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In this Aug. 4, 2016 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Obama made history as the first sitting US president to visit Laos


When President Obama touched down in Laos on Monday, he became the first sitting U.S. president to do so.

The Asian country of about 7 million people is the last stop on Obama's Asian tour after he left the G-20 summit in China (where he was given a less-than-enthusiastic welcome).

Obama is set to push for closer economic ties to Southeast Asia, USA Today reports. But he's also expected to bring up human rights abuses in the nation and the millions of undetonated Vietnam War-era bombs still in Laos.

Laos bomb.jpg
FOR USE WITH STORY SLUGGED: LAOS EAST GERMANS --- An unidentified Laotian explosives clearance technician uses a metal detector to hunt for cluster bombs Wednesday, May 28, 1997, near the village of Sam Neua, Laos, in the northeastern province of Houaphan. Houaphan was the headquarters of the communist Pathet Lao revolutionaries during the Vietnam War. More bombs were dropped on Laos than on Germany in World War II. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)

Legacies of War reports the U.S. dropped 2 million tons of explosives over Laos between 1965 and 1973, killing or injuring at least 20,000 people since the war ended. 80 million bombs never detonated. Many of the injured are children.

Son of a whore, I will swear at you in that forum.
Rodrigo Duterte, to Obama

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, said he will not take kindly to Obama criticizing him, despite his deadly war on drugs drawing international controversy.

Put simply, [Laos] is one of the most systematically rights abusing governments in the region.
Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch

But Laos' government has drawn its own critics, especially after activist Sombath Somphone disappeared in 2012. Some are pressuring Obama to bring up the country's record.

But given how touchy his landing in China for G-20 was, maybe Obama has gotten used to cold welcomes.

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