China is pushing Thailand to give its quick approval for an Asian railway project linking the Lao border in the northeast with Malaysia in the south.
Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said after returning from China that the government hopes to complete the Thai section of the Asian railway in four years.
China will build a new railway from the northeastern province of Nong Khai to Bangkok connecting with the rail system in Laos. The Thai Parliament has endorsed the negotiating framework.
Suthep went to China last week to discuss the details and seek an extension of the route from Bangkok to Padang Besar in Malaysia, and China has agreed to the proposal.
The Bangkok Post reports China wants the Thai parliament to quickly approve the details of the project so that a memorandum of understanding could be signed between March and April next year and construction could begin before the end of 2011.