Regional Overview

May — Aug 2022
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Washington “Pivots” to Asia

By Ralph A. Cossa and Brad Glosserman
Published September 2022 in Comparative Connections · Volume 24, Issue 2 (This article is extracted from Comparative Connections: A Triannual E-Journal of Bilateral Relations in the Indo-Pacific, Vol. 24, No. 2, September 2022. Preferred citation: Ralph A. Cossa and Brad Glosserman, “Regional Overview: Washington 'Pivots' to Asia,” Comparative Connections, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp 1-20.)

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Ralph A. Cossa
Pacific Forum
Brad Glosserman
Tama University CRS/Pacific Forum

The Biden administration has rediscovered Asia. And, for better or worse, so has the US Congress. While the administration’s national security documents (or at least their unclassified sneak previews) have identified the Indo-Pacific as a priority theater vital to US national security and China as “our most consequential strategic competitor and the pacing challenge,” Europe continues to steal headlines and the lion’s share of the administration’s (and international media’s) attention, thanks to Vladimir Putin and his unwarranted (and so far unsuccessful) invasion of Ukraine.

While many eyes remain on Putin’s war (and NATO’s US-led solid support for Kyiv), this reporting period saw President Biden finally make his first trip to Asia to visit longstanding US allies and attend the second in-person Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (“Quad”) Summit. Prior to his trip, Biden hosted his first US-ASEAN Summit in Washington. Meanwhile Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken were both in Southeast Asia, respectively for the Shangri-La Dialogue and for various ASEAN-driven ministerials. These administration trips were largely overshadowed, however, by US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s controversial trip to Taiwan, the first by a House Speaker in 25 years, which was sure to—and clearly did—draw Beijing’s ire.

The US administration also (finally) put some meat on the bones of its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, even though (like Obama’s earlier pivot) the trade and economic dimension of the administration’s Indo-Pacific Strategy remains the least developed. The military dimension of the strategy was much more in evidence, highlighted by the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise and a number of other multilateral training events throughout the region. Multilateralism will continue to capture the headlines as we move into the year’s third trimester with the ASEAN-driven East Asia Summit and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting sharing pride of place with the Indonesia-hosted G20 Summit.

Restoring Alliance Credibility

President Biden’s first trip to Asia on May 20-24, following three Europe visits, was aimed first and foremost at shoring up the traditional US alliances with Japan and Korea. While national security documents during the Trump administration continued to identify those Asia alliances as the foundation or linchpin for its Asian or Indo-Pacific strategy, the president’s words and actions didn’t always match or reinforce this view. Biden came to power pledging to “reinvigorate” Washington’s alliance network and the symbolism of making his first Asia trip to Korea and Japan had this as a primary objective. We will leave it to our fellow authors of the US-Japan and US-Korea chapters to provide trip details, but alliance centrality was clearly the primary theme during both visits. In Korea, Biden and ROK President Yoon Suk Yeol reaffirmed that the US-ROK alliance remained “the linchpin for peace and prosperity in the region,” further noting that “the Alliance has grown far beyond the Korean peninsula, reflecting the pivotal role of our countries as global leaders in democracy, economy, and technology.” In Japan, Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio “renewed their commitment to strengthening the deterrence and response capabilities of the Alliance” which remains the “cornerstone” of the relationship.

The Quad Continues to Impress

Seizing the opportunity, Prime Minister Kishida hosted a summit meeting of the Quad on May 24 while the US president was in Tokyo. In addition to Kishida, Biden, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australia’s newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese scrambled to make the meeting, arriving only hours after being sworn into office. His presence, along with that of his foreign minister, Penny Wong, is proof of the importance of the Quad.

In their joint statement, the leaders renewed their “steadfast commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient.” They declared strong support for “the principles of freedom, rule of law, democratic values, sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes without resorting to threat or use of force, any unilateral attempt to change the status quo, and freedom of navigation and overflight” and promised to “continue to act decisively together to advance these principles in the region and beyond.” They then set out a series of actions ranging from COVID vaccines to infrastructure aid to advance that agenda. Apart from the absence of any specific reference to China or Russia—a nod to Indian sensitivities—it’s a pretty impressive document.

Interestingly, the action agenda focuses more on what might be considered “soft security” items. The one exception is the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA), which will work with regional partners to respond to humanitarian and natural disasters, and combat illegal fishing. The shift in emphasis away from hard security concerns should quiet some of the controversy surrounding the Quad and its purpose; it increasingly looks like a mechanism to provide public goods, rather than directly challenge China. Reportedly, however, there is ample talk about China among the leaders.

As is the case during most Asia-related meetings, the leaders also reaffirmed “our unwavering support for ASEAN unity and centrality and for the practical implementation of [the] ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.”

US-ASEAN Summit: The Gang’s (Not) All Here!

Prior to leaving for Northeast Asia, Biden met with many (but not all) of his Southeast Asian counterparts for the first-ever Washington DC US-ASEAN Summit on May 12-13. Outgoing Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte elected to send Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to represent his country, given the election earlier that week of a new Philippine president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (whose inauguration took place the following month). Meanwhile, as detailed in CSIS’ Southeast Asia blog, the Biden administration followed ASEAN’s lead in refusing to invite Myanmar coup leader Min Aung Hlaing to the summit. Instead, it offered a spot to a “non-political representative” of Myanmar—an offer the junta was expected to, and did, refuse.

ASEAN foreign ministers also reportedly held an unofficial meeting in Washington the day before the summit “to discuss policy alternatives toward Myanmar.” ASEAN leaders (and the rest of the world) are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of movement toward ASEAN’s April 2021 Five-Point Consensus. Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah was reportedly planning to call for ASEAN’s unofficial engagement with Myanmar’s parallel civilian National Unity Government.

In his speech to the assembled leaders, Biden proclaimed “a new era in US-ASEAN relations.” While China was not referenced in the speech or in the White House Fact Sheet issued before the Summit began, it was no doubt on Biden’s mind when he stated “We’re committed to a future where the rules and norms that have made possible so much growth and prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific are upheld and strengthened, including respect for the rule of law and for human rights.” This year’s ASEAN Chair, Cambodia’s President Hun Sen, was no doubt squirming in his chair as well.

