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Japan to offer Thailand ¥170 billion in loans for railway project

Kyodo

Japan plans to provide Thailand with ¥167 billion ($1.6 billion) in loans for a railway project, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told his Thai counterpart, Don Pramudwinai.

Kishida said he hopes the project will ease traffic jams and reduce air pollution in Bangkok during their talks Tuesday on the sidelines of a series of regional meetings involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the Laotian capital, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Don expressed gratitude for the offer and said Thailand is promoting talks with its neighbors along the Mekong River and Japan to spur connectivity in the region and increase the flow of people and goods, the ministry said.

Japanese officials said Thailand, located between China and India, is a gateway for the Mekong region and a key country for the region’s development and economic integration.

Kishida also expressed hope that a Thai referendum to be held Aug. 7 on the newly drafted Constitution will be an important step for return to democracy, the ministry said.