China Starts Controversial Lao Rail Project

China Starts Controversial Lao Rail ProjectOn Christmas Day last year, work officially started on the China-Laos high-speed railway, a major engineering feat snaking from Kunming, in China's southwestern Yunnan Province, to Vientiane in Laos. Beijing hopes the track will form part of a larger transportation system, dubbed the Pan-Asian Railway, which one day may carry passengers and goods all the…

Laos to Continue to Develop Divisive Mekong Dam

Laos to Continue to Develop Divisive Mekong DamLaos will go ahead with construction of the controversial Don Sahong Dam on the Mekong River despite agreeing to allow the Mekong River Commission Council to review the dam, the commission said on June 26. The decision by the Laotians to submit the plan to the council, which theoretically has jurisdiction over approval, was a…

Landlocked Laos’s Big Plans

Although Laos is soon to join the World Trade Organization, it remains very much Southeast Asia's forgotten country, a landlocked backpacker magnet of unexploded ordnance and bad, winding roads nicely topped off by stunning jungle, river and mountain vistas. Lying between China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma and Thailand, Communist-ruled Laos has moved off what economists like…

Laos and the Resource Curse

Laos, a landlocked and obscure country of 6.8 million poverty-stricken people, is seeking to develop its way into prosperity through massive investment in dams, mines and plantations, hoping for jobs, rising incomes and revenues to end poverty. But development, a great deal of it by Chinese and other foreign interests, is "tearing at the environment,…