Austin/Blinken Further Promote the Rule of Law

Respect for the rule of law was a constant theme in Defense Secretary Austin’s June 11 speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue, which convened in person in Singapore after a two-year COVID-driven hiatus. Austin mentioned the rule of law or rules-based order more than a half-dozen times. While condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine he noted that “rules-based international order matters just as much in the Indo-Pacific as it does in Europe,” further noting that “this region has already cast its vote on what kind of future it seeks. It’s an interconnected and optimistic future—one rooted in the rule of law, and a profound commitment to freedom and openness.” Nor did he mince words about China; he noted that Beijing has adopted “a more coercive and aggressive approach to its territorial claims,” while further noting that “we’ve seen an alarming increase in the number of unsafe aerial intercepts and confrontations at sea by PLA aircraft and vessels.” In another not-so-veiled poke at Beijing, he argued that “Indo-Pacific countries shouldn’t face political intimidation, economic coercion, or harassment by maritime militias.”

Meanwhile, Secretary Blinken visited Phnom Penh on Aug. 3-5 for a series of ASEAN-hosted foreign minister meetings (the annual US-ASEAN Ministerial plus the 12th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the 29th ASEAN Regional Forum) that were overshadowed by the major PLA military exercise around (and over) Taiwan. Blinken spoke out forcefully about this Chinese violation of the cross-Strait status quo.

Surprisingly, especially given the Cambodian host, there were direct references to both the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits in the ARF Chairman’s Statement; recall in 2012, the last time Cambodia hosted the ARF, it initially failed to produce a Chairman’s Statement (for the first time in ASEAN’s then-45 year history) due to Chinese pressure over references to the South China Sea. This time, the ministers “discussed the situation in the South China Sea and took note of concerns expressed by some countries on the land reclamations and activities, and serious incidents in the area which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region.” The meeting also “reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that would complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes…”

Even more surprising, the Chairman’s Statement “expressed concerns over the recent cross-Strait development, which could destabilize the region and eventually could lead to miscalculation and serious confrontation.” In a sop to Beijing, it noted that “many countries reiterated the One-China Policy,” but then “underlined the importance of maximum restraint, refrain from provocative action and adherence to the principles enshrined in United Nations Charter and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), so as to avoid open conflicts among the major powers and prevent unpredictable consequences.” For ASEAN, this was a bold statement indeed.

The Statement was equally direct in discussing developments in Myanmar, expressing “concerns over the prolonged political crisis in the country, including the execution of four opposition activists” and underscoring “the absolute necessity to implement, immediately and in full, the Five-Point Consensus agreed at the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on 24 April 2021 to support Myanmar’s return to normalcy and the path of democracy.”

While Blinken’s remarks at the meeting have yet to appear on the State Department’s website, the pre-trip Fact Sheet outlining the broader US-ASEAN relationship noted that “the United States and ASEAN are working together to address pressing regional and global challenges. The United States supports the international rules-based order in the South China Sea, and in close cooperation with our allies and partners, the United States promotes a free and open Indo-Pacific in which the freedoms of navigation and overflight are enjoyed and respected by all states in accordance with international law.”

Pelosi Makes Her Mark

The most important event of this reporting period is the visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. As virtually every chapter in this edition of Comparative Connections attests, that trip roiled every relationship in the Indo-Pacific region. Pelosi, a longtime supporter of human rights and critic of the Chinese government, visited Taiwan after postponing a previously scheduled trip because of COVID-19. She went to support Taiwan’s democracy. Her trip was not unprecedented––Speaker Newt Gingrich visited the island 25 years ago––but this visit occurred amidst rising tension between the United States and China and in the Taiwan Strait. President Biden said that the trip occurred against the advice of the military, a comment that is thought to have reflected his own feelings. Whatever the White House may have thought, Chinese sentiment was crystal clear: As Bonnie Glaser writes in her chapter on US-China relations, Beijing considered the trip a deliberate attempt to change the status quo to its disadvantage.

Figure 1 Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan. Photo: Sam Yeh/AFP

Reaction was swift. Regional governments were troubled by the trip, deeming it provocative and destabilizing and without strategic purpose or reward. One indication of the unease was Pelosi’s inability to arrange an in-person meeting with South Korean President Yoon during her stop in Seoul, despite his pro-US leanings and desire to coordinate as closely as possible with the US administration. That unease did not prevent many of those same governments from denouncing the Chinese reaction—days of military exercises that targeted the island and an acceleration of sorties, drone flights, air and ship incursions, and missile firings over Taiwan into Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone—as excessive and dangerous, however. While Taiwan officials welcomed the visit as a show of support for Taiwan democracy, others on the island had mixed views; some worried about the consequences while others wondered what the real benefit was to Taiwan. As is all too frequently the case, when Beijing is angered by US actions vis-à-vis Taiwan, it takes out its frustration on the people of Taiwan. Meanwhile, Congressional delegations keep coming; at last count some 28 members of Congress have visited Taiwan already this year.

IPEF is Half a Glass

One of the loudest and most enduring complaints about US policy toward the Indo-Pacific has been the absence of a credible economic component. Since successive administrations turned their back on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP), the US government has struggled to engage in an arena that is central to Indo-Pacific concerns. China, with its Belt and Road Initiative and Global Development Initiative, has seized the initiative and the US, its allies, and partners are struggling to close the gap.

The launch in May of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) was supposed to do just that. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo called IPEF “the most significant international economic engagement that the United States has ever had in this region.” Its launch “marks an important turning point in restoring US economic leadership in the region and presenting Indo-Pacific countries an alternative to China’s approach to these critical issues.” Her optimism was reinforced by the roster. The initial group consisted of 13 members—Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the US; Fiji joined soon after. Together, they account for about 40% of global wealth. Especially encouraging was India’s desire to join, given Delhi’s rejection of other regional economic agreements. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan noted the roster included major economies, emerging economies, economies with which the US has already negotiated free trade agreements and those for which this is the first set of talks.

Yet after months of negotiations, the unveiling revealed a skeletal agreement—far more potential than pact. IPEF has four pillars—supply chain resiliency, clean energy and decarbonization, tax and anti-corruption, and trade—but they have no content. Raimondo explained the day before the framework was revealed, “Tomorrow we begin the negotiations… . We will in the weeks and months ahead, define…exactly what’s in each pillar and what each country will be committing to and signing up for.” While members have a menu—they can pick and choose among pillars—they have to agree to all the contents of the items that they select. That explains Delhi’s decision to opt out of the trade pillar; it fears that it will have to accept labor and environmental standards that the government isn’t ready to meet.

One “carrot” that isn’t on the menu is increased access to the US market. US officials argue that such incentives aren’t needed. The IPEF is a 21st century economic agreement whose enticements are rule-making, standard setting, and inclusion in supply chain and innovation networks. The participating countries will “develop a high-standard and inclusive economic framework that will fuel economic activity and investment, promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth and benefit workers and consumers across the region,” explained the Office of the US Trade Representative. Negotiations among IPEF are expected to wind up in late 2023, when the US hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting.

