As broad-based multilateral organizations seem to be increasingly unable (or unwilling) to tackle the major security challenges of the day—Russia-Ukraine, China-Taiwan, North Korea, and Myanmar, to list but a few—more focused “minilateral” efforts involving “like-minded” allies and partners are coming to the fore. Foremost among the dysfunctional are the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and broader UN mechanisms, thanks to Russian and Chinese intransigence. Sadly, ASEAN-led mechanisms like the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum, not to mention ASEAN itself, also fall into this category, as does the G20, whose foreign ministers failed to reach any meaningful conclusions at their early March 2023 meeting, their first with India at the helm. Enter the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or “Quad,” involving Australia, India, Japan, and the United States), AUKUS (Australia-United Kingdom-US technical cooperation agreement), various minilateral cooperative efforts (including US-Japan-Philippines and US-Japan-Korea), and a resurgent like-minded G7, now that its (failed) experiment of drawing Russia and China into its process has come to an inglorious end. But not all new efforts are succeeding. President Biden hosted his second “Summit of Democracies” which drew little fanfare or attention.
That spotlight is reserved for the (now) Japan-led Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is about to bring in the United Kingdom while the (like-minded but still never-minded or absent-minded) United States sits on the sidelines, even as Taipei and Beijing are knocking on the door.
Rocketman Roars On
While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (including Kyiv’s much-anticipated counteroffensive) and China’s breathlessly predicted (but by most accounts not imminent) invasion of Taiwan have captured the majority of headlines, Pyongyang continues to up the nuclear ante with record numbers of missile launches and its switch last fall to a “first use” nuclear policy. According to the James Martin Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, the DPRK launched at least 68 ballistic missiles during 2022 (defined as missiles capable of delivering a payload of at least 500 kg/1102.31 pounds a distance of at least 300 km (186.4 miles), a 10-fold increase over the previous year. This year shows no sign of letting up, with several dozen launches already reported during the first three months of 2023. Significantly, over the past year, these have included tests of a submarine-launched platform, several ICBM tests (including an overflight of Japan), a new solid-fueled missile which will significantly reduce detection and warning times when operationally deployed, and (according to Pyongyang) the development of tactical nuclear weapons for battlefield employment. This has resulted in a number of “emergency” UN Security Council sessions where Russia and China have colluded to prevent any stern response and several strongly-worded (but toothless) statements from the UN secretary general condemning the actions and calling for Pyongyang to come into compliance with the various UNSC resolutions banning ballistic missile launches and imposing “binding” sanctions that Moscow and Beijing are seemingly ignoring.
Pyongyang’s increased aggressiveness prompted South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to opine that “It’s possible that the problem gets worse and our country will introduce tactical nuclear weapons or build them on our own,” adding that “If that’s the case, we can have our own nuclear weapons pretty quickly, given our scientific and technological capabilities.” This may not have worried Pyongyang but it certainly got Washington’s attention. The end result, as covered in more detail in the US-Korea chapter was the Washington Declaration signed during Yoon’s state visit to Washington in late April, giving Seoul an unprecedented say in the employment of US nuclear weapons on the Peninsula. That got Pyongyang’s attention: Kim Jong-un’s sister and number one America-basher Kim Yo Jong, responding to President Biden’s threat that use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang would result in the “end of the regime,” proclaimed “It may be taken as a nonsensical remark from the person in his dotage who is not at all capable of taking responsibility for security and the future of the US, an old man with no future, as it is too much for him to serve out the two-year remainder of his office term.”
Ukraine “Lessons Learned,” One Year On
It is always difficult, if not foolhardy, to try to draw lessons learned while a conflict is in progress but a few observations seem pretty safe to make when it comes to the war in Ukraine, starting with the biggest one: would-be aggressors should not underestimate a country’s willingness to defend itself when its very survival is at stake. It’s not clear if Putin’s generals told him it would be a cakewalk and he believed them, or if they did not have the courage to tell him the real odds of success once he decided to proceed, but after a year of fighting, no one can doubt the courage and perseverance of Ukraine’s military or its political leadership. If Putin counted on the rest of the world quietly accepting his fait accompli and giving in to his threats, he has (at least thus far) been proven wrong. While NATO did not put boots on the ground, it continues to make an increasingly serious effort to keep the Ukrainian military armed and ready despite Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling.
At a Pacific Forum conference focused on US-Taiwan Deterrence and Defense last summer, experts and officials from both partners agreed that Ukraine had been a “wake-up call” and that Taiwan and the United States, among others, were responding. Notably, this has included an increased emphasis on developing territorial or homeland defense capabilities aimed at raising the risks and lowering the prospects for success should Beijing elect to follow Putin’s ill-advised example and attempt to use force to solve its “territorial issue.” The Ukrainian wake-up call, when combined with increased Chinese aggressiveness and assertiveness vis-à-vis Taiwan (especially in the wake of last year’s visit to Taipei by then-Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi), is causing not only Washington but many like-minded states around the globe to speak out in defense of Taiwan democracy. As documented in this issue’s (and many previous) China-Taiwan chapter, Beijing’s heavy-handed actions continue unabated, with the unintended (by Beijing) consequence of even greater sympathy and support for Taipei.
This may have prompted Chinese President Xi Jinping, after more than a year of stonewalling, to call his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in late April in an effort to promote his earlier-announced (but still extremely vague) peace plan, even as he continues to tout his partnership “without limits” with Putin. Xi’s long-overdue overture not coincidentally came in the wake of an own goal moment after China’s Ambassador to Paris Lu Shaye said in a TV interview that former Soviet states like Ukraine don’t have “effective status in international law,” causing an uproar in Europe (and elsewhere) by seemingly endorsing Putin’s claim that Ukraine was not a legitimate country—and extending that doubt to other states liberated at the end of the Cold War, the Baltics in particular. Skeptics (ourselves included) viewed the phone call at least in part as damage control, even though Zelenskyy himself graciously described it as an “opportunity to use China’s political influence to restore the strength of the principles and rules on which peace should be based.” Others (ourselves again included) have more difficulty envisioning Xi Jinping as defender of the rules-based order. That said, as the new reporting period began, there were press reports that Washington would consider working with Beijing to seek a ceasefire, provided Ukraine makes significant gains in its still anticipated spring offensive.
“With Democracy, Everything is Possible”
President Biden, on the other hand, clearly sees himself, and the United States, as a defender of democracy, a role he frequently cited during this year’s State of the Union address: “Putin’s invasion has been a test for the ages. A test for America. A test for the world. Would we stand for the most basic of principles? Would we stand for sovereignty? Would we stand for the right of people to live free from tyranny? Would we stand for the defense of democracy?” Not surprisingly, his answer to all these questions was a resounding “yes.”
While Biden deserves a large share of the credit for keeping intact the coalition of like-minded states helping Ukraine defend itself—pride of place goes to Zelenskyy himself—not everyone is prepared to sign up for Washington’s defense of democracy against autocratic regimes like those in China and Russia, especially among residents of the developing world.
The major multilateral event of this trimester, President Biden’s second Summit for Democracy, was in many ways a non-event despite drawing (virtually) an all-star cast—we counted almost four dozen heads of state or government presentations. The US State Department’s self-promotional testimonials notwithstanding, the March 29-30 event drew scant coverage, with what little there was focused not on content but on who was or wasn’t invited—Pakistan was (but didn’t show, reportedly in deference to Beijing) while Turkey and Singapore (among others) were not. Unlike the first edition, in December 2021, this time the United States was joined by four other co-hosts: Costa Rica, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, and Zambia. The event’s Final Declaration affirmed “our shared belief that democracy—government reflecting the effective participation and will of the people—is humanity’s most enduring means to advance peace, prosperity, equality, sustainable development, and security.” The third summit is to be hosted by the Republic of Korea (if and when it occurs; stand by for that one).
The G7 Takes Pride of Place
A driver of regional diplomacy this reporting period was the G7 process, which Japan chairs this year. In anticipation of the leaders summit, to be held in May in Hiroshima, Japanese officials fanned out across the globe to build support for their vision and agenda. In January, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio visited Italy, France, the UK, Canada, and the US (five of the six other group members) during a whirlwind tour. (In fact, he had three purposes—selling the G7 program, explaining three national security documents published the previous month; and boosting his domestic approval ratings by playing world diplomat.)
An important theme—if not the most important—was that security is indivisible and what happens in one part of the world will affect another. Kishida delivered this message at every stop, driving home the conclusion that like-minded nations must work together to keep the peace and protect the rules-based order. A pillar of that argument is ensuring that nuclear weapons are not used in conflict, a concern that resonates for Kishida, who comes from Hiroshima. According to Japan’s ambassador to the US, Tomita Koji, the group will insist that “77 years of human efforts not to resort to nuclear weapons must not be wasted.” The obvious forum for that message is the G7, but more countries are needed to backstop the existing international order. To that end, Kishida has emphasized outreach to developing nations to win their support as well.
