US - Southeast Asia
Chronology from Jul 2005 to Oct 2005
: President Bush removes Vietnam from the U.S. list of major drug producing and transit countries. Vietnam’s foreign minister welcomes the decision as recognition of Hanoi’s special attention to the fight against drug trafficking.
: In a White House meeting with Thai PM Thaksin, President Bush emphasizes the need for cooperation to track the avian flu virus. They also discuss a pending bilateral free trade agreement. President Bush extended America’s appreciation for Thailand’s donation of relief supplies for Hurricane Katrina victims.
: Through the International Red Cross, Malaysia donates $1 million to Hurricane Katrina victims, according to Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid.
: Secretary Rice meets with ASEAN foreign ministers during the 60th UN General Assembly in New York.
: Former top Philippine law enforcement official and an FBI analyst are arrested in Newark and charged with passing classified FBI information to government officials in Manila.
: Thailand sends five forensic pathologists to the U.S. to help identify Katrina bodies. The team did similar work after the December 2004 Asian tsunami.
: Four Singapore Air Force Chinook helicopters in Texas for training assist the Texas National Guard in a mission to aid victims of Katrina.
: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad excoriates the U.S. and Britain at a Kuala Lumpur human rights conference, calling the U.S. and UK “terrorists and murderers for killing innocent Iraqis.”
: Thai government sends condolences to the U.S. on Hurricane Katrina’s devastation and offers to send rice and medical teams to assist the victims. According to the Thai foreign minister, the U.S. “gratefully accepted this gracious offer.”
: Singapore announces it is negotiating with Boeing over the purchase of U.S.-made F-15s to replace its aging Skyhawks. Boeing beat out the French-built Rafale.
: Malaysia offers food and medicine to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
: Indonesian House of Representatives voices concern about a resolution approved by the U.S. House of Representatives that questions the status of Papua province and mentions alleged human rights violations there. The Indonesian legislature plans to send a delegation to lobby the U.S. Congress on the issue.
: The Indonesian defense minister talks of new arrangements for the co-production of short-range missiles with China, while simultaneously urging the U.S. to further ease restrictions on military-to-military ties.
: ASEAN Secretary General On Keng Yang says that President Bush should not be invited to the East Asian Summit (EAS) as an observer. The ASEAN secretary general also states that U.S. interests would not be ignored in EAS discussions.
: Cambodian Premier Hun Sen asks the U.S. for non-lethal military aid following the lifting of a U.S. ban on military assistance. Cambodia has agreed that Americans in Cambodia are exempt from prosecution by the International Criminal Court. The U.S. had halted military aid to Cambodia following a 1997 coup when Hun Sen seized power from Prince Norodom Rannaridh.
: Singapore Defense Minister Teo Chee Han praises U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative at the beginning of a five-day exercise, Exercise Deep Sabre 2005 designed to interdict seaborne WMD. The drill involves 10 surface ships, six patrol craft, and 2,000 personnel from 13 countries – the majority from the U.S., Singapore, Australia, Japan, France, and Britain. It is the first PSI exercise to be held in Southeast Asia.
: The U.S. condemns a Cambodian military court ruling that finds an opposition lawmaker guilty of sedition.
: The White House advocates lifting of the military embargo on Indonesia so that full cooperation of the two countries’ armed forces can be restored.
: U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Christopher Le Fleur states that the U.S. is eager to assist the littoral states in protecting the Strait of Malacca and awaits their requests concerning the type of help they need.
: U.S. and Indonesian military officers hold bilateral defense dialogue in Jakarta.
: U.S. State Department issues a statement reiterating support for Indonesia’s territorial integrity, an implicit response to a U.S. House of Representatives bill that calls for a new referendum on Papua’s independence from Indonesia.
: Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar at the ARF meeting states his country’s willingness to cooperate with big powers against piracy in the Malacca Strait as long as Malaysia’s sovereignty is respected.
: Deputy Secretary Zoellick lays out broad array of issues at ARF meeting ranging from counterterror and maritime security through avian flu and natural disasters.
: At the ASEAN meeting with the U.S. in Vientiane, ASEAN urges Washington to proceed toward negotiating a Southeast Asia-wide free trade agreement.
: U.S. Embassy officials say they hope political turmoil accompanying the prospect of Philippine President Arroyo’s impeachment will not lead to a coup, martial law, or major street demonstrations.
: U.S. Navy ships arrive in Surabaya to join Indonesia in the ninth Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise – which last took place in 2002. So far, the 2005 CARAT exercises have included Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. Following the Indonesian phase, the U.S. task group will continue to the Philippines and Brunei. 200 U.S. service members are in CARAT 2005 Indonesia.
: Deputy Secretary Robert Zoellick attends the ASEAN post-ministerial conference and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Vientiane.
: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in a speech to UMNO, the ruling party, reiterates that he will never permit foreign militaries to escort ships through the Malacca Strait.
: One of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organizations, Muhammadiyah, raises the prospect of cultural cooperation with the U.S., including the reconstruction of Aceh.
: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsieh-loong meets President George Bush at the White House and signs a Strategic Framework Agreement to enhance defense cooperation through policy dialogues, counterterrorism, counter-proliferation, and joint military exercises and training.
: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Thailand endorses Thai National Reconciliation Commission to defuse southern tensions and accepts Thai government’s assessment that international terrorists are not operating there. She says the brutal Islamic insurgency in southern Thailand that has led to 800 deaths since January 2004 is a domestic matter for Thailand to resolve.
: Secretary Rice meets with Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon before flying to regions of southern Thailand struck by last December’s tsunami.
: Mike Arroyo, husband of the Philippine president, leaves for voluntary exile in the U.S. after allegations of illegal gambling kickbacks.