China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Jan 2007 to Mar 2007

: At the invitation of Chinese FM Li, Vietnamese Deputy PM and FM Pham Gia Khiem arrives in Beijing for a six-day official visit. They praise recent senior-level exchanges for contributing to closer political and economic ties. Total trade volume between the two countries reached nearly $10 billion in 2006, up 21.4 percent from 2005, and according to Vietnamese sources, there are currently over 400 Chinese investment projects in Vietnam with a total registration fund of more than $1 billion.

: Chinese military ships, which included two destroyers, arrive in a seaport in Jakarta, Indonesia for the first time in 12 years. The Chinese ships recently completed antiterror drills with the U.S. Navy in Pakistan in early March.

: Wen Haiying, vice provincial leader of Anhui, leads a delegation to Cambodia and meets Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to discuss investment and trade opportunities between Anhui Province and Cambodia’s agricultural sector.

: Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan holds talks with visiting Laotian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Douangchai Phichit on bilateral military ties, regional and international security situation and other issues of common concern. China expresses interest in deepening military-to-military ties and closer cooperation on technical assistance.

: China joins Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam to test responsiveness for possible bird flu pandemic. Officials representing a variety of agencies, from tourism to defense, practiced responding to a mock outbreak of the disease. The exercise would help regional coordination of early detection of suspected cases and rapid dissemination of information to the general public.

: Jia Qinglin, chairperson of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), meets Ho Duc Viet, leading member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).  Jia mentions that following Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Vietnam in November 2006, frequent senior-level visits between the two countries have helped to strengthen bilateral economic ties and solve border disputes.

: Tang arrives in Bangkok for a three-day working visit. He meets Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont. Both sides reaffirm the comprehensive and cooperative relationship between the two countries and the need for continued collaboration on issues of mutual concern to deepen bilateral trust.

: On the second leg of his three-country visit to Southeast Asia, Chinese State Councilor Tang visits Myanmar and meets Myanmar leader Than Shwe. They discuss achievements in bilateral collaboration on issues such as border administration and drug control. Than Shwe explains that domestic stability and economic reform are priorities for his government and seeks continued support from China to further strengthen bilateral economic and trade relations.

: Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan visits former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk. Both sides affirm the longstanding friendly relations and seek to promote greater people-to-people contact as China and Cambodia celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of full bilateral diplomatic ties in 2008.

: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen lauds China for its “unconditional aid” to Cambodia. His announcement comes shortly after international donors criticized Cambodia for its failure to tackle corruption. According to Chinese sources, in the last two years, Beijing’s aid has amounted to $800 million and focused largely on infrastructure development in Cambodia.

: Liang Guanglie, chief of General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, meets Thura Shwe Mann, member of the ruling Myanmar State Peace and Development Council and Myanmar military’s chief of staff, in Beijing. They exchange views on relations between the two armed forces and discuss strengthening bilateral military ties.

: Li Tieying, vice chairperson of the Chinese National People’s Congress, visits Myanmar and meets Myanmar State Peace and Development Council Chairperson Than Shwe. They discuss strengthening longstanding political and economic ties.

: The Kunming Intermediate People’s Court tries Han Yongwan, ringleader of one of the region’s largest drug syndicates. Police authorities from China, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand have been monitoring Han’s drug-trafficking network since 2004 and he was arrested the following year by Laotian police before being repatriated to China.

: Chinese and Vietnamese government officials agree to establish Hekou-Lao Cai as the border gate for “one-stop” clearance in order to simplify customs and export-import procedures. According to Chinese officials, two-way trade between Vietnam and China will reach $15 billion in 2010 following rapid development of bilateral investment and trade cooperation.

: Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing defends the decision to veto a UN Security Council resolution targeting Myanmar’s human rights practices and lack of political reforms. ASEAN members issue a mild rebuke of Myanmar, calling on Myanmar’s leadership to speed up national reconciliation and to release political prisoners.

: The Asian Development Bank loses to China in bidding on an important financing deal to repair an aqueduct that supplies 98 percent of Manila’s water needs. Manila decides to take a $70 million loan from the Chinese Export-Import Bank instead of the ADB offer.

: Chen Jianguo, secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Ningxia Hui Autonomous Regional Committee, leads a delegation to neighboring Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia for a goodwill visit.

: Leaders of ASEAN member countries and dialogue partners gather in Cebu, Philippines for the 12th ASEAN Summit and the second annual East Asia Summit. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledges to strengthen China-ASEAN relations through an array of agreements on energy security, public health, and trade issues.

: Two vessels carrying the first supply of refined oil arrive in China’s Yunnan Province via the Mekong River. China signed an agreement with Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand in March 2006, opening up a new shipping route to meet its growing demand for oil and natural gas and to decrease over-reliance on the Strait of Malacca.

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