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Bloc leaders meet in Laotian capital

Reporter: Rian Maelzer 丨 CCTV.com

09-07-2016 10:15 BJT

Full coverage: Chinese Premier Visits Laos, Attends East Asia Summit

Leaders of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, are meeting in the capital of Laos, Vientiane. The country holds this year's rotating chairmanship of the regional bloc. Leaders from east Asian countries, Russia, India, the US and others are also attending related meetings. The summit and its related meetings, including the East Asia Summit are a welcome boost for Laos' international profile although events didn't get off to the smoothest start.

The first-ever visit to Laos by a sitting US president.

As the ASEAN summit officially got underway with the usual colourful ceremony, across Vientiane, Obama delivered a major policy speech on his legacy in 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," said US President Barack Obama.

His government announced a further $90 million dollars 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 US bombing campaign ended.

ASEAN leaders meanwhile, 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.

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