Australia-US/East Asia

Chronology from Sep 2018 to Aug 2019

: PM Morrison visits Timor Leste to mark the 20th anniversary of the vote that led to independence from Indonesia.

: Yang Hengjun, an Australian writer and democracy activist, detained by the Chinese authorities in January, is formally charged with spying.

:   PM Morrison makes the first bilateral visit to Vietnam by an Australian prime minister in 25 years.

: Australia announces it will join the maritime security mission for the Strait of Hormuz.

:   Pacific Islands Forum meets in Tuvalu.

: Secretary Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper meet Australian FM Payne and Defense Minister Linda Reynolds in Sydney for 29th Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations “to deepen economic, security, and strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and globally.”

: On the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Thailand, the ninth meeting of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue involving Australian FM Payne, Japan’s Foreign Minister Kono Taro, and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

: Australia passes legislation demarcating maritime boundaries with Timor-Leste, formalizing revenue shares in the joint-development of the Greater Sunrise natural oil field.

: PM Morrison visits the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, off Queensland.

: US and Australia begin Exercise Talisman Sabre, in Queensland; Japanese forces also take part.

: US, Japan, and Australia announce jointly financed $1 billion LNG project in Papua New Guinea.

: Anthony Albanese is elected leader of the Australian Labor Party and becomes federal opposition leader.

: Navies from the US, Japan, South Korea, and Australia launch the inaugural Pacific Vanguard exercise off Guam “to conduct cooperative maritime training.” Over 3,000 sailors take part in drills including “combined maneuvers, live fire exercises, defense counter-air operations, anti-submarine warfare, and replenishment at sea.”

: In Australia’s federal election, the Liberal-National coalition government led by Scott Morison, is re-elected.

: USS William P. Lawrence participates in naval exercise La Perouse with five other vessels from France, Japan, and Australia in the Bay of Bengal. The exercise includes “sailing in formation, live-fire drills, communications, search and rescue, damage control and personnel transfers.”

: Air forces of the United States, South Korea, and Australia undertake two weeks of “scaled-back” joint air drills around the Korean Peninsula, replacing the previous large-scale Max Thunder drill.

: Navy, army, and air force personnel from Australia and India participate in the third AUSINDEX joint maritime exercise in the Bay of Bengal. The three phases of the exercise focus on anti-submarine warfare and improving overall bilateral cooperation and interoperability.

: The 2019 Balikitan exercises take place in Luzon and Palawan. Over 7,000 troops from the US, Philippines, and Australia participate in humanitarian and civic assistance projects as well as land, sea, air, and counterterrorism operations.

: US Ambassador to Australia Arthur Calvahouse presents his credentials to the governor general in Canberra.

: Indonesia and Australia sign a bilateral free trade agreement.

: US, Japanese, and Australian troops participate in Cope North, the largest multilateral Pacific Air Forces exercise, designed to strengthen air operations with a focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief training.

:   “Sophisticated” foreign attack  hacks the computer system of Australia’s Parliament House. The passwords of all MPs and senators and all staff have to be reset.

: PM Morrison makes the first bilateral visit by an Australian prime minister to Vanuatu and Fiji.

: Former Chief of the Australian Defence Force David Hurley is nominated to be Australia’s next governor general, succeeding Sir Peter Cosgrove, also a former defense chief.

: Indian President Ram Nath Kovind visits Australia.

:   APEC Economic Leaders Meeting is held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Vice President Mike Pence announces that the US will partner with Australia and PNG to build a new naval base on PNG’s Manus Island.

: Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and PM Scott Morrison meet in Darwin. They commit to an Indo-Pacific infrastructure fund and conclude a military reciprocal access agreement.

:   Australia votes to allow same-sex couples to marry. In a postal survey, 12,727,920 (79.5 percent) of eligible Australians respond, with 61.6 percent voting Yes, while 38.4 percent vote No.

: Foreign Minister Marise Payne visits Beijing, signaling a thaw in the icy diplomatic relationship of the previous 12 months.

: On national interest grounds, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg rejects an A$13 billion bid by a Hong Kong group to buy Australia’s main gas pipeline network.

: Republican lawyer Arthur B Culvahouse is nominated to be US ambassador to Australia.

: An independent wins the House of Representatives by-election caused by the resignation from Parliament of deposed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The Liberal-National coalition loses its one-seat majority in the House and becomes a minority government.

: Australia’s Parliament passes legislation for the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), making Australia the fourth nation to ratify the trade treaty.

Date Range