China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Oct 2003 to Dec 2003

: Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo tells China’s special envoy to the funeral of Foreign Minister Blas Ople that she appreciates China’s valuable support and assistance to Philippine agriculture and infrastructure development, and believes that prospects for economic cooperation between the two countries are “vast.”

: China joins an ASEAN Plus Three meeting of environmental ministers in Rangoon.

:   Manila sources report that the Philippines has decided to opt out of “early harvest” agricultural tariff cuts under the China-ASEAN FTA framework agreement.  It will be the only ASEAN member to do so.  They left open the possibility of joining later.

: Ten Lao law enforcement officers depart Kunming after finishing legal training at the Yunnan Provincial People’s Court, under a bilateral agreement to increase judicial exchanges and cooperation.

: Da’i Bachtiar, chief of Indonesia’s national police, meets with Chinese State Councilor Zhou Yongkang in Beijing.  Bachtiar signs an agreement on police cooperation with China.

: Wu Quanxu, deputy chief of the PLA General Staff, leads a delegation to Burma, Bangladesh, and India.

:   The Chinese government organizes a “Global Get-together of Overseas Chinese and People of Chinese Origin in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos” in Guangzhou reportedly attracting close to 1,000 guests.  Senior Chinese leaders announce Beijing will provide better service to overseas Chinese wishing to participate in economic, cultural, and scientific exchanges.

:   Gen. Xiong Guangkai, deputy chief of general staff of the People’s Liberation Army of China, exchanges views on the international and regional situation with Gen. Chaisit Shinawatra, commander of the Royal Thai Army, during his visit to Beijing.

:   UN Secretariat announces that it will open the first UN regional office in China, the Asian and Pacific Center for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery, in Beijing.  China contributed $3.8 million to help establish the office.

:   The PLA navy missile destroyer Shenzhen and a supply vessel return to Zhanjiang Port after a 37-day cruise to Guam, Brunei – both PLA firsts – and Singapore.

:   China and Singapore announce the launch of a joint council to promote political and economic cooperation, during a visit of Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to Beijing.  The council will focus on high-tech research, development of China’s western region, and helping Chinese companies go global, among other issues.  It will be co-chaired by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong and Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi.

:   Thai and Chinese public health officials announce that they have jointly developed and tested an effective anti-AIDS medicine and will put it on the market later this year.  The two countries have cooperated in research on cancer treatment, herbal medicine, and mental health.

:   China and Laos hold a meeting in Luang Prabang to review border cooperation. Over the past year the two countries have refurbished 23 border markers between Yunnan and Lao territory.

:   Secretary of the Yunnan Communist Party provincial committee Bai Enpei leads a goodwill delegation to Cambodia and Vietnam.

: Philippine media reports the Armed Forces of the Philippines has discovered new territorial markers with Chinese inscriptions on several unoccupied reefs and shoals in the Spratly Islands and has monitored two PLA Navy vessels operating since September at Mischief Reef.

:   Singapore Transport Minister Yeo Cheow, announces the opening of an airport management school in Xiamen province, jointly owned by Singapore Changi Airport and Xiamen International Airport Group.

:   Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung tells the press that distribution of pamphlets in Malaysia by the Falun Gong religious group, banned in China, “smacks of political incitement,” and notes that the government will pursue legal action against parties guilty of passing them out.

:   Second annual Bo’ao Forum for Asia held on Hainan Island, China.

:   Gen. Phung Quang Thanh, chief of staff of the People’s Army of Vietnam, meets in Beijing with Liang Guanglie, his Chinese counterpart.

:   Transport ministers from ASEAN and China meet in Rangoon to map out plans for building an integrated transport network linking southern China with mainland Southeast Asia.

:   Cambodian Tourism Minister Veng Sereyvuth tells the press that China is his focus for increasing the number of visitors to Cambodia.  In 2002, tourism generated 15 percent of Cambodia’s GDP, according to Xinhua.

:   Chinese President Hu Jintao participates in the APEC summit meeting in Bangkok, and makes a state visit to Thailand.

:   China’s Xinhua news agency uses unusually blunt language in reporting talks between China’s Vice Premier Huang Ju and Nguyen Tan Dung Oct. 16, noting that Huang “demanded both sides tighten up their efforts in the demarcation of land boundaries between China and Vietnam.”

:   Burmese electric power authorities sign a contract with the Sichuan Machinery and Equipment Company to provide a power transmission line between a new hydropower plant to be built in Ruili, in the northern Shan state, and Mandalay.  Value of the project is $35 million.

:   Vietnamese business media report that Electricity of Vietnam will begin buying power from China in 2004, and will eventually invest in transmission lines capable of carrying from 100 to 400 MW from China.  Interdependence in the region is growing: Vietnam currently buys electricity from Laos and sells electricity to Cambodia.

:   Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Chief Anselmo Avenido tells the press that China has provided information that led to the arrest of a major Chinese drug lord operating in the Philippines.

: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior Chinese officials participate in summit meetings with ASEAN heads of government, and with the ASEAN Plus Three – including Japan and the ROK – in Bali, Indonesia.

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