China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from May 2022 to Aug 2022

: Chinese Defense Ministry announces that it is sending fighter jets and bombers to Thailand for a joint exercise with the Royal Thai Armed Forces. The exercise will include training for air support, strikes on ground targets, and troop deployment.

: FM Wang Yi visits Cambodia and meets ASEAN foreign ministers. In a multilateral meeting with regional diplomats, Wang maintains that China will continue to invest in and promote regional development for ASEAN countries.

: ASEAN issues a statement following meeting of the group’s regional foreign ministers in Phnom Penh. It calls for “maximum restraint” in the Taiwan Strait, urging against any “provocative action” following US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The statement is released as China announces the start of a four-day, live-fire drill around Taiwan.

: Chinese President Xi Jinping meets visiting Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo in Beijing. They pledge to deepen bilateral ties through China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Indonesia’s Global Maritime Fulcrum. Widodo personally extends an invitation to Xi to attend November’s G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

: China and Vietnam agree to speed up establishment of a hotline to respond to marine fisheries incidents and to cooperate in search and rescue missions at sea.

: FM Wang Yi visits Thailand and meets with Thai counterpart Don Pramwudwinai. They exchange views on regional security and agree to deepen bilateral economic ties. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership between Thailand and China.

: FM Wang Yi continues his Southeast Asia tour and meets senior leaders in the Philippines, including President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. They discuss bilateral political, security, and economic relations.

: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrives in Myanmar and becomes the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit the country since the coup in February 2021. Wang meets with foreign ministers from the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Group in Bagan, Myanmar. In the meeting, Wang pledges that China will share more data on the Mekong River with the group amid growing concerns and criticisms that China’s activities upstream are causing flooding and drought in downstream countries and affecting nearly 70 million people in the lower basin of the Mekong River.

: Pew Research Center releases new global public opinion poll showing that concerns about China’s human rights record has grown, with increasing unfavorable views of China among survey respondents in North America and Europe.

: Chinese embassy in Cambodia confirms that Beijing has provided aid for the renovation project for Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base. China maintains that its military will boost bilateral cooperation as it helps modernize and build the capacity of Cambodia’s navy. The Cambodian government reiterates that it does not allow foreign military bases in the country, countering reports that China is developing the naval base for the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s use.

: Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative reports three separate incidents in the last two months in which Chinese law enforcement vessels challenge Philippine marine research and hydrocarbon exploration ships in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

: US President Joe Biden hosts the leaders of Southeast Asia in Washington, DC. The US-Southeast Asia summit focuses on cooperation, including regional trade, human rights, and climate change. The summit seeks to counter China’s increasing influence in Asia, with the White House announced new investments of about $150 million in its partnership with Southeast Asia, and the deployment of additional maritime assets, led by US Coast Guard, to help enforce maritime laws in the region.

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