The Thai and Cambodian governments have reaffirmed their commitment to opening more border crossings to foster trade and investment.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Cambodian Premier Hun Sen pledged increasing border cooperation in talks ahead of the Mekong River Commission summit in Siem Reap on Thursday. Deputy government spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak said the two leaders will work towards establishing more border crossings and also a rail link. It would benefit both Thais and Cambodians, and specially trade and investment.
Reconnecting the train line between Thailand and Cambodia cut during the Cambodian civil war is among the top issues for the two prime ministers, as it will directly link Bangkok and Phnom Penh.
Cambodia on Wednesday reopened a train line between Poipet and Serey Sophorn in Banteay Meanchey province. Poipet town is opposite Aranyaprathet district in Sa Kaeo and best known for its casinos.
However, the railway line from the border to the Cambodian capital will not be completed before the year's end, with many sections still to be rebuilt. “The Poipet-Serey Sophorn railway service is just the first step of our project to restore the rail line,” the Khmer Times quoted Cambodian Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol as saying on Wednesday.
“The second step is that we will restore the connection from Serey Sophorn to Battambang this month, to Pursat by May, to Bat Deng (Kampong Speu province) by July, and finally to Phnom Penh before the the end of the year,” he said.
Putting the western railway service into operation would contribute to public transport and cut traffic congestion and road accidents. In particular, it would connect the rail line to Thailand, the Cambodian transport minister said.