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Chinese nationals killed in Laos in 'suspected bomb attack'

State media has reported that one of the casualties worked for a Chinese mining company. This is not the first time Chinese workers have been killed abroad as China's economic footprint expands across the globe.

Two Chinese citizens were killed in a "suspected bomb blast" in Laos, marking the latest incident in which nationals from the world's second-largest economy have been killed abroad, state media reported on Monday citing government officials.

"Laos military personnel rushed to the scene and the injured, surnamed Zhou, has been shifted to a hospital in the capital, Vientiane, for treatment," said the Xinhua news agency.

One of the casualties worked for a mining company based in southern China's Yunnan province.

The blast occurred in Laos' remote mountainous province Xaysomboun, once serving as the location of a US-backed guerrilla-led war against communist forces.

This is not the first time employees of Chinese firms have been killed abroad.

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In May 2014, up to 16 Chinese workers were killed during anti-China riots in Vietnam. In November, at least three executives of a Chinese state-run railway firm were killed in Mali when militants attacked a hotel.

It is unclear whether the blast was part of a targeted attack on Chinese nationals in the country, although Chinese embassy officials described it as a "suspected bomb attack, calling on local authorities to promptly investigate the incident.

'Effects of war'

Laos suffers from unexploded ordnance, an enduring problem following the US' carpet-bombing campaign in the communist nation during the Vietnam War.

On Monday, US State Secretary John Kerry met with Laos' Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong to discuss the deadly legacy of unexploded explosives.

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Laos: Courageous Women Take On the Legacy of War

"We have been working on this project of clearing mines and undoing effects of war for a long time and it continues," Kerry said before meeting with the prime minister.

More than two million tons of munitions were dropped during half a million bombing missions. Some 30 percent of the devices failed to detonate, leaving around 50,000 people dead since the end of the war.

ls/jil (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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