China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Oct 2006 to Dec 2006

: Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy Duan Jinzhu signs agreement with Cambodian Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhun indicating that the Chinese government will provide an interest-free loan of $12.5 million to Cambodia in the next five years to implement the projects agreed upon by both sides. Details of the projects have yet to be disclosed. Beijing maintains that it will continue to provide assistance to Cambodia without preconditions.

: Chinese and Philippine anti-drug cooperation achieve a major breakthrough with the crackdown of a large international drug producing and trafficking ring. Some 15 suspects in China and five in the Philippines have been captured smuggling one ton of ephedrine and 350 kilograms of crystallized methamphetamine. The two countries’ police forces established a joint detective unit in July 2006.

: UN General Assembly adopts a resolution denouncing human rights violations in Myanmar. It calls on Myanmar’s regime to “end the systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” particularly against the Karen ethnic minority.  China, Russia, and several other Southeast Asian countries vote against the non-binding resolution.

: The Straits Times reports that China cut foreign aid for Vietnam because Vietnam did not follow China’s advice to downgrade Taiwan’s presence at the Nov. 2006 APEC leaders meeting.

: A Myanmar-China annual border trade exhibition opens at Myanmar’s largest border trade zone of Muse. The joint committee meeting for Myanmar-China border trade, signing ceremony on bilateral trade, and a talk on rules and regulations of investment at the Muse trade zone will also be held over the trade exhibition. The Chinese Customs Department indicates that China-Myanmar bilateral trade in the first half of 2006 amounted to $662 million, a 10.8 percent increase from 2005.

: China participates in a regional conference held at the sidelines of the “Better Air Quality 2006 Workshop” in Yogyakarta province, Indonesia.  The representatives of 20 Asian governments attending agree to support initiatives to improve air quality.

: At the invitation of the Malaysian Parliament, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Li Guixian meets Malaysian Senate President Abdul Hamid bin Pawanteh and Malaysian Deputy Senate President Wong Foon Meng.

: Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai and economic and trade ministers from ASEAN sign two protocols to further economic cooperation between China and ASEAN. The protocols will help to smooth the implementation of the China-ASEAN agreement on trade in goods of the free trade area that will be launched in 2010.

: China agrees to provide Myanmar with satellite images to help monitor opium fields in the Kachin and Shan States, both bordering China’s Yunnan Province. The cooperation comes under an agreement concluded in May 2006 between China’s National Drug Abuse Control Commission and Myanmar’s Home Affairs Ministry.

: The Chinese Minstry of Foreign Affairs announces that it will provide $200,000 in aid to typhoon-ravaged Philippines.  Typhoon Durian has caused widespread damage, including 1,000 people dead or missing, in the north-central province of Albay.

: China and the Philippines agree to strengthen bilateral press exchanges following a meeting between Liu Yunshan, head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and a press delegation from the Philippines led by Ignacio Bunye, the country’s Secretary of Press.

: China and Vietnam ink deals to jointly develop oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Chinese National Offshore Oil Company agrees to conduct geological surveys in early 2007 in a designated area that covered both Chinese and Vietnamese waters. The China Southern Power Grid Corporation signs a memorandum of understanding earlier with Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry to construct a thermal power project with two 600-megawatt generation units.

: China’s Assistant Minister of Commerce Chen Jian visits Myanmar and signs several agreements on economic and technical cooperation. Both sides agree to step up cooperation in trade, timber, and mining.  China also agrees to grant partial debt relief of $30 million and provide an additional $38 million of low-interest loans to Myanmar.

: President Hu visits Laos and meets Lao President Choummaly Sayasone. They agree to expand bilateral trade and deepen cooperation. According to Chinese sources, 2005 bilateral trade volume reached $129 million, a 14 percent increase from 2004. From January to May 2006, trade volume stood at $89 million, a year-on-year growth of 106.3 percent. China agrees to provide Laos with economic assistance, jointly develop Laos’ infrastructure and communications system, and broaden commercial ties through China’s southern Yunnan Province and northern Laos.

: Chinese President Hu Jintao attends 14th Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.

