Three-day Obama trip to Laos set for Sept 6

Three-day Obama trip to Laos set for Sept 6

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will visit Laos next month, a first for a US president, in a trip that begins with a G20 summit in China, the White House said Thursday.

President Barack Obama will visit Laos next month, in a trip from September 2-9 that begins with a G20 summit in China

The September 2-9 tour will be the president's 11th visit to Asia since he took office in 2009.

Obama has made a "pivot" to the region a pillar of US foreign policy. Next month's swing will come about five months before the Democratic president steps down after two four-year terms.

In Laos, which this year holds the presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Obama will participate in the US-Asean Summit and East Asia Summit from September 6 through 8.

The East Asia meeting will include the major regional powers such as China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Russia.

"President Obama will be the first US president to visit Laos," the White House noted.

Secretary of State John Kerry has visited Laos, which has strained ties with the US, twice this year -- in January to prepare for Obama's arrival and in July for Asean meetings.

Kerry raised issues related to the devastation caused by US bombings during the Vietnam War and the future of Southeast Asia in the face of an increasingly assertive China.

Laos became the world's most-bombed country per capita from 1964 to 1973 as the United States tried to cut supplies flowing to North Vietnamese fighters during the Vietnam War.

More than two million bombs were dropped. About 30 percent did not explode and some 50,000 people died by the end of the war.

In January, Washington and Vientiane discussed beefing up a US program to clear mines and disarm unexploded devices.

Before the Laos visit, Obama will attend his last meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 economic powers, on September 4-5 in Hangzhou in eastern China.

There Obama will also hold "in-depth" meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the White House said in a statement.

The leaders of the world's superpowers will discuss "a wide-range of global, regional, and bilateral issues," it said.

At the last US-China strategic and economic talks, in Beijing in June, the two sides clashed over human rights and China's expansion in the South China Sea while proclaiming cooperation on climate change.

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT

Singapore proposes new law to tackle harmful online content

Social media sites could be blocked or fined in Singapore if they fail to stop users in the tightly-controlled country from accessing "harmful" content under a proposed law introduced in parliament on Monday.

3 Oct 2022

Calls for more funding as pre-COP27 climate talks open in DR Congo

KINSHASA: Warning "no-one will escape" a worsening crisis, DR Congo led calls on Monday for a surge in funding to brake global heating and fight its impacts at the start of pre-COP27 climate talks in Kinshasa.

3 Oct 2022

Kim Kardashian pays $1.26m for unlawful crypto promo

WASHINGTON: US reality star Kim Kardashian has agreed to pay a $1.26 million fine after unlawfully pushing a cryptocurrency on Instagram without revealing that she was paid to do so, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday.

3 Oct 2022