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China sign Laos' longest and fastest railway deal

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Laos railway
Transport   A 418-km line that will connect Kunming and Vientiane

China and Laos signed an intergovernmental railway cooperation agreement, planning to introduce a modern rail line in Laos in 2020.

Xu Shaoshi, head of National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic regulator, signed the document with Somsavat Lengsavad, deputy prime minister of Laos, at a ceremony at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

The two countries have agreed to use Chinese technology and equipment to build a 418-km line that will connect Kunming, capital of southwestern China's Yunnan province, with the Lao capital city of Vientiane, according to the agreement.

The line will start in Kunming and travel southward to Jinghong and Mohan until entering Laos through the Lao border city of Boten. It will then travel past Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng before arriving in Vientiane. It will transport passengers as well as cargo.

The railway's average speed is set at 160 kph and 60 percent of the line will be bridges and tunnels. China will be responsible for 70 percent of the 40-billion-yuan ($6.27 billion) investment, while Laos will be responsible for the remainder.

Once it is operational, this line will become Laos' longest and fastest railway. Currently, the Southeast Asian nation has only one railway, which was opened in 2009 and links Vientiane with Thailand's Nong Khai.

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