Over the May Golden Week holiday, Kishida took a week-long tour of Africa to deliver that message and raise Japan’s profile in a region that Tokyo has neglected for some time. That is a bit of a surprise as Japan launched three decades ago a development dialogue with African nations—the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD)—and designed the Indo-Pacific concept with the continent in mind. Inclusion of the Indian Ocean is intended to take Japanese engagement to Africa, the westernmost end of that maritime space. He visited four nations—Egypt, Mozambique, Ghana, and Kenya—during the trip, the first time in nine years that a Japanese prime minister went to the continent. In addition to his call for support of the international order, Kishida sought to balance Chinese inroads into the region—$155 billion in infrastructure investments over the past two decades; credit the Belt and Road Initiative—and to get a closer look at one of the world’s few remaining relatively untapped markets, a domestic priority as Japanese companies grow increasingly concerned about doing business in China. He got a positive reception from his African hosts.
Meat on the Bones of AUKUS
The outlines of the Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) security partnership became clearer in March when the leaders of the three countries unveiled plans to develop a new fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines. AUKUS was announced in 2021 as an “enhanced trilateral security partnership” with details to be filled in. Most attention has focused on the subs but it is a wide-ranging technology partnership, and experts believe that other parts—pillar two, which deals with other advanced technologies—may be more significant.
The March announcement revealed that the submarine plan is a multistage project. In stage one, US submarines will make regular port calls in Australia while Australian officers are trained on the operation of nuclear-powered boats. In stage two, around 2027, up to five US and British subs will be forward deployed to Western Australia. In stage three, in the early 2030s, Australia will buy three Virginia-class submarines and have the option to buy two more. Meanwhile, all three countries will develop a new submarine class that will be based on a British design and use US technology. One sub will be built every two years from the late 2030s to the late 2050s, and eight will be constructed in Australia. The UK will take delivery of the first AUKUS submarine in the late 2030s, and Australia will get its first in the early 2040s.
There are doubts about the feasibility of the program. In addition to the cost—A$368 billion ($245 billion) over the next three decades, making it “the biggest single investment in Australia’s defense capability in all of our history,” according to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese—Australia must build infrastructure for submarine and maintenance construction pretty much from scratch, upgrade existing facilities, and train not only crews and engineers, but workers to build the boats as well. And this occurs when the country’s budget is already under pressure.
Meanwhile, US restrictions on the export of high-end technologies haven’t been eased—even for allies—although there is pressure for a change. US shipyards are already under strain, with a backlog on current production; two US senators warned last year that AUKUS could stretch the US submarine industrial base “to breaking point.”
China is piling on. Beijing is convinced that AUKUS targets China. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson warned that it is “an outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality,” adding that “it will only exacerbate arms race…and hurt regional peace and stability.” China also complains that it “poses a serious nuclear proliferation risk and violates the purpose and object of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.” But nuclear-powered is not the same as nuclear armed. To counter that charge, the three AUKUS partners—Albanese, Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak—remain “committed to set the highest nuclear nonproliferation standard.” They also promised to continue to consult with the International Atomic Energy Agency “to develop a nonproliferation approach that sets the strongest precedent for the acquisition of a nuclear-powered submarine capability.” Biden was adamant: “The SSN-AUKUS will not have nuclear weapons.”
Significantly, AUKUS will tie the UK and the U.S. more deeply to the Indo-Pacific. Echoing Biden and Albanese, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the deal “The most significant multilateral defense partnership in generations.” That is true but much still depends on delivery—and what may yet unfold in the increasingly tense region, even as old trilateral relationships are being strengthened and new ones are being formed.
For example, in this reporting period Japan, the Philippines, and the United States announced plans to establish a trilateral dialogue framework, which has prompted speculation (dreams?) of an alliance among them. The three countries have participated together in military exercises, but higher-level coordination and cooperation has been elusive. Pacific Forum held a US-Japan-Philippine track 2 dialogue late last year, and other think tanks have convened similar discussions. In March, there was talk of a trilateral meeting of national security advisers, reportedly suggested by Japan. Mooted for April, it has not yet occurred. This has prompted talk of still deeper coordination: Writing in the Japan Times, commentator Richard Heydarian suggested that the decision by Philippine President Marcos to give the US expanded access to bases in the country “paved the way for the emergence of a new Japan-Philippine-US (JAPHUS) alliance.” He pointed to AUKUS and a revived US-Japan-South Korea trilateral (to be discussed below) as a frame for the relationship, noting that Manila is negotiating an Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreements and a Visiting Forces Agreement deal with Japan to facilitate military interoperability, arms transfers and perhaps deployment of Japanese troops to Philippine bases. This isn’t hopeless optimism: at their May summit, President Biden and Philippine President Marcos agreed to push trilateral cooperation with Japan and with Australia.
Ambitions for those groups seem more realizable given revitalization of the US-Japan-ROK trilateral in the first months of 2023. There has been progress throughout the reporting period, with deputy foreign ministers meeting in Washington DC in February, which was followed days later by a foreign ministers meeting. The most important boost to that process came from South Korean President Yoon, who has been determined to restore the Japan-ROK relationship, a tale told in that chapter of Comparative Connections. His decision to create a foundation to address the forced labor issue and his subsequent visit to Japan in March—the first visit to Japan by a South Korean president since Yoon’s predecessor, Moon Jae-in, went to Osaka for a G20 summit in 2019 and the first bilateral visit since 2011—made Prime Minister Kishida an offer he couldn’t refuse. Kishida reciprocated with his own trip to South Korea in early May, the first visit to Seoul by a Japanese leader in 12 years.
The US applauded the process, with a State Department spokesperson praising “an important new chapter and a new beginning for our alliance partners.” Many observers in fact credit the US for driving the progress. There is no doubt that Washington pushed the two governments together, but the decisions were theirs alone to make—which they did, with help from an increasing sense of threat from both North Korea and China.
Sandwiched between the two leader visits in April were Defense Trilateral Talks. The 13th round of those discussions was productive. In addition to the usual sharing of threat assessments and US declarations of its “ironclad commitment” to defend both allies, the three governments “affirmed ongoing work to fully leverage the existing information frameworks including the Trilateral Information Sharing Arrangement (TISA) to improve coordination and cooperation among the three countries”—this in reference to North Korean missile tests—and discussed “the regularization of missile defense exercises and anti-submarine exercises to deter and respond to DPRK’s nuclear and missile threats, and discussed ways to resume trilateral exercises, including maritime interdiction and anti-piracy exercises.” Reportedly, after Kishida’s visit to Seoul, the three governments agreed to link Japan and South Korean radar systems via the United States to better share information on North Korean missile launches. Formal announcement is anticipated at a trilateral meeting of defense ministers on the sidelines of the Shangri-la Dialogue that will convene in Singapore in early June.
Economic Engagement Moves Forward
While hard security concerns galvanized regional governments, they also had time for economic matters. On March 31, the 11 members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the pacesetter for regional economic engagement, agreed on the UK’s entry to the group, making it the first nonfounding member of the group.
London applied for membership in 2021, and it has been working with the other members—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam—to agree on terms. A final deal is expected to be signed at a ministerial meeting in July.
Adding the UK will increase the CPTPP’s share of global GDP from 12% to 15%. Experts note that joining will provide a minimal economic boost to the UK as it already has free trade agreements with many of the members. But the move is in keeping with declarations by British leaders that it wishes to be an Indo-Pacific as well as a global presence. British Investment Minister Dominic Johnson said that the Indo-Pacific is “an important geostrategic focus for the United Kingdom,” adding that CPTPP membership “is a cornerstone component of our strategy, which was why it’s so important.”
With Britain joining, the group will now turn to assess the prospects of the other countries that have applied: China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Taiwan, and Uruguay. The discussions about China and Taiwan will be tricky. There is considerable resistance to Chinese membership, with concern that Beijing will accept or implement reforms demanded to join. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu explained his government thinking like this: “Japan believes that it is necessary to carefully assess whether the economies that have requested to join the CPTPP are fully prepared to meet these high standards, and we will respond to this request from a strategic perspective and with the understanding of the public.” Adding the Brits will add another skeptic, as London is still fuming over Beijing describing its UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration governing Hong Kong reversion as an “historical document” that “no longer has any practical relevance.” While those same skeptical governments are more eager to have Taiwan in the group, accepting it without China traditionally has been almost impossible to contemplate.
There is no such conflict when it comes to the United States. Japan, and other regional governments, continue to hope that Washington will reassess and rejoin the initiative. As Matsuno said, “We will continue to persistently call on the US to return to the [CPTPP].”
Don’t hold your breath. The US continues to rule out trade deals that include increased access to its market, preferring instead to develop its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). This reporting period, three negotiating rounds were held: a special negotiating round covering Pillars II-IV (supply chains, clean economy, and fair economy) at which some 300 officials from 14 countries attended in February in New Delhi; a second, full negotiating round that covered all pillars in March in Bali; and a third full round in Singapore in May. By all accounts progress is being made, but the argument that there can be meaningful economic engagement without market access sounds like wishful thinking to us. This gap in its Indo-Pacific strategy will continue to haunt the US.
