China - Southeast Asia
Chronology from Jan 2014 to May 2014
: In a commentary in the Wall Street Journal, Indonesia’s defense minister says that Indonesia is “dismayed” that China has included Indonesian territory within its nine-dash-line claim to the South China Sea and is strengthening military forces to protect its territory.
: Senior Chinese and ASEAN officials meet in Thailand to discuss disaster relief, search and rescue, and humanitarian assistance as part of the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Partnership. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin agrees to enhance maritime and security cooperation in the South China Sea and to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. Liu also proposes institutionalizing the China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting and suggests that an informal gathering of regional defense chiefs to take place later this year to discuss maritime cooperation.
: People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) hosts the 14th annual meeting of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium in Qingdao, China. Member states endorse the Code for Unalerted Encounters at Sea (CUES), a navy-to-navy system communication system to reduce misunderstandings and avoid maritime accidents.
: The second meeting of the China-ASEAN ministers responsible for culture and arts and the sixth meeting of ASEAN cultural ministers are held in Hue, Vietnam. The ministers discuss an action plan to deepen cultural exchanges in the region.
: Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms media reports of violence on the China-Vietnam border. According to the New York Times, the incident involves several casualties, including five Chinese civilians and two Vietnamese border guards, during a clash between Vietnamese border guards and Chinese nationals attempting to illegally enter Vietnam.
: Chinese President Xi Jinping meets Speaker of the Myanmar Parliament Thura U Shwe in Beijing. Xi expresses support for Myanmar’s rotating chairmanship in ASEAN and pledges to work with Myanmar to strengthen regional cooperation.
: Ships from 17 nations including all 10 ASEAN members, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the US participate in the biannual humanitarian assistance and disaster relief Exercise Komodo in Indonesian waters around the Natuna Islands.
: ASEAN and Chinese officials meet in Singapore for the 10th meeting of the Joint Working Group on the South China Sea. The talks seek to establish a code of conduct aimed at managing and reducing tensions in the South China Sea.
: Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army Sun Jianguo visits Phnom Penh and meets Gen. Pol Saroeun, commander in chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. They agree to deepen cooperation between the two armed forces and enhance the bilateral partnership with more frequent exchanges by senior military officials.
: A senior Indonesian military official publicly states that China’s claim to the Natuna waters as part of Beijing’s “nine-dash line” is arbitrary and insists that the Natuna Islands and the surrounding waters are part of Indonesia’s sovereign territory.
: Philippines summons Charge d’affairs from Chinese Embassy in Manila to protest blockade of its ships attempting to deliver supplies to soldiers on Second Thomas Shoal, saying that it had “no plans to expand or build permanent structures on the shoal.”
: Philippines airdrop supplies to soldiers stationed on Second Thomas Shoal.
: Chinese Coast Guard vessels prevent two ships contracted by the Philippine Navy to deliver supplies and replacement troops to a Philippine outpost on the Second Thomas Shoal (Philippines: Ayungin Shoal, China: Ren’ai Reef), claiming the ships were carrying construction materials in violation of the 2002 Declaration on Conduct in the South China Sea.
: Malaysian Airlines flight 370 en route to Beijing goes missing shortly after its departure from Kuala Lumpur. A majority of the passengers on board are Chinese nationals.
: China agrees to offer a $2 billion loan to Myanmar to help build the “Myanmar-China Corridor,” a new transportation route that would facilitate bilateral trade.
: China and Vietnam agree to set up a direct phone line between their defense ministries to help build communication and trust between the two militaries. They announce that the phone line will be operational within the year.
: Philippines summons China’s ambassador to Manila over allegations that a Chinese surveillance ship fired water cannons at Philippine fishing vessels near Scarborough Shoal. China dismisses the protest, saying its sovereignty in the area is “indisputable.”
: Officials from the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam meet in Manila to coordinate policy regarding Chinese activities in the South China Sea. Fellow claimant Brunei fails to send representatives to the meeting, despite originally agreeing to attend.
: Philippines announces it will pursue the arbitration case with the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea to help settle its South China Sea territorial and maritime disputes with China.
: Seventeen Chinese soldiers take part in the Cobra Gold exercise in northern Thailand, joining soldiers from six other countries in humanitarian exercises led by the US.
: China and the Philippines trade remarks over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea after President Benigno Aquino III compares the Philippines to Czechoslovakia facing territorial expansion by Nazi Germany in an interview with the New York Times. Chinese officials express dissatisfaction and respond that the comparison is unreasonable.
: Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vietnamese Vice Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh exchange ideas over the phone on improving bilateral ties as part of the preparatory work for forthcoming seventh meeting of the Guiding Committee for China-Vietnam Bilateral Cooperation.
: Malaysian officials dismiss media reports of Chinese ships patrolling in the James Shoal, which lies in Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.
: Chinese Coast Guard ships fire water cannons at Filipino fishermen near the disputed Scarborough Shoal, prompting official protests from Manila.
: Chinese media reports that Hainan province and the city of Sansha will set up new civilian patrols in the South China Sea. The intent is to “safeguard national sovereign rights and benefits, develop at-sea assistance, [and] ensure navigational safety.”
: First meeting of China-Cambodia Intergovernmental Coordination Committee is held in Beijing with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Cambodia Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong as co-chairs. They agree to deepen cooperation in economics and trade, agriculture, defense, law enforcement and cultural exchanges.