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The World : Hanoi Cuts Forces in Laos

February 25, 1988

Vietnam has quietly withdrawn about half of its estimated 40,000 troops in Laos, diplomatic sources said. Hanoi's maintenance of a large force in Laos, where there is minimal anti-Communist guerrilla activity, had raised doubts that it is serious about pulling out of Cambodia, the sources said. In addition, a Western diplomat based in Vientiane, the Laotian capital, said the Vietnamese "now realize that keeping such a large number of troops outside the country is very expensive." Meanwhile, Laos returned two Thai airmen shot down during recent border fighting, and military officers from both Laos and Thailand vowed to maintain a cease-fire while their governments try to negotiate a settlement of the bitter territorial dispute.

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