A look at today’s official Vientiane Times (all foreign news are from Xinhua!) headlines suggests that the aid race in Laos is still on — or at least that the government wants to cleverly present it in this way, lest some parties feel like withdrawing from it after the recent Chinese announcement of 18 new infrastructure projects in Laos, including a railway from Vientiane to Mengla in Yunnan.
A piece called “Roads built for SEA Games not up to standard” (pp. 1, 3) cites an official as stating that parts of a road built by a South Korean contractor using a South Korean low-interest loan for the Southeast Asian Games last year have already developed potholes, as have some Chinese-built roads. Another article (Somxay Sengdara, “Korean volunteers deliver much needed technical training,” p. 2) highlights another aspect of Korea’s aid, which in most respects is similar to China’s. This is not a new discovery, but it still has not attracted any attention as far as I know. (We also know very little about Chinese volunteers, an interesting issue as it links state projects with China’s emerging middle-class do-gooderism.)
A report on the uses of Japanese aid and an article on the World Bank’s environmental activities completes the first three pages.