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World News

Pompeo says US not asking Asia to take sides against China

BANGKOK — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that Washington isn’t asking any Asian nation to take sides as it engages with the region where China is battling for influence and aggressively expanding territorial claims in the South China Sea. Pompeo hailed an Indo-Pacific engagement framework adopted by the leaders of the Association […]

Asian News

Defense Policy Exchange Spotlights Vietnam-Laos Military Cooperation

A recent interaction spotlighted ongoing efforts by the two sides to make advances in their security collaboration. ast week, Vietnam and Laos held what was officially characterized as a new defense policy exchange between the two countries. The interaction spotlighted some of the ongoing efforts by the two sides to continue to make inroads in […]

Lao News

The Only Way to End Corruption in Laos

A true elimination of the problem will only come with broader political change in the country. Is Laos’ ruling communist party building up to an anti-corruption campaign similar to the ones we’ve seen in China and Vietnam? Since Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith came to power in early 2016, more officials have been dismissed because of […]

Human Rights

In 2019, USCIRF again places Laos on its Tier 2

In 2018, religious freedom conditions in Laos trended the same as in 2017. It continued to be difficult to obtain and confirm details about religious freedom violations due to heavy govern-ment censorship and restrictions on freedom of information. Lao officials seek to control all perceived challenges to state authority and often characterize religious and ethnic […]

World News

U.S. Prepared to Strike Iran Before Approval Was Abruptly Withdrawn

(WASHINGTON) — The United States made preparations for a military strike against Iran in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but the operation was abruptly called off with just hours to go, a U.S. official said. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly and spoke on condition of […]

Asian News

Why Trump Has Gotten Extra Tough in Monitoring China at Sea

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – U.S. President Donald Trump is getting more aggressive toward Chinese activity in a disputed Asian sea compared to his predecessors, because the U.S. government fears China has expanded too far to overlook, analysts in the region believe. The U.S. government has stepped up military support over the past two years for countries […]

Asian News

Drones, big money and cheap drugs: The Laos route spewing meth into Thailand

NAKHON PHANOM, THAILAND (AFP) – As dusk falls along the Mekong River, a nightly dance begins between Thai border security and Laos drug gangs now using drones, scouts and a pool of poor fishermen to shift record amounts of meth into Thailand. Landlocked, secretive and with ungovernable borders, Laos has become a sluice for transporting […]

Lao News

Archaeologists discover more giant stone jars used to dispose of the dead in Laos

It is an archaeological mystery that has perplexed scientists for decades: which ancient civilisation carved huge stone jars for disposing its dead at sites across Laos? Thick jungle, war and unexploded bombs have helped keep the secret, but new Australian-led research has offered tantalising clues. Experts believe the jars are related to an ancient burial […]

Lao News

Vietnam, Cambodia Fall in Rank in Annual US Human Trafficking Report

The U.S. State Department downgraded Vietnam and Cambodia to its next-to-lowest ranking in an annual report on human trafficking released today, pointing to what it called both countries’ continuing failure to make “significant efforts” to combat the trade. The Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report ranks countries around the world as Tier 1, Tier […]

Asian News

F-35s Unlikely, Taiwan Upgrades F-16s Fighters to Counter China

TAIPEI, TAIWAN — Taiwan is upgrading a fleet of American-made fighter jets, but may scrap ambitions to acquire the more advanced F-35 models, showing the limits of U.S.-Taiwan military cooperation despite a common interest of resisting China. The Air Force should get its first four upgraded F-16 A/B fighter jets in early 2019. The upgrades […]