Xi Jinping Plays the Diversity Card
One more new multilateral initiative deserves mention in this report: China’s Global Civilization Initiative (GCI), unveiled in March by Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping in his keynote address to the opening ceremony of the Chinese Communist Party in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting. The essence of the GCI is respect for “tolerance, coexistence, exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations,” which “play an irreplaceable role in advancing humanity’s modernization process and making the garden of world civilization flourish…” It is a call to accept different political systems and reject the imposition of a single political order on all countries or the equation of modernization with liberal democracy or Westernization. Commentary has highlighted “a unique Chinese road to modernization featured by efficiency, social equality and justice, which allows different sectors to develop in parallel—to enable industrialization, informatization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization to go in tandem, creating a new form of human civilization.”
To Western ears, this is a self-serving theoretical framework to oppose the West-led effort to delegitimize nondemocratic governance and undermine the CCP. That sells it short. Just as the West presumes the superiority of its position in the Ukraine war, and finds considerable disagreement, there is also receptivity to Xi’s call for diversity and tolerance. Much of “the rest” questions the efficacy and desirability of the Western political system—see the ongoing potentially self-destructing brinkmanship over raising the US debt ceiling if you need an example why. There is a competition to articulate the most compelling narrative in global politics. The West assumes at its peril that its story and its answers are best. It must do more if it is to prevail. The events of this reporting period suggest that lesson is sinking in.
Chronology by Pacific Forum Nonresident Vasey Fellow Moksha Pillai
January — April 2023
Jan. 1, 2023: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his daughter inspect dozens of intermediate-range and short-range ballistic missiles, emphasizing Kim’s declaration to “exponentially increase” missile production in the new year. North Korea also tests a nuclear-capable “super-large multiple launch rocket system,” which Kim states can strike anywhere in South Korea.
Jan. 1, 2023: Chinese President Xi Jinping says during his televised New Year speech that he sincerely hopes that “our compatriots on both sides of the Strait will work together with a unity of purpose to jointly foster the lasting prosperity of the Chinese nation.”
Jan. 3-6, 2023: Chinese President Xi Jinping meets visiting Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. in Beijing. They sign 14 agreements stepping up bilateral cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, agriculture, renewable energy, infrastructure development, and maritime security cooperation. They also agree to set up direct communication channels to manage maritime disputes in the South China Sea.
Jan. 4, 2023: China’s National Development and Reform Commission holds talks on proposals to allow four major importers—China Baowu Steel Group, China Datang, China Huaneng Group, and China Energy Investment—to make new purchases from Australia in 2023 after a more than two-year ban as relations between the nations improve.
Jan. 5, 2023: US 7th Fleet Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon transits the Taiwan Strait.
Jan. 6, 2023: Chinese Embassy in South Korea releases a statement protesting the visit of several South Korean lawmakers to Taiwan.
Jan. 7, 2023: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) is elected speaker of the House of Representatives on the 15th ballot, the longest such process for a House speaker in a century and a half. Rumors circulate that concessions made to Republican hardliners include demands for spending cuts in return for lifting the US’ debt ceiling.
Jan. 10, 2023: US House of Representatives votes to establish China Select Committee, which will focus on the Chinese Communist Party’s economic, technological and security progress and the strategic competition between Beijing and Washington.
Jan. 11, 2023: In the South Korean foreign ministry’s report to President Yoon Suk Yeol on major policy tasks for 2023, First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong says Korea will continue to mend ties with Japan through “reasonable solutions” to pending issues, and also hope to resume shuttle diplomacy.
Jan. 12, 2023: China inducts the “Zhu Hai Yun,” the world’s first seaborne drone carrier with autonomous navigation and remote-control functions. It has been constructed under the supervision of the Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory and has been awarded the first intelligent ship certificate by the China Classification Society.
Jan. 13, 2023: Prime Minister of Japan Kishida Fumio meets with President Biden at the US-Japan Summit 2023. The two leaders exchange views on regional issues, establish consensus on the need to uphold the status quo in the Indo-Pacific, and concur on continuing to work closely in addressing issues related to China.
Jan. 14, 2023: South Korea’s advanced Army unit stages a joint field exercise with a US Stryker Brigade Combat Team near the inter-Korean border.
Jan. 15, 2023: Indonesia deploys a warship to its North Natuna Sea to monitor a Chinese Coast Guard vessel that had been active in the resource-rich area in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone.
Jan. 17, 2023: Vietnamese State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc resigns ahead of the near certainty that he would be pushed out in Vietnamese Communist Party Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong’s “Burning Furnace” anti-corruption campaign.
Jan. 19, 2023: US hits its debt ceiling and begins resorting to “extraordinary measures” to avoid default.
Jan. 23, 2023: US President Joe Biden appoints long-time State Department official Julie Turner as North Korea human rights envoy, a position unfilled since 2017.
Jan. 24, 2023: Chris Hipkins is confirmed as New Zealand’s next prime minister, with Carmel Sepuloni, as his deputy, marking the first time a person with Pacific Island heritage has risen to that rank. Hipkins succeeds Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s first female prime minister, who announced her resignation on Jan. 19.
Jan. 24, 2023: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. seeks foreign ministerial-level talks with China to resolve any new conflicts in the South China Sea by proposing that their top diplomats lead the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (established in 2017), to allow a more rapid response to future conflicts in the disputed sea.
Jan. 26, 2023: Central bank estimates show that South Korea’s economy shrank in the 4th quarter of 2022 for the first time in two and a half years.
Jan. 26, 2023: Human Rights Watch researchers report that several demonstrators, apprehended for publicly protesting China’s then-ongoing zero-COVID policy in 2021, continue to remain in detention.
Jan. 26, 2023: President Biden extends a program that allows for Hong Kong residents to remain in the US, citing the erosion of human rights and freedoms.
Jan. 26, 2023: A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime suggests a 33% jump in opium cultivation in military-ruled Myanmar. This growth is directly connected to the political and economic turmoil since the 2021 coup and has reversed a six-year downward trend in the strife-torn country.
Jan. 27, 2023: Myanmar’s ruling junta announces tough requirements for parties to contest elections in 2023, including a huge increase in their membership. This move is expected to sideline the military’s opponents and cement its grip on politics.
Jan. 27, 2023: Thailand’s ruling pro-military Palang Pracharat Party picks political veteran and former army chief Prawit Wongsuwon as its prime ministerial candidate. Prawit, who serves as the current deputy prime minister, is expected to face-off with the incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
Jan. 27, 2023: United States Marine Corps opens a new base on Guam to counter China’s presence in the Western Pacific.
Jan. 27, 2023: A security assessment by the Indian Police in the Himalayan region of Ladakh reports there could be more clashes between Indian and Chinese troops along their contested frontier there as Beijing ramps up military infrastructure in the region.
Jan. 27, 2023: International Criminal Court will reopen its investigation into possible “crimes against humanity” committed in the Philippines during former President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, which led to the deaths of over a thousand civilians.
Jan. 27, 2023: Japan tightens sanctions against Russia following its latest wave of missile attacks in Ukraine, adding goods to an export ban list and freezing the assets of Russian officials and entities.
Jan. 27, 2023: US Trade Representative appeals two WTO dispute panel rulings brought by China on Section 232 tariffs and on “made in China” designations for Hong Kong to a defunct WTO Appellate Body.
Jan. 28, 2023: Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun reports that Japan is considering lifting export controls to South Korea as they continue to work on a resolution to the wartime forced labor issue.
Jan. 29, 2023: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrives in Seoul in a move to intensify ties with Asia. The trip, intended to reach out to US allies like South Korea and Japan is band-wagoning with like-minded partners in the face of the war in Ukraine and rising competition with China.
Jan. 29, 2023: Russia rules out talks with Japan on renewing a pact that allows Japanese fishermen to operate near disputed islands off the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, known in Russia as the Kurils and in Japan as the Northern Territories. They have been at the core of decades of tension between the neighbors.
Jan. 29, 2023: Australia’s defense and foreign ministers aim to deepen security ties with France and Britain, as noted in their visits to Europe this week, flagging the Indo-Pacific as a key area of focus.
Jan. 30, 2023: Kiribati announces that it will rejoin the Pacific Islands Forum, ending a split that had threatened unity at a time of increased superpower tensions in the strategically located region.
Jan. 30, 2023: France and Australia unveil plans to jointly manufacture ammunition for Ukraine to shore up defense cooperation and move past a row over Canberra’s decision to ditch plans to buy French submarines two years ago.
