A view of Laos' capital city of Vientiane (Photo: famouswonders.com)

Hanoi (VNA) - It is not a coincidence that on November 5, 2015, when reporting about President Barack Obama’s decision to visit Laos in 2016 to attend the ASEAN Summit held in Vientiane, all Western media stressed that Obama would “make history” as the first US president to visit that country in six decades since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1955.

According to the Voice of America, White House Deputy National Security Aide Ben Rhodes told a think tank audience in Washington on November 4, 2015 that ahead of “the historic visit”, for the first time in a long time, “there is a sense of potential” in the relationship between the US and Laos.

Rhodes also said there is an emerging partnership on development between the two countries (the US and Laos) with a focus on such areas as health, nutrition and basic education and that “the US is increasingly a real partner to the Lao government.”

Laos has attracted international attention and interest.

It is clear that a small and poor Laos devastated by war and trade embargo decades ago, a country which rarely features in international media has been replaced by a dynamic, renovating and highly valued Laos with increasing regional and international integration.

In other words, Laos’ new position after 40 years of development since the historic victory of the national and people’s democratic revolution in December 1975 has changed the international views towards this small nation.

As reported by the Vientiane Times, speaking at the well-wishing ceremony for the Party and government leaders on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic National Day held at the Presidential Office on December 1, 2015, Malaysian Ambassador to Laos Dato’ Than Tai Hing, as the Dean of the diplomatic corps in Vientiane, congratulated Lao leaders and people for achieving “significant” progress in the task of building the nation over the past four decades, noting that Laos has achieved high-level economic growth of more than 7 percent over the recent years with the remarkable achievement of being able to maintain political stability, peace and harmony among the different ethnic groups.

The Malaysian diplomat emphasized that “this is only possible owing to the wise, forward looking and far-sighted policy” of the leadership of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party headed by Secretary General and President Choummaly Sayasone and the government under Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong.

Following this, “all of its citizens can enjoy their legitimate rights and freedom to actively participate in national development and to share in the growth benefits and create opportunities for them to achieve greater economic security and progress,” he said.

Every year, Laos, a small nation with only nearly 7 million people, on average receives approximately 3 million foreign tourists.

This is a remarkable achievement respected by other countries’ tourism sectors.

Lao natural, cultural, historic and humanitarian values have become a “magnet” for not only foreign tourists but also investors.

However, the most important factor is Laos’ government policy.

In the opening speech of the scientific conference with the theme of “Laos’ readiness for international economic integration” held in Vientiane on November 28, 2015, Lao Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said that the Lao government determines to promote and adjust integration policies to help all elements of the society, especially Lao enterprises, learn about the country’s potential, opportunities and challenges to turn advantages into power, and simultaneously strengthen the efforts to address their weaknesses for better regional and international integration.

In reality, over the last few years, Laos gradually raises its position by hosting successfully a number of international events at both regional and international stages. Such international conferences as the 25th SEA Games in 2009, the 7th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP) Meeting, the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM-9) Summit in 2012, the 5th Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) and the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam-Myanmar (CLMV) Summit in 2013, the 35th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in 2014 held successfully by Laos have left a good impression on international friends of a peaceful, stable, hospitable and responsible Laos, a country willing to join hand with the international community to solve existing global issues with the ultimate principle of cooperation for development.

In 2016, Laos continues to witness a flurry of significant international events. From the mid to end of 2016, there will be a series of summits and ministerial conferences among ASEAN members and between ASEAN and its partners, including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and East Asia Summit (EAS), which Laos has the honour to host as it assumes the ASEAN Chair in the first year of the ASEAN Community.

The ASEAN Summit and other summits between ASEAN and its partners as well as the ARF and EAS in Vientiane will be important international forums with the participation of numerous State and government leaders. They are believed to be very animated to the point of being heated but certainly successful under the host’s flexible but principled chairmanship.

The international media will focus their attention on Laos and the world will once again “tune their antenna”.-VNA