Remarks With Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Government House
Vientiane, Laos
January 25, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. I’m very happy to be back. I have been a here a number of times through the years and we appreciate very much the cooperation of Laos on a number of issues. I particularly thank you for the help on the accountability for the missing in action and the – addressing the issues of the impacts of the war.

But what really defines our relationship today and what is important is also working for the future. President Obama will be the first sitting President of the United States to visit Laos. And your recent application for the GSP and WTO and our growing economic relationship, as well as our security relationship with the South China Sea, with issues of counterterrorism, our cooperation on law enforcement are very important issues defining our relationship today.

And today I want to really focus on the importance of the summit that will take place in California next month in Sunnylands and the important role Laos will play as the chair of ASEAN. So this will be a very important gathering, and today we have an opportunity to be able to prepare for it.