China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from May 2016 to Aug 2016

: Myanmar State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi visits China. In a joint statement, the two countries agree to forge closer ties, strengthen bilateral trade, and cooperate on border issues.

: The 13th Senior Officials Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea takes place in Manzhouli, Inner Mongolia. The two sides reach an agreement to launch an emergency hotline and to adopt a set of guidelines on the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES). The two documents will be submitted to leaders at the ASEAN-China Summit in September for final endorsement.

: Senior Chinese authorities meet Philippine Special Envoy and former President Fidel Ramos in Hong Kong to seek the resumption of official dialogue between Beijing and Manila following the South China Sea arbitration ruling in July.

: Officials from China and Laos agree that a high-speed rail project linking Kunming to Vientiane will proceed as planned despite delays. The project is part of China’s “One Belt, One Road” project that would develop regional infrastructure links across Asia.

: The 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting convenes in Vientiane. The ministers issue a joint communiqué that expresses “serious concern about recent and ongoing developments” in the disputed waters, identifying the land reclamations and escalation of activities as developments that “have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security, and stability in the region.”

: Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay states that the Philippines rejected a Chinese offer to hold talks “outside of and in disregard” of an international tribunal’s ruling that rejects Beijing’s claim to ownership of virtually the entire South China Sea.

: Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin announces the issuance of a white paper on the South China Sea and says the decision to establish an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the disputed waters will depend on its threat perception in the region.

: Chinese commercial jets land for the first time on newly built runways at Subi Reef (China: Zhubi, Philippines: Zamora; Vietnam: Da Xu Bi) and Mischief Reef (China: Meiji, Philippines: Panganiban, Vietnam: Da Vanh Khan).

: Permanent Court of Arbitration issues the decision of the arbitral tribunal constituted under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that rules in favor of the Philippines’ case against China’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea. Beijing responds that the arbitration ruling is null and void and lacks international legitimacy.

: China conducts military exercises near the Paracel Islands (China: Xisha) and announces that civilian vessels would be prohibited from entering the area for the duration.

: Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi visits Vietnam and meets General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong and President Tran Dai Quang to discuss development of bilateral ties.

: Indonesian President Joko Widodo holds a Cabinet meeting aboard a warship off the Natuna Islands asserting sovereignty over waters in the southern portion of the South China Sea after Beijing stated its “over-lapping claim” on nearby waters.

: Indonesian Navy arrests and detains a Chinese fishing boat and seven crew members over illegal fishing near the Natuna Islands. Indonesia currently has about 800 military personnel in the Natuna region; the number will rise to 2,000 this year in an effort to stem illegal fishing in its territorial waters.

: Thailand and China conduct joint military exercises including Blue Strike 2016 involving land and sea operations. Other exercises include training in humanitarian relief and maritime transport.

: ASEAN-China Joint Working Group on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea convenes in Vietnam. Co-chaired by China and Singapore, the meeting focuses on drafting guidelines for a regional hotline on urgent contingency events at sea, as well as a joint statement on the implementation of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea.

: Senior Chinese officials visit Cambodia and meet with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to discuss expanding business, trade, and investment ties, as well as tourism and agricultural exchanges.

: China’s Defense Minister Chang Wanquan and Myanmar’s Defense Minister Sein Win meet in Vientiane and agree to enhance military relations and cooperation in areas such as training and the defense industry.

: Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi visits Indonesia and Malaysia. In Indonesia, he attends the second meeting of China-Indonesia High-level Economic Dialogue. In Malaysia Yang meets Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.

: Chinese President Xi Jinping meets Lao President Bounnhang Vorachit in Beijing. They discuss improving bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperation, including expanding people-to-people exchanges and enhancing collaboration on security affairs.

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