China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Jul 2003 to Oct 2003

: China charges that Vietnamese gunboats fired on two of its fishing vessels in “traditional Chinese waters” in the Gulf of Tonkin, violating agreements on sovereignty and fishing activities in the Gulf. China demands an explanation, recalling that similar incidents have happened in the past, requiring Beijing “to repeatedly express its dissatisfaction to Vietnam.” Hanoi denies having fired on the boats, but says it has one boat and its crew in custody in Haiphong.

: Amnesty International expresses serious concern for the deteriorating health of Le Chi Quang, a Vietnamese journalist sentenced to four years in prison for criticism of Vietnam’s 2002 land border agreement with China on the internet.

: Burma’s Ministry of Industry-2 signs a contract with China’s XJ Group Corporation of Henan Province to build a $112 million diesel engine plant at Toungoo capable of producing 700 engines per year suitable for use in ships and generating facilities.

: Ministers from the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) member countries – Burma, China, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam – meet in Dali, Yunnan Province, to review 11 “key initiatives” centered on infrastructure and trade.  China has emphasized agricultural development and trade promotion in its aid programs under the GMS.

: Xinjiang Construction and Engineering Co. signs a memorandum of understanding with the Malaysian firm Jasatera Berhad to co-develop a mixed commercial area in Pahang State, with a combined investment of $105 million.

: A senior Chinese delegation of defense technology officials meets with Indonesian Defense Department Secretary General Air Marshal Suprihadi to discuss the sale of military equipment and future cooperation in research and production of military systems. Indonesia is seeking alternatives to the U.S. military purchases in light of the current U.S. ban on sales to its armed forces and what it sees as the unreliability of U.S. supply arrangements that are subject to interruption on political grounds.

: Chinese media announce that 40 young persons from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma began studies at the Guangxi Zhuang International Youth Exchange Institute. The course is designed to “strengthen cooperation and deepen friendship between Chinese young people and their peers” in ASEAN.

: Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi visits Beijing.

: ASEAN Plus Three economic ministers meet in Phnom Penh

: Director of Royal Railways Cambodia announces start of construction on last segment of rail link from Poipet on the Thai border to Phnom Penh, tying Cambodia’s railways into a planned line from Singapore to Kunming in South China.

: National People’s Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo, president of the Association of Asian Parliaments for Peace (AAPP), opens the fourth General Assembly of that body in Manila. Wu calls on delegations of the 35 member countries to create a new global political and economic order to replace the “unfair and unjust” system that prevails today, and to push for democracy in international relations.

: Thai Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchayudh leads a senior military delegation to China that includes Thailand’s defense minister, national security advisor, and all three service chiefs.

: China’s vice minister of commerce tells a China-Malaysia trade seminar that Chinese companies should invest more in Malaysia and open processing factories in that country, as well as expanding exports. Malaysia is China’s largest trading partner among the ASEAN countries, and seventh largest overall.

: China and Thailand agree on terms under which China will participate in construction of a large high-tech industrial zone in Chiang Rai province. China will provide 60 percent of the total of $125 million investment needed for the project.

: 30 Burmese police officials begin anti-narcotics training in Yunnan, the second such course for Burmese police.

: Chinese Communist Party officials, participating in an economic management seminar in Hanoi, propose a number of institutional, economic, and regulatory reforms “in the new era” to their Vietnamese counterparts based on decisions of the 16th Congress of the Chinese party’s Central Committee.

: Senior Foreign Ministry officials of China and the 10 ASEAN countries meet in Wuyishan, Fujian province.

: Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong tells visiting Burmese army commander Gen. Maung Aye that China views military-to-military relations as a major component part of the bilateral relationship between the two countries, and will work for more “friendly cooperation” in this area.

:   Tourism ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries as well as Japan and the ROK meet in Beijing to seek ways of reviving intra-Asian tourism in the wake of the SARS epidemic. ASEAN Deputy Secretary General Tran Duc Minh notes that tourism accounts for 10-15 percent of ASEAN GDP, and that China will be the biggest source of tourists in coming years. The ministers discuss mutual visa exemptions and reducing fees.

: ASEAN Plus Three finance ministers meet in Manila.

: Chinese FM Li Zhaozing tells Singapore’s leaders during a visit that China’s new administration will continue to be its “good neighboring partner.” According to Xinhua, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, and others describe bilateral relations with China as “kindred relations,” and tell Li they hope that younger generations in the two countries will further promote these relations.

: Ministers responsible for narcotics control from Burma, China, India, Laos, and Thailand meet in Chiang Rai, Thailand, to discuss crop substitution, information exchange, and improving control of precursor chemicals.

: China’s Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing attends fifth Asia-Europe Meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

: King Norodom Sihanouk, of Cambodia, with Queen Monineath, returns to Phnom Penh after visiting China for medical treatment. Before departing Beijing Sihanouk meets with President Hu Jintao, who pledges that China will continue to work with Cambodia to promote friendship and cooperation.

: China, together with Burma, Laos, and Thailand, sends a narcotics inspection team to investigate trafficking across the Mekong from Simao in Yunnan to Chiang Khong in Thailand, pursuant to a quadrilateral plan agreed on at a joint meeting in Chiang Mai last year.

: Philippine Interior Minister Jose Lina says he will visit Beijing the following week to try to stem the flood of methamphetamine precursors into the Philippines, noting that most come from China.

: China donates $45,000 to Cambodia for protective equipment to prevent transmission of SARS.

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