Laos National Day

December 2, 2011 by staff 

Laos National Day, The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), popularly referred to as Laos, is celebrating its 36th National Day on December 2, 2011. A landlocked country in Southeast Asia, it is bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the south and west. Its population is estimated at 6.8 million, 70 percent of whom live in rural areas. The capital city Vientiane has nearly 400,000 residents. The official language is Lao. Its religion is Theravada Buddhism.

Adopting a policy of peace, independence, friendship, and cooperation, Lao (PDR) has been a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since July 1997. It is also active in the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement, East Asia Summit, La Francophonie, Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam development triangle area, ASEAN-10, and Greater Mekong Sub-region cooperation. Lao (PDR) is preparing for its accession to the World Trade Organization and hosting the Asia-Europe Summit in November, 2012.

Historically, Laos, whose old name is Lan Xang or Million Elephants, existed from the 14th to the 18th century. In 1893, it became a French protectorate, with three kingdoms – Luang Phrabang, Vientiane, and Champasak – uniting to form what is now known as Laos. It gained independence in 1945 after the Japanese occupation, but returned to French rule until it was granted autonomy in 1949. Laos became independent in 1954, with a constitutional monarchy. Its proclamation of independence was recognized by the United Nations in 1955. A long civil war ended the monarchy, when the Communist Pathet Lao movement came to power in 1975. Lao PDR became a Republic on December 2, 1975.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Lao PDR were established shortly after the latter’s independence from France on July 19, 1949. The two countries set up resident missions in their respective capitals in 1997 after Laos’ entry into the ASEAN. Laos is home to a big number of Overseas Filipino Workers, most of whom work as professionals.

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