China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Jul 2007 to Oct 2007

: Marking China’s highest-level public statement on the government crackdown against street demonstrations in Myanmar, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao tells British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that “China hopes that all parties concerned in Myanmar show restraint, resume stability through peaceful means as soon as possible, promote domestic reconciliation, and achieve democracy and development.”

:  On the sidelines of the 9th Joint Commission meeting between China and Indonesia in Beijing, visiting Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu announces that the two countries will form a working group under the framework of the Joint Commission to address various trade and investment issues including quality, food product security, and illegal shipment of products.

:  Permanent Secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Defense Winai Phattiyakul visits Beijing for the sixth Sino-Thai annual defense and security consultations, meeting with Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan.  Both sides agree to further promote military exchanges and deepen bilateral cooperation.

:   Vietnamese trade authorities announce that the largest Vietnam-China trade fair will be held in Vietnam’s northern Lao Cai province in early December 2007.  Trade between Vietnam and China increased to over $9.95 billion in 2006 from $8.2 billion in 2005, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

: Tang Jiaxuan, Chinese former foreign minister and ranking member of the State Council, meets Myanmar’s foreign minister, U Nyan Win.  Tang expresses hope Myanmar can restore stability and promote national reconciliation.

:   Hu meets his counterpart from the Philippines, Macapagal-Arroyo, at APEC.  The two leaders pledge closer cooperation by maintaining frequent high-level visits to deepen mutual trust.  On the South China Sea issue, both sides agree that progress has been made and that they would continue to cooperate in the next phase to promote peace, stability, and common development of the South China Sea.

: President Hu meets Indonesian President Yudhoyono on the sidelines of the annual Leaders’ Meeting at the APEC forum in Sydney, Australia.  Hu says China is willing to expand cooperation with Indonesia in sustainable development issues and energy exploitation, including development of renewable and alternative energy sources.

: Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Jia Qinglin meets his Indonesian counterpart Hidayat Nur Wahid in Beijing.  The two leaders agree to increase dialogue and bilateral cooperation.

:   Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan visits the Philippines, holding talks with Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro in Manila.  The two militaries exchange views on international and regional security situations, relations between the two nations and their militaries, and other issues of common concern.

:  A 10-member delegation of the PLA, led by Gen. Liu Dongdong, political chief of military sub-division of Jinan, arrives in Phnom Penh for an official four-day visit.  The delegation will meet top-level Cambodian military officials, parachute troops, and visit the Preah Ketomealea hospital in Phnom Penh.

:   Vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, Xu Caihou, meets the General Political Department Chief of the Lao People’s Army, Sengnouane Sayalat. They agree to maintain high-level exchanges of visits and strengthen cooperation in all fields, especially on military and security issues.

:   Thailand’s Public Health Ministry discloses a long list of hazardous food imported from China. According to Thai officials, they have found excessive insecticide residues in cabbages, pears, lotus roots, carrots, celery, and spinach imported from China, while high levels of sulfur dioxide have been found in dried vegetables and dried chrysanthemum.

:   The ASEAN-Beijing Committee and the China-ASEAN Association jointly hold a reception marking the 40th anniversary of ASEAN in Beijing.  At the reception, China’s FM announces that China will continue to back ASEAN as a strategic partner and a leading player to maintain regional peace and development.

:   Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo reaffirms that the tripartite marine seismic program in the South China Sea among the Philippines, Vietnam, and China would be the “biggest bridge” to peacefully resolve the territorial dispute over the Spratly Islands.  The agreement is seen as a breakthrough, imposing the provisions of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea for all members.  It also involves a joint exploration project for oil.

:   At the sidelines of the ASEAN ministerial meeting, FM Yang meets Singaporean counterpart George Yeo to discuss the China-ASEAN free trade agreement.  Beijing expresses hope that it would be signed during the ASEAN summit in Singapore in November 2007.  According to the China-ASEAN Business Council, two-way trade between China and ASEAN is expected to reach $190 billion in 2007.

:  FM Yang holds separate talks with counterparts from the Philippines, Singapore, and Australia in Manila while attending the 14th ASEAN Regional Forum.  In each meeting, Yang reaffirms Beijing will work with regional partners to promote peace, stability, and development in the Asia-Pacific.

:   According to the Singaporean Straits Times, a group of Vietnamese boats fishing in waters near the Spratly Islands came under fire from Chinese naval vessels in July.  Military sources reported that one of the Vietnamese boats sank after the attack. One fisherman was killed and several others hurt. Following the incident, Vietnamese officials were in Beijing for crisis talks with senior Chinese officials in an attempt to stop more hostilities.  The two sides agreed to meet later this year in Hanoi.

:   According to Indonesian press reports, Beijing and Jakarta are exploring joint maritime operations.  According to the agreement, it would cover various joint activities in navigation security, maritime security, ship building, naval cooperation and maintenance of Malacca Strait security.  The operations will also be conducted in coordination with the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

:   Shanghai-based Guan Sheng Yuan Co., a Chinese candy-making company, denies claims by the Philippine Bureau of Food and Drugs that one of its products contains potentially cancer-causing formaldehyde.

:   According to Thai press reports, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Thai Royal Army are conducting a special combined training military exercise in Guangzhou.  The exercise, which involves 30 officers from both armies’ Special Forces, is code-named Strike 2007.  It will last for two weeks and will include military demonstrations, a series of workshops that cover combat techniques and jungle crossing, and a joint study of tactics deployed by Special Forces.

:   China’s Vice Minister of Health Wang Guoqiang visits Brunei, meeting his counterpart.  They agree to renew their plan of action on health cooperation and increase the exchange of health officials and working visits.  There will also be further enhancement of cooperation between the health institutions, training and research and the recruitment of medical workforce and paramedics in fields such as traditional medicine, children and maternal healthcare, oncology, neonatology, and hepatitis.

:   Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai and his Malaysian counterpart agree that China will extend its biggest loan for a single project to Malaysia in the form of an $800 million loan for the construction of the second Penang bridge. The 20-year loan agreement by China’s Exim Bank will carry an interest rate of 3 percent annually.

:   Following a visit by Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi, Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng announced that Singapore can expect to conclude its free trade agreement with China by 2008.  Bilateral trade reached nearly $41 billion in 2006, Singapore is China’s seventh largest trading partner, and China is Singapore’s third largest partner.

:   The Chinese Ministry of Public Security and the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines announce that they jointly cracked a trans-border case in June in which drugs worth $7.09 million were seized.  The success was attributed to close police cooperation over the past three years.

:   Newly appointed Chinese FM Yang Jiechi wraps up his first official visit to Indonesia after meeting President Yudhoyono.  Both sides agree to further strengthen strategic partnership in the fields of foreign affairs, economy and trade, science and technology, energy, and culture.

:   In a public statement at the Malaysia-China Business Forum 2007, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi calls for more investments from China.  Badawi says that currently, Malaysia receives less than $30 million of direct investment from China while Malaysia’s total investments in China reached $320 million.

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