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AFP
April 23, 2019

Cambodia, Thailand reconnected by rail

World

AFP
April 23, 2019

POIPET, Cambodia: A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday in a bid to slash travel times and boost trade between the southeast Asian neighbours.

Cambodian premier Hun Sen and his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-O-Cha witnessed a signing ceremony at a Thai border post before riding together to the Cambodian town of Poipet on a train donated by Thailand.

The pair -- with Prayut dressed in a bright yellow shirt -- stepped from the carriage in Poipet with their clasped hands held high to the cheers of waiting crowds, waving flags of both countries. Hun Sen described their journey as "historic" and thanked Thailand for its efforts "to reconnect the railway between Cambodia and Thailand". The railway would also better link his country to other southeast Asian neighbours and boost economy and trade, he added.

Bilateral trade between Thailand and Cambodia currently stands at $6 billion. Cambodia last year re-opened the final stretch of a 370-kilometre railway running from the capital, Phnom Penh, to the Thai border. The Asian Development Bank bankrolled the reconstruction of the link to the tune of $13 million.

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