Laos is completely supportive of China on the South China Sea dispute.
With no overlapping border with the South China Sea, Laos is a non-claimant of the area. Surrounded by nations such as China, Cambodia and Vietnam, it has no territorial claim. Since Laos is a much smaller country compared to the mega power that is China with regards to both the size of the country and economy, Laos has decided to side with China on this issue. China wants to be the only claimant in order to safeguard its identity, economic benefit that comes from having sovereign rights over hydrocarbon reserves and its security for maritime trade.
Therefore, most beneficial for Laos to side with China to be the only claimant of The South China Sea.Laos has signed a pact with china together with cambodia on how to settle the South China Sea dispute. Even though Laos has previously made a pact with the other ASEAN countries for the agreement on free trade in 1997, Signing the pact with China is more beneficial to Laos as China plays a huge role in the growth of its economy.
Given that, Laos is highly dependant on China for its trade which reached up to US$2.78 billion in the previous years and its economy growth. Laos has also supported China by refusing to accept the international court’s ruling on China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea. Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said on 14 July that he would stand by China and was ready to work with it to maintain peace and stability in the disputed waters.
Moreover, China and Laos have established diplomatic ties 56 years ago and having a good relationship is important to laos.Laos proposes that China be the only claimant of the south China Sea. China wants the huge amounts of hydrocarbons in the area and Laos supports its decision completely as Laos has an advantage if China has full control of the South China Sea. Moreover, China also has the required knowledge and technology on how to make use of the fuel effectively and efficiently which some other countries may not be fully aware of. However, Laos also feels that China and countries that wish to claim the sea could negotiate on different aspect. For instance, China could possibly offer financial assistance to countries that need it or compromise on other properties as the South China Sea would be a huge source of income for China.