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Obama’s visit to Laos and its importance for the relations between the two countries

In September 2016 Obama visited Laos and became the first U.S. president ever to step foot in the country. Most people don’t know that this visit was of utmost importance and helped to overcome a dark chapter in history. As you can see in the picture above Obama’s visit remains an important event. Many people will never forget how he once bought a coconut at a local shop and walked through the streets of Luang Prabang.

Obama acknowledged what happened during the Vietnam War

Until now, the Vietnam
War remains a dark chapter in the history of the USA, but almost no
one knows what happened in Laos back then. That’s sad since the
Southeast Asian country suffered severely from the actions of the
American army. Since the war spilled across the border millions of
tons of ordnance
dropped on Laos. A huge amount of this ordnance
remained unexploded and affects innocent people in the country until
now. Accidents in which even children lose their limbs aren’t
uncommon. Although Obama didn’t officially apologize for what
happened back then, he acknowledged the involvement of the USA and
decided to temporarily double the aid to help Laos to find unexploded
bombs to 30 million U. S. dollars a year.

What cities did Obama visit?

Obama’s first
destination wasn’t Luang Prabang. First, he arrived in the capital Vientiane before he decided to visit the cultural center of Laos. While in Vientiane he made an important visit to the COPE Foundation and, until now, he remains one of the most famous visitors
of all time. This visit had a symbolic character since the foundation
supports people with mobility-related disabilities and many of those
are caused by unexploded ordnance.

Obama's visit didn't only have ethical reasons

Although you can’t deny
that the financial support from the USA and the acknowledgment of the
bombings were important from an ethical point of view, the main
purpose of the visit was to strengthen the relationship between the
two countries. Laos may not be an economically strong country, but
the increasing influence of China is something the government in the
USA isn’t happy about. Therefore the visit was also a measure to
counter China’s growing dominance. Irrespective of this, the visit
has contributed immensely to improving the relationship between the
two countries. There may even be joint economic projects in the
future.

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