WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will become the first U.S. president to visit Laos when he visits the Southeast Asian nation next year.
White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes says Obama will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference. Obama has made it a point to attend that summit every year as part of his campaign to refocus U.S. foreign policy on the Asia-Pacific region.
Rhodes recently traveled to Laos to mark 60 years of diplomatic relations between Laos and the U.S. and to lay the groundwork for Obama's trip.
Laos has moved away from a communist system in the past two decades, but it retains a one-party political system and its government has been criticized for being intolerant of dissent.