Thailand’s ruling military junta has announced plans to green light 1.5 trillion baht (US$45 billion) of construction projects over the next 12 months.

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Seaports will be a significant element of Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor

The country’s military leaders are keen to have the infrastructure projects in place before the potential switch to a democratic government in next year’s planned elections.

Kanit Sangsbhan, secretary-general of the Eastern Economic Corridor Office, which is overseeing the initiative, admitted, “We’re in a rush. We want to make sure everything is ready by the time the new government comes in.”

The Eastern Economic Corridor project involves the creation of a special investment zone, covering three eastern provinces (Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao). Within the zone, clusters of industries will be promoted, in sectors including electronics, aviation, biotechnology and robotics.

Infrastructure and air and sea ports will be developed within the zone, along with high-speed and dual-track rail networks.

The country’s current rulers are keen to press ahead with the initiative, believing it will become a strategically important element of China’s One Belt One Road initiative, providing a long-term master plan for future administrations.

Government spokesperson Werachon Sukondhapatipak said the strategy is part of the constitution and will be legally binding on future leaders.

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