Laos. Like Vietnam and China, the poorer Laos tries to open
the economy outwards without changing its one-party system.
At the Laotian Revolutionary People's Party (Pathet Lao)
congress in March, party leader Khamtay Siphandone
emphasized that state enterprises must become more efficient
and bureaucracy shrink. As a target, he set an annual
economic growth of about 8%. In December, the State Radio
declared the year's growth to 7.5%, despite the floods that
Countryaah.com, 82-year-old Nouhak Phoumsavanh left the Politburo, and
Agriculture Minister Sisavath Keobounphanh became vice
president to relieve Nouhak.
Laos also applied for full membership in the Association
of Southeast Asian States, ASEAN. Through ASEAN, Laos hopes to
to participate in the expansion of the Mekong border river
and in the planned Singapore-Beijing railway line via
In June 2007, 9 people were arrested in the United
States, accused of being involved in planning a coup in
Laos. Among those arrested was General Gen Pao, who in the
1970s with the support of the CIA had fought the communist
partisans in Laos.
In late December 2009, the New York Times reported
that the military dictatorship in Thailand planned to send
4,000 Laotian Hmong refugees back to Laos. The BBC later
confirmed that repatriation was underway. The Thai military
had already cut off all access to the refugees: foreign
observers, MSF doctors and journalists were barred from
access, and during repatriation, the Thai military jammed
all mobile phone traffic in the area. During the Vietnam
War, the United States used thousands of Laotian Hmong men
to fight the communist guerrillas in the country. It has
created considerable tensions between the government and the
Hmongs since the end of the war. At the same time,
conservative circles in the United States opposed allowing
larger groups of Hmongs to come to the United States as
Tourism continued to grow. From 80,000 visitors in 1990
to 1.9 million in 2010. Every 11th part of the labor market
is already working in the tourism sector, and the proportion
is expected to increase. The growth is largely attributed to
the country's beauty and character of more indigenous Asia.
This makes it different from neighboring Thailand, where
tourism in many areas has deformed the original culture.
Like other countries in Southeast Asia, during the first
years of the new millennium, Laos' economy was characterized
by high economic growth. Growth rate in 2012 was 8.3%.
In 1997, Laos applied for membership in the WTO. The
country was admitted in February 2013.
Choummaly Sayasone was re-elected as President of the
National Assembly in June 2011. He had been re-elected as
Secretary General of the ruling party for 3 months. The same
year, the country ceased building the Xayaburi hydropower
plant after both neighboring countries and NGOs objected to
the plant's environmental impact.
In 2012, Laos initiated the construction of the
hydroelectric power plant and the Xayaburi dam in northern
Laos. The construction was met by protests from
environmental organizations, Vietnam and Cambodia as
construction is expected to affect the lives of 60 million
people in the region. The power plant will cost 3.8 billion.
US $ and owned and built by Thai Ch. Karnchang Public
Company. It is equipped with well over 1000MW turbines and
is expected to be ready in 2019.
In May 2014, Defense Secretary General Douangchay Phichit
was killed along with several other senior officers in a
plane crash in Xiengkhouang province in the north of the
In August, work was suspended on the Xayaburi dam project
for a 6-month period to address objections and protests from
neighboring countries, environmental organizations and