Jan. 30, 2023: South Korea’s Coast Guard arrests an unnamed oil dealer. He is accused of supplying 19,000 tons of diesel fuel, worth 18 billion won ($14.65 million), to North Korea in 35 ship-to-ship transfers during October 2021-January 2022, using a Chinese firm as intermediary for transport and payment.
Jan. 30, 2023: China’s coast guard drives away Japanese vessels from disputed waters in the East China Sea.
Jan. 31, 2023: US and allies mark anniversary of Myanmar coup with more curbs on energy officials and junta members, among others.
Jan. 31, 2023: To hold onto power under the current constitution, the State Administrative Council in Myanmar extends the State of Emergency imposed during the coup on Feb. 1, 2021 for another six months.
Jan. 31, 2023: US Customs and Border Protection begins to issue detention notices against aluminum shipments originating in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region over concerns of forced labor.
Jan. 31, 2023: NATO and Japan pledge to strengthen ties in face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing military cooperation with China. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and Prime Minister Kishida note that these developments have created the most tense security environment since World War II.
Jan. 31, 2023: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen holds a telephone call with Czech President-elect Petr Pavel in a diplomatic coup for Taipei.
Jan. 31, 2023: Defense chiefs of the United States and South Korea vow to expand military drills and boost nuclear deterrence planning to counter North Korea’s weapons development and prevent the possibility of a war.
Jan. 31, 2023: Myanmar’s military, which has been is invited to take part in a regional military meeting co-chaired by the United States and Thailand.
Jan. 31–Feb. 4, 2023: A Chinese surveillance balloon floats across the continental United States after first being spotted over Alaska on Jan. 28.
Feb. 1, 2023: US launches a partnership with India to compete against China on military equipment, semiconductors, and artificial intelligence.
Feb. 1, 2023: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stresses the importance of NATO working closely with partners in the Indo-Pacific. He notes that Europe cannot not ignore what happens in East Asia, as global security is interconnected.
Feb. 2, 2023: Philippines grants the US greater access to bases amid mounting concern over China’s increasing assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea and tension over self-ruled Taiwan. The United States would be given access to four more locations under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
Feb. 2, 2023: South Korea and the US stage combined air drills over the Yellow Sea.
Feb. 2, 2023: Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi discuss concerns over disputed East China Sea islands. The disputed East China Sea islets claimed by both China and Japan have long been a sticking point in bilateral relations. China calls the islands Diaoyu, while Japan calls them Senkaku.
Feb. 2, 2023: US reopens its embassy in the Solomon Islands with Secretary Blinken hailing it as an important signal of Washington’s commitment to democracy in the Pacific region.
Feb. 3, 2023: South Korea Foreign Minister Park Jin reaffirms commitment to strengthening “extended deterrence” in relation to North Korea in a meeting with US top diplomat Antony Blinken amid concerns over Pyongyang’s increasing missile and nuclear capabilities.
Feb. 3, 2023: China objects to further cooperation between Britain, the US, and Australia on nuclear submarines in a statement made by the foreign ministry during a formal briefing.
Feb. 3, 2023: Micronesia will sign an extension of its economic and security pact with the United States; a deal seen as important in Washington’s efforts to counter Chinese influence in the Pacific.
Feb. 3, 2023: World Bank allows two separate proceedings to resolve a long-running disagreement over water between India and Pakistan to run in parallel, fearing the stalemate endangered the historic Indus Water Treaty.
Feb. 3, 2023: United States and South Korea conduct joint air exercises for the second time in a week with some of their latest warplanes, despite North Korean complaints that the exercises increase tensions on the peninsula.
Feb. 4, 2023: ASEAN chair Indonesia says it will intensify talks on code for South China Sea, amid escalating tensions in the strategic waterway.
Feb. 4, 2023: A US military fighter jet shoots down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina, a week after it first entered US airspace.
Feb. 6, 2023: Philippine Coast Guard steps up its presence in the disputed South China Sea by deploying additional vessels and conducting more sorties and over-flights to protect maritime territory and the country’s fishermen.
Feb. 6, 2023: China protests the downing of the balloon with the US Embassy in Beijing.
Feb. 6, 2023: South Korea and Australia’s central banks renew a currency swap agreement valued at 9.6 trillion won or A$12 billion, for five years until early 2028. The agreement, first signed in 2014, allows either party to exchange funds in their own currency for the other currency under pre-set terms.
Feb. 7, 2023: Australia and New Zealand talk up their relationships with China at a joint prime ministerial news conference in the latest sign of strengthening ties with their biggest trading partner.
Feb. 7, 2023: Canada and Taiwan agree to commence formal talks to start formal negotiations for a deal to encourage two-way foreign investments and deepen their Indo-Pacific partnership.
Feb. 8, 2023: United States, Britain, and Australia carry out joint air drills over the Nevada desert and beyond, as part of an effort to simulate high-end combat operations against Chinese fighter aircraft and air defenses.
Feb. 8, 2023: Opposition gains majority in key Solomon Islands province after anti-China leader ousted. Daniel Suidani, a vocal critic of the country’s relationship with China, vocally opposed the Solomon Island switching recognition from Taiwan to China in 2019.
Feb. 8, 2023: Philippine President Marcos visits Japan seeking closer security ties, as Manila increasingly sides with the United States in its regional tussle with China.
Feb. 9, 2023: Australian government will examine surveillance technology used in offices of its defense department amid reports citing security risks from Chinese-made cameras installed there posed a security risk.
Feb. 9, 2023: Japan and the Philippines pledge closer security ties amid China tensions by penning a deal, allowing their armed forces to work together during disaster relief operations. The two sides also agree to establish a framework that would “strengthen and smooth the process of holding joint exercises.”
Feb. 9, 2023: Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim vows to facilitate peace talks to a long-simmering insurgency in restive southern Thailand during an official visit to the country.
Feb. 9, 2023: First Australian coal cargoes arrive in China, after the easing of an unofficial ban on imports introduced by Beijing more than two years ago.
Feb. 9, 2023: North Korea showcases its missile production muscle during a night-time parade, displaying more intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and hinting at a new solid-fuel weapon; despite United Nations Security Council resolutions and sanctions.
Feb. 10, 2023: Top Communist Party official Wang Huning meets with Taiwan’s senior opposition leader Andrew Hsia to discuss the need for maintaining the “peace and stability of cross-strait relations.”
Feb. 10, 2023: Department of Commerce adds six Chinese companies to the Entity List over their involvement in Beijing’s balloon surveillance program.
Feb. 10, 2023: US signs a memorandum of understanding with the Federated States of Micronesia.
Feb. 11, 2023: United States and Papua New Guinea make substantial progress on the text of a defense cooperation agreement that lays the groundwork for closer military ties between the two nations. The agreement is expected to improve the capacity of Papua New Guinea’s Defense Force and increase stability and security in the region.
Feb. 13, 2023: Officials from China, India, Saudi Arabia, and G7 nations will participate in a first virtual meeting of a new sovereign debt roundtable.
Feb. 13, 2023: US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet will lead a delegation to Pakistan and Bangladesh, as Washington and Islamabad seek to repair ties strained under former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Feb. 14, 2023: Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr summons China’s ambassador to express his “serious concern” over China’s actions in the South China Sea, where a Chinese coast guard ship directed a “military-grade laser” at one of its ships supporting a resupply mission to troops in the disputed waterway, temporarily blinding its crew on the bridge.
Feb. 14, 2023: Prime Minister Modi and President Biden meet to review ongoing and new initiatives to deepen the India-US Comprehensive and Global Partnership and welcome the Air India–Boeing agreement.
Feb. 15, 2023: Manila’s Army Chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner announces that the Philippines and the United States will carry out their biggest joint military drills in 2023, against a backdrop of growing tensions with China in the South China Sea.
Feb. 15, 2023: Japan condemns China’s violations of its airspace by uncrewed surveillance balloons and “strongly suspects” that Chinese surveillance balloons entered Japanese territory at least three times since 2019.
Feb. 15, 2023: China Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA), the country’s top chip industry trade group, opposes reported export controls from the United States, Japan and the Netherlands.
Feb. 16, 2023: South Korea releases its latest defense white paper describing North Korea as its “enemy” for the first time in six years and reporting an increase in Pyongyang’s stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium up to 70 kg.
Feb. 16, 2023: US, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan hold first meeting of the “Chip4” or “Fab 4” initiative to build a resilient semiconductor supply chain, involving senior government officials.
Feb. 16, 2023: China’s President Xi Jinping and his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, call for the lifting of sanctions on Iran as an integral part of a stalled international agreement on its nuclear program.
Feb. 16, 2023: Over 60 countries including the US and China sign a modest “call to action” endorsing the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the military at the first international summit on military AI, co-hosted by the Netherlands and South Korea this week at The Hague.
Feb. 16, 2023: Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology releases a study suggesting the negligible impact of the release of waste water from Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear power into South Korean water bodies.
Feb. 16, 2023: China puts Lockheed Martin and a unit of Raytheon Technologies on an “unreliable entities list” over arms sales to Taiwan, banning them from imports and exports related to China in its latest sanctions against the US companies.
