Thailand and Laos have agreed to jointly develop transport connectivity, linking various countries in this region, as well as Thailand, Laos, and China.
The issue was among major topics of discussion during the second Thai–Lao Joint Cabinet Retreat, held in Chiang Mai province on 19 May 2013. The joint cabinet retreat was co-chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong of Lao PDR.
Among the transport connectivity projects discussed at the meeting was the construction of a railway, linking Nong Khai in northeastern Thailand and Thanaleng in Laos. The railway will serve as a linkage with the Chinese high-speed train system along the North-South Economic Corridor.
Laos welcomed Thailand’s decision to upgrade two more Thai-Lao border temporary checkpoints into permanent checkpoints, effective on 19 May 2013. The two checkpoints are Phu Du in Ban Khok district, Uttaradit province, and Sop Ruak in Chiang Saen district, Chiang Rai province.
Both Thailand and Laos agreed to promote regional tourism and shared the view that the ACMECS Single Visa would be a scheme to help boost tourism in the ASEAN region as a whole. Laos has shown an intention to prepare for the adoption of the single visa.
Thailand and Laos also expressed their readiness to solve the problem concerning illegal migrant workers from Laos. The Thai Cabinet has approved the operations of the One-stop Service Center for another 120 days, from 14 April 2013 onwards, in order to facilitate the verification of Lao workers’ nationality. Both sides reaffirmed that they would facilitate the immigration of legal Lao workers, based on the 2002 MOU on Thai-Lao Employment Cooperation.
The meeting ended with the signing of three documents: the Joint Statement of the Second Thai-Lao Joint Cabinet Retreat, an MOU on agricultural cooperation between Thailand and Lao PDR, and an agreement on ownership, management and maintenance of the Fourth Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge (Chiang Khong – Houayxay).