China - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Sep 2023 to Dec 2023

: 400;">Dec. 29, 2023: China opens the door to a conversation among defense chiefs by appointing a non-US sanctioned former Navy commander, Adm. Dong Jun, as its new defense minister, two months after his predecessor Gen. Li Shangfu was officially sacked.

: 400;">Dec. 26, 2023: China’s foreign ministry spokesperson announces Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law-based countermeasures against a US intelligence data company Kharon and two researchers for providing “so-called evidence for America’s illegal sanctions related to Xinjiang,” during her regular press conference.   

: Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) extends COVID-related exclusions on the Section 301 tariffs on certain Chinese imports through May 31, 2024 to “enable the[ir] orderly review,” and effectively thereby pushing out further the date of conclusion of its ongoing four-year review of the Section 301 tariffs that began in May 2022. 

: Department of Commerce’s Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement testifies that China has taken concrete steps to stem the flow of fentanyl precursor chemicals into the US during a House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Accountability Sub-committee hearing to review the Bureau of Industry and Security’s policies and practices.  

: Department of Commerce announces the launch of an industrial base survey of the US semiconductor supply chain to “bolster the semiconductor supply chain, promote a level playing field for legacy chip production, and reduce national security risks posed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).” The announcement follows the release of an initial survey of the capabilities and challenges faced by the US semiconductor industry in which China is readily mentioned. 

: Gen. Charles Q. Brown, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, holds a video meeting with Gen. Liu Zhenli, a member of the China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) and chief of the CMC Joint Staff Department at the invitation, as part of the efforts to maintain open lines of military-to-military communications. 

: Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) adds 13 PRC companies to the Unverified List “on the basis that BIS was unable to verify their bona fides.”

: Head of US Indo-Pacific Command Adm. John Aquilino tells reporters in Tokyo that, “[s]ince the [Biden-Xi] summit, those [risky and coercive plane maneuvers] seem to have stopped,” also noting that “would be an incredibly positive outcome if that were to continue.”

: US condemns the prosecution of “pro-democracy advocate and media owner Jimmy Lai in Hong Kong under the PRC-imposed National Security Law.”

: President Biden delivers a statement on the 80th Anniversary of the Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act to remember the harms resulting from the act and honor the people of Chinese heritage and their contributions to the US.

: US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns delivers public remarks on US-China relations at the Brookings Institution in which he mentions, among other topics, a mutual commitment to double scheduled passenger flights between the US and China in early 2024.

: Department of Commerce’s BIS removes four Chinese companies from the Unverified List “because BIS was able to verify their bona fides.”

: Secretary of the Treasury Yellen delivers remarks on the US-China economic relationship at the US-China Business Council’s 50th Anniversary Dinner, and discusses the plans for the Biden administration’s economic approach to China.

: Financial Times releases an article reporting that Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China Chase “recently” met Maj. Gen. Liu Zhan, the PRC’s defense attaché in Washington, which took place prior to the Biden-Xi summit. 

: Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a state visit to Vietnam to strengthen bilateral ties. During the meeting with Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Phu Trong and senior Vietnamese officials, the two sides declare that Hanoi would support China’s vision of building a “community with a shared future,” and promote collaboration on joint infrastructure projects and investment in the green economy. 

: Noting that Chinese ships “employed water cannons and reckless maneuvers” near Second Thomas Shoal, the Department of State releases a press statement to show “support for the Philippines in the South China Sea.”

: Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor releases a report to Congress on the Imposition of Sanctions Pursuant to the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, as is required by Section 6(a) of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020.

: Department of Homeland Security designates three additional PRC-based companies to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Entity List.

: Two Chinese naval vessels become the first ships to dock at a new pier at Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base. The docking coincides with an official visit to Cambodia by China’s Vice Chair of the Central Military Commission He Weidong.

: US Navy P-8A Poseidon transits the Taiwan Strait in international airspace.

: Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) meet virtually and release a Leaders’ Statement which says the G7 “stand prepared to build constructive and stable relations with China” but remain committed to “push for a level playing field” for workers and companies and remain “seriously concerned” about the situation in the East and South China Seas.

: US Secretary of State Blinken and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi have a phone call at the former’s request.

: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi goes to the US Embassy in China to mourn the passing of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

: Senior Chinese and Singapore officials meet in Tianjin for the 19th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation. The two sides agree to upgrade their bilateral free trade agreement and to initiate a visa-free program. More than 20 memoranda of understanding are signed to deepen two-way trade and people-to-people exchanges.

: Department of Commerce releases two proposed guidance on electric vehicle tax credits under the US Inflation Reduction Act to prohibit tax credit recipients from manufacturing battery components or extracting critical minerals in China.

: In a press briefing for the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP28), US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Kerry highlights the importance of the US-China partnership to fight the climate crisis and deliver progress at COP28.

: US Navy destroyer USS Hopper conducts a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea near the Paracel Islands.

: Chinese ambassador to Myanmar Chen Hai meets U Than Swe, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Myanmar, in Naypyitaw. The meeting convenes amid intense fighting between Myanmar’s troops and armed ethnic groups in the areas bordering China.

: Broadcom and VMware announce that they intend to close the former’s acquisition of the latter after receiving all required regulatory approvals, including the final one outstanding from China’s anti-trust regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation.   

: Department of Commerce’s BIS announces that it has removed the Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science of China from the Entity List.

: President Biden states in his remarks at the APEC Leaders Retreat Meeting in San Francisco how he and President Xi had a brief discussion during their in-person meeting a few days before about the “impact of artificial intelligence and how we have to work on it.”

: US Vice-President Kamala Harris meets President Marcos of the Philippines during which she “reiterated the United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder in defending the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the South China Sea” and reaffirmed the United States’ defense commitment under the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.

: ASEAN defense chiefs and counterparts from regional partners like the United States, China, and Russia, meet in Jakarta for the 10th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus. The security dialogue provides a forum to exchange views and identify areas of cooperation on such security issues as the South China Sea, Myanmar, and the Korean Peninsula, as well as the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza. 

: President Biden provides remarks and holds a press conference following the conclusion of meetings with President Xi in which he details the main accomplishments and outcomes of the “candid,” “constructive and productive” bilateral meetings.

: President Xi delivers a speech at a welcome dinner by friendly organizations in the US, where he champions people-to-people ties as the foundation of China-US relations.   

: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi gives a readout on the significance and features of the Xi-Biden meeting to the press, in which he describes the meeting as strategic and historic as well as one that provides stewardship.

: Secretary of Commerce Raimondo and China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao hold first ministerial meeting following the Xi-Biden meeting in California and conduct “pragmatic, constructive and fruitful communication on China-US economic and trade relations and economic and trade issues of common concern.”

: President Biden and Chinese President Xi have a “candid,” “in-depth,” and “constructive” conversation on the bilateral relationship and a range of global issues in Woodside, CA. They agree to promote and strengthen bilateral dialogue and cooperation in areas AI and counternarcotics; resume high-level communication between the two militaries; and work toward a significant further increase in scheduled passenger flights, among others.

: US Presidential Climate Envoy Kerry and Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua jointly release the “Sunnylands Statement on Enhancing Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis,” committing both countries to deeper cooperation on methane reductions.

: In a news interview with CBSFace the Nation,” White House National Security Adviser Sullivan says that reestablishing US-China military ties “has been a priority for President Biden” so as to reduce “miscalculations” and secure US national security interests.

: Secretary of the Treasury Yellen and PR China Vice Premier He meet in San Francisco where they hold “candid, direct, and productive discussions on the US-China bilateral economic relationship and a wide range of issues.”

: It is reported that the office of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made a formal request to meet with Austin’s Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the upcoming ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM+) in Jakarta, Indonesia.

: Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Mallory Stewart meets PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General of Arms Control Sun Xiaobo and holds “a candid and in-depth discussion on issues related to arms control and nonproliferation.”

