China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Apr 2008 to Jul 2008

:   Samak Sundaravej, prime minister of Thailand, arrives in Beijing for an official four-day visit in China and is scheduled to meet President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao to discuss cross-border transportation links and infrastructure development, expanding economic ties, and cooperation between the two militaries.

:   The Chinese government announces at a press conference in Beijing that it has provided $100 million in recent years to help cut down poppy production in Myanmar and converting the poppy fields to other cash crops.

: Wang Zhongtang, deputy director of the China National Nuclear Safety Administration, leads a delegation to attend the ASEAN Plus Three forum on nuclear safety in Bangkok.  Southeast Asian countries express interest in alternative energy sources, including nuclear energy, and are turning to China, Japan, and South Korea for experience and technological capacity. Wang announces that China would be willing to increase exchanges and cooperation with ASEAN members.

:   China hosts the second ASEAN Plus Three workshop on disaster relief.  Senior representatives from the region’s armed forces discuss ways to enhance regional collaboration on disaster relief, focusing their discussion on the prospects for setting up a more cohesive regional coordination mechanism and a standard operating procedure.

:   Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming attends an international conference in Kunming, Yunnan with senior representatives from five other countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).  They agree to set up the GMS Economic Corridors Forum to increase multilateral collaboration in the areas of transportation and infrastructure development, energy security, telecommunications, tourism, agriculture, trade, and the environment

:   China’s Ministry of Public Security and professors from the Public Security Maritime Police Academy host a two-week maritime law enforcement workshop for 42 senior maritime officials from 24 Asian and African countries.  The workshop discusses ways to deepen multilateral maritime law enforcement cooperation and includes visits to Chinese maritime law enforcement agencies in Zhejiang and neighboring Shanghai.

:   President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao meet Nong Duc Manh, general secretary of Vietnam’s Communist Party Central Committee, who is on an official four-day visit to Beijing and Jiangsu Province.   They agree to expand bilateral ties, establish a comprehensive strategic partnership, and to continue talks on demarcation in maritime zones in the area of the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin/Beibu Bay. In a joint statement, they announce that they will establish a hotline between the two heads of state.

:   Two Chinese and two Vietnamese guided-missile ships conduct the fifth bilateral joint maritime patrol exercise in the Gulf of Tonkin. During the patrol, both navies engage in training in establishing communications, alternating formations, and alternating command.  Under the Agreement for Joint Patrol of the Gulf of Tonkin signed in October 2005, China and Vietnam agreed to carry out joint patrols in May and December of each year.

:   He Guoqiang, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party Central Committee and secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, meets Laotian Vice Prime Minister Asang Laoly in Beijing.  He provides a briefing on the earthquake reconstruction efforts and expresses his appreciation for Lao’s support and assistance in these efforts. The two leaders also discuss the prospects for strengthening exchanges between the two parties.

:   Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi attends an international pledging conference in Yangon organized by the UN and ASEAN for the cyclone disaster in Myanmar.  Yang announces China’s commitment to donate another $10 million of emergency aid, which would bring China’s total assistance to $15.3 million.  He also calls for the international community to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Myanmar and indicates that China supports the constructive role of such multilateral institutions as the UN and ASEAN to coordinate relief and rescue efforts as well as the post-disaster reconstruction.

:   In Phnom Penh, nearly $70,000 worth of transportation vehicles, computers, and other office equipment arrives from China as part of a support package and donation to the Cambodian Ministry of Relations with Parliament and Inspection.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the formal establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Cambodia.

:   Following the earthquake in Sichuan, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi meets the Singaporean and Indonesian foreign ministers in Beijing to thank them for their countries’ relief support and assistance, including rescue personnel and disaster relief equipment and materials.

: Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets Myanmar Ambassador to China U Thein Lwin to discuss the situation in Myanmar after the cyclone.  Wang announces that Beijing will offer disaster relief assistance, providing $1 million emergency aid in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone and will contribute an additional $4.3 million to help with the reconstruction.

:   Berna Romulo Puyat, undersecretary for agriculture of the Philippines, announces that 36 agreements between China and the Philippines on agriculture and fisheries have been suspended.   The agreements set aside more than 1 million hectares of land for hybrid rice and corn production, agri-business projects, sugar cane, and cassava for renewable fuels with most of the end products exported to China.  Manila has seen increasing pressure from opposition groups to reexamine and suspend these agreements with Beijing.

:   Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and Malaysian Air Force Chief Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Azizan Bin Ariffin meet in Beijing to discuss the state of bilateral military relations.  Ariffin also meets his Chinese counterpart, Xu Qiliang, member of the Central Military Commission and commander of the PLA Air Force. They agree to increase personnel exchanges and advance cooperation and training between the two air forces.

: Vice President Xi Jinping meets Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama in Beijing.  In his welcoming remarks, Xi indicates that China is ready to further deepen strategic cooperation with Thailand.  Pattama also meets other senior Chinese officials and policymakers.

:   Wang Zhaoguo, vice chairperson of the Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, meets Vo Van Thuong, head of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union delegation from Vietnam.   The two sides agree to increase exchanges between the two communist youth leagues as a trust-building mechanism for the younger generation.

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