Supply Chains are Sexy

This reporting period was also marked by the steady expansion of “national security” to encompass more elements of “economic security.” The most pointed expression of this phenomenon is the focus on “supply chain resilience,” a concern made real by China’s embargo on rare earths exports to Japan during the 2010 crisis over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and kicked into high gear during the early days of the COVID pandemic when the world became aware of its reliance on China for personal protective equipment.

Since then, there has been a flurry of initiatives to promote supply chain resilience, such as the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (snappy name, eh?), launched by Australia, India, and Japan in 2021. The White House Fact Sheet for the second Quad leaders summit in Tokyo in May 2022 noted that “Quad partners have mapped collective capacity and vulnerabilities in global semiconductor supply chains, and launched the Common Statement of Principles on Critical Technology Supply Chains, which will provide a cooperative foundation for enhancing supply-chain resilience in the region.” The US hosted 18 other countries for the Supply Chain Ministerial meeting in July; this was not a purely Indo-Pacific affair, although 11 countries—Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and the United States—are in the region. That effort aims to build “collective, long-term resilient supply chains based on international partnerships.”

Figure 2 Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose for photo before QUAD leaders meeting at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo on May 24, 2022. Photo: Masanori Genko/The Yomiuri Shimbun/Reuters

As we pointed out previously, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework also has a supply chain pillar. A little after the formal end of our reporting period, IPEF ministers met in Los Angeles to discuss that issue. According to the joint statement released after the meeting, members agreed to establish criteria for critical sectors and goods; increase resilience and investment in those sectors and goods; establish an information sharing and crisis management mechanism; strengthen supply chain logistics; enhance the role of workers; and enhance supply chain transparency. Again, as in the original IPEF announcement, those are the goals: specifics are to be filled in.

Predictably, for some countries, concern about such vulnerabilities is an excuse to engage in old-style economic nationalism, as governments promote self-sufficiency. One report notes that governments so far have pledged hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies for building local semiconductor supply chains. There is the US CHIPS Act ($52 billion), the EU’s European Chips Act €45 billion ($46 billion), Japan’s effort (¥600 billion or under $5 billion at current exchange rates; check daily) and that of India ($30 billion). Far more efficient, and likely effective, are collective efforts, or “friend-shoring,” as US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen explained in a speech in Seoul during her three-country visit to the region. “Friend-shoring is about deepening relationships and diversifying our supply chains with a greater number of trusted partners to lower risks for our economy and theirs,” she said. She pulled no punches to defend those efforts. “We cannot allow countries like China to use their market positions in key raw materials, technologies or products to disrupt our economy or exercise unwanted geopolitical leverage,” she added.

China too is promoting supply chain resilience and self-reliance in semiconductors. In 2014, Beijing launched the first phase of the China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, the so-called Big Fund, with Rmb138.7 billion ($20.03 billion). A second round followed with central government funding of Rmb204 billion, which is anticipated to trigger an addition Rmb1 trillion in local government and private sector investment.

While these ideas sound good—and, perhaps more importantly, have gotten the attention of governments and their money—many experts question their effectiveness. They note that there are multiple bottlenecks throughout supply chains, and the charting of vulnerabilities is likely to be far more extensive and include more partners than anticipated. It takes years to build new facilities and the industry continues its evolution. By one estimate, a national semiconductor supply chain could cost about $1 trillion. Focusing on semiconductors one expert was pessimistic, concluding that 70 to 80% self-reliance is “extremely tough…It could be extremely challenging for any country or region to get all the fronts covered.” Similarly, as the bruising trade talks of the ‘90s have made plain, even friends fall out. Vulnerability is a relative concept and concerns can shift.

Military Exercises Resume Post-COVID

As the year progressed, military exercises that had been in limbo during COVID, started resuming (even though COVID is far from over and some national restrictions remain). Most prominent among them was the 28th iteration of the US-hosted Rim of the Pacific or RIMPAC naval exercise. Billed as “the world’s largest international maritime exercise,” this year’s event involved 26 nations, 38 surface ships, three submarines, nine national land forces, more than 30 unmanned systems, approximately 170 aircraft and over 25,000 personnel. RIMPAC concluded on Aug. 4 “following more than a month of realistic, relevant combined operations training conducted in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.”

As RIMPAC was concluding, the US began cohosting, with Indonesia, Super Garuda Shied 2022, an annual joint exercise (first established in 2009) and this year involving 14 participating countries (the largest ever), including first-time participants Australia, Japan, and Singapore. The exercise, involving more than 4,000 combined forces personnel, “showcases multinational partnership and joint interoperability” and featured field and maritime training events including an amphibious exercise, maritime security training, military operations in an urban terrain training, an air defense exercise, airborne operations, and an airfield seizure exercise. Command post exercises allowed participating troops to practice their ability to plan, command, and communicate with each other in a simulated operational environment.

Figure 3 Thai and Chinese air force personnel are seen gathered before taking part in the 12-day Falcon Strike 2022 joint military exercise in Udon Thani. Photo: Bangkok Post

The big news in Northeast Asia was the resumption of US-ROK military exercises, initially put on hold by then-President Trump after his first summit with Kim Jong Un. Ulchi Freedom Shield, which ran from mid-August to early September, included both field maneuvers and command-post training. Other US joint and combined military training with like-minded friends and allies this year included Balikatan 2022, Pacific Vanguard, Fortune Guard, SEACAT 2022, Pacific Partnership 2022, and Pacific Dragon, to list but a few.

We must also take note of the Falcon Strike 2022 joint air force exercise between China and Thailand, which ran from August 14-25, shortly after China’s live-fire exercises around Taiwan. As the CSIS Southeast Asia blog noted, the timing of the exercise “highlights the increasingly tenuous balancing act Bangkok seeks to maintain between nominal ally Washington and major partner Beijing. The Thai military continues to pursue closer security ties with China even as Thailand and the United States reaffirm their commitment to a strategic alliance.”

G20: Should He or Shouldn’t He be Invited?

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (aka Jokowi) is the chair of the G20 this year, with the unenviable task of corralling its members to reach consensus on vital issues—inflation, rising energy prices, and food security, to name the most pressing—as those same members grapple with the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (the trigger for some of those problems). In the face of pushback from Western nations that Russian President Vladimir Putin not be invited to the meeting, Jokowi insisted that he does not have the power to blackball members. He invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the meeting and in July visited both countries to make the case that they should attend the fall summit for talks.