Feb. 16, 2023: Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi announces that Japan will invite his Ukrainian counterpart to the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting to be held in Germany.
Feb. 17, 2023: China imposes sanctions on US defense manufacturers Raytheon and Lockheed Martin as a “countermeasure” for their fulfillment of arms sales contracts for Taiwan.
Feb. 17, 2023: US Vice President Kamala Harris discusses challenges posed by China with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and agrees to remain closely aligned in meetings with the European leaders, held alongside the Munich Security Conference.
Feb. 17, 2023: Taiwan finds crashed weather balloon on a remote island, after it had found the remains of a probable crashed weather balloon likely from China on a remote and strategically located island near the Chinese coast, amid a dispute between China and the United States over spy balloons.
Feb. 17, 2023: Myanmar’s parallel National Unity Government asks the US for more sanctions against the Tatmadaw and increased funding for anti-junta forces.
Feb. 17, 2023: Japan says it will start a pilot program in April to test the use of a digital yen, its central bank, joining a growing number of countries seeking to catch up with front-runner China in launching a central bank digital currency.
Feb. 18, 2023: North Korea launches a long-range ballistic missile into the sea off Japan’s west coast, after warning of a strong response to upcoming military drills by South Korea and the United States. Japanese authorities declare that the missile plunged into waters inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone more than an hour after it was launched, suggesting the weapon was one of Pyongyang’s largest missiles.
Feb. 18, 2023: Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers meet on sidelines of Munich Security Conference reiterating the need for “close communications between the two countries on each diplomatic level to resolve issues of concern.”
Feb. 18, 2023: In an effort to maintain lines of communication, Secretary Blinken meets Wang Yi on the sidelines of the 59th Munich Security Conference, the first high-level meeting between Chinese and US officials since the balloon incident.
Feb. 20, 2023: North Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea, following the joint air drills staged by South Korea and the United States.
Feb. 20, 2023: US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield urges the UN Security Council to condemn North Korea’s ballistic missile launches and encourage Pyongyang to engage in diplomacy.
Feb. 20, 2023: Philippines and the United States discuss conducting joint coast guard patrols, including in the South China Sea, in a response to overlapping sovereign claims in the strategic waterway and China’s “aggressive activities” in the region; which has also become a flashpoint for Chinese and US tensions around naval operation.
Feb. 20-27, 2023: Russia, China, and South Africa hold second joint naval drill, Mosi-2, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of South Africa.
Feb. 22, 2023: Following North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches, South Korea, the United States, and Japan conduct a trilateral missile defense exercise to strengthen security cooperation.
Feb. 22, 2023: Philippines and Australia discuss pursuing joint patrols in the South China Sea, days after the Southeast Asian country held similar talks with the United States on the need to counter China’s assertiveness in the strategic waterway.
Feb. 22, 2023: China and Japan square off at their 1st Formal Security Talk in over four years. The talks, aimed at easing tensions between the world’s second- and third-largest economies, come as Tokyo worries that Beijing will resort to force to take control of Taiwan in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, sparking a conflict that could embroil Japan and disrupt global trade.
Feb. 23, 2023: US and South Korean Deterrence Strategy Committee conducts its 1st Table-Top/Simulated Exercise, known as DSC TTX, in response to Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s recent aggressive nuclear policy and advancements in nuclear capabilities.
Feb. 23, 2023: United States is set to expand the number of troops helping train Taiwanese forces, at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing.
Feb. 23, 2023: G7 nations raise $39 billion worth of economic support for Ukraine and urge an IMF program for the country by the end of March. The decision comes after a meeting of the bloc’s finance ministers and central bank governors on the eve of the war’s first anniversary.
Feb. 23, 2023: After a four-year gap, China and Japan resume diplomatic and security talks with the successive holding of the 29th regular consultation between China and Japan diplomatic authorities, the 17th China-Japan security dialogue, and the 16th China-Japan economic partnership consultation.
Feb. 24, 2023: North Korea fires four Hwasal-2 strategic cruise missiles to demonstrate the “war posture” of the country’s nuclear combat forces.
Feb. 24, 2023: Canada pledges four more Leopard 2 battle tanks, an armored recovery vehicle, over 5,000 rounds of 155 mm and a new legion of sanctions targeting 129 individuals and 63 entities including Russian deputy prime ministers and other officials to Ukraine in its defense against Russia.
Feb. 24, 2023: US State Department marks the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine by sanctioning more than 60 top Russian officials, including cabinet ministers and regional leaders, and three nuclear weapons institutes.
Feb. 24, 2023: Pacific Islands Forum agrees to pass on the diplomatic post to Taiwan ally Nauru in 2024; as it resolves to face climate change and superpower rivalry as a united “family.”
Feb. 24, 2023: North Korea test-fires four strategic cruise missiles during a drill designed to demonstrate its ability to conduct a nuclear counterattack against hostile forces; in response to the US-South Korea simulated exercises held earlier.
Feb. 24, 2023: China issues a 12-point “Position Paper on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis.”
Feb. 25, 2023: G20 finance chiefs fail to reach a consensus on describing the war in Ukraine and end the meeting by issuing a “Chair’s summary and an Outcome document” in which it simply summed up the two days of talks and noted disagreements.
Feb. 25, 2023: USS Springfield, a US nuclear-powered submarine, arrives in South Korea, in an apparent warning to North Korea’s repeated missile provocations.
Feb. 27, 2023: China accuses the US of “endangering” peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait after a US P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance military plane flies through the sensitive waterway; citing Beijing’s “sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction” over the strait.
Feb. 27, 2023: International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s investment arm, will provide Sri Lanka a $400 million cross-currency swap facility to help fund essential imports; as the Indo-Pacific island nation grapples with its worst financial crisis in over seven decades.
Feb. 27, 2023: JPMorgan proposes a new Asia credit index with slashed China weighting in parallel to its existing $85 billion Asia credit index, amid growing geopolitical tensions and dimming appetite for Chinese property bonds.
Feb. 28, 2023: Thailand and the United States kick off military exercises involving more than 7,000 personnel and forces from 30 countries, with the annual “Cobra Gold” drills; one of the world’s longest-running multilateral military exercises and the biggest in Southeast Asia, to shore up alliances in Asia at a time of increasing competition with China. The latest edition of this drill will include a new component focused on space exercises.
Feb. 28, 2023: South Korean and US special commandos conduct Exercise Teak Knife, combined drills set to strengthen the “ironclad” security commitment between the allies.
Feb. 28, 2023: Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office indicts four of former President Moon Jae-in’s former minister-level officials for alleged involvement in the forced repatriation of two North Korean fishermen in 2019.
Feb. 28, 2023: South Korea, the United States, and Japan hold their first economic security dialogue, amid efforts to strengthen the resilience of supply chains and develop technology. With an intent to expand bilateral economic security cooperation with the United States to the trilateral level, the countries discussed cooperation to protect technology and data and vulnerabilities arising from economic interdependence.
March 1, 2023: Military regime in Myanmar amends the Anti-Terrorism Law to designate anyone who provides support, financial or otherwise, to a terrorist organization will also be designated as a terrorist. In 2021 the junta declared the National Unity Government and the People’s Defense Force as terrorists.
March 1, 2023: In his first speech addressing the March First Independence Movement Day, President Yoon calls Japan a “partner” to work together to face global challenges.
March 2, 2023: White House announces a new Cyber-Security strategy in the latest effort to bolster its cyber defenses amid a steady increase in hacking and digital crimes targeting the country. The strategy urges tighter regulation of existing cyber-security practices across industries and improved collaboration between the government and private sector.
March 2, 2023: United States adds 37 Chinese and Russian entities to its trade blacklist for activities including contributing to Russia’s army, supporting China’s military and facilitating or engaging in human rights abuses in Myanmar and China.
March 2, 2023: Vietnam’s National Assembly elects Vo Van Thuong as the country’s new president, in a reshuffle of the country’s top leadership amid a sweeping anti-graft campaign.
March 2, 2023: Quad foreign ministers meet to reaffirm support for an inclusive, resilient, free and open Indo-Pacific.
March 3, 2023: South Korea and Japan create a new channel of bilateral communication to negotiate a resolution of the wartime forced labor issue.
March 3, 2023: US State Department announces $6 billion in funding commitments around the world to protect oceans and fight climate change. The announcement includes 77 different commitments, with $3 billion allocated for climate resilience and climate research, more than $665 million for sustainable fisheries and $200 million tackling marine pollution.
March 3, 2023: A Cambodian court convicts former leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kem Sokha of treason and sentenced him to 27 years of house arrest. Under detention since 2017, his sentencing is a clear warning to the remnants of the Cambodian political opposition ahead of general elections on July 23.
