Chronologies

US - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Mar 2004 to Jul 2004


: Macapagal-Arroyo begins new six-year term as Philippine president.

: The two main parties in Cambodia, the Cambodian People’s Party of PM Hun Sen (CPP) and the Funcinpec party led by Prince Norodom Ranariddh, sign agreement on a coalition government, ending 11 months of political deadlock.

: U.S. delivers refurbished helicopters to Thailand to help it fight Muslim militants in the south and guard against drug trafficking in the north.

: Adm. Fargo meets Defense Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Philippine Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Narciso Abaya, while attending the inauguration of President Macapagal-Arroyo.

: Thailand expresses support for the U.S. plan to enhance technical and intelligence assistance to Southeast Asian countries to guard the Strait of Malacca against piracy and terrorism, but emphasizes that the deployment of U.S. troops is unnecessary.

: U.S. Senate approves bill to renew sanctions against Burma.

: U.S. grand jury indicts Anthonius Wamang, alleged operational commander of the separatist Free Papua Movement, for the 2002 murder of two U.S. schoolteachers in the Indonesian province of Papua.  Wamang remains at large.

: U.S. announces Vietnam will become the 15th country to receive money to combat AIDS under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Vietnam is the sole Asian country named in the program.

: During a visit to Malaysia, Adm. Fargo denies reports that Washington wanted U.S. forces to help patrol the Strait of Malacca: says cooperation would focus on sharing intelligence and offering to help build the capacity of countries in the region to face the threat themselves.

:   President Bush dismisses criticism of decision to make Vietnam eligible for funds under a global AIDS initiative.

: Indonesia and Malaysia agree to conduct joint military patrols in the Malacca Strait to stem piracy and maritime terrorist threats.

: Vietnam’s central bank grants the U.S.-based Far East National Bank approval to open a branch in Ho Chi Minh City – the third U.S. bank with a branch in Vietnam – as the U.S. is now Vietnam’s largest trading partner.

: Malaysian Deputy PM Najib Abdul Razak says Malaysia and the U.S. will work together to boost maritime security, but will not undertake joint patrols in the Strait of Malacca.

: Hundreds of pro-democracy activists protest in Rangoon on NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s 59th birthday and demand her release.

: U.S. State Department calls upon Burma’s military rulers to release Aung San Suu Kyi and fellow democracy leader U Tin Oo immediately and unconditionally.

: Indonesia’s naval chief announces his country will form a special maritime force to coordinate patrols in the Malacca Strait after Indonesian pirates conduct yet another attack in the area.

: U.S. announces $5.6 million in aid to Cambodia to help stem human trafficking to neighboring countries to work as forced laborers, prostitutes, and beggars.

: Malaysia announces the formation of a new paramilitary maritime force to patrol its territorial waters after international pressure to increase maritime security in the region.  The force is to begin operations next March.

: Malaysia’s Deputy PM says it would be counterproductive to have a strong presence of foreign troops or assets in the region, but his country is ready to further discuss the U.S. maritime security initiative.

: The members of the Five Powers Defence Arrangements (FPDA), a regional Southeast Asian defense alliance composed of Australia, the UK, Malaysia, Singapore, and New Zealand, agree to increase training to prevent terrorist attacks in the Strait of Malacca; move seen as an alternative to U.S. proposal.

: Adm. Fargo says U.S. plans to enhance maritime security in Asia by sharing information that could lead to inspections of ships carrying suspicious cargo in the Strait of Malacca.

: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld in Singapore to attend an international security conference warns Asian governments against underestimating terrorist threat.

: Philippine President Arroyo says her country’s troops will remain in Iraq but will probably redeploy to safer areas after three Filipino soldiers were wounded in June 1 ambush.

: U.S. State Department calls Indonesian expulsion of policy analyst a disappointing reversal of democratic trends and recent positive moves against terrorists in the country.

: Malaysian PM Badawi says worsening security conditions in Iraq and Palestinian territories alienate Muslims, creating a new generation of anti-American terrorists.

: The U.S. and Singapore navies begin a 10-day joint training exercise in Singapore waters emphasizing threats from air and submarines.

: Singapore becomes first country to join the U.S. Coast Guard’s International Port Security Program.

: U.S. terrorism expert Sidney Jones, working with the International Crisis Group, receives expulsion notice from Indonesian government allegedly on visa violations.

: Malaysian authorities arrest Buhary Syed Abu Tahir, allegedly the most senior official of A.Q. Khan’s nuclear trafficking network to be arrested thus far under a security law allowing for indefinite detention without trial.

: State Department releases statement urging Burma to release democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and move towards greater democratic rule.