The scale of the challenge—and a foreshadowing of the likely result—was evident at various G20 ministerial meetings held during this reporting period. The foreign ministers meeting in July produced neither a statement nor a group photo. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov walked out of the meeting over indignation at Western ministers’ “frenzied” condemnations of his country’s behavior as that of “aggressors, invaders, occupiers.” Climate officials could not reach agreement on a climate statement because of differences about language, including the war on Ukraine. The energy transition meeting also failed to reach consensus and could not produce a communique.

In our humble opinion, President Putin should indeed be invited to the Nov. 15-16 G20 Summit in Bali. He should also be immediately arrested when he steps off his plane and put before a UN Tribunal for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

RIP Abe Shinzo

Finally, we cannot conclude this trimester’s report without acknowledging the tragic shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Japan is still grappling with the effects of that horrific event: the head of the National Police Agency announced his resignation as a result of the killing and the political world is trying to understand the significance of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s links, hitherto unknown to the public, to the Unification Church.

Figure 4 Abe Shinzo campaigning in Yokohama on July 8, 2022. Photo: Yoshio Tsunoda/AFLO

But it is Abe’s absence from the political scene that will evidence his significance. While he had stepped down as prime minister and two other men have followed him, he remained a powerful influence behind the scenes. Abe was the leading voice for the conservative movement, capable of articulating positions with a credibility that other, like-minded politicians did not have. He provided the current government a steady push to the right, while simultaneously providing cover for Prime Minister Kishida if he didn’t go as far as some conservatives might have preferred. Abe’s stamp of approval silenced much of the dissent. His departure from the political scene has deprived the right of a unifying figure, and will trigger a competition to assume his position as its leader.

This will have consequences for Japan’s foreign policy. Abe provided credibility too for the administration. He was its progenitor, providing a framework and basic policy outline. It is not clear how committed Kishida is to the Abe agenda, which will impact debates over defense budgets, defense policy, new strategic documents and relations with partners and allies. That is one of the questions that will be intensely debated in the final months of 2022 and the year to come.

Regional Chronology

May — August 2022

May 2, 2022: South Korea’s foreign minister nominee stresses the need for “in-depth” deliberations on whether to deploy addition US made THAAD missile defense systems.

May 3, 2022: Myanmar’s junta vows to defend China-backed copper mine after threats from the opposition People’s Defense Force (PDF). The PDF says the income from the project will support the junta’s repression of the people.

May 3, 2022: US Trade Representative commences statutory four-year review of actions taken under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 in the investigation of China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation.

May 4, 2022: South Korea and Japan hold their first working-level diplomatic consultations in six months, a week ahead of the launch of the Yoon administration.

May 4, 2022: North Korea launches ballistic missile into the East Sea. Some experts say it could have been a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or a completely new missile.

May 5, 2022: India’s central bank raises its benchmark interest rate for the first time in two years in an effort to rein in high consumer prices.

May 5, 2022: US Senate votes unanimously to approve the nomination of Philip Goldberg, a career diplomat, as new US ambassador to South Korea.

May 5, 2022: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, meeting with Japanese counterpart Kishi Nobuo, reiterates the US commitment to defend the contested Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.

May 5, 2022: State Department updates “US Relations With Taiwan” page, removing phrases such as the United States “does not support Taiwan independence” and “opposes unilateral changes to the status quo by either side” and replaces them with the United States’ “longstanding one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three US-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances.”

May 6, 2022: China’s foreign ministry accuses Japan of exaggerating a perceived threat from Beijing as an excuse to boost its own military might.

May 7, 2022: North Korea fires a short-range ballistic missile into Sea of Japan.

May 7, 2022: New York Times reports that the Biden administration is rebuffing some of Taiwan’s requests for larger and more expensive weapons, instead urging Taiwan to buy other equipment that it believes will better deter and defend against China.

May 8, 2022: Wall Street Journal reports that a Department of Defense study found China is exploiting the Small Business Innovation Research program that funds innovation among small US companies.

May 8, 2022: North Korea fires a submarine-launched ballistic missile four days after conducting a ballistic missile test.

May 9, 2022: General elections are held in the Philippines, with victories for Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos, Jr., as president and Sara Duterte as vice president, both by sizable margins.

May 9, 2022: Laos reopens to tourists and other visitors from abroad.

May 9, 2022: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio underscores need to resolve his country’s longstanding diplomatic standoffs with South Korea as his foreign minister arrived in Seoul for the inauguration of President Yoon Suk Yeol.

May 10, 2022: Yoon Suk Yeol takes office as the 20th president of the Republic of Korea.

May 10, 2022: Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob and South Korea’s President Yoon agree to strengthen cooperation following inauguration.

May 10, 2022: USS Port Royal (CG 73) of the 7th Fleet conducts a Taiwan Strait transit.

May 11, 2022: UNSC convenes an emergency meeting to discuss North Korea’s recent missile provocations but fails to produce a tangible outcome due to opposition from China and Russia.

May 11, 2022: Spurred by concerns over China and Russia, Japan passes a law strengthening supply chains to procure semiconductors and other vital products and facilitate development of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies through public-private partnerships.

May 12-13, 2022: ASEAN leaders and the White House have a key summit amid increasing rivalry in the Indo-Pacific. During the meeting, US President Biden promises Southeast Asian leaders $150 million in spending on their infrastructure, security, pandemic preparedness, and other efforts aimed at countering the influence of China.

May 13, 2022: President Biden signs a law directing the US government to develop a strategy to help Taiwan regain observer status in the World Health Organization and the World Health Assembly.

May 13, 2022: North Korea fires three short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea, its first missile launch since the inauguration of the Yoon administration.

May 13, 2022: A day after the DPRK admits an outbreak of COVID-19, President Yoon offers to send COVID-19 vaccines. Three days later, MOU says Pyongyang has been “unresponsive.”

May 14, 2022: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says the spread of COVID-19 has thrust his country into “great turmoil” and calls for an all-out battle to overcome the outbreak.

May 15, 2022: Malaysia Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah meets his counterpart from Myanmar’s National Unity Government, the opposition government opposing the military junta.

May 16, 2022: China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian rejects G7 Foreign Ministers’ Communiqué issued May 14, which urged China to not support Russia in the war, not undermine sanctions imposed on Russia, and “desist from engaging in information manipulation, disinformation and other means to legitimize Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

May 17, 2022: Myanmar’s shadow government defense chief calls for international help to arm its resistance forces fighting the ruling military.

May 18, 2022: Philippines President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr says his country’s ties with China will expand and “shift to a higher gear” when he takes power.

May 18, 2022: Justice Department charges US citizen and four officials from China’s Ministry of State Security with spying on prominent dissidents, human rights leaders, and pro-democracy activists.

