South East Asian Nations: Laos Praises North Korea

Bangkok, Thailand and Washington, D.C.(RPRN) 7/25/2009–U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s participation in recent days at the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference in Phuket, Thailand, where she raised regional security and human rights concerns about North Korea and Burma, has been overshadowed, in part,  by new revelations of neighboring Laos’ defiant ongoing support and solidarity for the Marxist-Leninist regime in North Korea (DPRK).  ASEAN member Laos has organized high-level rallies and diplomatic missions in support of the Pyongyang regime in recent weeks.

“Now, 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 Barrack 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,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.

Smith continued:  “State-sponsored ceremonies in Vientiane, Laos, in support of North Korea, and its nuclear weapons development program, came less than ten (10) days after a U.S. Congressional letter was sent to Secretary of State Clinton opposing the forced repatriation of Lao Hmong refugees; In June, Laos’ support for North Korea was reasserted and reaffirmed by Vientiane in an apparent attack on President Obama’s and Secretary of State Clinton’s recent diplomatic efforts.”

“North Korea and Burma enjoyed the full and open support of Laos at the ASEAN meeting in Thailand, despite President Obama and Secretary Clinton’s best efforts,” Smith said.

Laos communist party and foreign ministry officials as well as Lao Peoples Army (LPA) military 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. 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.

Laotian and Hmong refugees continue to flee horrific persecution and abuse in the LPDR regime in Laos years by the thousands, including over 5,500 Lao Hmong political refugees who are seeking asylum at Ban Huay Nam Khao, Petchabun Province and at Nong Khai, Thailand.

From the CPPA offices in Washington, D.C., Philip Smith reflected further: “Most telling is that on June 26, 2009 just two weeks after President Barak Obama issued an Executive Order declaring that the Communist regime in Laos was no longer a Marxist-Lennist government for purposes of the Export-Import Act provisions, the LPDR regime responded in defiance by hosting an official rally and ceremonies in support of North Korea in Vientiane, Laos. DPRK, North Korea, diplomatic relations with the LPDR regime in Laos were lauded and 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 Politburo 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 political and military 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 government’s ceremonies in Vientiane, Laos, in support of North Korea, and its nuclear weapons program, came less than ten days after a U.S. Congressional letter was sent to U.S. 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 Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), James McGovern (D-Mass), Frank Wolf (R-VA), Howard Berman (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Dana Rohrabacher (D-CA), James Costa (D-CA), George Radanovich (R-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Steve Kagan (D-WI) and others  sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the United States and Thailand to immediately intervene to halt the forced repatriation of Lao Hmong refugees from two of the remaining camps in Thailand back to the communist regime in Laos where they fled persecution.

“Mass starvation, ethnic cleansing, genocide and war crimes have been committed by the LPDR regime in Laos in recent months and years against its own citizens, including unarmed Lao and Hmong civilians as well as political and religious dissident and oppostion groups,”  Smith said. “This has been documented by independent journalists and human rights organizations, including Amnesty International.”

In Laos, at the mass 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 stated in his official speech: “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 co-operation between Laos and North Korea has been constantly developing…Laos expresses hope that under leadership of the North Korean Communist Worker 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.”

The DPRK Ambassador to Laos was honored at the ceremonies and spoke about improved North Korea and Laos cooperation. Organizing and participating in the official state ceremonies in Vientiane, Laos honoring North Korea and its leaders were also key Stalinist leaders of the LPDR who rule the country, including Mr. Sisavath Keobounphanh, LPRP Central Committee Politburo member of the Lao Communist Party’s Central Committee who also serves as the Chairman of the Lao Front for National Construction (LFNC).

Philip Smith of the CPPA concluded: “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 and 15, Lao LPA troops brutally attacked Lao Hmong groups in hiding at the Phou Bia Mountain area of Laos killing at least five (5) civilians, including an 18 year old Hmong girl who was gang raped and summarily executed.”

“On behalf of the Laos American community, we urge President Barack 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.

Bounthanh Rathigna stated further:  “Currently, 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.”

Recently, 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 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. Lao Hmong Christian and animist believers are being persecuted and killed in key provinces of Laos where they are in hiding from Lao military and security forces that continue to persecute, hunt and kill them according to refugee and non-governmental organization reports.

“Sadly, now it is clear that Laos, under the LPDR military junta, 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… ( the United States) 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 Geneva and Washington, D.C., Freedom House, a non-governmental organization, has recently issued a report detailing human rights abuses in Laos.  The communist regime in Laos remains a one-party, military dictatorship closely allied with the military juntas in North Korea and Burma.  Laos, under the Stalinist LPDR regime, is listed in Freedom House’s “2009 Worst of the Worst” report which describes the most egregious countries in the world involved with violating the human rights of their citizens.

Contact:  Maria Gomez

Tele. (202)543-1444

Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA)

2020 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite No.#212

Washington, D.C. 20006 USA

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