: Ambassador to the PRC Nicholas Burns leads the first official US representation at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

: Special Advisor on International Disability Rights Sara Minkara and Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Taryn Williams meet the China Disabled Persons” Federation (CDPF) to resume the US-China Coordination Meeting on Disability.

: US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Kerry and China’s Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua meet at Sunnylands, California, where they sign the Sunnylands Agreement on “Enhancing Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis.” (The statement was released by the US on Nov. 14, 2023, local time and by China on Nov. 15, 2023, local time.)

: US Navy destroyer USS Dewey conducts a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands.

: 400;">Nov. 3, 2023: US Department of State China Coordinator and Deputy Assistant Secretary for China and Taiwan Mark Lambert holds “substantive, constructive, and candid discussions on a range of maritime issues” with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General for Boundary and Ocean Affairs Hong Liang. 

: Speaking at an Asia Society event, Secretary of the Treasury Yellen delivers remarks on the “Biden Administration’s Economic Approach Toward the Indo-Pacific” in which she reiterated how “the United States does not seek to decouple from China.”

: Government representatives from the US and China attend the AI Safety Summit convened by the UK in Bletchley Park and are listed as participants who adhere to The Bletchley Declaration.

: Destroyer from the US Navy 7th Fleet and a frigate from the Royal Canadian Navy jointly conduct a “routine Taiwan Strait transit through waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law.”

: Department of Defense’s principal director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia Xanthi Carras attends the 10th Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, with a view to restarting direct military-to-military contact between the US and PRC.

: President Biden meets China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in the White House, and conveys his condolences on the passing of former Premier Li Keqiang.  

: Secretary of State Blinken meets PRC Foreign Minister Wang in Washington “as part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication on a full range of issues.”

: US Indo-Pacific Command releases a statement saying that “a People’s Republic of China J-11 pilot executed an unsafe intercept of a US Air Force B-52 aircraft” on Oct. 24, 2023 while the latter was “lawfully conducting routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace.”

: California Gov. Gavin Newsom meets Chinese President Xi in Beijing. Newsom, joined by US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, also meets China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vice President Han Zheng and signs a new climate-focused Memorandum of Understanding with National Development and Reform Commission Chairman Zheng Shanjie. 

: US and PRC hold first meeting of the Financial Working Group, “which serves as an ongoing channel for both countries to discuss financial policy matters and cooperation on common challenges.”

: US and PRC hold first meeting of the Economic Working Group, “which serves as an ongoing channel to discuss and facilitate progress on bilateral economic policy matters.”

: Department of State releases a statement on “US Support for our Philippine Allies in the Face of Repeated PRC Harassment in the South China Sea.”

: Department of Defense releases its annual report on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.”

: Department of Defense releases “a collection of declassified images and videos depicting 15 recent cases of coercive and risky operational behavior by the PLA against US aircraft operating lawfully in international airspace in the East and South China Sea regions.”

: Department of Commerce’s BIS tightens export controls on advanced semiconductor and manufacturing equipment as well as supercomputing items to China.

: Department of Commerce’s BIS adds 13 Chinese companies to the Entity List for aiding the AI capabilities of China’s military and high-tech surveillance sector and, thus, “acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”

: US Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft transits the Taiwan Strait in international airspace to “demonstrate the United States” commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.” 

: China’s Ministry of Commerce announces restrictions, starting Dec. 1, on the export of several categories of high-purity natural and synthetic graphite materials vital to the clean tech and electric vehicle (EV) industries.

: US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, leading a bipartisan Senate delegation team, meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

: Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions 28 individuals and entities involved with the manufacture and distribution of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and MDMA precursors. Alongside, the Department of Justice announces eight indictments charging China-based companies and their employees with “crimes relating to fentanyl and methamphetamine production, distribution of synthetic opioids, and sales resulting from precursor chemicals.”

: Department of State introduces new China Coordinator and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for China and Taiwan, Mark Lambert, who is to “oversee the Office of China Coordination and the Office of Taiwan Coordination in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.”

