CHIANG RAI – Her Royal Highness Princes Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the opening ceremony of the fourth Thai – Lao friendship bridge in the northern Thai district of Chiang Khong on Wednesday morning.The box girder bridge is a 1.57-billion-baht joint investment between Thailand and China
Her Royal Highness arrived at the Chiang Khong – Houy Xai Friendship Bridge on the Thai-Lao border at 8.30 a.m. On hand to welcome HRH were caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the caretaker Minister of Transport who led the princess to an exhibition on the background of the bridge. At 10.00 a.m. Her Royal Highness joined Thai caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Lao Vice President Bounyoung Vorachit at the opening ceremony of the Bridge.
The construction of the new bridge have been supported by the Thai and Lao governments, the Asian Development Bank and the Chinese government in a hope that the bridge would boost trade, investment and tourism among Thailand, Laos and China.
Bilateral trade value through the Chiang Khong checkpoint in the first nine months of this year increased by more than 30% to 12 billion baht — 9 billion baht from exports and 3 billion baht from imports. With the opening of the new bridge, Chiang Khong District hopes to experience higher growth in bilateral trade as well as a greater number of tourists next year.
Given the bridge across the international river, cargo trucks laden with varied goods may ply between northern Thailand and China’s Yunnan province via R3A road through Laos.
The three other Thai-Lao bridges lie between Nong Khai province of Thailand and the Lao capital of Vientiane, between Nakorn Panom province of Thailand and Khamouane province of Laos and between Mukdaharn province of Thailand and Savannakhet province of Laos.