Laos. At a closed session in February, the National
Assembly in the capital Vientiane appointed Prime Minister
Khamtay Siphandone as new president after Nouhak
Phoumsavane. New head of government became former Vice
President Sisavath Keobounphanh. The National Assembly, with
98 out of 99 members of the Communist Laotian Revolutionary
Party, also approved L's new government under Prime Minister
More than 20 people, most of them Vietnamese soldiers,
including the country's defense chief on official friendship
visits, were killed in May when a Lao military plane crashed
into storms near Krukslätten.
Countryaah, the weather hit in several ways. Drought and flooding in
several provinces made rice crops worse than normal, and
Prime Minister Sisavath Keobounphanh admitted in September
that L. must import rice from China and Vietnam. He also
urged state and regional authorities to save - the economy
had been hit hard by the economic problems in neighboring
Thailand. Ahead of the country's 23rd birthday, President
Khamtay Siphandone in August pardoned over 60 prisoners, the
KPL news agency announced. According to diplomats, there
were no prisoners of opinion or conscience in the group.
Earlier in the year, a dozen Christian Laotians had been
imprisoned. US to respond.
In November 2005, construction of a hydroelectric power
plant started in Nam Theun.
82-year-old President Khamtay Siphandone resigned in
March 2006 from the post of Communist Party leader and was
replaced by his Vice President, Choummaly Sayasone.
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
In January 2016, the construction of the Don Sahong dam
in southern Laos began, a few kilometers from the Cambodia
border. The dam will have a capacity of 260MW which is
expected to be exported to Thailand and Cambodia. It is
expected to be completed in 2019. The project triggered a
number of protests, both internally in Laos and from Vietnam
and Cambodia, as the project will potentially affect the
lives of millions of people.
The 10th party congress in January 2016 decided to
appoint Thongloun Sisoulith as new prime minister and
Bounnhang Vorachith as new secretary general and president.
Both took over their records in April. Vorachith was
formerly Vice President and Sisoulith was former Deputy
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
Two political prisoners were released in March after
serving 17 years in prison. Together with 28 others, in 1999
they conducted a peaceful demonstration of economic,
political and social change in the country. 3 out of 30
received long prison sentences and one of them died in
In 2016, China was the largest foreign investor in Laos.
Since 1989, it had invested $ 5.4 billion. US§ in the
country. In 2nd and 3rd place were Thailand and Vietnam with
4.5 and 3.1 billion. US $.