Brief History About Laos
Laos People’s Democratic Republic (Laos PDR) also known as Laos to many is a Land of ample opportunities and successes. It underwent a prolonged period of French occupation from 1893 to 1945, after which it was briefly occupied by Japan towards the end of World War Two. Fast forward to the formation of the Laos government back on 2nd Dec 1975, the Pathet Lao (now renamed as Lao People’s Front) seize power from then King Savnag Vatthana and started the journey of a socialist government.
Laos is a land-linked country with borders shared between China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Despite having no direct access to major shipping routes and only sharing the Mekong River, Laos has doubled its GDP since 2010, and growth projection is targeted at US$27 billion by 2022. Leveraging on healthy bilateral and trade agreements with other countries, this resource-rich nation is fast cementing as an emerging market in the region and is poised to be elevated from the Least Developed Country status by 2024.
The neutral land of Laos was innocently subjected to substantive bombing by the United States during the Vietnam War. The tactic employed by the United States was aimed to eliminate the North sanctuaries and cut off the supply chain into Vietnam before they could be used against American troops. According to the report by BBC, 580,344 bombing mission was flown over Laos and has dropped a cumulative total of 260m bombs, where 30% did not detonate. The extensive damages caused have not only contaminated the lands (10 out of 18 Laotian provinces affected) but still pose a significant threat to the lives of civilians long after the war has ended. While the United States has committed US$90 million to search for exploded bombs in 2017 for 3 years, one can argue that one bomb dropped is one too many.
With great power comes with great responsibility. The aftermath of war is only truly realized by future generations and not by the decision-makers.