U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s January 24 and 25 visit to Vientiane emphasized the deepening ties between the United States and Laos.
Secretary Kerry met with Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong to discuss preparations for the U.S.- ASEAN Sunnylands Summit, which will be jointly hosted by the United States and Laos in California in February.
This unprecedented gathering – the first hosted by the United States with ASEAN leaders -- builds on the deep partnership that the United States has forged with ASEAN since 2009.
The Secretary also highlighted the importance the United States places on human rights and basic freedoms and thanked Prime Minister Thongsing for cooperation on a number of issues, including accounting for American personnel missing in Laos and addressing other longstanding impacts of the Indochina War.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Secretary Kerry met with Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister of Laos, to discuss the full range of bilateral and multilateral issues, including the Laos’ ASEAN chairmanship year.
They talked about the expanding U.S.-Laos engagement in areas including health care, nutrition, education, justice sector reform, and environmental protection, as well as ongoing cooperation to clear unexploded ordnance remaining from the conflicts in Indochina.
Secretary Kerry highlighted the U.S. commitment to partnering with the Laos to improve nutrition across the country, including through the recently announced construction of the Lao-American Nutrition Institute in Vientiane.Following the official meetings, Secretary Kerry visited Pha That Luang, the national symbol of Laos, where he learned about Lao history and culture.
Secretary Kerry is the first of many high-level visitors from the United States expected to travel to Laos this year, including President Barack Obama, who is planning to visit in September.
These historic visits demonstrate a deepening relationship between the United States and the Laos.