China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from May 2011 to Aug 2011

:   PLA Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ma Xiaotian and Defense Minister Liang Guanglie meet Vietnamese Vice Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh in Beijing.  They agree to resolve the South China Sea disputes through continued consultation and dialogue.

: Police in Hanoi arrest dozens of people at an anti-China rally as they gathered for the 11th week of protests.

:  The Sixth Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum convenes in Nanning, China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.  According to Chinese trade statistics, China-ASEAN trade jumped by almost 36 percent last year compared to 2009 and will soon exceed $290 billion. China’s direct investment in ASEAN has also exceeded $10 billion.  Chinese officials note that closer regional economic integration will help weather the global financial crisis and economic downturn.

:  Zhou Yongkang, ranking member of the Central Committee Political Bureau Standing Committee, visits Laos and Cambodia.  In Laos, Zhou meets Laotian senior party leadership and signs 11 cooperation agreements, including the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement.  In Cambodia, Zhou meets Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, and the two sides discuss prospects for consolidating the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Cambodia.

: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan exchange congratulatory messages recognizing the 20th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue.

:   Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao sends a congratulatory message to Yingluck Shinawatra, the newly elected prime minister of Thailand.

:  China and Singapore hold the Eighth Joint Council Meeting for Bilateral Cooperation in Singapore.  The meeting is chaired by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. They acknowledge that two-way trade volume has grown to nearly $60 billion in 2010.

:   Chinese President Hu Jintao sends a congratulatory message to Truong Tan Sang, the new Vietnamese president elected by the Vietnamese National Assembly.

:   Chief of the General Staff of the PLA Chen Bingde, meets Songkitti Jaggabatara, Thailand’s chief of defense forces, in Beijing.  They review military ties, noting that joint military exercises and drills, personnel training, and technology transfers have helped to deepen bilateral relations.

:   Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi attends the ASEAN-China Foreign Ministerial meeting as well as the ARF in Indonesia.  Yang expresses confidence that the interested parties in the South China Sea dispute will promote pragmatic maritime cooperation while resolving differences through continued dialogue and consultation.

: China and ASEAN agree to a set of guidelines that would be part of a revised Code of Conduct on the South China Sea disputes. Secretary of State Clinton praises the new guidelines as “an important first step.”

: The 44th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) and Post-Ministerial Conferences (PMC) with ASEAN dialogue partners are held in Bali.

:   Bu Jianguo, Chinese ambassador to Laos, delivers a public lecture at the Lao National Institute for Politics and Administration in Vientiane.  Bu announces that bilateral relations will further expand as the two sides continue to maintain high-level exchange visits, coordinate and communicate on issues of regional and international importance, and further party cadre training between the two sides.

:   State Councilor Dai Bingguo meets Ho Xuan Son, special envoy and vice foreign minister of Vietnam, in Beijing. They agree to hold talks to manage and resolve the disputes over the South China Sea and to implement effective measures to help carry out the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

:  Vice President Xi Jinping meets Tea Banh, Cambodia’s deputy prime minister and minister of national defense, in Beijing.  They agree to deepen mutual trust and expand cooperation in the economic, cultural, educational, and security sectors.

: Chinese patrol ship Haixun 31 arrives in Singapore for a port call.  Authorities from both sides explain that the visit is part of a range of existing bilateral exchanges on technical cooperation on maritime safety and marine environmental protection.

:   China and Vietnam conduct joint naval patrols in the Gulf of Tonkin, which is part of the bilateral annual exchange agreement.  According to the Chinese Defense Ministry website, they have conducted 10 similar joint naval patrols since 2005.

: China stages military exercises in the South China Sea described as being aimed at “defending atolls and protecting sea lanes.”

: Vietnam conducts live-fire naval drills in the South China Sea about 40 km off Quang Nam province in central Vietnam.

:   Special forces from China’s People’s Liberation Army and Indonesia’s National Armed Forces launch their first joint training, Sharp Knife 2011, in Bandung, Indonesia.

: The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) and the Defense Officials Dialogue/8th ARF Security Policy Conference are held in Surabaya, Indonesia.

:   Defense Minister Liang Guanglie arrives in Singapore to attend and speak at the Shangri-La Dialogue, becoming the first Chinese defense minister to take part in the dialogue.

:   Jiang Shusheng, vice chair of China’s National People’s Congress, visits Manila and meets Vice President Jejomar Binay.  Jiang assures that bilateral relations will not be adversely affected by the ongoing dispute over the Spratly Islands.

: China’s Foreign Ministry states that Vietnam’s oil and gas operations in China’s territorial waters “harms China’s rights, interests, and jurisdiction in the South China Sea and violates the consensus reached by the two countries on the South China Sea issue.”

:   President Hu Jintao meets Myanmar’s newly-elected President Thein Sein in Beijing.  They issue a joint declaration, agreeing to maintain high-level exchanges and visits, increase mutual trust, maintain regular dialogue on regional security issues, including border security, and elevate the overall bilateral business, trade, and economic activities.

: Vietnam accuses Beijing of “violating” its marine sovereignty in disputed areas of the South China Sea after Chinese ships damaged a PetroVietnam exploration boat. Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry calls on China to prevent any further incidents and provide compensation.

:   Wan Jifei, president of the China Chamber of International Commerce, and Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh sign a memorandum of understanding that would strengthen and expand bilateral trade cooperation, with the aim of reaching $2.5 billion in two-way trade in 2012.

: China’s Defense Minister Liang Guanglie visits the Philippines. He and Philippine counterpart Voltaire Gazmin agree to avoid “unilateral actions” that could further increase tensions and acknowledge the need to ensure that the South China Sea remains stable.

:   Defense Minister Liang arrives in Manila and meets Philippine counterpart Voltaire Gazmin to discuss bilateral military exchanges.

: The Jakarta Post reports that the Chinese delegation participating in the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting said that China would offer to hold joint patrols with Southeast Asian countries and to escort vessels from the region crossing the Gulf of Aden.  Also on the sidelines of the meeting, Chinese and Indonesian defense officials announce plans to establish a joint committee to serve as a legal basis to conduct coordinated patrols and direct channels of communication between the two navies in the South China Sea.

:   Defense Minister Liang visits Indonesia and meets counterpart Purnomo Yusgiantoro to discuss bilateral cooperation to help promote regional peace and stability.

: Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie, visits Singapore, meeting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen.  They agree to increase exchanges between the military and defense establishments to include military training, and cooperate more closely on nontraditional security issues within regional and multilateral frameworks.

:   Xu Caihou, vice chair of China’s Central Military Commission, visits Myanmar and meets counterpart Min Aung Hlaing.  They hold talks to strengthen ties between the armed forces and exchange views on regional and international peace and security.

:   According to China’s State Oceanic Administration, Beijing and Jakarta jointly establish an oceanic observation station off the coast of West Sumatra, Indonesia.  Scientists will monitor and manage the station to help protect the oceanic environment and fishery resources and address natural disaster challenges.

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