The World Bank said on Thursday that although it was not involved in the high-speed train project in Vietnam it had no objections to high-speed trains in general.
The statement was made to "dispel possible misunderstandings" caused by an article published by local news website VnExpress earlier this month that said the World Bank was against building a high-speed train in Vietnam.
According to the article, which has been reproduced by a number of Vietnamese and international media, the World Bank said it would not be involved in Vietnam's high-speed train project and warned the country from trying to climb too high.
"Because it focused on only partial aspects of the answers, the VnExpress article could convey a distorted impression of what was actually said at the press conference," the World Bank said in its statement.
The statement also includes a transcript of the answers related to the high-speed project, in which Martin Rama, lead Vietnam economist for the World Bank, said the lender does not have anything against high-speed trains.
"The World Bank financed the high-speed train of Japan," Rama was quoted as saying at the press conference for the mid-term Consultative Group meeting last week. "These days the World Bank is considering options for the high-speed train in Brazil. Now, this is not to say that the high-speed train of Vietnam is a good idea. But there is nothing in principle against it. Like for any other project, one should consider the costs and the benefits.
"Vietnam is thinking big, and that has advantages and has risks," he said. "But when you have something that is too big it also brings risks with it."
"For the time being we are not involved in the high-speed train (in Vietnam), in any way. Of course, we are interested. We follow with interest, like anything that concerns the development of Vietnam."
The high-speed train project has sparked a fiery debate among Vietnamese legislators this week, with many expressing concern over the project's funding and timing.