: Singapore’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of National Development Tan Tee How leads a Singaporean delegation to China and meets the head of the Organization Department of the Communist Party He Guoqiang. The visit is part of an effort to increase collaboration on personnel training and to better understand the development models in Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin.

: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao hosts the 15th China-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in Nanning. The discussions focus on the progress made on the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, which will come into full effect by 2010 between China and six ASEAN member countries. The parties also pledge to work closely on an array of issues including agriculture, Mekong River Basin development, energy cooperation, tourism, and public health. The third China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit are also being held on the sidelines.

: Visiting Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono meets Chinese Vice Premier Huang Ju for the second Sino-Indonesian Energy Forum in Shanghai. China and Indonesia sign a MOU on energy cooperation and the two countries agree that, beginning in 2009, Indonesia’s Tangguh gas field will provide 2.6 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually to China’s Fujian Province for 25 years.

: China and Singapore hold their first bilateral talks on the establishment of a free trade area (FTA). The two sides discuss the mechanism, range, and timetable of the FTA talks. Singapore is China’s biggest trading partner in ASEAN, and the establishment of the FTA will further promote bilateral trade and economic ties.

: China announces that it will provide nearly $200 million in preferential loans to help develop and improve Cambodia’s transportation infrastructures, including national roads and bridges across the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap River. The agreement will be carried out in two phases with construction oversight managed by the Cambodian Ministry of Public Works and Transportation.

: Gen. Liang visits Myanmar’s new capital city Nay Pyi Taw as his final stop on his Southeast Asian tour, and meets Myanmar’s top leader, Gen. Than Shwe and discusses military ties between the two countries. China is one of Myanmar’s closest allies and has helped with the construction of naval bases in the Bay of Bengal and the Adaman Sea.

: More than 1,000 guests representing over 300 businesses from Vietnam and China attend the sixth China-Vietnam Border Trade Conference in He Khou, China’s Yunnan Province. The conference theme addresses the issue of closer border trade, investment, and joint economic development along the border.

: Continuing his Southeast Asian tour, Gen. Liang visits Vientiane and meets Laotian Prime Minister Bouason Boupphavan. Both sides agree to further enhance exchanges and cooperation between the PLA and the Lao People’s Army.

: China and Cambodia pledge closer relations between the two militaries during a meeting between visiting Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Gen. Liang Guanglie and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Co-Minister of Defense Tea Banh. Banh acknowledges China’s long-standing support for Cambodia’s military forces and seeks continued assistance from the PLA in terms of staff training, military trade, and logistics donation.

: Chinese Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang holds talks with Vietnamese Minister of Public Security Le Hong Anh in Beijing. The two ministries will step up bilateral cooperation to combat illegal immigration and cross-border crimes.

: Chinese Vice FM Wu Dawei meets counterparts from Vietnam and Laos to sign an agreement defining the intersection point of the three countries’ borders. The border demarcation process began in 1991.

: Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan meets visiting Philippine Undersecretary of the Department of National Defense Antonio Santos. They agree to foster closer strategic relations, including closer exchanges between the two militaries.

: Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai attends the eighth meeting of the Joint Commission on Economic, Trade, and Technical Cooperation in Bali, Indonesia.  Bo and his Indonesian counterpart sign several economic and trade cooperation agreements. Bilateral trade surged to nearly $17 billion in 2005 and could reach the target of $30 billion by 2010 with more balanced two-way investment.

: Chinese Ambassador to Thailand Zhang Jiuhuan meets Acting Thai Foreign Minister Krit Garnjana-Goonchorn, extending Beijing’s formal congratulatory message to the new, provisional government in Bangkok. Both sides reaffirm the 31-year long Sino-Thai relationship and seek to strengthen political and economic ties.

: Representatives from the National Defense and the Health Ministry of China, Vietnam, and the Philippines attend a two-day workshop in Ho Chi Minh City to assess the region’s emergency management information systems (EMIS). Organized by the World Health Organization, the workshop helps coordinate monitoring and sharing of public health-related data, steps that are critical for dealing with health emergencies.

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