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US President Barack Obama to Visit Laos

In the twilight of his final term, Barack Obama will become the first US president to visit Laos.

According to Channel News Asia, the American leader plans to attend an ASEAN conference in the country next year.

Along with his presence at this year's regional ASEAN economic summit in Malaysia, which will take place later this month, President Obama's efforts emphasize an increasing American interest in Asia and the Pacific. During the Obama administration, the United States has managed to improve its relations not only with Laos but also Vietnam and Myanmar, signaling a pivot toward stronger diplomatic ties in the Southeast Asian region.

The visit is, of course, particularly significant when you consider the history between the two nations. Between 1964 and 1973, the United States dropped over 2 million tons of ordnance in Laos, an estimated 30% of which failed to detonate. Laos is now the most bombed country in the world per capita.

[Photo via SCPR]

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