China - Southeast Asia
Chronology from Oct 2008 to Dec 2008
: Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang pays official visits to Indonesia, Egypt, and Kuwait. While in Indonesia, Li meets his counterpart Vice President Yusuf Kalla to discuss prospects for strengthening the strategic partnership.
: The Chinese Foreign Ministry sends an official message of congratulations to Thailand’s newly elected Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
: The Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO), which is headquartered in Beijing, formally begins its operations. The organization is composed of seven member states including Bangladesh, China, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru, and Thailand. The organization seeks to enhance multilateral cooperation on space science and technology.
: A delegation of the National People’s Congress (NPC) led by Standing Committee member Chen Zhili leaves for South Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to meet with the national congresses of each of these countries.
: AFP reports that China will provide Cambodia with more than $200 million in loans and grants to rebuild Cambodia’s infrastructure. The deal was reportedly signed during Jia Qinglin’s visit to Cambodia. Jia also reportedly announced a grant of $7.26 million offered as a no-interest loan.
: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi makes an official visit to Nepal and Myanmar at the invitation of his counterparts in both countries. Yang reiterates that China will continue to support the reconciliation process in Myanmar as well as the continued dialogue involving ASEAN, the UN, and the leadership in Myanmar.
: Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Consultative Conference, arrives in Vientiane for an official visit to Laos. He later visits Jordan, Turkey, and Cambodia.
: The first Chinese flight chartered by the government to bring back Chinese tourists stranded at Bangkok’s international airport arrives in Shanghai. The government estimates that nearly 3,000 Chinese tourists are affected by the closure of the airport owing to the anti-government protests in Bangkok.
: Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff of the PLA, meets Shwe Mann, member of Myanmar’s State Peace and Development Council in Beijing. They discuss ways the two armed forces can work together more closely. Liang Guanglie, state councilor and minister of national defense, meets Mann on Dec. 1.
: The Chinese Foreign Ministry expresses concern over the anti-government protest in Bangkok. Qin Gang, the ministry spokesperson, says it would like to see national stability, social harmony, and economic growth restored in Thailand as soon as possible.
: China announces its interest in participating in the third ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) in Thailand in March 2009. China, India, and Japan have all submitted formal requests to be new members of the ADMM.
: According to a report by AFP, China has revived plans to build an oil and gas line across Myanmar to reduce its dependence on the Strait of Malacca for energy transportation. Construction of the pipeline is expected to begin in the first half of 2009. Investment in the pipeline project is reported at $2.5 billion, with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) holding a 50.9-percent stake and managing the project. The remaining shares will be held by Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise.
: Central Bank Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan meets his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Van Giau in Beijing to discuss the current global financial crisis and how developing countries could take joint action to mitigate its impacts.
: At the 5th meeting of the China-ASEAN Prosecutors General Conference, the Chinese delegation agrees to create a legal mechanism to combat regional trans-border crimes. The multilateral and bilateral legal agreements will facilitate investigation, apprehension, prosecution, and extradition of criminals, exchange of witnesses, sharing of evidence, seizure and forfeiture of the proceeds of crime.
: The Chinese ship Zhenghe arrives at Sihanoukville Port to begin its official nine-day visit. This marks the first time a Chinese military ship has docked in Cambodia.
: Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu meets Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng to discuss the prospects for curbing transnational crimes and illegal immigration and strengthening bilateral cooperation in combating illicit drug smuggling, repatriating criminal suspects, and law enforcement training.
: Zhou Yongkang visits Indonesia and meets Vice President Yusuf Kalla. They agree to improve bilateral cooperation and to increase the number of high-level exchanges. Following his visit to Indonesia, Zhou visits Brunei to meet the Foreign and Trade Minister Prince Mohamed Bolkiah.
: Zhou Yongkang, member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau and secretary of the Central Commission on Politics and Law, visits Vietnam and meets Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi. They agree to deepen and broaden bilateral political, economic, and military cooperation.
: Gen. Zhang Li, vice chief of staff of the PLA, visits Myanmar and meets Gen. Than Shwe, chairman of the Myanmar State Peace and Development Council. They hold discussions on increasing the level of cooperation between the two armed forces.
: Chinese and Vietnamese leaders sign a joint statement reaffirming that the two countries will complete the demarcation of their land border before the end of this year. They also agree on a joint survey in Beibu Bay and that they “gradually advance the negotiations on demarcation of these maritime zones and will jointly exploit the zones.”
: Mao Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the PLA, meets his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Van Duoc in Beijing. They agree that the exchange of high-level visits and pragmatic cooperation between the two militaries are improving overall bilateral ties.
: China hosts the 7th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Beijing.
: China and Singapore sign a free trade agreement (FTA) that would reduce tariffs and increase economic, business, and trade activities between the two countries. Both sides will also pursue joint collaboration in custom procedures, quality inspection and quarantine.
: Wang Qishan, vice premier of the State Council, meets senior representatives from Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos at the fifth China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.
: China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) sign a memorandum of understanding to establish more media cooperation.
: Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and his Singaporean counterpart Teo Chee Hean meet to discuss the role of both militaries in maintaining regional stability and security.
: Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu agrees with his Vietnamese counterpart Le Hong Anh that China and Vietnam should strengthen cooperation on public security, law enforcement, and personnel exchanges to tackle such cross-border crimes as abduction, trafficking in women and children, and smuggling of illicit drugs.