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Thai junta approves budget for rail upgrade, plans high-speed high links to China

Thailand's military government approved a massive budget to upgrade the country's railways including high-speed rail that would eventually link with China.

Transport Ministry permanent secretary Soithip Traisuth says the junta approved 741.46 billion baht ($23.3 billion) to build two high-speed train routes.

Similar plans by the government ousted in a May 22 military coup were scrapped by a court.

Soithip said construction of the two routes within Thailand will start in 2015 and should be completed by 2021.

Thailand will also expand dual-track railways.

The previous government passed a bill to borrow 2 trillion baht ($63 billion) to improve transport and water infrastructure but a court struck down the plan as unconstitutional.

The junta has been considering total spending of 3 trillion baht ($94 billion) on transport and other infrastructure.