Clinton on historic Laos visit to promote investment

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Vientiane on July 11 from a brief trip to Hanoi for an official one-day visit, the first of such to the communist nation in 57 years. John Foster Dulles, Eisenhower’s state secretary, spent a day in Laos – then a monarchy – in 1955.

Clinton accepted an invitation as part of her week-long Southeast Asia diplomatic tour from Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr Thongloun Sisoulith, according to the Laos Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong.

Discussion about increased cooperation between the nations were held in the meetings as an apparent continuation of President Barack Obama’s “pivot” towards the Asia-Pacific policy. The interest of the administration in the region is seen by analysts as a way to counter China’s expanding economic influence and military pressure in Southeast Asia.

Fields of bilateral collaboration touched upon were mainly environmental and infrastructure related. On the agenda was the controversial Mekong River dam project at Xayaburi, which threatens fish migration and sediment flow in an area that could impact millions that live off the Mekong. Last week, state media said that construction would be stalled until environmental issues are resolved, though observers say that the work that has already begun may still cause harm.

Construction of the $3.8 billion hydroelectric dam, contracted to the Thai group CH Karnchang in April, has created fissures in relationships of four out five nations in the Greater Mekong Subregion – Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.

Laos is a poor, land-locked nation with 6.5 million people and views energy projects like the proposed 1,260-kilowatt dam as being crucial to the future of the country.

High-level talks were also scheduled about the persisting effects of Agent Orange, a defoliant released across the Laotian panhandle during the Vietnam War by US forces, is expected, as well as what investment opportunities exist to help handle leftover ordinance. Conflict during the war made Laos the most heavily bombed country in the world per capita.

The US spends $9 million every year cleaning up unexploded ordinance. Multi-million dollar campaigns by US participants will be announced later this week to add to this cause.

 

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Vientiane on July 11 from a brief trip to Hanoi for an official one-day visit, the first of such to the communist nation in 57 years. John Foster Dulles, Eisenhower’s state secretary, spent a day in Laos – then a monarchy – in 1955.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Vientiane on July 11 from a brief trip to Hanoi for an official one-day visit, the first of such to the communist nation in 57 years. John Foster Dulles, Eisenhower’s state secretary, spent a day in Laos – then a monarchy – in 1955.

Clinton accepted an invitation as part of her week-long Southeast Asia diplomatic tour from Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr Thongloun Sisoulith, according to the Laos Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong.

Discussion about increased cooperation between the nations were held in the meetings as an apparent continuation of President Barack Obama’s “pivot” towards the Asia-Pacific policy. The interest of the administration in the region is seen by analysts as a way to counter China’s expanding economic influence and military pressure in Southeast Asia.

Fields of bilateral collaboration touched upon were mainly environmental and infrastructure related. On the agenda was the controversial Mekong River dam project at Xayaburi, which threatens fish migration and sediment flow in an area that could impact millions that live off the Mekong. Last week, state media said that construction would be stalled until environmental issues are resolved, though observers say that the work that has already begun may still cause harm.

Construction of the $3.8 billion hydroelectric dam, contracted to the Thai group CH Karnchang in April, has created fissures in relationships of four out five nations in the Greater Mekong Subregion – Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.

Laos is a poor, land-locked nation with 6.5 million people and views energy projects like the proposed 1,260-kilowatt dam as being crucial to the future of the country.

High-level talks were also scheduled about the persisting effects of Agent Orange, a defoliant released across the Laotian panhandle during the Vietnam War by US forces, is expected, as well as what investment opportunities exist to help handle leftover ordinance. Conflict during the war made Laos the most heavily bombed country in the world per capita.

The US spends $9 million every year cleaning up unexploded ordinance. Multi-million dollar campaigns by US participants will be announced later this week to add to this cause.

 

 

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