Laos. In November, Chinese President Xi Jinping became
the first Chinese head of state to visit Laos in eleven
years. He met, among others, President Bounnhang Vorachit,
who is also the leader of the Communist Party, and Prime
Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. China is the largest foreign
investor and the second largest trading partner. Investments
are directed to hydropower plants, mines and the tech
sector. In addition, Laos is part of China's major transport
and infrastructure investment, known as the New Silk Road. A
40 km long railway will be built from the Chinese border.
Countryaah.com, Laos is still struggling with illegal logging. In
November, the Communist Party dismissed the governor of the
southeastern province of Attapeu for alleged involvement in
illegal timber trade.
In September, Laos and Cambodia assured that they would
peacefully resolve a protracted border dispute. In August,
the countries had brought soldiers to the disputed border
section. Pope Francis appointed May's first cardinal in Lao.
1975 The People's Republic is formed
In 1975, the national assembly government was replaced by
a new government in which Neo Lao Haksat had a majority. In
December, the monarchy was dissolved and the Democratic
People's Republic of Laos was proclaimed with Sufanuvong as
president and the Laos Revolutionary People's Party (PPRL)
as the ruling party. The massive emigration of the country's
business and administrative elite threw the country's
economy into a chaotic situation.
The government nationalized the banks and reorganized the
public sector. Rice production increased from 700,000 tonnes
in 1976 to 1.2 million tonnes in 1981, the first year in
which the country became self-sufficient in food. To reduce
dependency on Thailand, a road and an oil pipeline were
built for the port city of Danang and the refineries in
In 1986, Phoumi Vongvichit took over the presidential
post, and in November, Kaysone Phomvihane was elected PPRL
secretary general, later to take over the post of prime
minister. Following a map of fierce border war between Laos
and Thailand in late 1987, the two countries signed a
In 1988, diplomatic relations with China were resumed,
and in late 1989, the first cooperation agreement was signed
with the United States, which allocated $ 10 million to
combat opium cultivation and drug trafficking.
1991 The collapse of the Soviet Union hits the country
In March 1989 elections were held to occupy the 79 seats
of the Supreme People's Assembly. When the Soviet Union
collapsed in 1990-91, all forms of financial assistance
ceased and bilateral trade fell by 50%.
The crisis was exacerbated by the floods and agricultural
diseases that in 1991 affected over a quarter of the
country's cultivated land. The government was forced to
import over 200,000 tonnes of rice to feed the population.
Under these circumstances, Laos had to strengthen its
relations with Thailand. In 1991, the two countries signed
an agreement on the repatriation of 60,000 Laotian refugees
in the period up to 1994 and at the same time signed a
cooperation and security agreement. The Thai investment took
place mainly in the banking and trading sector.
In September 1991, 70-year-old Kaysone Phomvihane was
named president. When he died a year later, Prime Minister
Khamtay Sifandon temporarily assumed the post of president
and leadership of the PPRL.
In December 1992, the country held parliamentary
elections in which only the PPRL and a few independent and
government-approved candidates participated. In effect, this
meant the continuation of the one-party state.
Demonstrations against the government were banned, and
authorities arrested dozens of opposition people.