Chinese premier arrives in Laos for official visit

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Chinese premier arrives in Laos for official visit

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has arrived in Laos for an official visit. He will also meet leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

China is expanding trade with ASEAN. During the visit, Li will also attend a series of meetings including the East Asia Summit.  Meanwhile, all sides are making an effort to manage differences on maritime issues.

U.S. President Barack Obama is also in Laos for meetings with ASEAN leaders.

Rian Maelzer reports from Vientiane.
Follow Rian Maelzer on Twitter @rdamael

Chinese premier arrives in Laos for official visit

Chinese premier arrives in Laos for official visit

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has arrived in Laos for an official visit. He will also meet leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. China is expanding trade with ASEAN. During the visit, Li will also attend a series of meetings including the East Asia Summit. Meanwhile, all sides are making an effort to manage differences on maritime issues. U.S. President Barack Obama is also in Laos for meetings with ASEAN leaders. Rian Maelzer reports from Vientiane.
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A miserable morning for the first-ever visit to Laos by a sitting U.S. president. And the weather wasn’t the only mood dampener.

The U.S. cancelled a meeting between Obama and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte after Duterte used a crude insult to describe Obama. He was incensed that the U.S. president planned to raise concerns over extra-judicial killings under Duterte’s war against drugs.

But later in the day, Philippines officials backtracked.

“He regrets that his remarks to the press have caused much controversy. The President looks forward to ironing out differences arising out of the national priorities and perceptions, and working in mutually responsible ways for both countries,” Martin Andanar, the Philippines’ Presidential Communications Secretary said.

As the ASEAN summit officially got underway with the usual colorful ceremony, across Vientiane, Obama delivered a major policy speech on his legacy and hopes for Asia.

“It reflects fundamental national interests. And in the United States, across the political spectrum there’s widespread recognition that the Asia-Pacific will become even more important in the century ahead, both to America and to the world,” Obama said.

His government announced a further $90 million in aid to help clear Laos of the millions of unexploded cluster munitions that still contaminate the land, maim and kill four decades after the U.S. bombing campaign ended.

ASEAN leaders debated how to further strengthen the community that they formally declared at the end of the year.

They have made huge strides toward economic unity. And on Tuesday, they beefed up their political and security cooperation by signing a plan to allow for a unified ASEAN response to disasters both inside and outside the region.


Marc Mealy on Laos ASEAN expectations

To further discuss expectations of TPP, Obama’s “Asia Pivot” and the ASEAN Summit in Laos, CCTV America’s Jessica Stone spoke to Marc Mealy, vice president of Policy at the US-ASEAN Business Council.