Road linking Beijing to Singapore opened

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Bangkok, Mar 31 (UNI) The leaders of Thailand, Laos and China today declared open a highway linking the Chinese capital to Singapore at a meeting of Mekong region heads of government in Vientiane.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, his Thai counterpart Samak Sundarvej, the Prime Minister of Laos, Bouasone Bouphavanh and Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda opened the last link of the trans-Southeast Asian road route.

The section of the Singapore-Beijing road inaugurated today, passes through the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

Before construction began on this stretch, it was closed four four months a year during the monsoon period. It was part of a nearly 1,000-year-old trade routes linking Southeast Asia to the southern branches of the Silk Route that linked China with Central Asia.

''Revitalising this ancient trade route and stimulating new business between these Mekong neighbours will bring more jobs and greater prosperity to the region,'' the ADB President said on the occasion.

The Prime Ministers of China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam are meeting in Vientiane for the two-day Third Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Summit that opened yesterday to discuss economic and social cooperation.

The GMS region bordering South-East Asia's main river after which it is named, is one of the fastest growing in the world.

UNI XC SZ PK RK1256

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