Main news on Laos


Laos to go ahead with Luang Prabang dam project despite warnings

The government of Laos has officially informed the intergovernmental Mekong River Commission (MRC) of its plan to build a new dam in Luang Prabang, despite warnings about the project’s environmental effects

1 APRIL 2019

UN finally tells the truth about Laos

Communist-run Laos has had a relative knack for staying out of the news for its human rights abuses, endemic corruption and sub-par performance in providing services to its citizens. But now finally someone of prominence is speaking out

24 JULY 2018

Hundreds missing after dam collapses in Laos

The collapse of a dam in Laos has reportedly left hundreds of people missing and an unknown number dead. Some 5 billion cubic meters of water were released onto villages

28 MARCH 2018

Is hermetic Laos poised for more openness?

Next month marks Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith’s second year in power, a role few Communist Party apparatchiks have grasped with so much aplomb


Hmong face military in Laos jungle in fallout from Vietnam war

Deep in the jungle in Laos, a small group of people tries to survive against all odds. Surrounded by Lao military camps, men, women and children keep themselves alive by eating roots and leaves and an occasional gibbon. They live in makeshift tents and are always on the move. Recently the shelling has intensified. But their calls for help fall on deaf ears

12 AUGUST 2017

Laos, Cambodia to pull back troops after PM meet

The leaders of Cambodia and Laos vowed on Saturday to recall troops from a disputed border area where tensions have been flaring for months, after the prime ministers held an emergency meeting

11 AUGUST 2017

Cambodian PM accuses Laos of border violation, mobilising troops

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday (Aug 11) accused neighbouring Laos o sending troops into Cambodian territory in April and set an Aug 17 deadline for their departure, warning that he was mobilising soldiers to the border area

25 MAY 2017

Laos: On the borders of the empire

This video investigate China’s rising influence in Laos and the potentially disastrous consequences for the local population

3 MAY 2017

Impoverished Laos shows resistance to becoming a client state of China

Laos typically welcomes help from China. About 23% of the landlocked Southeast Asian country’s 6.8 million people live in poverty. Rural infrastructure lags behind most of its neighbors. So the Lao government supports growing investment from China as part of the “Belt and Road” program

16 FEBRUARY 2017

Little Laos tackles big corruption

In line with its communist neighbors China and Vietnam, Laos has launched an anti-corruption campaign to purge the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party of corrupt members

11 FEBRUARY 2017

Despite the risks, Laos goes ahead with Pak Beng dam

With construction likely to start within months, the people most affected still have little information on the hydropower project

10 DECEMBER 2016

Laos long march forward

With the World Bank’s assistance, Laos has set specific targets in its Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plans. Under Lao’s eighth plan, approved in April 2016, goals to be achieved by 2020


Can Laos create a startup economy?

While there has been much attention on the diplomatic and economic fronts during the Asean summit, Vientiane was also subject to scrutiny from a different group of people: international angel investors


US gives Laos US$90m for bomb clearance

The United States announced on Tuesday it would provide an additional US$90 million over the next three years to help Laos, heavily bombed during the Vietnam War, clear unexploded ordnance that has killed or injured more than 20,000 people

21 APRIL 2016

Laos elects new president and PM during inaugural National Assembly meeting

The meeting named 78-year-old Bounnhang Vorachit for the nation’s top post while Tongloun Sisoulith, 70, will take on the prime ministerial role.

27 FEBRUARY 2016

China’s expanding influence in Laos

The recently signed Joint General Scheme of Mohan–Boten Economic Cooperation Zone is the first cross-border economic cooperation zone that China has established in Laos and, for that matter, in the whole of Southeast Asia.

16 FEBRUARY 2016

New opportunities for US–Laos relations

Leadership changes announced at the 10th Congress of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party will give the United States an opportunity to boost ties with Laos when President Barack Obama visits Vientiane in September 2016. This will be the first visit ever to Laos by a sitting US president.


Laos assures US it will help counter Chinese assertiveness

The prime minister of communist Laos assured U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday that his small nation will help counter China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea.

24 JANUARY 2016

Kerry arrives in Laos as US reaches out to wartime foe

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Laos late Sunday (Jan 24) in a rare high-level visit by an American diplomat to Washington’s former wartime foe

22 JANUARY 2016

Ruling communists in Laos promote VP Bounnhang Vorachit as country’s new leader

The ruling communist party of Laos elected a new leader Friday, putting Bounnhang Vorachit in charge of the single-party country as it takes its turn as the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Bounnhang Vorachit

15 DECEMBER 2015

3 years on, rights groups demand answers on Sombath Somphone disappearance

On the eve of the third anniversary of acclaimed community development leader Sombath Somphone’s forced disappearance, human rights groups on Monday in Bangkok urged the Lao government to provide information regarding Mr. Sombath’s whereabouts and fate.

