The foreign relations of Laos, internationally designated by its official name as the Lao People's Democratic Republic, after the takeover by the Pathet Lao in December 1975, were characterized by a hostile posture toward the West, with the government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic aligning itself with the Soviet bloc, maintaining close ties with the Soviet Union and depending heavily on the Soviets for most of its foreign assistance. Laos also maintained a "special relationship" with Vietnam and formalized a 1977 treaty of friendship and cooperation that created tensions with China.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and with Vietnam's decreased ability to provide assistance, Laos has sought to improve relations with its regional neighbors and has emerged from international isolation through improved and expanded relations with other nations such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey, Australia, France, Japan, and Sweden. Trade relations with the United States were normalized in 2004. Laos was admitted into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July 1997 and applied to join the World Trade Organization in 1998. In 2005 it attended the inaugural East Asia Summit.

Membership of international bodies

Laos is a member of the following international organizations: Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (ACCT), ASEAN, ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), ASEAN Regional Forum, Asian Development Bank, Colombo Plan, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Group of 77, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Development Association (IDA), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Labour Organization (ILO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Intelsat (nonsignatory user), and Interpol.

Laos is also a member of the International Olympic Commission (IOC), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Mekong Group, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Pacific Alliance (as observer), Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), United Nations, United Nations Convention on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Universal Postal Union (UPU), World Federation of Trade Unions, World Health Organization (WHO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), World Tourism Organization, World Trade Organization (observer).

Bilateral relations

Countries which Laos has established diplomatic relations with[1]
Countries which Laos has established diplomatic relations with[1]
Country Date
1  Thailand 19 December 1950
2  France 31 January 1951
3  Australia 16 January 1952
4  Philippines 14 January 1955
5  Japan 5 March 1955
6  Myanmar 12 July 1955
7  United States 10 August 1955
8  United Kingdom 5 September 1955
9  India 2 February 1956
10  Cambodia 15 June 1956
11  Denmark 1 November 1956
12  Indonesia 30 August 1957
13   Switzerland 3 September 1957
14  Germany 31 January 1958
15  Turkey 20 June 1958
16  Russia 7 October 1960
17  China 25 April 1961
18  Czech Republic 5 September 1962
19  Vietnam 5 September 1962
20  Poland 8 September 1962
21  Hungary 12 September 1962
22  Mongolia 12 September 1962
23  Bulgaria 14 October 1962
24  Romania 25 November 1962
25  Serbia 25 November 1962
26  Lebanon 15 July 1963
27  Spain 20 March 1964
28  Sweden 10 October 1964
29  New Zealand 15 July 1965
30  Pakistan 15 July 1965
31  Sri Lanka 20 July 1965
32  Italy 7 December 1965
33  Malaysia 1 July 1966
34  Iran 1967
35  Austria 1 September 1967
36  Belgium 12 December 1967
37    Nepal 20 May 1970
38  Algeria 15 May 1973
39  Canada 15 June 1974
40  North Korea 24 June 1974
41  Cuba 4 November 1974
42  Singapore 2 December 1974
43  Finland 21 January 1975
44  Iraq[2] 25 April 1975
45  Albania 18 June 1975
46  Argentina 24 July 1975
47  Netherlands 17 November 1975
48  Libya 26 July 1976
49  Yemen 26 July 1976
50  Egypt November 1976
51  Mexico 29 November 1976
52  Benin 2 February 1977
53  Mali 2 February 1977
54  Tanzania 15 May 1978
55  Madagascar 27 February 1980
56  Somalia 27 February 1980
57  Grenada 4 March 1980
58  Mozambique 16 April 1980
59  Nicaragua 30 May 1980
60  Angola 11 July 1980
61  Guinea 15 October 1981
62  Afghanistan 11 March 1983
63  Zimbabwe 14 August 1986
64  Vanuatu 18 February 1987
 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic 3 August 1987
65  Bangladesh 1988
66  Colombia 30 September 1988
67  Peru 27 April 1989
 State of Palestine 15 May 1989
68  Greece 15 June 1989
69  Tunisia 30 November 1989
70  Papua New Guinea 6 April 1990
71  Saudi Arabia 29 May 1990
72  Norway 12 November 1991
73  Chile 6 December 1991
74  Uzbekistan 10 September 1992
75  Ukraine 17 September 1992
76  Slovakia[3] 1 January 1993
77  Brunei 27 July 1993
78  Israel 6 December 1993
79  Turkmenistan 4 February 1994
80  Belarus 7 February 1994
81  Lithuania 1 September 1994
82  South Africa 27 September 1994
83  Estonia 29 March 1995
84  Latvia 27 April 1995
85  Azerbaijan 22 May 1995
86  Portugal 31 May 1995
87  Brazil 12 June 1995
88  Kyrgyzstan 13 July 1995
89  South Korea 25 October 1995
90  Croatia 4 March 1996
91  North Macedonia 6 March 1996
92  Bosnia and Herzegovina 7 March 1996
93  Slovenia 28 March 1996
94  United Arab Emirates 15 October 1996
95  Zambia 9 November 1996
96  Morocco 30 January 1997
97  Moldova 25 May 1997
98  Kazakhstan 19 September 1997
99  Tajikistan 23 September 1997
100  Luxembourg 25 September 1997
101  Armenia 21 April 1998
102  Ireland 7 August 1998
103  Georgia 6 November 1998
104  Nigeria 10 June 1999
105  Jamaica 27 August 1999
106  Cyprus 29 June 2000
107  Mauritius 23 May 2002
108  Timor-Leste 29 July 2002
109  Bahrain 15 December 2002
110  Liechtenstein 8 January 2004
111  Iceland[4] 2 September 2004
112  Syria 22 December 2004
113  Qatar 3 February 2005
114  Oman 9 March 2005
115  Paraguay 28 September 2005
116  Venezuela 5 October 2005
117  Sudan 14 October 2005
118  Ethiopia 9 December 2005
119  Seychelles 22 June 2006
120  Niger 8 December 2006
121  Andorra 8 June 2007
122  Burkina Faso 1 August 2007
123  Dominican Republic 27 September 2007
124  Guatemala 20 February 2008
125  Kuwait 14 July 2008
126  Ivory Coast 22 July 2008
127  Kenya 11 December 2008
128  Rwanda 31 August 2009
129  Montenegro 3 February 2010
130  Fiji 27 August 2010
131  Malta 13 January 2011
132  Ecuador 12 September 2011
133  Maldives 10 February 2012
134  Mauritania 19 September 2013
135  Costa Rica 28 September 2015
136  Monaco 27 November 2015
137  Liberia 12 August 2016
138  Saint Kitts and Nevis 23 September 2017
139  San Marino 17 December 2018
140  Republic of Congo 29 August 2019
141  Ghana 27 September 2019
142  Dominica 29 July 2021
143  Panama 9 September 2021
144  Uganda 27 September 2021
145  Burundi 4 February 2022

Diplomatic relations

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Australia
 Brunei
 Cambodia
 China

Relations with the People's Republic of China have improved over the years. Although the two were allies during the Vietnam War, the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979 led to a sharp deterioration in Sino-Lao relations. These relations began to improve in the late 1980s. In 1989 Sino-Lao relations were normalized. In 2017 China invested in Laos under its Belt and Road Initiative.[5]

 Cuba
  • Cuba has an embassy in Vientiane.
  • Laos has an embassy in Havana.
 France

Following its occupation of Vietnam, France absorbed Laos into French Indochina via treaties with Siam in 1893 and 1904. During World War II, the Japanese occupied French Indochina. When Japan surrendered, Lao nationalists declared Laos independent, but by early 1946, French troops had reoccupied the country and conferred limited autonomy on Laos. During the First Indochina War, the Indochinese Communist Party formed the Pathet Lao resistance organization committed to Lao independence. Laos gained full independence following the French defeat by the Vietnamese communists and the subsequent Geneva peace conference in 1954.

