Tue 28 Aug 2012
Filed under: Business / Trade,Inside Burma,International,News
The government will proceed with its plan to set up a coordination mechanism between Thailand and Myanmar on the construction of the Dawei deep-sea port project.
Sihasak Phuangketkaew, permanent secretary for foreign affairs, said he submitted a concept paper to Myanmar last week under the Thailand-Myanmar Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation between the two neighbours on the Dawei project.
The MoU was signed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Myanmar President Thein Sein in Thailand last month, Mr Sihasak said.
“Both governments should work together under the newly proposed mechanism to support the Dawei project together with Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard,” Mr Sihasak told the Bangkok Post.
“Thailand wants the mechanism to engage high-level officials of the two countries,” he said.
Mr Sihasak recently led a Thai team comprising officials from the Transport and Industry ministries and the National Economic and Social Development Board to Myanmar.
Mr Sihasak said the same team would return to Myanmar for further consultation before Ms Yingluck’s trip there on Sept 19 -21 to launch the Dawei and western seaboard projects.
Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said Thein Sein wanted to hold talks with Thailand about the joint development of the Dawei project as soon as possible.
Mr Sihasak said the two countries will focus on infrastructure building, construction of industrial estates, energy cooperation and developing regulations on the transportation of goods across the border.
The Thai government will also push for cooperation on community development in areas adjacent to the Dawei site, vocational training, relocation of local residents, academic issues, education and public health assistance, said Mr Sihasak.
Thailand will also help Italian-Thai Development Plc, the contractor for the project, drum up interest among foreign investors and help mobilise capital to construct the deep-sea port, Mr Sihasak said.
“The Thai government is trying to raise the project’s profile to create visibility in foreign countries,” he said.
Several civil society leaders and academics have called for the government to review the project as they believe it might adversely affect residents living along the road linking Dawei in Myanmar to Thailand.