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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid