Per usual, a relatively quiet week in Lao (when isn't it?), but a few things of note for observers of everyone's favorite "land-linked" Mekong state. Lao is often conceptualized as a former client state of Vietnam which in recent years has shifted away from Hanoi and towards Beijing. It's early days yet, but there are some signs of the Lao government making a more concerted effort at "balancing" against its enormous, northern neighbor.
- New Chinese Ambassador in Vientiane
- Human Rights Watch issued an excellent report on the current state of affairs in Lao, with some rather "frank" conclusions.
- As Lao delicately navigates its position between China and Vietnam, the Lao prime minister called for increased cooperation with Vietnam in what we perceive to be a more active approach to balance growing Chinese aid, influence, and investment in the country.
- Coincidentally this came around the same time the Lao military officially celebrated its "special relationship" with Vietnam.