March 3, 2023: United States and South Korea announce that they will conduct more than 10 days
March 3, 2023: A Russian submarine launches the Kalibr cruise missile from Sea of Japan in a drill. These missiles have been previously used by Kremlin to attack multiple targets in Ukraine, including power stations, by launching them from ships and submarines in the Black Sea.
March 4, 2023: As the chair of the G7 in 2023, the Japanese government pledges financial and technological support to help ASEAN countries decarbonize their economies, combat global climate change and promote “realistic energy transition.”
March 4, 2023: Philippines spots a Chinese navy ship and dozens of militia vessels around a contested Philippine-occupied Thitu island in the South China Sea, as territorial tensions mount in the area.
March 5, 2023: Negotiators from more than 100 countries complete a UN treaty to protect the high seas, to reverse marine biodiversity losses and ensure sustainable development; after five rounds of protracted UN-led negotiations.
March 5, 2023: China’s National Budget 2023 allocates 1.55 trillion Yuan ($224 billion) to military spending and the state is expected to boost defense expenditure by 7.2%, slightly outpacing 2022’s economic growth forecast.
March 5, 2023: South Korea announces that its companies would compensate people forced to work under Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation, seeking to end a dispute that has undercut US-led efforts to present a unified front against China and North Korea. This solution shall help resolve the colonial-era forced labor that has overshadowed political and trade relations between the two neighbors.
March 6, 2023: South Korea and the United States stage combined air drills involving a US nuclear-capable B-52H strategic bomber.
March 6, 2023: China announces the contribution of 200,000 euros ($217,000) to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for technical assistance to Ukraine for the safety and security of nuclear power plants or other peaceful nuclear facilities in Ukraine.
March 6, 2023: South Korea drops its complaint with the World Trade Organization on Japan’s export controls of three important semiconductor precursor materials: hydrogen fluoride, fluorinated polyamide and photoresist. Japan announces it will start discussions with South Korea on lifting export controls.
March 8, 2023: Chinese government announces a 7.2% rise, to $225 billion, in the country’s defense budget for 2023, though foreign analysts estimate that actual military spending may be 1.1 to 2 times higher than stated in the official budget.
March 8-10, 2023: ASEAN and Chinese officials meet for a three-day discussion for the “China-ASEAN Joint Working Group on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.”
March 9, 2023: North Korea fires a short-range ballistic missile toward the Yellow Sea.
March 10, 2023: Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to re-establish relations after years of hostility that had threatened stability and security in the Gulf and helped fuel conflicts in the Middle East from Yemen to Syria. The deal, brokered by China, was announced after four days of previously undisclosed talks in Beijing between top security officials from the two rival Middle East powers.
March 10, 2023: A Gallup Korea poll shows that 59% of Koreans do not approve of the Yoon government’s compensation plan because it does not involve an apology or compensation from Japanese firms.
March 10, 2023: President of Federated States of Micronesia David Panuelo mentions the commencement of talks with Taiwan about switching diplomatic ties for $50 million in assistance after frustrations with China.
March 12, 2023: South Korean navy destroyer ROKS Choe Yeong conducts a joint field exercise with the USS Rafael Peralta.
March 13, 2023: North Korea fires two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine in the East Sea.
March 13, 2023: South Korea and the United States begin the 11-day Freedom Shield exercise that present “realistic” scenarios reflective of North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats.
March 14, 2023: Honduras President Xiomara Castro announces the country will switch its diplomatic relations from the Republic of China to the People’s Republic of China.
March 15, 2023: US Senate confirms President Joe Biden’s nominee Eric Garcetti as Ambassador to India.
March 15, 2023: China’s Coast Guard enters waters around disputed East China Sea islets on Wednesday to counter what it called the incursion of Japanese vessels into Chinese territorial waters.
March 15, 2023: South Korea participates in a US-led multinational anti-submarine warfare exercise to enhance joint anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
March 15, 2023: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese meets his Fiji counterpart in Suva to alleviate concerns surrounding its $245 billion nuclear-powered submarine program. Australia is party to a nuclear-free zone treaty with 12 other South Pacific nations, including Fiji, which is gridlocked by the effects of nuclear weapons tests by the United States and France.
March 15, 2023: China, Iran, and Russia conduct joint naval exercises titled “”Marine Security Belt” exercises “in the Gulf of Oman to “deepen practical cooperation among the navies of participating countries.”
March 15, 2023: US Environmental Protection Agency finalizes a rule to require industrial facilities and power plants in 23 states to cut their smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, under the final “Good Neighbor” plan.
March 15-19, 2023: Negotiators from 14 countries, including the US, take part in the second round of negotiations on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework in Bali.
March 15-19, 2023: China, Russia, and Iran hold a joint naval drill, code-named “Security Bond-2023,” in the Gulf of Oman.
March 16, 2023: China blocks the United States from broadcasting an informal United Nations Security Council meeting on human rights abuses in North Korea online.
March 16, 2023: North Korea fires a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile toward the East Sea in a show of the “toughest response posture” against “aggressive” combined drills by the US and South Korea.
March 16, 2023: China’s foreign ministry counters Japan’s territorial claims over disputed waters in the East China Sea, calling the move a “grave violation” of Chinese sovereignty.
March 16, 2023: South Korean President Yoon travels to Tokyo to meet with Prime Minister Fumio, the first such summit between leaders of the two countries in 12 years.
March 17, 2023: Taiwan vows to remain resilient and pragmatic and support its allies, not bowing before the “big bully in the neighborhood,” as the island faces the loss of long-term ally Honduras to China.
March 18, 2023: Russia, China, and Iran complete three-way naval exercises in the Arabian Sea that included artillery fire at targets on the sea and in the air.
March 19, 2023: Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi discusses global security and China’s presence in the Pacific with the leader of the Solomon Islands; in the very first visit by a Japanese foreign minister to the island state.
March 19, 2023: North Korea fires a short-range ballistic missile toward the East Sea.
March 19, 2023: A US B-1B strategic bomber returns to South Korea for joint exercises and as a show of force as North Korea fires a ballistic missile into the East Sea.
March 20, 2023: China and Cambodia hold the first ever Golden Dragon 2023 Joint Military Naval exercises in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
March 20, 2023: Russia overtakes Saudi Arabia to become China’s top oil supplier in the first two months of 2023, as buyers snap up sanctioned Russian oil at steep discounts. Arrivals from Russia totaled 15.68 million tons in January-February, or 1.94 million barrels per day, up 23.8% from 1.57 million bpd in the corresponding 2022 period, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
March 20, 2023: North Korea conducts a two-day practice simulating a tactical nuclear counterattack to South Korea-United States “war” drills.
March 20, 2023: Prime Minister Kishida deems India “an essential partner when it comes to realizing Japan’s free and open Indo-Pacific vision,” as he announces joint maritime exercises with India and the United States, as well as goodwill exercises with ASEAN and the Pacific Islands, in addition to promising $75 billion in investment to counter China and help regional economies across all sectors.
March 20, 2023: South Korea and the United States conduct high-tech military drills with increased “intensity and realism” to bolster deterrence against North Korean provocations.
March 20, 2023: 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released by the US Department of State, calls out North Korea for dozens of human rights issues such as torture, total state control of media, and trafficking.
March 20-21, 2023: Kishida travels to India to promote a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and invites Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the G7 summit in May.
March 21, 2023: Russian President Vladimir Putin remarks that Chinese proposals tabled by Xi Jinping can be used as the basis of a peace settlement in Ukraine. In a joint statement at the end of Xi’s state visit to Moscow, the two men caution against any steps that might push the Ukraine conflict into an “uncontrollable phase,” adding that there could be no winners in a nuclear war.
March 21, 2023: China’s President Xi Jinping invites Russian President Vladimir Putin for the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, to be held in China later this year.
March 21, 2023: Russia flies two Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bomber planes over the Sea of Japan for more than seven hours, as Japan’s Prime minister begins his visit to Ukraine. The planes are capable of carrying nuclear weapons and Moscow regularly flies them over international waters in the Arctic, North Atlantic and Pacific as a show of strength.
March 22, 2023: Rick Waters, head of the State Department’s “China house” travels to Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong for meetings with Chinese officials.
March 22, 2023: North Korea criticizes US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield for calling on the UNSC to denuclearize North Korea. North Korea states that pressure to dismantle its nukes means “a declaration of war.”
March 22, 2023: Solomon Islands awards a multi-million-dollar contract to a Chinese state company to upgrade an international port in Honiara in a project funded by the Asian Development Bank. The Solomon Islands had struck a security pact with Beijing in 2022, prompting concern from the United States and its allies, including Australia, New Zealand and Japan, over China’s ambitions to build a naval base in the region.
March 22, 2023: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr grants the US access to four new military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.These sites will be located in various parts of the Philippines, including in a province facing the South China Sea.
March 22, 2023: North Korea fires multiple cruise missiles off its east coast in a latest series of tests of its weapons as its rivals, South Korea and the United States, conducted joint military exercises.
