China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Oct 2007 to Dec 2007

:   It is reported that the Greater Mekong region, which includes Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, will work with the Asian Development Bank and the Swedish government on a joint infrastructure development project for cross-border electricity supply and exchange among the Greater Mekong region that will be environmentally sustainable and help meet the growing demand for power supply in the developing economies.

:   China releases an anti-trafficking plan.  The plan, to be implemented from 2008 to 2012, focuses on illegal trafficking of women and children and would involve 28 government ministries and greater regional cooperation.

:   Chinese Ambassador to Thailand Zhang Jiuhuan and Thailand’s Culture Minister Khaisri Sriaroon sign a cultural exchange agreement to set up cultural centers in each country to promote people-to-people exchanges.  With the agreement, Thailand will become the first foreign country to host a Chinese Cultural Center sponsored by Beijing as an official nonprofit institution aimed to promote bilateral exchange in culture, education, art, broadcasting, social science and other related areas.

:   Following similar anti-China demonstrations the previous week, hundreds of demonstrators gather in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to protest China’s territorial claims over the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

:   Lao State President Choummali meets Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Vientiane.  They agree to strengthen bilateral cooperation through more frequent inter-party and government departmental exchanges and joint infrastructure development projects under the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation framework.

:   According to Thai government spokesperson Chaiya Yimwilai, China will consider Thailand’s request for nuclear technology transfer and road and railway links between the two countries through Laos and Vietnam.

:   The Chinese delegation arrives in Bali to attend the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Su Wei, the deputy leader of the delegation, announces that China is willing to make commitments to limit emissions and that “we will do what we should and what we can do.”  Su also criticized the West’s attempts to impose binding targets on developing countries like China.

: Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Hu Qianwen attends an international seminar on infrastructure development in the economic corridor between China and Vietnam.  He proposes that both sides step up investments in roads and railways, ports and logistics services in the Beibu Gulf economic zones – which includes China’s Guangxi, Guangdong, Hainan, Hong Kong and Macao, and 10 coastal localities in Vietnam – to elevate bilateral cooperation on trade and investment.

:   Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan visits Thailand for the celebrations of the 80th birthday of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Dec. 5.  He also meets Privy Council President Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, and Defense Minister Boonrawd Somtat.

:   Premier Wen Jiabao calls on the ruling military junta of Myanmar to speed up democratic reforms.  He also reiterates Beijing’s support for UN Special Envoy Gambari’s mediation efforts between the junta and the opposition parties.

:   The Chinese Ministry of Defense Peacekeeping Operations Office sponsors a China-ASEAN peacekeeping seminar in Beijing. Representatives from 10 member countries of the UN and ASEAN along with some 100 representatives from China attend the seminar.  The main purpose is to explore ways to strengthen cooperation and exchanges between China and ASEAN within the UN peacekeeping regime.

: Premier Wen is in Singapore for an official visit to attend the 11th ASEAN plus Three Summit, the 11th China-ASEAN Summit, the Third East Asia Summit and the Eighth Meeting of Leaders of China, Japan and South Korea.  Wen also meets leaders of Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam on the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings.

:  President Hu Jintao meets Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in Beijing.

:   China and Indonesia launch a joint marine scientific expedition to study the ocean-atmospheric interactions that result in a climate mode known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD).  The three-year expedition is part of collaboration of Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and China’s State Oceanic Administration.

:   Cambodia receives nine patrol boats from China to help combat piracy and other criminal operations on the high seas.  The vessels and other facilities are worth $60 million and are bought with a soft loan from China.  This is the second time China has sent patrol boats to Cambodia.  In 2005, it gave the Cambodian police six boats to combat smuggling.

:   Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), meets Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono in Beijing.  They sign an agreement to step up bilateral defense cooperation on the transfer of technology, exchange of military students, and the possibility of increased arms purchases.

: Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee Political Bureau member Liu Yunshan makes a two-day visit to Vientiane and meets Secretary General of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of Laos Choummaly Saygnasone.

: The fourth annual China-ASEAN trade and investment promotional exposition (CAEXPO) takes place in Nanning, Guangxi Autonomous Region.  The two sides also hold their first ministerial meeting on food safety and product quality, alongside the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.

:   Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei meets UN envoy on Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari to discuss negotiations with Myanmar.  Gambari notes Beijing’s constructive contribution to mediation on the issue.  Gambari also meets State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan and Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his visit to Beijing.

:   According to Vietnamese media, party leaders in the Vietnam Communist Party’s Politburo, the top decision-making body, will meet to decide on future foreign policy and discuss often testy ties with China.  Hanoi is concerned with Beijing’s assertive stance toward the disputed Spratly and Paracel Islands.

:   China Southern Power Grid announces that it will begin construction of a 168-megawatt hydroelectric power plant in Laos’ northern province of Bokeo.  The project will cost $340 million and become operational by November 2011.  According to Laotian officials, Chinese foreign direct investment in infrastructure project in Laos amounted to $1.1 billion between 2001 and 2007.

:   President Hu Jintao meets Philippine counterpart Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo in Beijing.  Both leaders agree on an action plan to enhance bilateral economic ties through a five-year program for trade cooperation.

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