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Modern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th Century under King FA NGUM. For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. A gradual, limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began in 1988. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997.


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Military

Military branches
Lao People's Armed Forces (LPAF): Lao People's Army (LPA; includes Riverine Force), Air Force (2011)

Military service age and obligation
18 years of age for compulsory military service; minimum 18-month service obligation (2010)

Manpower available for military service
Males age 16-49 1,574,362
Females age 16-49 1,607,856 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
Males age 16-49 1,111,629
Females age 16-49 1,190,035 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
Male 71,400
Female 73,038 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures World Ranking: 162
0.5% of GDP (2006)

Military - note
Serving one of the world's least developed countries, the Lao People's Armed Forces (LPAF) is small, poorly funded, and ineffectively resourced; its mission focus is border and internal security, primarily in countering ethnic Hmong insurgent groups; together with the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and the government, the Lao People's Army (LPA) is the third pillar of state machinery, and as such is expected to suppress political and civil unrest and similar national emergencies, but the LPA also has upgraded skills to respond to avian influenza outbreaks; there is no perceived external threat to the state and the LPA maintains strong ties with the neighboring Vietnamese military (2008)


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  Laos (Vientiane):


  GPS points from Laos (Vientiane)

Phu Yank Khoueng Xaignabouli

Ban Nam Toun Khoueng Xiangkhoang

Muang Lakhonpheng Khoueng Salavan

Bo Phone Tiou Khoueng Khammouan

Ban Don Khoueng Savannakhet

Tom T'koi Khoueng Savannakhet

Ban Toolek Khoueng Xaignabouli

Ban Kim Siang Xiagnabouli




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