  • France has an embassy in Vientiane.
  • Laos has an embassy in Paris.
 India
  • India has an embassy in Vientiane.
  • Laos has an embassy in New Delhi.
 Indonesia 1957

Since established diplomatic relations on 1957, both nations enjoys cordial relations. Indonesia supported and welcomed Laos membership to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1997. Laos and Indonesia agreed to enhance relations to focus on exploring the potential of both nations to cooperate on trade and investment. The two nations expressed a desire to reach further agreements relating to security, tourism, sport, air transport and education.[6] Indonesia through bilateral cooperation assist Laos on capacity building and development in various sectors, through scholarships, and trainings for Laos students.[7]

  • Indonesia has an embassy in Vientiane.
  • Laos has an embassy in Jakarta.
 Israel
 Japan
  • Japan has an embassy in Vientiane.
  • Laos has an embassy in Tokyo.
 Malaysia

During the collapse of the Communist Bloc, the Soviet Union could no longer afford aid for the development of Laos.[8] This made Laos seek aid from other countries to help develop their country and has led the country to adopt a neutral foreign policy.[8] When this policy of neutrality was adopted, relations with Malaysia were established.[8]

  • Laos has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Malaysia has an embassy in Vientiane.
 Mexico 1976
  • Laos is accredited to Mexico from its embassy in Washington, D.C.[9][10]
  • Mexico is accredited to Laos from its embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.[11]
 Myanmar
  • Laos has an embassy in Yangon.
  • Myanmar has an embassy in Vientiane.
 Pakistan
  • Pakistan is accredited to Laos from its embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.
 Philippines

Formal relations between Laos and the Philippines were officially established on January 14, 1955. Relations between the two countries were said to have started during the early period of the Vietnam War. Operation Brotherhood, a joint international venture by Jaycees International, sent 50 volunteer Filipino doctors, agriculturists, and nutritionists to Laos and Vietnam from 1957 to 1964. Laos has an embassy in Manila while the Philippines has an embassy in Vientiane.

Lao Prime Ministers Bounnhang Vorachith, Bouasone Bouphavanh and Thongsing Thammavong made their state visit to the Philippines in 2002, June 2007 and May 2012 respectively. Philippine Presidents Fidel V. Ramos visited Laos in October 1997. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo visited Laos in November 2004 for the ASEAN summit and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III visited Laos in November 2012 for the Asia-Europe Meeting Summit.

There are about 730 Filipinos in Laos as of 2013, mostly working as professionals as teachers, nurses, engineers, hotel employees and consultants. Filipinos are often offered lower fares on riding tuktuks compared to other foreigners. Filipinos are one of the biggest contributors to Laos' English programs due to the English fluency possessed by most Filipinos.

  • Laos has an embassy in Manila.
  • Philippines has an embassy in Vientiane.
 Russia
 Serbia 1962

Both countries have established diplomatic relations in 1962.[14]

  • Serbia is accredited to Laos from its embassy in Yangon, Myanmar.
 South Korea
  • Ko-Laoholdings is South Korean company in Laos which is currently the largest private enterprise.[15] and Establishment of Diplomatic Relations : Jun.22, 1974 / Severance - Jul.24, 1975 / Reestablishment - Oct.25, 1995.[16]
  • Laos has an embassy in Seoul.
  • South Korea has an embassy in Vientiane.
 Spain
  • Laos is accredited to Spain from its embassy in Paris, France.
  • Spain is accredited to Laos from its embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.
 Thailand

Thai-Lao relations were strained somewhat in 2006 ahead of the release of the sports comedy Lucky Loser, which Lao diplomats warned might offend Lao people and spark disturbances similar to the 2003 Phnom Penh riots. The film's release was cancelled.

