Laos. When Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith traveled to Washington in July, he became the highest-ranking representative of the Lao government to visit the United States since the Communist Party took power in the country in 1975. Thongloun Sisoulith and his US colleague Hillary Clinton signed, among other things, a civil aviation agreement. The idea is that the agreement will facilitate trade and tourism between the countries.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Laos has a population of 7.062 million (2018). The first meeting of states that signed the Convention banning cluster weapons, CCM, was held in the capital Vientiane in November. The agreement was signed in Oslo in December 2008 and the Convention came into force on August 1, 2010. Laos is reported to be the country in the world with the highest concentration of undetected cluster bombs on its land.
One of the largest hydropower projects in Southeast Asia was commissioned when the Nam Theun 2 dam was inaugurated. The dam, built with international assistance, is expected to provide poor Laos with large income through the export of electricity to Thailand. The water dam affects tens of thousands of people along the Xe Bang Fai River.
Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh resigned unexpectedly in December. He cited family reasons, but judges believed that internal party riots were the cause. Parliament appointed Thongsing Thammavong as new head of government.