China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Jul 2009 to Oct 2009

: Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Liu Jianchao urges all claimant countries of the South China Sea region to avoid confrontation and to conduct joint seismic studies on the oil and natural gas reserves in the Spratly Islands as a way to build confidence. He acknowledges that the Chinese government sees no solution to resolve these territorial disputes and reiterates its objection to having external, non-claimant countries involved in the negotiations.

:   Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announces that China has become the largest development partner, that he appreciates Chinese assistance comes without conditions, and that China’s infrastructure projects help with poverty reduction in Cambodia.

: President Hu Jintao meets Laotian counterpart Choummaly Saygnasone in Beijing and they agree to establish a strategic partnership to improve and expand relations.

:   A new bridge that spans the Red River, connecting the Beishan Trade Center in China’s Yunnan Province and Kim Thanh Trade Center in Vietnam’s Lao Cai Province, opens.  The bridge will facilitate economic interaction in the Mekong subregion.

: The UN releases a statement saying that more than 30,000 refugees from the northeast region of Myanmar have fled into China as a result of recent fighting between Myanmar’s military and rebel ethnic armies.

:   The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson says that Beijing hopes Myanmar can “properly deal with its domestic issue to safeguard the regional stability in the China-Myanmar border area.”

: Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan visits Singapore for the 6th China-Singapore Joint Council Meeting for Bilateral Cooperation.  He signs a memorandum of understanding on furthering bilateral educational and science and technology cooperation, as well as a protocol on taxation.

:   China proposes a $10 billion fund to increase and expand the trade volume between ASEAN and China.  The planned fund will provide capital for infrastructure and logistic system development projects.

:   Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yeo visits Beijing and meets his counterpart Yang Jiechi and Vice-President Xi Jinping to discuss future prospects for deepening bilateral relations.  Yeo also visits Qinghai Province and Tibet.

:   Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming attends the 41st ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting and signs the ASEAN-China Investment Agreement in preparation for the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, which will come into effect in January 2010.

:   Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei visits Vietnam and meets counterpart Pham Gia Khiem to discuss issues related to border demarcation.  They agree to resolve border issues peacefully and to adhere to the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea.

: The Chinese naval destroyer Guangzhou arrives in Brunei for the 2009 Brunei International Defense Exhibition (BRIDEX).

: Vietnam files an official protest against China over the detention of 13 Vietnamese fishermen in early August, who, according to Vietnamese officials, were fleeing from a storm and took shelter at the disputed Paracel Islands.

: Chinese officials attend the 6th ASEAN+3 Ministers on Energy Meeting in Mandalay, Myanmar and call for energy cooperation with ASEAN members.

: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets representatives of the four riparian Lower Mekong basin countries (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam) to discuss water management policy – the first time the U.S. has been involved in Mekong River issues.

: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi attends a series of meetings in Thailand, including the 42nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the 16th ASEAN Regional Forum, and the foreign ministers’ unofficial consultation of the East Asia Summit.

:   Liu Zhenmin, China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, states that China is opposed to putting the Myanmar question on the UN Security Council agenda and would not support sanctions as a result of the military junta’s sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi.

: Chinese and Malaysian authorities sign an agreement to establish the first Confucius Institute in Malaysia.  The institute will be at the University of Malaya and provide cultural activities and exchanges as well as opportunities for students to study Mandarin.

:   The Malaysian Chief of Defense Force Tan Sri Abdul Aziz visits Beijing and meets senior military officials.  While meeting Defense Minister Liang Guanglie, they agree to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two armed forces.  Beginning in 2010, junior and senior military officers from China will take part in a student exchange program at the Malaysian Armed Forces Defense College.

:   Liu Qi, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, arrives in Phnom Penh and meets leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party and the Funcinpec Party.

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