In 1987, these two countries were involved in several border clashes. Within a year Thailand and Lao, signed a communiqué, stating that they wanted to improve relations.

These two countries have shared a similar history for the past two thousand years. In fact the languages spoken in both countries are very similar. Generally a Laotian can understand a Thai person, but not the other way around, unless said Thai person is Issan. Issan is a Thai dialect that is exactly the same as Lao. In fact there are more Lao speakers in Thailand then there are in Lao.

During the mid 1970’s, Lao revolutionized and overthrew its government for a communist Soviet Bloc allied one. This government is still in place, thus the American allied democracy of Thailand, doesn’t naturally get along with Lao. Since the demise of the Soviet Bloc, Lao has been looking to improve relations with its regional neighbours.

Thailand and China were seen as the main possibilities; as Vietnam isn’t as supportive as it could be, Cambodia and Burma (Myanmar) don’t have the economies to support Lao.

Lao has emerged from isolating itself and has brought itself to the international markets, trading with countries such as: Australia, France, Japan, Sweden and India. Also in 1997 Lao joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Thailand, Lao and Australia gathered and constructed the Thai Lao Friendship Bridge, which as greatly improved relations. Currently it’s possible for Thai, and Lao citizens to cross the border without a visa. Although this bridge is mainly used by foreign tourists who have come to Thailand and wish to travel Lao.

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