May 19, 2022: BRICS holds annual foreign ministerial meeting via video. A joint statement is released calling for dialogue between Russia and Ukraine. It did not use the term “invasion.” Chinese FM Wang Yi criticizes the West’s “absolute” and “unilateral” security policies, as well as arms supply to Ukraine. He also proposed to explore the potential and procedure for BRICS expansion, including mechanism such as BRICS-plus.

May 20, 2022: North Korea says it is achieving “good results” in its fight against its first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak.

May 20, 2022: Biden visits South Korea and Japan to strengthen Indo-Pacific alliances amid China’s rise and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

May 21, 2022: Labor Party wins Australia’s national election, ending nine years of rule by the Liberal-National coalition government. Labor leader Anthony Albanese becomes the new prime minister.

May 21, 2022: President Joe Biden and South Korean counterpart Yoon agree to hold bigger military drills and deploy more US weapons if necessary to deter North Korea.

May 22, 2022: South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group says it will invest an additional $5 billion in the United States for robotics and autonomous driving software development, just a day after announcing a similar size investment to build an electric vehicle plant in the US.

May 22, 2022: Labor Party wins Australia’s general election, making Anthony Albanese the nation’s 31st prime minister.

May 23, 2022: On a visit to Tokyo, Biden launches the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) with a dozen initial partners: Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

May 23, 2022: At a press conference in Tokyo, Biden says that the US is willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if China attacked Taiwan by force while insisting that the US abides by the “one China” policy.

May 24, 2022: Russian and Chinese bombers fly joint patrols near Japanese and South Korea air defense zones.

May 24, 2022: Quad summit in Tokyo involving the leaders of Australia, Japan, India, and the US takes place. The leaders launch the Quad Fellowship to encourage research and innovation among young minds in the four countries.

May 25, 2022: China announces it will seek a region-wide deal with almost a dozen Pacific island countries covering policing, security and data communication cooperation.

May 25, 2022: North Korea fires three ballistic missiles toward the East Sea, including an apparent ICBM, just a day after Biden wrapped up an Asia trip highlighting the US security commitment to Seoul and Tokyo.

May 26, 2022: Singapore and Japan ink agreements on promoting start-ups and digital transformation for governments.

May 26, 2022: Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative reports three separate incidents in the last two months in which Chinese law enforcement vessels challenge Philippine marine research and hydrocarbon exploration ships in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

May 27, 2022: Kiribati focuses on trade and tourism opportunities with China and not security during China’s visit to remote Pacific islands.

May 27, 2022: China and Russia veto a US-drafted UNSC resolution to strengthen sanctions on North Korea over a spate of missile launches, the first time that the five permanent members of the Council have been divided on the issue since they began punishing Pyongyang in 2006.

May 30, 2022: Taiwan jets scramble as China air force enters air defense zone.

May 30, 2022: South Korea approves a 750 billion won ($605 million) project to upgrade its Patriot missile defense system by 2027, according to the state arms procurement agency, in the wake of North Korea’s recent missile provocations.

May 31, 2022: China urges UN rights chief to look into school shootings in US.

June 1, 2022: US launches trade talks with Taiwan, days after the Biden administration excluded the island from its Asia-focused economic plan designed to counter China’s growing influence.

June 2, 2022: US Department of State releases the “2021 Report on International Religious Freedom: China,” which concludes that the Chinese government “continued to assert control over religion and to restrict the activities and personal freedom of religious adherents.”

June 3, 2022: Australia’s recently elected PM Albanese meets Indonesian President Joko Widodo to discuss the AUKUS pact, making good on a pledge to make relations with his country’s largest neighbor a foreign policy priority.

June 3, 2022: Philip Goldberg is sworn in as US ambassador to South Korea.

June 3, 2022: Japan announces plans to develop drones to support fighter aircraft, and is considering equipping drones with missiles that would intercept enemy-launched missiles.

June 4, 2022: Japan announces that for the first time it will send an active-duty military officer to serve as Japan’s defense attaché in Taipei.

June 4, 2022: In response to strong concerns from the LDP, Japan’s government revises a draft document with a timeline of five years for comprehensive strengthening of Japan’s defense.

June 5, 2022: North Korea fires eight short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea, a day after South Korea and the US wrapped up joint drills near the peninsula involving a US aircraft carrier, according to the South’s military.

June 6, 2022: US and South Korea fire eight missiles in response to launches by North Korea, demonstrating “the capability and readiness to carry out [a] precision strike” against the source of North Korea’s missile launches or the command and support centers, according to the South Korean military.

June 6, 2022: Canada and Australia accuse Chinese military planes of nearly causing collisions during separate aerial encounters, with China rejecting said charges.

June 7, 2022: Sri Lanka’s prime minister states that the country will need $5 billion over the next six months to ensure basic living standards, and that the state intended to renegotiate the terms of a yuan-denominated swap worth $1.5 billion with China so as to fund essential imports.

June 8, 2022: US approves a possible $120 million sale of parts to help Taiwan maintain its warships, which the island’s defense ministry said would help ensure combat readiness in the face of China’s “frequent activities” near the island.

June 8, 2022: South Korea and the United States fire eight ballistic missiles into the East Sea in response to North Korea’s missile launches the previous day, according to the South’s military.

June 9, 2022: Indonesia shifts G20 focus to energy security, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions imposed on Russia exacerbated an increase in global energy prices.

June 10, 2022: Beijing continues to “harden its position” along the border that it shares with India, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin said.

June 10, 2022: Chinese military officials hit back at US attempts to draw parallels between cross-strait tensions and the war in Ukraine, describing the comparison as very aggressive.

June 11, 2022: Japan and Singapore launch talks on a defense equipment transfer pact.

June 11, 2022: Secretary of Defense Austin, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and Japanese Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo hold trilateral ministerial meeting at the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. The three nations also resume joint exercises as North Korea picks up the pace of its missile tests.

June 12, 2022: North Korea fires artillery shots, presumably from multiple rocket launchers, according to the South Korea’s military, in another show of force by the reclusive regime.

June 14, 2022: Dozens of countries call out China at UN over Xinjiang abuse allegations. A joint statement from 47 nations also calls for the release of a long-delayed report by UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet.

June 14, 2022: United States backs Taiwan’s assertion that the strait dividing the island from the Chinese mainland is an international waterway, a rebuff to Beijing’s claim to exercise sovereignty over the strategic passage.

June 14, 2022: UN ambassadors from the Quad meet in New York to discuss ways to strengthen the rules-based international order and reinforce efforts at the UN.

