysian company expects to make an initial investment of $14 millions on infrastructure construction for the 210-hectare zone.
Listen to our report for more details in Lao.