Clinton Makes Historic Visit to Laos
She's the first US secretary of state there in five decades
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 11, 2012 12:39 PM CDT
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton looks at a map that displays locations of bombing sites during the Vietnam War, on her tour in Laos today.   (AP Photo/Brendon Smialowski, Pool)
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(Newser) Hillary Clinton just keeps racking up the miles, today becoming the first US secretary of state to visit Laos in more than five decades, in a test of whether a place the United States pummeled with bombs during the Vietnam War could evolve into a new foothold of American influence in Asia. Clinton met with the communist government's prime minister and foreign minister in the capital of Vientiane today, part of a weeklong diplomatic tour of Southeast Asia. The goal is to bolster America's standing in some of the fastest growing markets of the world and counter China's dominance.

In her meetings, Clinton discussed environmental concerns over a proposed dam on the Mekong River, investment opportunities, and joint efforts to clean up the tens of millions of unexploded bombs the US dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War. After the meetings, she said they "traced the arc of our relationship from addressing the tragic legacies of the past to finding a way to being partners of the future."