Thailand's junta chief on Tuesday said he would invoke his 'absolute powers' to clear hurdles holding up a multi-billion-dollar deal with China to build a high-speed railway.
The two countries, who are increasingly close friends, have agreed to lay the track that will ultimately cut through the Laos' border to Thailand's south.
Beijing's big plan is to link the southern Chinese city of Kunming by rail with Singapore and work has already begun on the line in Laos.
But the deal with Thailand has been beset by delays, including a tussle over the initial loan terms from Beijing.
More recently construction has been set back by a Thai law limiting the number of foreign nationals who can work as engineers and architects on mega-projects inside the kingdom.
On Tuesday Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said he would force through the deal, if necessary using Article 44 -- a self-granted law dubbed an absolute power by critics.
"The government must solve the problem otherwise it will hit snags or legal issues and it will look like the government can't achieve anything," he told reporters.
Article 44 is a controversial power Prayut granted himself to make any executive decision in the name of national security.
He has used the law on a raft of issues, from sacking officials to raiding a controversial temple, to deputising all soldiers with policing powers.
His government defends it as a needed tool that bypasses Thailand's sclerotic bureaucracy.
But critics say it is a vivid illustration of the junta's unaccountable powers.
Prayut's comments will be a comfort to Beijing.
The rail deal with China is one of the biggest foreign investment projects in Thailand in years and is part of China's huge regional infrastructure drive.
The first stage of the Thai railway, a high-speed line between Bangkok and the north eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, is alone worth 179 billion baht ($5.2 billion).
The vast majority of technical expertise will come from Chinese engineers, something that may disgruntle Thai construction firms that stand to lose out.
Under junta rule Bangkok has cosied up to Beijing, splurging billions on Chinese arms and welcoming investment from the regional superpower.
Washington's relationship with Bangkok cooled under the previous administration of Barack Obama over the junta's rights abuses.
But Donald Trump has signalled relations may be rebooted by inviting Prayut to visit the White House.
Thanks for being here;|
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.
With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.
Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.
If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
$5 Billed Once
credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly
Share this article via these popular social media networks|
Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily|
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|