March 23, 2023: House Select Committee on China holds a hearing entitled “The Chinese Communist Party’s Ongoing Uyghur Genocide.”
March 23, 2023: A US Navy destroyer sails near one of the most important man-made and Chinese controlled islands in the South China Sea, in a freedom of navigation mission that Beijing denounced as illegal.
March 24, 2023: US Treasury Department imposes sanctions on two individuals and six entities in Myanmar and advises that the provision of jet fuel to the Tatmadaw will come under US sanctions.
March 24, 2023: US Forces Korea conducts the first training on the deployment of a remote launcher of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system stationed in South Korea.
March 24, 2023: North Korea conducts a new underwater nuclear strategic weapon test and cruise missile exercise to “alert the enemy to an actual nuclear crisis.”
March 27, 2023: North Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea.
March 28, 2023: Myanmar’s State Administrative Council officially dissolves 40 political parties, including the National League for Democracy, the party of Aung San Suu Kyi and the winner of the November 2020 elections that the military set aside with the coup of Feb. 1, 2021.
March 28, 2023: Media reports suggest the US, Japan, and Philippines plan to create a trilateral framework involving their national security advisers.
March 29-30, 2023: Biden administration convenes the second Summit for Democracy, co-hosted with the governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, and Republic of Zambia.
March 31, 2023: For the first time, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification publishes its annual report on North Korean human rights.
April 3, 2023: South Korea, the United States, and Japan hold a trilateral naval exercise featuring the USS Nimitz carrier that is focused on enhancing response capabilities against underwater threats.
April 5, 2023: China and Cambodia conclude “Golden Dragon 2023” joint military exercise.
April 5, 2023: Japan sets out the new aid scheme—Overseas Security Assistance—to allow overseas defense funding by offering countries financial assistance to help them bolster their defenses, marking its first unambiguous departure from rules that forbid the use of international aid for military purposes. The OSA will be managed separately from the Overseas Development Assistance program that for decades has funded roads, dams and other civilian infrastructure.
April 5, 2023: US House Speaker McCarthy meets with Taiwan President Tsai before a bipartisan group of US lawmakers at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library outside Los Angeles.
April 5, 2023: A US B-52 strategic bomber joins military exercises with South Korea in the latest demonstration of the allies’ readiness to respond to any North Korean provocation. The bomber, in the first deployment to South Korea of a US B-52 since March 6, joined US F-35B and F-16 fighters, and South Korean F-35 jets for the exercise.
April 5, 2023: Trade ministers of the G7 countries hold their first meeting of the year via teleconference, to discuss export controls and economic security by reaffirming “that export controls are a fundamental policy tool to address the challenges posed by the diversion of technology critical to military applications as well as for other activities that threaten global, regional, and national security.”
April 5, 2023: China urges the World Trade Organization to scrutinize US-led technology export restrictions aimed at curbing its ability to make advanced chips. Chinese representatives addressed the WTO meeting by demanding that Japan, the Netherlands and the United States to report their plans and subsequent measures to the body and urged the WTO to step up supervision on the matter.
April 5-7, 2023: China and France agree to work for a peaceful solution to the Ukraine conflict during French President Macron’s three-day visit to China.
April 6, 2023: Over 5,000 people flee into Thailand after fighting between the Myanmar military and armed ethnic rebels.
April 6-8, 2023: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul visits Taiwan and meets Tsai and Vice President Lai Ching-te. On the 13th, China responds by sanctioning him personally, adding to the list of senior members of Congress on Beijing’s blacklist.
April 7, 2023: North Korea does not respond to the South’s usual twice-daily calls at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on their telephone liaison channel, nor to the separate daily test calls at 4 p.m. on two military hotlines covering the West and East Seas. On April 10, the Ministry of Unification concludes that Pyongyang has unilaterally severed all communications.
April 8, 2023: Malaysia express firm commitment to protecting its sovereign rights and interests in the South China Sea after China expressed concern about Malaysian energy projects in a part of the South China Sea that China also claims.
April 8, 2023: House of Representatives votes unanimously to instruct the White House to work toward changing China’s status as a “developing nation” in the World Trade Organization.
April 10, 2023: China ends three days of military drills around Taiwan, after testing integrated military capabilities under actual combat conditions, having practiced precision strikes and blockading the island that Beijing views as its own.
April 10, 2023: A spokesperson for the Department of State announces that the US commitment to South Korea is “ironclad” when asked about recently leaked documents revealing (among other things) that the US may have eavesdropped on conversations at the South Korean presidential office. A South Korean presidential official states that South Korea will seek “appropriate measures” from the US if necessary after looking into the validity of the leaked documents.
April 10-14, 2023: US, Japan, Australia, and India hold the Quad Cyber Challenge.
April 11, 2023: South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup talks with Secretary of Defense Austin regarding recent news of leaked documents that the US wiretapped conversations of top South Korean national security officials. The two agree that a “great deal of disclosed information was fabricated.” Kim Tae-hyo, South Korean principal deputy national security adviser, states that South Korea and the US believe that a “large portion” of the leaked classified documents may be fake and are considering the involvement of a “third party.”
April 11-28, 2023: US and the Philippines conduct the 38th iteration of the Balikatan (“Shoulder-to-Shoulder”) exercises.
April 12, 2023: Xi stresses need to deepen military training, preparation and comprehensively raise their level of modernization after inspecting his country’s Southern Theatre Command navy.
April 12, 2023: Taiwan’s defense ministry announces the incursion of 14 Chinese air force planes across the Taiwan Strait’s median line. This demarcation serves as an unofficial barrier between the two sides.
April 12, 2023: Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party nominates Vice President William Lai Ching-te as its presidential candidate in the 2024 election.
April 12, 2023: South Korea reaches an agreement to lend the United States 500,000 rounds of 155mm artillery shells. This deal would give Washington greater flexibility to supply Ukraine with ammunition while sticking to the government principle of not providing lethal weapons in conflict zones.
April 12, 2023: French President Emmanuel Macron favors the status-quo on Taiwan, he says, after facing backlash over comments calling for caution against being drawn into a crisis over Taiwan driven by an “American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction.”
April 12, 2023: United States becomes the first major fishing nation to ratify a deal to cut subsidies contributing to overfishing. The deal aims to cut billions of dollars in harmful subsidies that empty the ocean of marine life.
April 13, 2023: Chair of ASEAN bloc strongly condemns a military air strike on a village in Myanmar, reported to have killed up to 100 people including civilians.
April 13, 2023: Japan, India, and France announce a common platform for talks among bilateral creditors to coordinate restructuring of Sri Lanka’s debt. This move is expected to serve as a model for solving the debt woes of middle-income economies.
April 13, 2023: Canada and South Korea plan to launch talks on an information security agreement to facilitate intelligence-sharing and promote security ties, earlier this year.
April 13, 2023: China’s foreign ministry sanctions US Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, for visiting Taiwan and sending “serious wrong signals” to Taiwan independence separatist forces.
April 13, 2023: China opts out of a United Nations project to survey Asian wet markets and other facilities at high risk of spreading infectious diseases from wild animals to humans.
April 14, 2023: North Korean States media announces the testing of a new solid-fuel ICBM, the Hwasong-18, to “radically promote” its nuclear counterattack capability.
April 14, 2023: Beijing’s ambassador to Manila remarks that Philippines is “stoking the fire” of regional tensions by offering expanded military base access to the United States, whose goal is to interfere in China’s affairs with Taiwan. This statement comes in the light of Philippines identifying four more bases that Washington can use under an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement signed in 2014.
April 14, 2023: South Korea and the United States hold joint air drills following North Korea’s recent firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
April 15, 2023: Japan’s Economy and Trade Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi urges members of the G7 nations to help emerging countries reduce emissions, including the financing of decarbonization in “hard-to-abate” industries.
April 15, 2023: A suspect is arrested after allegedly throwing an explosive device at Prime Minister Kishida in an assassination attempt.
April 15, 2023: China’s top diplomat Wang Yi “hopes and believes” Germany will support China’s “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan, at a meeting with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock; adding that China once supported Germany’s reunification.
April 15, 2023: South Korean Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo states that there is a possibility that Japan could join the South Korea-US intelligence alliance.
April 15, 2023: Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken express a desire to deepen their ties as Washington seeks to solidify alliances to counter an increasingly assertive China.
April 15, 2023: US, South Korea, and Japan hold the 13th Defense Trilateral Talks, a director-general level talk in Washington, DC to discuss the North Korean threat and ways to deepen trilateral security cooperation.
April 16, 2023: South Korea fires warning shots after toward a North Korean vessel that breached the Northern Limit Line, the de facto sea boundary.
April 16, 2023: China launches a weather satellite as civilian flights alter their routes to avoid a Chinese-imposed no-fly zone to the north of Taiwan which Beijing put in place because of the possibility of falling rocket debris.