June 14, 2022: Department of State’s Educational and Cultural Affairs team announces the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative, a new exchange program in partnership with the University of Alabama to inspire young leaders in the US and India to advance civil rights and inclusion.

June 15, 2022: PM Kishida that he will attend the NATO summit, becoming the first Japanese leader to do so.

June 15, 2022: Opposition parties in the Thai Parliament enter a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and several of his Cabinet members.

June 16, 2022: Justice Department charges former University of Arkansas professor with making a false statement to the FBI about the existence of patents for his inventions in the People’s Republic of China.

June 16, 2022: Australia updates its commitment to the United Nations convention on climate change, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030, putting Australia on track to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

June 16, 2022: Japan and Australia pledge to expand defense ties, citing concerns about regional order. Both countries also pledged to work more closely with each other in the Southeast Asia region and the Pacific Islands.

June 16, 2022: Taiwan admits to paying US lobbyists to help establish closer US ties amid rising pressure from Beijing.

June 17, 2022: State Department releases a statement in support of the Philippines, calling on the PRC to end its provocative actions, to uphold freedom of navigation and to respect international law in the South China Sea.

June 17, 2022: Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare assures Australia that there will be no regular Chinese military presence in the country, following the signing of a controversial security pact between China and the South Pacific island nation.

June 17, 2022: Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) introduce the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, which they billed as the “most comprehensive restructuring of US policy towards Taiwan since the Taiwan Relations Act.”

June 18, 2022: Protests intensify over India’s new military recruitment policy. Demonstrators say the plan will cut opportunities for permanent defense force jobs and demand the government reverse course.

June 19, 2022: Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of outgoing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, is sworn in as the country’s 15th vice president, calling for national unity following a divisive election campaign.

June 20, 2022: A US law broadly banning imports from China’s Xinjiang region goes into effect—a move aimed at adding pressure over Beijing’s alleged use of forced labor among the Uyghur minority, and which could pose supply chain challenges.

June 20, 2022: Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand eye four-way anti-China summit on the sidelines of the NATO summit.
June 21, 2022: South Korea successfully fires Nuri, its first domestically developed rocket, into space as part of the country’s goals to establish an independent space program.

June 21, 2022: State Department announces that US Customs and Border Protection will begin to implement the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’s provisions to ban imports of products made by forced labor in Xinjiang into the US.

June 22, 2022: South Korea will establish a mission to NATO in Brussels, officials say.

June 22, 2022: Indonesian President Joko Widodo will fly to Ukraine and Russia to meet with each country’s respective leader later this month, Indonesia’s foreign minister confirms.

June 22, 2022: ASEAN defense ministers express concern over an escalating US-China confrontation involving the South China Sea, calling on all parties involved to cooperate constructively and peacefully.

June 23-24, 2022: Xi Jinping chairs the BRICS 14th summit in Beijing via video. The summit’s Beijing Declaration was adopted and released at the event. Both Xi and Putin joined the event via video. Membership expansion was a key issue for the summit.

June 24, 2022: President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte orders an end to talks with China over joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea.

June 25, 2022: US, Japan, Australia, Britain, and New Zealand launch the Partners in the Blue Pacific Initiative to step up engagement with Pacific Island countries, as China seeks to boost economic and defense cooperation with them.

June 27, 2022: India Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds first in-person bilateral meeting with Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau in over four years on sidelines of G7 summit in Germany.

June 27, 2022: India and the European Union formally relaunch negotiations toward a free trade agreement, hoping to overcome sticking points as they aim to reduce their reliance on China.

June 27-30, 2022: Indonesian President Joko Widodo visits Ukraine and Russia, the first Asian leader to do so since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

June 28, 2022: Biden administration adds five companies in China to a trade blacklist on Tuesday for allegedly supporting Russia’s military and defense industrial base, flexing its muscle to enforce sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

June 29, 2022: President Biden, South Korean President Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida hold a trilateral summit on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid.

June 29, 2022: Nikkei investigation finds North Korea is likely shipping coal directly to Chinese ports, activity that is banned from international trade under UNSC sanctions.

June 29, 2022: NATO releases “NATO Strategic Concept 2022” which mentions China for the first time. China is described as presenting “systemic challenges” to Euro-Atlantic security.

June 30, 2022: Hong Kong marks 25 years since the handover to China. US State Department issues a statement which highlights the dismantling of Hong Kong’s democratic institutions and calls on the PRC to reinstate the freedoms promised to the Hong Kong people.

June 30, 2022: Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., inaugurated as president of the Philippines and Sara Duterte as vice president.

June 30, 2022: Commerce Department’s BIS adds 23 entities to the Entity List under the destination of China on the basis that they are determined to be acting against US national security or foreign policy interests.

July 1, 2022: Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates sign a free trade agreement, strengthening economic ties between Southeast Asia’s largest economy and the major oil producing Gulf state.

July 1, 2022: Pew Research Center releases new global public opinion poll showing that concerns about China’s human rights record has grown, with increasing unfavorable views of China among survey respondents in North America and Europe.

July 2, 2022: North Korea criticizes the US, South Korea, and Japan’s recent agreement on strengthening military cooperation as a means to create a US plan for a NATO in the region.

July 4-6, 2022: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrives in Myanmar and becomes the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit the country since the coup in February 2021.

July 5, 2022: US expands export bans on China over security and human rights, to try to limit China’s military and technological advances.

July 5, 2022: Philippine President Marcos says Manila’s relationship with Beijing is “not only one dimension” and should be about more than just their South China Sea row.

July 7, 2022: Foreign ministers of G20 states kick off a two-day meeting in Bali. looming over the gathering: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its consequences, including global inflation.

July 8, 2022: Japan’s former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is fatally shot by a lone gunman, prompting an outpouring of condolences from around the world.

July 8, 2022: Paying his respects to Abe while speaking at a memorial lecture, India’s PM Modi states that it is a day of great loss and unbearable pain for him as he had lost a close friend.

July 8, 2022: Japan PM Kishida has a telephone conversation with President Biden, with Biden expressing his condolences after former Prime Minister Abe’s death.

July 8, 2022: South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, Secretary of State Blinken, and Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa hold tripartite meeting to bolster cooperation on North Korea and pursue “future-oriented cooperation” to promote regional prosperity.

July 8, 2022: China’s President Xi Jinping expresses condolences over the death of former Prime Minister Abe, whom Xi said had worked hard to improve relations between the neighbors.

July 9, 2022: Sri Lanka’s PM summons party leaders after protesters stormed the president’s house in Colombo amid growing anger over the government’s handling of an economic crisis.