12 DECEMBER 2015

Curfew imposed in Lao province after deadly violence

Lao authorities have imposed a curfew in north-central Xaysomboun Province after a spate of violence in which three government soldiers and three civilians were killed, police and other sources said Friday


Laos Touts 40 Years of Stability, but Critics Decry Debt, Corruption and Poverty

President Choummaly Sayasone marked 40 years of communist rule in Laos on Wednesday touting the stability and security of his landlocked Southeast Asian nation, but some Laotians lamented their country’s corruption, rising debt and dependence on China and Vietnam

26 OCTOBER 2015

Report reveals plunder of Lao forests

A leaked report has revealed near epic-scale illegal logging in Laos, with virtually no law enforcement In 2013 for instance, Laos exported 1.4 million cubic metres of timber to Vietnam and China, or more than 10 times its official harvest


Laos Approaches the World Stage

Laos’s profile in Southeast Asia has become more prominent over the past several years. Today external powers compete for influence there, with Vietnam and Japan seeking to limit China’s expanding presence in Laos. Thailand, South Korea, and other states also have significant stakes there. The United States’ involvement in Laos has been minimal since 1975, when the communist government assumed power

5 JUNE 2015

Laos and China to Set Up Joint Company for High-Speed Railway

Laos is setting up a joint company with China to oversee the construction and financing of a multibillion-dollar, high-speed railway project that will link the two neighboring countries and extend to Thailand, according to a transport ministry official

5 MAY 2015

Laos expects economy to grow 7.6 pct this year

Laos expects its economy to expand by 7.6 percent this year despite headwinds slowing the pace of growth, Deputy Finance Minister Thipphakone Chanthavongsa said Monday.In a statement to the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank

23 APRIL 2015

Laotian government pressures activists not to raise human rights issue at ASEAN meeting

Laotian NGOs planning to attend the ASEAN Peoples’ Forum are the target of government threats. Many of these have been scared off and will not participate. The Sombath case is still wrapped in silence after the activist disappeared more than two years ago

26 JANUARY 2015

Human rights groups demand UN action on abuses in Laos

The Laos government is moving backward on human rights, says Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division. HRW issued a submission to the United Nations ahead of Laos’ Periodic Review last week, urging it to emphasize the need for reform related to enforced disappearances, freedom of speech, association, and assembly, the treatment of detainees in drug detention centers, and labor rights. 

3 JANUARY 2015

Business support is crucial for Laos to join the AEC and lock in growth

The accession of Laos to the World Trade Organization in 2013 was the latest in a series of steps towards achieving economic integration. The next milestone in its integration agenda is the establishment of the ASEAN economic community at the end of 2015

21 NOVEMBER 2012

Laos’ Hydropower Boom Attracts Regional Attention

The recent decision by the government of Laos to green light the long delayed construction of the massive Xayaburi Dam made headlines across the world. Most analysts and commentators agree the move is controversial, as the dam will likely have significant negative environmental effects within Laos as well as in Cambodia and Vietnam, which lie further down the Mekong.

17 NOVEMBER 2012

Laos “Different Face” of Poverty

While Laos has been the beneficiary of rapid economic growth, not all are seeing its benefits.


Laos approves Xayaburi ‘mega’ dam on Mekong

Laos has given the go-ahead to build a massive dam on the lower Mekong river, despite opposition from neighbouring countries and environmentalists

26 OCTOBER 2012

The World Trade Organization approves  Laos  membership

The World Trade Organization (WTO) General Council, which includes representatives from all member governments, formally approved Laos’s membership at its October 26 meeting. Laos first applied for WTO membership in 1997 and, 15 years later, will be the last member of ASEAN to join the multilateral trading syste

5 OCTOBER 2012

Is the Party over in Laos ?

A crackdown on bars in northern Laos reveals deeper problems with tourism in this small, landlocked country.

2 OCTOBER 2012

Land Dispute Task Force Formed

The Lao government has set up a task force to investigate a long-running dispute with villagers affected by the development of a rubber plantation by a Vietnamese company in southern Laos’s remote Sekong province.

11 JULY 2012

Clinton visits Laos, country US pummeled with bombs during Vietnam War

Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Laos in more than five decades, gauging whether a place the United States pummeled with bombs during the Vietnam War could evolve into a new foothold of American influence in Asia.

6 JULY 2012

Vietnam Joins Cambodia on Xayaburi Opposition

Cambodia and Vietnam will jointly urge Laos to suspend the controversial Xayaburi dam, a Cambodian official said Tuesday, following reports that the project’s construction is moving ahead despite government pledges to wait for further study.

27 JUNE 2012

Laos holds first gay pride event despite taboo

Laos has held its first ever gay pride event in what supporters hope is a sign of softening social values in the small communist country.

Xayaburi Construction Moves Ahead

Work on the Mekong dam in northern Laos has gone beyond preliminary preparations, an environmental group says.

10 MAY 2012

Xayaburi Dam Construction Suspended

Laos has suspended construction on the controversial Xayaburi dam on the Mekong River following an uproar from neighboring Cambodia and environmental groups, a senior Lao government official said Wednesday

2 MAI 2012

Laos closes in on WTO

After almost a decade of major economic transformation, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is on the brink of World Trade Organization (WTO) membership. The small country’s Herculean effort to join the exclusive trade club is a reminder to the 10 other least-developed countries (LDCs) now seeking membership of the cumbersome process involved

21 FEBRUARY 2012

Off the air in Laos
Amid an unprecedented flurry of public debate and critique of government policies and actions, Lao authorities abruptly canceled a popular call-in radio program in late January without any public explanation


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