Hillary Clinton pushed Laos for more studies on a US$3.6 billion hydropower dam on the Mekong River opposed by neighboring countries in the first visit by a United States Secretary of State in 57 years.
The trip is part of a broader sweep Clinton is making through Asia as the US increases its engagement with the world’s fastest growing economies, in part to counter China’s growing clout. Laos, a landlocked nation of sixmillion people bordering China, plans to expand its generating capacity and sell electricity to its neighbours.
Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong assured Clinton that the Xayaburi power project would not proceed without approval from neighboring countries, according to a State Department official who was not authorised to speak on the record. Laos plans to hold an international conference about the project to ease concerns, the official said.
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