July 9, 2022: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urges Australian counterpart Penny Wong to treat China as a partner, not an opponent, and to accumulate “positive energy” to improve ties.

July 10, 2022: Secretary of State Blinken offers his government’s condolences to Prime Minister Kishida in Tokyo over former Prime Minister Abe’s death.

July 10, 2022: According to South Korea’s military, North Korea fires artillery shots from multiple rocket launchers.

July 10, 2022: Japan holds Upper House election. The ruling LDP-Komeito coalition increase their majority from 57 % of the seats to 60%.

July 11, 2022: Attendance by four Asia-Pacific leaders at the NATO summit reflects a “consequential shift” in the US transatlantic security partnership which Washington seeks to expand to better counter China, a senior US diplomat tells Reuters.

July 11-14, 2022: South Korea and the US conduct their first combined air drills, officials say, in an apparent show of force against North Korea’s growing military threats.

July 12, 2022: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa flees to the Maldives, hours before he was due to submit his resignation.

July 12, 2022: G20 finance leaders meet in Bali for talks to include issues like global food security and soaring inflation, as host Indonesia tries to ensure frictions over the war in Ukraine do not blow discussions off course.

July 12, 2022: Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Center shows the 5 MWe Reactor continues to produce plutonium for the country’s nuclear weapons program.

July 12, 2022: South Korea’s MOU publishes hitherto unseen photographs of the repatriation of two DPRK fishermen at Panmunjom in Nov. 2019. Though heavily pixelated, the graphic images show the men bound and blindfolded; one tries to resist as they are handed over. Video footage is released on July 18. A day later, Yoon Suk Yeol’s presidential office condemns its predecessor’s repatriation of the fishermen as a potential “crime against humanity,” and vows a full investigation.

July 13-14, 2022: 13-members of IPEF hold first senior officials meeting in Singapore.

July 14, 2022: Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa submits letter of resignation, says a spokesperson for the parliament speaker, hours after fleeing the country following protests over economic meltdown.

July 16, 2022: Finance ministers and central bankers of the G20 nations fail to find common ground regarding Russia’s war in Ukraine and its repercussions on global inflation, casting uncertainty over the forum’s prospects.

July 18, 2022: Japan and South Korea foreign ministers agree to improve ties, with Park Jin becoming the first South Korean foreign minister to visit Tokyo since 2019.

July 18, 2022: EU and China hold high-level economic and trade dialogue amidst tensions over issues including the war in Ukraine, Xinjiang and an as yet unratified investment agreement.

July 19, 2022: China agrees to coordinate economic policies with the EU, liberalize trade and investment, and further open its financial sector but was silent on an investment deal frozen by disputes over human rights, geopolitics, and the war in Ukraine.

July 20, 2022: President Biden plans to speak with Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, by the end of the month at a moment of simmering tensions between the countries over Taiwan and trade.

July 20, 2022: Asian Development Bank says that developing Asia is expected to grow more slowly than predicted this year, as the war in Ukraine pushes commodity prices higher and triggers monetary tightening.

July 21, 2022: President Biden states the US military thinks that Speaker of the House of Representatives Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan is “not a good idea” as China promises to take “strong measures” in response.

July 21, 2022: A Chinese navy ship sails through Japanese territorial waters, the sixth such intrusion of the year and the first since April.

July 22, 2022: Chinese President Jinping offers Sri Lanka’s new president his support, CCTV reported, as the Indian Ocean island grapples with its worst economic crisis in decades.

July 23, 2022: Thai PM Chan-ocha survives the 4th no-confidence vote against him.

July 24, 2022: China launches the second of three modules to its permanent space station, in one of the final missions needed to complete the orbiting outpost by year’s end.

July 25, 2022: Chinese President Xi meets visiting Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo in Beijing.

July 25, 2022: US and Australia co-host  2022 Indo-Pacific Chiefs of Defense conference in Sydney.

July 25, 2022: Military regime in Myanmar executes four pro-democracy activists it had convicted on charges of “terrorism” because of their political activities in secret trials.

July 26, 2022: China and Indonesia pledge to scale up trade and expand cooperation in areas such as agriculture and food security, following a rare visit to China by a foreign head of state.

July 27, 2022: Defense chiefs from across the Indo-Pacific gathered to bolster connections against a backdrop of China’s campaign to expand its influence and military presence in the region.

July 27, 2022: In a speech on what the DPRK celebrates as “the 69th anniversary of the great victory in the [Korean] War,” otherwise known as the 1953 Armistice, Kim Jong Un for the first time mentions his ROK counterpart by name: “We can no longer sit around seeing Yoon Suk Yeol and his military gangsters’ misdemeanors.”

July 28, 2022: Korean President Yoon and Indonesian President Joko Widodo hold summit in Seoul and agree to work together to stabilize supply chains of key minerals and strengthen cooperation on economic security issues.

July 28-29, 2022: Shanghai Cooperation Organization holds annual foreign ministerial meeting in Uzbekistan.

July 29, 2022: Cabinet officials from Japan and the US agree to pursue free trade and stronger, more transparent supply chains during first “two-plus-two” meeting focused on economic policy.

July 30, 2022: Korean President Yoon stresses the strategic importance of Southeast Asia to Korea at a summit with Indonesian President Widodo in Seoul.

July 31, 2022: A Japanese man is detained by authorities in Myanmar after filming a protest in the country’s biggest city of Yangon.

Aug. 1, 2022: White House says it expects China to escalate its response to a potential visit by Speaker Pelosi to Taiwan and said the United States would not be intimidated.

Aug. 2, 2022: House Speaker Pelosi and several members of Congress land in Taipei for a much-anticipated visit that prompted China’s military to announce “targeted” military operations in the seas and airspace surrounding the island. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng summons US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns for an emergency meeting and lodges “stern representations and strong protests with the US side” against Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Aug. 3, 2022: Russian FM Lavrov says, regarding Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, that he did not see any other “reason to create such an irritant literally out of nowhere,” one day after the Kremlin spokesperson describes Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as “purely provocative.”

Aug. 3, 2022: Japan’s government protests after five Chinese missiles shot in retaliation against Taiwan hosting US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi land in Japan’s EEZ.

Aug. 3, 2022: Cambodian PM Hun Sen says that ASEAN will be forced to reconsider a peace plan agreed with Myanmar if its military rulers execute more prisoners.

Aug. 4, 2022: Japan and the United States agree to work together on maintaining peace in the increasingly tense Taiwan Strait, amid unprecedented military drills by China including five missiles that landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Aug. 4, 2022: President Yoon calls Speaker Pelosi to reaffirm his efforts to deepen the bilateral alliance and states that Pelosi’s visit is a sign of deterrence against North Korea.