April 17, 2023: Japan and South Korea hold their first security talks since 2018, centered around strategic environments surrounding the two countries. Their finance ministers also announce plans to hold a bilateral meeting for the first time in seven years, heralding closer cooperation in economic policy that has been hampered by diplomatic conflict.
April 17, 2023: Tokyo lodges a protest against Russia over its military exercises around disputed islands near Japan’s Hokkaido.
April 17, 2023: Russia brushes off Japanese criticism of naval exercises by its Pacific Fleet, saying it needed to be on guard against a variety of regional threats while focusing on Ukraine.
April 17, 2023: South Korea, the United States, and Japan stage joint naval missile defense exercises to improve responses to North Korean threats, as Pyongyang accuses Washington of ramping up “nuclear blackmail” with military drills.
April 17, 2023: Taiwan to buy 400 US land-launched Harpoon missiles in the face of rising threat from China. The Pentagon announced a $1.17 billion contract for 400 of the anti-ship missiles, saying production was expected to be completed by March 2029.
April 18, 2023: United States and South Korea conduct combined attack drills as part of the Korea Marine Exercise Program to strengthen capabilities and interoperability.
April 18-20, 2023: United States and Thailand conduct the third bilateral energy dialogue in Washington, DC.
April 18, 2023: Recently elected New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins to attend the upcoming NATO summit.
April 18, 2023: Rick Waters, deputy assistant secretary of state for China and Taiwan, accepts Washington’s knowledge of China’s transnational law enforcement within the borders of “dozens of countries” in a US House of Representatives hearing.
April 18, 2023: Australia and New Zealand to sign an Arms Co-operation Deal, Plan ANZAC, to improve army interoperability with more cooperation over training, capability, readiness and personnel.
April 18, 2023: G7 industrial powers stress unity amid growing acts of coercion and sanctioning of nuclear weapons, committed by China and Russia respectively.
April 19, 2023: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un orders preparations for the planned launch of the country’s first spy satellite to counter threats from the United States and South Korea. Analysts say the military satellite is part of the reclusive, nuclear-armed state’s efforts to advance surveillance technology, including drones, to improve its ability to strike targets in the event of a conflict.
April 19, 2023: South Korean President Yoon opens door for possible military aid to Ukraine if it comes under a large-scale civilian attack; signaling a shift in his stance against arming Ukraine for the first time.
April 19, 2023: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to convene envoys on Afghanistan from various countries to work on a unified approach to deal with the Taliban authorities here on.
April 19, 2023: South Korean President Yoon comments on Taiwan in an interview with Reuters, prompting China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to comment on Yoon’s comments the same day, labeling them “meddling.” South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounces China’s response the following day and summons Chinese Ambassador Xing Haiming.
April 20, 2023: United States to coordinate closely with South Korea on more support for Ukraine, calling its key Asian ally “a stalwart partner” in defending Ukraine’s sovereignty.
April 20, 2023: Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong urges Pacific island countries to stay united in the face of great power competition. Her visit to the French territory coincides with a push by a China-backed group for several Pacific island nations, including New Caledonia, to sign a splinter security pact.
April 20, 2023: US Trade Representative Katherine Tai states that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework trade negotiations are progressing “at a very quick pace” and she expects results from the talks as early as by the end of the year. The IPEF marks Washington’s first major pan-Asian trade engagement effort in nearly a decade.
April 20, 2023: Vietnam opposes China’s unilateral annual ban on fishing in a vast area of the South China Sea, calling it a violation of its sovereignty. China in its defense, says the ban, applicable from May 1 to Aug. 16, is to promote sustainable fishing and improve marine ecology.
April 20, 2023: A US congressional war game simulating a Chinese invasion of Taiwan shows the need to arm the island “to the teeth,” after the exercise indicated the US must boost production of long-range missiles and businesses must brace for economic fallout.
April 21, 2023: At the Lanting Forum in Shanghai, the Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang states that it is right and proper for China to uphold its sovereignty as both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to China.
April 21, 2023: South Korea’s foreign ministry expresses “deep disappointment and regret” after Prime Minister Kishida sent a ritual offering of a “masakaki” tree stand to Yasukuni Shrine.
April 21, 2023: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirms his attendance at the NATO summit, days after his New Zealand counterpart, Chris Hipkins, confirmed his participation. Australia and New Zealand are not members of NATO but have a decades-long relationship with the Western alliance.
April 21, 2023: North Korea criticizes the G7 over call for denuclearization, while it vows to continue to build up its forces until military threats from the United States and its allies are eliminated.
April 21, 2023: Russia bans the League of Residents of Chishima and Habomai Islands from campaigning for Japanese sovereignty over four disputed islands seized by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II, amid rising tensions between Moscow and Tokyo.
April 21, 2023: Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei announces plans to visit Taiwan, as a reciprocal gesture mirroring Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to the country. The Guatemalan delegation is expected to pitch the country as a destination for investment and will tour several companies with the hopes of replicating their business model back home.
April 22, 2023: Japan’s Self-Defense Forces prepare to shoot down North Korea satellites to minimize damage should a ballistic missile fall on Japan.
April 22, 2023: Philippines and China to set up more lines of communication to resolve maritime issues in the South China Sea
April 23, 2023: China’s Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong lodges solemn representations with the South Korean ambassador over “erroneous” remarks by the South Korean President Yoon about Taiwan.
April 24, 2023: China’s cooperation with Europe and other nations is “endless” just as its ties with Russia are “unlimited,” China’s envoy to the European Union said, giving some reassurance of China’s neutrality over Ukraine.
April 24, 2023: Sixth edition of Cope India-2023, an Air Exercise between the Indian and American Air Forces at Air Force Stations Kalaikunda, Panagarh and Agra concludes.
April 24, 2023: China and Singapore plan military drills as Beijing deepens its defense and security ties with Southeast Asia, a region with strong existing US alliances.
April 24, 2023: NASA and South Korea’s science agency are expected to sign a pact to boost outer space co-operation and expand high-tech partnerships and security ties to deter North Korea.
April 24, 2023: Australia to prioritize long-range precision strike capability, domestic production of guided weapons, and diplomacy—key points of a review recommending the country’s biggest defense shake-up since World War II.
April 25, 2023: Submarines from Russia’s Pacific Fleet destroy a mock enemy object as part of naval drills in the Sea of Japan.
April 25, 2023: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz invites Chinese Premier Li Qiang for talks in Berlin, as the German government develops a new China strategy to reduce dependence on Asia’s economic superpower, a vital export market for German goods.
April 25, 2023: Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei pledges his unconditional support for the “Republic of Taiwan” on a trip that comes as China steps up pressure on the handful of countries that still maintain formal ties with the island.
April 25, 2023: United States sanctions three individuals for providing support to North Korea’s efforts to illegally generate funds for its nuclear and missile development programs.
April 26, 2023: US and South Korea pledge cooperation on potential use of nuclear arms in response to any attack from North Korea, on a guarantee that Seoul swears off from developing its own nuclear weapon. President Yoon also states that the South Korea-US alliance will not be “shaken” by leaked US documents that allegedly contained the contents of tapped conversations of top South Korean officials.
April 26, 2023: US and Philippine armed forces unleash a volley of missiles on a mock enemy warship in the South China Sea, in a show of military power and a strengthening alliance at a time of rising regional tension.
April 26, 2023: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announces Sydney as the venue and host for the 2023 Quad Leaders’ summit, the third in-person meeting of the leaders of Australia, the United States, India, and Japan.
April 26, 2023: Government and think-tank representatives from Myanmar and its neighbors, including India and China, hold talks in New Delhi as part of a secretive effort to de-escalate a bloody crisis in the army-run Southeast Asian nation.
April 26, 2023: Chinese foreign ministry clarifies the government’s intention to continue supporting Central Asian countries in safeguarding their independence and territorial integrity, after a senior Chinese envoy in Europe raises an uproar by questioning the sovereignty of those states.
April 26, 2023: Taiwan’s Han Kuang exercises are expected to focus on piercing blockade, combat forces preservation and maritime interception using the “Five Eyes” intelligence link in response to China’s over riding sovereignty claims in the region.
April 26, 2023: South Korea and the US agree to boost economic partnerships in critical technology industries such as microchips, electric vehicles and batteries, post the US-South Korea bilateral meet.
April 26, 2023: Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
April 26, 2023: China and Russia sign a memorandum of understanding on strengthening maritime law enforcement cooperation to combat terrorism, illegal migration, smuggling of drugs and weapons and banning illegal fishing.
April 27, 2023: President Yoon and President Biden adopt the Washington Declaration to strengthen the United States “extended deterrence” commitment to South Korea.
April 28, 2023: China and Singapore hold a four-day joint naval exercise in regional waters.
April 28, 2023: India chairs the annual SCO defense ministers’ meeting in New Delhi. The SCO defense chiefs pledge to boost strategic communication, focus on consensus, and expand SCO cooperation and jointly safeguard regional security and stability.