China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Jul 2008 to Oct 2008

:   The East Asia Trade Forum, organized by the China International Trade Promotion Committee in collaboration with Chinese representatives in the China-ASEAN Secretariat, convenes in Beijing.  More than 200 delegates attend the Forum discussing ways to increase and expand regional competitiveness and promote inter-regional trade and investment.

:   PLA Chief of the General Staff Chen Bingde meets senior ranking military representatives from Brunei, Laos, and Thailand who are on a visit to see the Warrior 2008 military exercise organized by the PLA in Inner Mongolia.  They are joined by more than 110 military delegates from 36 countries, the largest foreign contingent to observe the PLA’s capacity in a simulated combat.

:   Representatives from China, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam gather in Vientiane, Laos for a consultative meeting on the prospects for developing the regional Mekong Hydropower Program, which is intended to promote sustainable development, utilization, management, and conservation of water and other resources along the Mekong River Basin.

:   Following the news of tainted Chinese dairy products, countries throughout Southeast Asia including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand announce that they will stop such imports.

:   Scientists from the First Institute of Oceanography in China and the Marine Biological Center in Thailand agree to launch a joint study on monsoon and cyclone pattern in the Andaman sea area to better forecast weather trends in the region.

: Defense Minister Liang Guanglie meets the Permanent Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Defense Winai Phattiyakul. They agree that the two sides will continue to work together on non-traditional security and jointly stage counter-terrorism training exercises.

: Deputy Chief of General Staff of the PLA Ma Xiaotian receives the president of Thailand’s National Defense Studies Institute in Beijing.  The two sides agree to increase exchange of visits between the two militaries.

:   Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu meets Singaporean Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng in Beijing.  Meng highlights the close cooperation between the two police forces and hopes to deepen exchanges to combat terrorism and transnational crimes in the region.

:   Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and his Singaporean counterpart Wong Kan Seng finalize a free trade agreement at a meeting in Tianjin, China.  The accord includes the liberalization of bilateral trade ties and lowering of tariffs. It will most likely be signed at the forthcoming Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Beijing next month.

:   Chinese leaders including the Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Wu Bangguo and the Chairperson of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Consultative Conference Jia Qinglin meet the President of the Cambodian Senate Chea Sim in Beijing.  Discussions include increasing legislative exchanges and other high-level visits between the two countries.

:   According to Chinese press reports, the second batch of five military surgeons dispatched to Cambodia returns to Beijing after completing their medical services and training in Cambodia.  Earlier, the Chinese surgeons received accolades from the Cambodian government and military hospital for their services and contributions to the Cambodian people.

:   The Chinese Communist Party International Liaison Department Chairperson Wang Jiarui receives a delegation visit from the Vietnamese Communist Party cadres and government officials in Beijing.  The two sides review the positive relations between both parties in the last 30 years and agree to improve and expand party-to-party relations.

:   Chinese and ASEAN economic ministers issue a statement that will finalize an investment agreement at the annual ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in December 2008.   The agreement is one of three components of a free trade deal between ASEAN and China.

:   Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie meets Myanmar’s Defense Industries Chief Tin Aye in Beijing.  The two agree to expand political, economic, and military relations.

:   China’s National Space Administration agrees to help Laos develop a telecommunications satellite and a ground station and to train Laotian technicians and scientists.  The two sides will cooperate in such areas as earth observation, remote sensing satellite technology, and satellite imaging and transmission.

:   Singaporean naval frigate Steadfast visits Shanghai for a port visit.  The Commander of the East China Sea Fleet of the PLA Navy Vice Adm. Xu Hongmeng receives a courtesy call from the Singaporean Fleet Commander Rear Adm. Ng Chee Peng.

:   China and Laos agree to exchange technical expertise on such environmental issues as deforestation and natural resources management.  The initiative between the Chinese Global Environmental Institute and the Laotian Center for Research and Information on Land and Natural Resources will establish a joint center for cooperation on environmental issues.

: Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang meets Thai counterpart Sanan Kachornprasart in Beijing.  They agree to increase senior-level exchanges and expand bilateral cooperation and coordination in regional and international affairs.

: The Chinese Foreign Ministry extends a congratulatory statement to ASEAN on the 41st anniversary of its establishment.  The statement indicates that China will continue to support ASEAN’s integration and role as the driving force for regional cooperation, and that the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership will continue to form the basis for future collaboration between the two sides.

: Chinese Vice Minister of Education Zhang Xinsheng attends the first “China-ASEAN Education Exchange Week” in Guiyang, Guizhou and delivers a speech supporting cooperation between China and ASEAN through educational and cultural exchanges.

:   The PLA Deputy Chief of General Staff Ma Xiaotian visits Bangkok and meets PM Samak.  Ma attends the seventh bilateral security consultation.  The two sides agree to enhance military-to-military relations.

:   The Forum on Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Cooperation convenes in Beihai, a coastal city in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and draws more than 600 international participants.  The Pan-Beibu economic cooperation program involves seven ASEAN countries and will discuss the prospects for developing and opening up the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone.

:   The Chinese General Administration of Customs releases latest data indicating that China’s trade with ASEAN member states reached nearly $96 billion in the first five months of 2008, an increase of 26.9 percent over the same period last year.  China’s trade deficit with ASEAN has decreased and amounts to nearly $5 billion in the first five months.  According to the data, China’s top five trading partners in ASEAN are Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, which account for 88 percent of the total China-ASEAN trade volume.

:   Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi attends a series of meetings with regional counterparts in Singapore, including the “10+1 foreign ministers’ meeting between China and ASEAN,” the “10+3 foreign ministers’ meeting between with ASEAN, China, Japan, and South Korea,” an informal consultation among the participating foreign ministers of the East Asia Summit, and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

:   The Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress Wu Bangguo joins other government officials in extending a congratulatory message to the Cambodian government marking the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic recognition.  The two governments pledge to further strengthen bilateral ties.

:   The Chinese State Archives Administration Director-General Yang Dongquan and his Singapore counterpart Pitt Kuan Wah sign an agreement to increase exchanges between the archival institutions of the two countries in such areas as academic interfaces on archives acquisition, management, reproduction, documentation, and vocation training.

:   The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Royal Thai Army begin a 20-day joint counter-terrorism training operation entitled Strike 2008 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

:   The joint China-Philippines-Vietnam seismic study in the South China Sea, an agreement signed by the three parties as a confidence-building measure aimed at conducting joint research oil and gas prospects in the disputed Spratly Islands, formally ends.

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