: President Bush criticizes Burma’s leaders for their handling of constitutional talks and says Burma’s “actions and policies pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

: Assistant Secretary James Kelly visits Hanoi for the U.S.-Vietnam Annual Political Dialogue.

: Four civilian Filipino contract workers are killed in a mortar attack on a U.S. air base in Iraq.

: At ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) senior officials meeting in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, U.S. proposes plan to increase maritime security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. ASEAN members welcome the initiative but emphasize the U.S. would not be given operational patrolling duties.

: Filipinos vote in elections for presidential, congressional and township posts.  More than 90 are killed in election violence.

: U.S. and Malaysia sign the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, (TIFA), paving the way for a bilateral free trade agreement.

: Speaking in Jakarta, Assistant Secretary James Kelly emphasizes Indonesia and Malaysia are more than capable of safeguarding the Malacca Strait.

: Philippine security forces expose JI cell and arrest suspect.

: Indonesian National Election Commission confirms Golkar’s first-place finish in April 5 parliamentary election.

: Singapore PM Goh Chok Tong kicks off five-day visit to Washington to meet with President Bush, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and other top U.S. government officials; it is the third meeting between PM Goh and Bush in a year.

: Indonesian authorities re-arrest Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir on terrorist charges immediately after his release from prison where he has served 18 months on immigration violations.

: State Department releases the 2003 Patterns of Global Terrorism Report, which identifies the Asia-Pacific region in general and Southeast Asia in particular, as “an attractive theater of support and logistics” for al-Qaeda, and “a theater of operations” for Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

: Singapore Defense Minister Teo Chee Hean warns of insufficient patrols in the Malacca Strait to ward off a terrorist attack and assistance from outside sources is necessary to ensure the security of the Strait.

: United Airlines announces plan to begin direct flights to Vietnam, the first U.S. carrier to do so since 1975.

: At a special meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference Malaysian PM Badawi criticizes U.S. strategy in Iraq and regarding Israel.  Representatives issue a communiqué urging Washington to end support for Israel’s plan.

: Former Indonesian armed forces leader Wiranto, one of seven Indonesian military officials indicted by the UN on war crimes in East Timor in 1999, wins Golkar party presidential nomination.

: U.S. experts from the justice department, FBI, and customs and border control begin a four-day workshop to train Southeast Asian counterparts in counterterrorism techniques.

: Vietnam allows tourists eight-day trip to visit Spratly Islands.

: U.S. and Vietnamese military officials meet for the first-ever joint conference aimed at increasing HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

: Burmese government releases two senior members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, who have been under house arrest for more than a year, ahead of the National Convention aimed at drafting a new constitution to be held in May.  NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest.

: In radio address Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra indicates for the second time in two days he will bring Thai troops home from Iraq if the security situation  continues to deteriorate.

: Malaysia and Indonesia reject U.S. proposed Regional Maritime Security Initiative to help patrol in the Malacca Strait.

: Indonesians vote in parliamentary elections.

: Singapore confirms talks with U.S. over possibility of U.S. forces protecting the Strait of Malacca from terrorists; advocates a cooperative effort and financial contribution from all nations using the Strait.

: U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur refutes reports of U.S. plan to deploy U.S. forces in the Strait of Malacca.

: Adm. Fargo, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, proposes a regional maritime security initiative to help guard the strategic Malacca Strait against terrorist attacks.  Malaysia and Indonesia oppose the plan.

: Singapore formally joins the U.S. Joint Strike Fighter development program, making it the first Asian nation to contribute to the world’s most advanced combat jet.

: Singapore formally joins the U.S. Joint Strike Fighter development program, making it the first Asian nation to contribute to the world’s most advanced combat jet.

: U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher and visiting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge express “extreme disappointment” in the Indonesian Supreme Court’s decision to reduce convicted JI spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir’s three-year prison sentence to time-served.

: U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher and visiting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge express “extreme disappointment” in the Indonesian Supreme Court’s decision to reduce convicted JI spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir’s three-year prison sentence to time-served.

: Balikatan-04 ends.  The focus of this year’s joint exercise was on Palawan island and included civic action, involving school construction, medial assistance, and road repairs by U.S. forces.

:   Sixteen prominent U.S. senators ask FBI director Robert Mueller to reopen an investigation of a 1997 grenade attack in Phnom Penh.

: Balikatan-04 ends.  The focus of this year’s joint exercise was on Palawan island and included civic action, involving school construction, medial assistance, and road repairs by U.S. forces.

:   Sixteen prominent U.S. senators ask FBI director Robert Mueller to reopen an investigation of a 1997 grenade attack in Phnom Penh.

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