: Department of State’s Global Engagement Center releases a special report on “How the People’s Republic of China Seeks to Reshape the Global Information Environment.”

: US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, National Security Agency, and Federal Bureau of Investigation, joined by Japan National Police Agency and Japan National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity, publish a “Joint Cybersecurity Advisory” about “malicious activity by People’s Republic of China (PRC)-linked cyber actors known as BlackTech.”

: Department of State, together with the departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Labor and the Office of the US Trade Representative, issues an Addendum to the 2021 Updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory to “call attention to the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and the evidence of widespread use of forced labor there.”

: Department of Commerce’s BIS adds 11 entities based in China to the Entity List for national security concerns, including implication in “a conspiracy to violate US export controls.”

: US Department of Commerce releases the final rule implementing the national security guardrails of the CHIPS and Science Act, including the rules that prohibit recipients of CHIPS funds from materially expanding semiconductor manufacturing capacity in China.

: Defense officials from the US and the PRC hold a hybrid in-person and virtual meeting to discuss the Department’s recently released 2023 DOD Cyber Strategy Unclassified Summary and to engage in “substantive discussion on a range of cyber-related topics.”

: US and China launch an Economic Working Group and a Financial Working Group that will report directly to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Vice Premier He Lifeng.

: US Assistant Secretary of Defense Ely Ratner tells the House Armed Services Committee that the Department of Defense is working with other US agencies and US “allies and friends” to “strengthen deterrence across the Taiwan Strait.”

: President Biden delivers remarks to the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), and reiterates that the US seeks to “responsibly manage the competition between our countries so it does not tip into conflict” and seeks “de-risking, not decoupling with China.”

: US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry meets PRC Vice President Han Zheng on the margins of the 78th UNGA, where the two sides “discussed the critical importance of bilateral and multilateral efforts to address the climate crisis, including to promote a successful COP 28.”

: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets PRC Vice President Han Zheng on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

: US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan meets Chinese Communist Party Politburo Member, Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Malta.

: Chinese Premier Li Qiang meets Malaysian counterpart Anwar Ibrahim in Nanning on the sidelines of the 20th China-ASEAN Expo. They agree to maintain open communication over differences in the South China Sea conflict, and sign three memoranda of understanding on trade, business, and economic initiatives worth over $3 billion.  

: US Navy destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) and Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341) operate in the South China Sea as part of a joint exercise.

: Department of Defense releases its 2023 Cyber Strategy Summary in which the PRC is listed as the first among several state and non-state actors in a “contested cyberspace.”

: President Biden attends the 18th G20 Summit and talks to PRC Premier Li Qiang on the margins of the summit.

: US Navy destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) and Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341) conduct “a routine Taiwan Strait transit…through waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law.”

: US Vice President Kamala Harris attends the East Asia Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, where she “emphasized that freedom of navigation and overflight must be respected in the East China Sea and South China Sea” and “reaffirmed US support for the 2016 UN arbitral tribunal ruling and noted this ruling is final and legally binding.”

: US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) adds 42 Chinese companies to its Entity List, effective Oct. 6, for supplying US-origin integrated circuits to Russian intermediaries and end-users.

: US Navy destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) conducts a “bilateral sail” with Philippine Navy guided-missile frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) in the South China Sea “to enhance the interoperability between the two navies.”

: Regional leaders convene in Indonesia for a number of high-level meetings, including the 43rd ASEAN Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit. Discussions focus on strengthening regional trade, developments in the Myanmar crisis, as well as on the code of conduct negotiations on the South China Sea. Southeast Asian leaders agree on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, an Indonesia-led initiative that outlines the group’s position on regional cooperation and security, and its stance on not taking sides with any major powers competing for influence in the region.

: US President Joe Biden says he is “disappointed” that Chinese President Xi Jinping will not attend the 18th G20 Summit, but said that he is “going to get to see” the Chinese president, presumably, later in the year.

Date Range