Thailand is Laos' principal means of access to the sea and its primary trading partner. Despite strong economic and cultural ties with Thailand, parts of the border shared by the two countries are indefinite. Within a year of serious border clashes in 1987, Lao and Thai leaders signed a communiqué, signaling their intention to improve relations. Since then, they have made slow but steady progress, notably the construction and opening of the Friendship Bridge between the two countries.

  • Laos has an embassy in Bangkok and a consulate-general in Khon Kaen.
  • Thailand has an embassy in Vientiane and a consulate-general in Savannakhet.
 Turkey 1958[17] See Laos–Turkey relations
  • The Embassy of Laos in Vienna is accredited to Turkey.[17]
  • Turkey has an embassy in Vientiane.[17]
  • Trade volume between the two countries was 2.86 billion USD in 2018 (Laos' exports/imports: 1.48/1.44 billion USD).[18]
 United States

Laos-United States relations officially began when the United States opened a legation in Laos in 1950, when Laos was a semi-autonomous state within French Indochina. These relations were maintained after Laotian independence in 1954.

The U.S. government provided more than $13.4 million in foreign assistance to Laos in FY 2006, in areas including unexploded ordnance clearance and removal, health and avian influenza, education, economic development, and governance.

In December 2004, George W. Bush signed into law a bill extending normal trade relations to Laos. In February 2005, a bilateral trade agreement (BTA) between the two countries entered into force. There has been a consequent rise in Lao exports to the United States, although the volume of trade remains small in absolute terms. Bilateral trade reached $15.7 million in 2006, compared with $8.9 million in 2003. The Lao Government is working to implement the provisions of the BTA and on 2 February 2013 joined the World Trade Organization.

 Vietnam

Although Vietnam's historical record of leadership over the Pathet Lao during the civil war and its military power and proximity will not cease to exist, Laos struck out ahead of Vietnam with its New Economic Mechanism to introduce market mechanisms into its economy. In so doing, Laos has opened the door to rapprochement with Thailand and China at some expense to its special dependence on Vietnam.[19]

Laos might have reached the same point of normalization in following Vietnam's economic and diplomatic change, but by moving ahead resolutely and responding to Thai and Chinese gestures, Laos has broadened its range of donors, trading partners, and investors independent of Vietnam's attempts to accomplish the same goal. Thus, Vietnam remains in the shadows as a mentor and emergency ally, and the tutelage of Laos has shifted dramatically to development banks and international entrepreneurs.[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Diplomatic Relations". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Laos. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  2. ^ Iraq and Laos had established diplomatic relations. 1976. p. 249.
  3. ^ "Laos". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia (in Slovak). Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Iceland - Establishment of Diplomatic Relations". Government of Iceland. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  5. ^ "Belt and Road Initiative provides new impetus for China-Laos economic cooperation - Xinhua | English.news.cn".
  6. ^ "Laos, Indonesia to focus relations on trade and investment". www.laopdr.gov.la. National Portal of Laos PDR. 20 January 2011. Archived from the original on 4 August 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Current Socio Culture Relations". Embassy of Republic of Indonesia, Vientiane, Laos. Embassy of Indonesia. Archived from the original on 23 September 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Martin Stuart-Fox (28 September 1997). A History of Laos. Cambridge University Press. pp. 200–. ISBN 978-0-521-59746-3.
  9. ^ Embassy of Laos in the United States
  10. ^ Relations between Mexico and Thailand and Laos (in Spanish)
  11. ^ Embassy of Mexico in Thailand
  12. ^ "LAO EMBASSY TO THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION". Retrieved 21 February 2015.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Главная - Министерство иностранных дел Российской Федерации". Archived from the original on 21 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 January 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2016.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "::: KOLAO Holdings - Opportunity & Beyond :::". Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". www.mofa.go.kr. Archived from the original on 4 September 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ a b c "Relations between Turkey and Laos". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  18. ^ "Turkey-Laos Bilateral Economic and Commercial Relations". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  19. ^ a b Brown, MacAlister and Joseph J. Zasloff. "Relations with Vietnam". Laos: a country study (Andrea Matles Savada, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (July 1994). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.