Laos Support for North Korea in Opposition to Obama, Clinton

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"...the relation and cooperation between Laos and North Korea has been constantly developing… Laos expresses hope that under leadership of the North Korean Communist Workers' Party, the people of North Korea would be successful in their task of national defense and construction of the DPRK," said Hiem Phommachanh, Laos' Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at a rally in support of North Korea in Vientiane, Laos on June 26, 2009.

( - Bangkok, Thailand and Washington, D.C., July 22, 2009 - Despite Secretary Hillary Clinton’s participation today in the ASEAN conference in Phuket, Thailand where she is raising regional security and human rights concerns about North Korea and Burma, the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic ( LPDR ), continues to openly reaffirm their solidarity and support for the Marxist regime in North Korea.

“Laos’ support for North Korea has been reaffirmed in an apparent attack on President Obama’s and Secretary of State Clinton’s recent diplomatic efforts,” observed Philip Smith, Executive Director for the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) in Washington, D.C.

Smith continued: “Unfortunately, the LPDR government in Laos continues to rally diplomatic and popular support for North Korea in Vientiane, Laos, and internationally in recent weeks, despite President Barack Obama’s generous efforts to declare Laos as no longer being a Marxist-Leninist regime and to send Secretary of State Clinton to Thailand to address the security threat that North Korea poses armed with nuclear weapons and allied with Burma and other authoritarian regimes.”

The LPDR regime in Laos is a staunch supporter and key ally of the military in junta in Burma. The North Korean embassy, and North Korean presence in Laos, is one of the largest in Southeast Asia, second only to Burma. Senior Lao communist party and foreign ministry officials as well as Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ) officers have repeatedly visited North Korea in recent months in support of North Korea’s nuclear weapons development program and one-party, Marxist-Leninist regime.

Thousands of Laotian and Hmong refugees have fled the LPDR regime in Laos in recent years, including over 5,500 Lao Hmong political refugees who are seeking asylum at Ban Huay Nam Khao, Petchabun Province and at Nong Khai, Thailand.

Smith said further: “On June 26, just two weeks after President Obama issued an Executive Order declaring that the Communist regime in Laos was no longer a Marxst-Lennist government for purposes of the Export-Import Act, the LPDR regime in Laos responded in defiance by hosting an official rally and ceremonies in support of North Korea in Vientiane, Laos. North Korea diplomatic relations with the LPDR regime in Laos were hailed at this high-level rally and official ceremonies in Vientiane, Laos, that were attended by senior members of the Lao Foreign Ministry and Lao Communist Party’s Politbureau to mark the 35th anniversary of North Korea’s relationship with the Lao Peoples Revolutionary Party ( LPRP ), the Lao communist party which controls Laos.”

At the rally and ceremonies on June 26, 2009, senior Lao leaders of the LPDR openly attacked and defied U.S. President Obama’s and Secretary of State Clinton’s policy in opposition to the regime in North Korea threat to international security.

The Lao military junta’s ceremonies in Vientiane, Laos in support of North Korea, and its nuclear weapons development program, came less than ten days after a major U.S. Congressional letter was sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in opposition to the repatriation of Lao Hmong refugees from Thailand to Laos. Thirty-two ( 32 ) Members of the U.S. Congress spearheaded by Rep. Dennis Cardoza ( D-CA ) Rep. Patrick Kennedy ( D-RI ), Representative James McGovern ( D-Mass ), Rep. Frank Wolf ( R-VA ) and others sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the United States and Thailand to intervene to halt the forced repatriation of Lao Hmong refugees from two of the remaining camps in Thailand.

In an official statement delivered at the rally and ceremony in support of the Marxist-Leninist regime in North Korea Mr. Hiem Phommachanh, Laos’ Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and former Lao Ambassador to the United States in Washington, D.C., stated: “We honor and are grateful for…the long history of the friendly relationship and co-operation between Laos and North Korea, especially the assistance and support from North Korea offered to the Lao government and people during the Lao Marxist-Leninist revolutionary period… and since Laos liberation in 1975, the relation and cooperation between Laos and North Korea has been constantly developing…Laos expresses hope that under leadership of the North Korean Communist Workers' Party, the people of North Korea would be successful in their task of national defense and construction of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea ( DPRK )—North Korea.”

Attending the official ceremonies in Vientiane, Laos honoring North Korea were key Stalinist leaders of the LPDR who rule the country, including Mr. Sisavath Keobounphanh, LPRP Central Committee Politbureau member of the Lao Communist Party’s Central Committee who also serves as the Chairman of the Lao Front for National Construction.

Laos’ official state-controlled propaganda and news agencies, including KPL, reported much of the information regarding the June 25-26, 2009 rallies and ceremonies in support of North Korea.

Philip Smith of the CPPA concluded with these observations: “Tragically, following the White House Executive Order by President Obama on Laos, the Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ) and LPDR militia and security forces responded in defiance by stepping up relentless military attacks on Laotian and Hmong political and religious dissident groups living independently of the communist regime in Laos in the provinces of Vientiane, Xieng Khouang, Khammoune, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and elsewhere. On July 14-15, Lao troops attacked Lao Hmong groups in hiding at the Phou Bia Mountain area of Laos killing at least five civilians, including an 18 year old Hmong girl who was gang raped and summarily executed.”

Many Lao Americans are also concerned about Laos’ recent openly declared support for the military dictatorships in Burma and North Korea and its political and religious persecution of the Laotian and Hmong people.

”On behalf of the Laos American community, we urge President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to support our cause to seek to stop the Laos government from supporting North Korea; As Lao-American citizens and taxpayers, we want all U.S. financial aid to be cut off to the corrupt and ruthless Communist regimes in Laos and North Korea, which work together to persecute and kill their own people,” said Boon Boualaphanh a Laotian-American community leader from Minnesota who has frequently testified in the U.S. Congress about human rights violations in Laos.

“We urge President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to challenge the role of North Korea in both Laos and Burma and to take new steps to challenge the Lao regimes’ recent diplomatic attacks on the policy of President Obama and the United States at the ASEAN conference in Thailand in seeking to oppose North Korea as a security threat to Southeast Asia and the region,” said Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. “Laos under the LPDR communist regime is a terrible ally of Burma and North Korea, and we want President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, to press the Lao government to stop its oppressive and corrupt support for these two dictatorships; We want the LPDR regime to stop its continued persecution and oppression of the Laotian and Hmong people and to immediately release the Lao and Hmong political and religious dissidents and prisoners it has unjustly jailed, including the Lao Students Movement for Democracy leaders of the October 1999 movement.”

“Laos, under the LPDR, is still a communist country, Obama's policy toward to Laos, given its renewed support for North Korea and Burma should take this into consideration so that we can bring about positive change in Laos and end the LPDR regime’s corrupt and brutal monopoly on political power,” stated Khamphoua Naovarangsy, a Laotian America who heads the Lao Institute for Democracy.

In recent weeks and months, Laotian and Hmong Christians and religious believers have been subjected to an increased campaign of religious persecution by Lao military and security forces. In one recent case, LPDR officials confiscated the livestock of Laotian Christians in one area and ordered them to stop practicing their Christian faith or face eviction and lose their homes and property.

Contact: Maria Gomez
Tele. ( 202 ) 543-1444

Center for Public Policy Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Suite No.# 212
Washington, D.C. 20006 USA


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