The Nov. 29 news story "Missing Tourists as Reprisal Victims?" gave a one-sided and sensational view of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The disappearance of the two Hmong Americans along the border between Thailand and Laos is being investigated by a joint U.S.-Lao team.

The allegation that the Lao government has sought to settle old scores by capturing and executing two Hmong Americans is misleading. The circumstances and motive surrounding this allegation have not been provided.

The U.S. Embassy in Laos informed the Lao government of the allegations and requested cooperation in an investigation into the matter. After the first field investigation, no information has been found to support to the rumor that Houa Ly and Michael Vang entered Laos, legally or illegally.

With reference to reporter Marc Kaufman's assertions that the "fate of the Hmong has been tied to the Cold War": No one can change history. But the Lao government is looking to the future and developing great efforts for the socioeconomic development of the country in order to improve the living standard and prosperity of the Lao multiethnic people, as well as to promote cooperation with other nations.


Press Section, Lao Embassy