The Vice-Chairman of the Pathet-Lao, Sithon Kommodam, and the head of the Pathet-Lao Liberation Army, General Sithabath, recently visited Pathet-Lao and North Vietnamese soldiers training near Sam Neua, in eastern Laos.
The Vice-Chairman of the Pathet-Lao, Sithon Kommodam, and the head of the Pathet-Lao Liberation Army, General Sithabath, recently visited Pathet-Lao and North Vietnamese soldiers training near Sam Neua, in eastern Laos. Representatives from both sides in the Loatian conflict are preparing to meet at Khang-Khai, just south of Sam Neua, to discuss the possibility of a formal ceasefire.
The visit of the two high-ranking Pathet-Lao members comes at a time when their forces, with the North Vietnamese, have launched a major offensive in the country, overrunning at least seven Government outposts. This film, released by the North Vietnamese authorities, is the first to show the North Vietnamese aiding Pathet-Lao soldiers.
Sithon Kommodam and General Sithabath took part in pistol shooting with the troops before a small exercise took place. In their training, the Pathet Lao use real bullets, mortars and grenades. One platoon of twelve men attacks an "enemy" position using grenades and mortars. Another platoon attacks the position with fixed bayonets one by one -- a tactic used successfully against the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Pathet Lao Infantry soldiers are aged between 14 and 31, and practice every day. After their exercise, they relax playing volley-ball against the North Vietnamese technical unit which is aiding and training them in engineering and weaponry.
Prince Souvanna Phouma, the Premier of Laos since 1962, and his half-brother Prince Souphanouvong, who heads the Pathet Lao, are negotiating a date for the December talks in Khang-Khai, the former neutralist base in what is now Pathet Lao territory.