A Change of Guard

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Thursday, 24 June 2010

Japan gives $131 million to fund Mekong bridge

A motorist boards a ferry to cross the Mekong River in Phnom Penh June 23, 2010. Japan signed an agreement on Wednesday to provide a $131 million grant to Cambodia to build what will be the longest bridge across the Mekong River and a major link in a regional transport network. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PHNOM PENH - JAPAN will provide $131 million to Cambodia to build the Southeast Asian country's second bridge across the Mekong River, officials said Wednesday.

Japanese Ambassador Masafumi Kuroki said the bridge, due for completion in 2015, will benefit Cambodia and its Mekong neighbors Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and China. He attended a signing ceremony for the grant aid in Phnom Penh.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said the bridge would be an important boost to the local economy and speed transport across the Mekong.

It will be built at Neak Loeung in Kandal province, about 65 kilometers southeast of Phnom Penh, and span more than half one kilometer.

It will be the third bridge in Cambodia funded by Japan since the early 1990s. Japan, Cambodia's biggest donor country, has provided roughly US$1.8 billion (S$2.5 billion) in aid to Cambodia since 1993. -- AP

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