News / Asia

Clinton Makes Historic Visit to Laos

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, and Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong meet at the Prime Minister's Office in Vientiane, July 11, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, and Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong meet at the Prime Minister's Office in Vientiane, July 11, 2012.
VIENTIANE — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stopped in Laos Wednesday for talks ahead of this week's meeting of South East Asian foreign ministers. U.S. and Lao officials discussed environmental protections for the Lower Mekong Delta and lingering issues of unexploded ordinance from the Vietnam War.

In talks with Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Secretary Clinton discussed Laos' coming entry to the World Trade Organization and continuing U.S. assistance to safely dispose of unexploded ordinance from the Vietnam War.

"We traced the arc of our relationship from addressing the tragic legacies of the past to finding new ways to partner for the future," Clinton said.

Addressing legacies, Secretary Clinton visited a partially U.S.-funded, non-profit orthotic and prosthetic cooperative that helps those injured by leftover cluster munitions dropped during more than 580,000 U.S. bombing runs between 1964 and 1975.

Secretary Clinton says the United States has helped clear more than one million bombs from 23,000 hectares of Lao land that can now be used for farming or development.

"I hope others in the international community will join us in our efforts to bring this legacy of the Vietnam War era to a safe end and give the people, particularly the children of this nation the opportunity to live their lives safe from these unexploded bombs," Clinton said.

During her visit, the two governments agreed to improve efforts to account for military personnel still missing from the Vietnam War. U.S. officials want greater access, having investigated sites relating to fewer than 600 missing Americans since the mid-1980s.

Secretary Clinton expressed appreciation for the government's re-integration of ethnic Hmong refugees who returned from Thailand in 2009. In a written statement, the Lao government thanked the United States for providing humanitarian assistance for those families as well as for people in communities surrounding Hmong villages.

The secretary and foreign minister discussed environmental protection and investment in the Lower Mekong River Delta, with the Lao government again promising to suspend work on the controversial Xaya Buri dam in response to concerns by its neighbors.

Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong told Secretary Clinton that his government will invite international experts to study the dam's environmental and social impact before deciding whether to proceed. A senior State Department official says that is an important development for all the people of the Lower Mekong, and Washington welcomes this "responsible decision."

The visit reflects broadening bilateral cooperation between the countries after decades of relative isolation. Foreign Minister Thongloun's trip to the United States in 2010 was the first by a senior Lao official in 35 years. This visit to Laos is the first by a U.S. secretary of state since John Foster Dulles in 1955.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid