China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Jan 2017 to May 2017

: The Philippines issues ASEAN chairman’s statement at the conclusion of the regional summit underscoring improving cooperation between ASEAN and China. It drops references to China’s land reclamation activities, but notes concerns about recent developments in the South China Sea.

: Three Chinese Navy ships make a port call visit in Davao, marking the first such visit to the Philippines since 2010.

: Thai government confirms approval of the purchase of its first submarine in more than five decades from China. The $393 million deal consists of a Yuan Class S26T submarine and will be delivered to the Royal Thai Navy in five to six years to help patrol the country’s southwestern coastal waters in the Andaman Sea.

: Report by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative indicates that China’s Coast Guard has been on near constant patrol by the Luconia Shoals off the coast of Malaysia with up to 11 Coast Guard vessels in regular rotation near the shoals since early 2016.

: Chinese government protests and expresses its displeasure after a visit by Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Gen. Eduardo Ano to Thitu Island in the Spratlys.

: Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein visits Beijing and meets Defense Minister Gen. Chang Wanquan and other senior leaders.

: Liu Jianchao, vice minister of the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention and head of the Department of International Cooperation in the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, visits Singapore to discuss bilateral and China-ASEAN cooperation on countering corruption, drug trafficking, human smuggling, and terrorism.

:   President Xi Jinping meets visiting Myanmar President Htin Kyaw. They agree to strengthen bilateral relations and to a $1.5 billion oil pipeline project that stretches from Myanmar’s western port city of Kyaukpyu to the Chinese border.

: China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that it will hold high-level talks on the South China Sea with the Philippines in May and will also invite the Philippine Coast Guard for a visit to discuss maritime cooperation.

: China’s Foreign Ministry denies reports that it is about to start preparatory work this year on an environmental monitoring station on Scarborough Shoal claiming that China “place[s] great importance on China-Philippines relations.”

: Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang visits the Philippines to attend a bilateral trade and economic forum in Manila. Wang calls for deepening two-way trade and investment, citing a 3.4 percent increase in bilateral trade in 2016.

:   Armed clashes between the Myanmar government forces and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army erupt in the Kokang region along the China-Myanmar border area. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs urges restraint from all sides and states that the Chinese government has settled and offered help to over 20,000 border-area residents fleeing Myanmar for shelter and humanitarian assistance.

: Foreign Minister Wang Yi announces that there is visible progress with ASEAN leaders and that a draft of the framework for a legally binding Code of Conduct in the South China is complete.

: President Xi Jinping meets Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni in Beijing and discusses the state of bilateral ties. The two leaders agree to maintain high-level contacts, deepen economic ties, and strengthen coordination in regional affairs.

: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets Singapore counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan in Beijing. They agree to cooperate on China’s regional “Belt and Road” initiative and facilitate closer regional integration. As representative of the coordinating country for ASEAN-China relations, Balakrishnan indicates Singapore will maintain close communication and coordination to support regional peace and stability.

: Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and the Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission Shao Yuanming meet Myanmar counterparts and other senior officials in Kunming for consultations on the latest security situation along the China-Myanmar border area.

: Hong Kong Customs releases and returns all nine armored Terrex vehicles to Singapore that had been impounded in Hong Kong during transit following their involvement in an annual military exercise between Singapore and Taiwan.

:   Representatives from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) join militaries from 17 other countries in Singapore for a three-day Coordinated Response simulation to plan and coordinate regional humanitarian assistance and disaster relief responses.

: Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng meets a visiting trade delegation from the Philippines and announces that the two countries have agreed to joint development projects worth $3.7 billion.

: Chinese Embassy in Bangkok and the Red Cross Society of China donate $130,000 in emergency aid to flood-hit southern Thailand.

:  Vice Chairperson of China’s Central Military Commission Fan Changlong meets Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich in Beijing. They agree to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two militaries.

: General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong visits Beijing and meets President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. In a joint communiqué, the two countries agree to “manage well their maritime difference, avoid actions that complicate the situation and escalate tensions, and safeguard the peace and stability of the South China Sea.”

: In the lead-up to the Philippines’ 2017 chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Foreign Under Secretary Enrique Manalo announced that Manila will focus on completing a binding code of conduct on the South China Sea for all claimants.

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