Aug. 5, 2022: Asian carriers halt and reroute flights in and around Taiwan because of Chinese drills near the island, raising fears that Beijing’s military exercise could disrupt regional supply chains.

Aug. 5, 2022: China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces cancellation of several planned US-China military dialogues as well as cooperation with the US on the repatriation of illegal immigrants, legal assistance in criminal matters, transnational crimes, and counternarcotics, and talks on climate change.

Aug. 5, 2022: China imposes sanctions on Nancy Pelosi and her immediate family members.

Aug. 6, 2022: Secretary of Antony Blinken assures the Philippines that the US would come to its defense if attacked in the South China Sea, seeking to allay concerns about the extent of the US commitment to a mutual defense treaty.

Aug. 7, 2022: Japan and the US vow to enhance ties with Solomon Islands amid increasing Chinese influence.

Aug. 7, 2022: Lithuania’s Vice Minister of Transportation and Communications Agne Vaiciukeviciute leads a delegation to Taiwan to exchange views on 5G communications and electric buses.

Aug. 8, 2022: South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin departs for China to hold talks with his counterpart on issues related to supply chains, North Korea and regional security.

Aug. 8-14, 2022: South Korea, Japan, and the US participate in a trilateral ballistic missile defense exercise during the multinational Pacific Dragon exercise in Hawaii. This was the first trilateral drill since 2017.

Aug. 9, 2022: President Biden signs the CHIPS Act into law, including a spending package that allocates $52 billion to bolstering domestic chip manufacturing, finalizing what is seen as the nation’s boldest industrial legislation in decades.

Aug. 10, 2022: China’s Taiwan Affairs Office issues China’s third White Paper on Taiwan, titled “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era.”

Aug. 10, 2022: Senior Indian army officer confirms “Yudh Abhyas” joint exercise with the US, first held in 2002, will take place in Himalayas in October near the disputed border with China.

Aug. 11, 2022: Former Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa arrives in Thailand, according to Reuters, seeking temporary shelter after fleeing his island nation last month amid mass protests.

Aug. 12, 2022: China and South Korea clash over a US missile defense shield, threatening to undermine efforts by the new government in Seoul to overcome security differences.

Aug. 13-27, 2022: China participates in 8th annual International Army Games in Russia (main site) with 11 other countries.

Aug. 14, 2022: Japan joins US-Indonesian military drill for first time, alongside Australia. Garuda Shield is a joint drill between the US and Indonesia started in 2007 that aimed to build partnerships and deter Chinese aggression.

Aug. 15, 2022: Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi is sentenced to six more years in prison.

Aug. 15, 2022: China’s military carries out more exercises near Taiwan on Monday as a group of US lawmakers visited the Chinese-claimed island and met President Tsai Ing-wen, who said her government was committed to maintaining stability.

Aug. 15, 2022: In his speech for Liberation Day, President Yoon fleshes out his “audacious plan” to aid North Korea in exchange for denuclearization. On Aug. 18 Kim Yo Jong issues a statement rejecting this plan, titled “Don’t have an absurd dream.”

Aug. 16, 2022: A senior UN official meets with Myanmar’s military leadership, in a rare, high-profile visit that comes amid growing political chaos and violence in the country.

Aug. 16, 2022: Poll by the Pew Research Center finds that nine out of 10 South Koreans hold a favorable view of the US and that 89% of South Koreans think the US is a “reliable partner.”

Aug. 17, 2022: Talks with North Korea should not be for political show but contribute to establishing peace, South Korean President Yoon said, hours after the North test fired two cruise missiles into the sea.

Aug. 18, 2022: Myanmar’s junta states it will import Russian gasoline and fuel oil to ease supply concerns and rising prices, the latest developing country to do so amid a global energy crisis.

Aug. 19, 2022: Japanese FM Hayashi states in an interview that Japan will look into holding a summit meeting between Prime Minister Kishida and Chinese President Xi.

Aug. 22, 2022: Opposition parties in Thai Parliament submit petition to the Constitutional Court of Thailand requesting that it remove PM Chan-ocha from office because he has exhausted his 8-year term limit. On Aug. 24 the Court accepts the petition and suspends him from his responsibilities as prime minister until a decision on the petition is reached.

Aug. 22, 2022: South Korea and the US launch Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS): their first large field-training military exercises for four years.

Aug. 22, 2022: Taiwan wants to ensure partners have reliable supplies of semiconductors, or “democracy chips,” President Tsai tells the governor of Indiana, also stating that China’s threats mean fellow democracies have to cooperate.

Aug. 23, 2022: Thailand’s constitutional court orders Prime Minister Chan-o-cha to halt official duties pending the result of a legal review of his eight-year term limit, local media reported.

Aug. 23, 2022: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Razak Najib fails to win appeal in his criminal case and begins 12-year prison sentence for involvement in the 1MDB scandal.

Aug. 25, 2022: Japan’s National Police Agency Chief Itaru Nakamura announces his resignation over Abe’s death following release of a report blaming flaws in police protection—from planning to guarding at the scene—that led to Abe’s assassination.

Aug. 25, 2022: Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, arrives in Taiwan for a three-day visit.

Aug. 26, 2022: Japan will spend $1.83 million on a state funeral for slain former leader Abe, the government announces, despite growing opposition from a public angered by revelations of the ruling party’s ties to the Unification Church.

Aug. 27, 2022: Prime Minister Kishida pledges $30 billion over the next three years for African development, with a focus on investing in human capital and fostering quality growth in a continent where China and Russia are exerting their influence.

Aug. 29, 2022: Authorities in Shenzhen temporarily close the world’s largest electronics market and suspended service at 24 subway stations in a bid to curb an outbreak of Covid-19.

Aug. 30, 2022: State media announces that ruling Communist Party of China will hold a twice-in-a decade congress beginning Oct 16. Chinese President Xi is widely expected to seek an unprecedented third term during the meeting.

Aug. 30, 2022: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey arrives in Taipei, with the aim of boosting collaborations in semiconductors and other technology and security.

Aug. 30, 2022: Mikhail Gorbachev dies in Moscow.

Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 2022: Russia conducted its “Vostok” (East)-2022“ exercises involving 50,000 military personnel, more than 5,000 pieces of military equipment, including 140 aircraft, 60 warships, boats and support vessels. China, Algeria, India, Belarus, Tajikistan and Mongolia participated.

Aug. 31, 2022: A long-awaited UN report states that the actions of the Chinese government in Xinjiang, including the detention and persecution of Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslim groups, “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”