The ASEAN Economic Ministers emphasised the need for the activities under the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link (SKRL) Project to be aligned and synchronised with those of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC). The Ministers were updated of the projects’ progress at the 13th Ministerial Meeting of the ASEAN-Mekong Basin Development Cooperation (AMBDC) held here today.

The synergy, they said, will work to support efforts in realising the ASEAN Community to deliver a continued economic growth, reduced development gap and improved connectivity among and between ASEAN Member States, as well as the rest of the world.

They advised that given that the SKRL is one of the many key actions under the MPAC, the Ministers encouraged the Special Working Group on the SKRL to coordinate closely with the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC). They also noted the progress reported by various countries and continued to emphasise the project as priority.

This year’s AMBDC Ministerial Meeting is the first since the ASEAN Leaders adopted the MPAC at the 18th ASEAN Summit in Ha Noi, Viet Nam on 28 October last year.

The Singapore-Kunming Rail Link (SKRL) Project is a flagship project of the AMBDC and a priority agenda in the ASEAN transport cooperation. The circular rail link will connect the capital cities in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Viet Nam and Thailand, and go on for 7,000 km.

Given the mammoth size of the project and the resource constraints, special effort and assistance will be drawn from with ASEAN, from interested Dialogue Partners, and other International Organisations to complete the project. The 13th Special Working Group Meeting on the SKRL will be held later this year to further discuss construction on the missing links and the mobilisation of resources to complete the outstanding projects.

Earlier, on Wednesday, the Senior Economic Officials held a Steering Committee Meeting to prepare for today’s Ministerial Meeting.

The 13th AMBDC Ministerial Meeting, which was chaired by H.E. Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Trade of Indonesia and this year’s AEM Chair, was attended by Economic Ministers from the ASEAN Member States and H.E. Li Pumin, Deputy Secretary-General, National Development and Reform Commission, the People’s Republic of China, who was representing the Commission’s Vice Chairman, H.E. Du Ying.

The last Ministerial Meeting on AMBDC was held on 27 August last year in Da Nang, Viet Nam. The AMBDC was established in 1996 and meets annually. The next AMBDC Ministerial Meeting will be held in Cambodia in late August next year.