Regional Overview

Chronology from Jan 2006 to Mar 2006

: Heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations, including former PM Hashimoto, visit Beijing to exchange views on how to increase nongovernmental exchanges and promote bilateral growth. President Hu tells them he will agree to summit if Japan PM refrains from Yasukuni visits.

: Treasury Dept. adds Swiss firm Kohas AG and Jakob Steiger to the list of proliferation supporters, which prohibits trading with any U.S. entity and freezes all assets of the designee in the U.S.  Kohas AG acted as a technology broker for the DPRK.

: UN Security Council passes unanimous resolution for Iran to suspend enrichment and reprocessing activities and submit to IAEA inspections within 30 days.

: Sens. Graham (R-SC) and Schumer (D-NY) delay vote on a bill to impose punitive 27.5 percent tariff on Chinese goods for restricting its exchange rate.

: U.S. and Japan postpone U.S. force realignment working-level talks scheduled for March 30-31 until April.

: DPRK issues arrest warrants for four Japan-based activists “luring and abducting its citizens … in broad daylight,” apparently in reference to assistance given to North Koreans fleeing the DPRK.

: PM Koizumi defends visits to Yasukuni and says that he will use “appropriate judgment” about visiting the shrine again.

: Japan integrates Self-Defense Forces’ land, sea, and air branches to deal more effectively with terrorism, disasters, and joint action with U.S. military.

: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gutierrez visits China and Japan to discuss market access, intellectual property rights, and U.S. beef.

: U.S. and South Korean forces take part in RSOI (Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration) and Foal Eagle exercises in South Korea.

: Indonesia recalls ambassador to Australia to protest the granting of asylum to 42 people fleeing alleged abuse by Indonesian military in the province of Papua.

: Indian PM Singh offers “treaty of peace, security, and friendship” to Pakistan.

: The Pentagon issues a report stating that Russian diplomats based in Baghdad may have passed along information about U.S. war plans to the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

: Malaysian FM Syed Hamid Albar visits Myanmar on a fact-finding trip on the progress of Myanmar’s democratization progress; request to visit with Aung San Suu Kyi refused.

: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld states that ROK and U.S. generally agree on a transfer of wartime command of ROK forces to the ROK and are discussing a timetable.

: Japan announces it is freezing loans to China, but may restart loans in April if relations improve.

: U.S. human rights group Freedom House holds third international Conference on North Korean Human Rights in Brussels. South Korea attends as an observer. Some 90 ROK leftists protest that the U.S. is using human-rights as a ploy to block peace on the Peninsula.

: Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou visits Washington.

: President Putin meets President Hu in China for opening ceremony of the “Year of Russia.”

: Sen. Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Coburn (R-OK) travel to China to discuss currency valuation, intellectual property rights protection, and barriers to foreign investment.

: The 13th round of inter-Korea family reunions is held at Mt. Kumgang resort in North Korea. There was a flap on March 22 when two ROK reporters file a report describing a DPRK participant as an abductee.

: U.S. and Indonesia conclude a two-week Joint Combined Exercise for Training in the Sulawesi Sea to improve mutual cooperation and enhance mil-to-mil relations.

: A Korea Institute for Defense Analyses survey shows 37.7 percent of Koreans see China as the biggest security threat in 10 years, followed by Japan (23.6 percent), North Korea (20.7 percent), and the U.S. (14.8 percent). 81.7 percent thought the U.S. was Korea’s best ally.

: Trilateral Strategic Dialogue joint statement welcomes “China’s constructive engagement” in the region.

: Ambassador Schieffer warns that Japan’s ban on U.S. beef imports could set off a trade war, also says that he expects Japan to reduce the disparity in defense spending between the two countries.

: Ambassador Vershbow says there are “plenty of opportunities” to discuss North Korea’s alleged illicit financial activities in the Six-Party Talks.

: White House releases its 2006 National Security Strategy.

: Yoduck Story, a musical written by a North Korean defector and set in a DPRK gulag, opens in Seoul.

: South Korea opens two official immigration checkpoints at the border shared with North Korea.

: Secretary Rice visits Indonesia and Australia, attends Trilateral Security Dialogue (March 18 in Canberra), and has side meetings with Australian FM Downer and Japanese FM Aso.

: Chinese Premier Wen announces at a press conference that the RMB will not be revalued this year. He also cautions that unless the Yasukuni issue is resolved relations will be difficult with a post-Koizumi government.

: KCNA states that the DPRK has the right to launch a pre-emptive attack because the DPRK and U.S./ROK are technically still at war.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe announces that despite the rejection by Iwakuni residents, Tokyo plans to go ahead with the plan.

: Voters in Iwakuni overwhelmingly (80 percent) reject a plan to bring more planes and troops to a nearby U.S. Marine base.

: Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak travels to Washington, New York, and Los Angeles, meets Deputy Secretary Zoellick, Sen. Richard Lugar, among many others. ROK opinion polls put Mayor Lee as the leading presidential contender.

: Former Deputy Secretary Armitage visits Taipei.

: DPRK test-fires two short-range missiles toward the East Sea (Sea of Japan).

: The State Department releases its annual human rights report, detailing abuses in China and expressing concern about Russia’s “backslides.”

: U.S. State and Treasury officials meet DPRK representatives in New York to discuss issues related to sanctions levied on Banco Delta Asia.

: Fourth round of consultations is held on East Sea oil explorations between China and Japan in Beijing.

: China holds its annual session of the National People’s Congress.

: President Arroyo lifts state of emergency in the Philippines.

: North and South Korean generals meet in Panmunjom to discuss reopening the railway lines and roads between the two Koreas, and establishing a joint fishing area to prevent future skirmishes.

: President Bush travels to India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

: Seoul sends stone stele Bukgwandaecheopbi to Pyongyang.

: Asst. Secretary Hill travels to the Philippines, Indonesia, and South Korea.

: Eighty ROK and DPRK divided families meet via video conferencing.

: President Chen declares the National Unification Council “will cease to function” and unification guidelines “will cease to apply.”

: Amb. Ray Burghardt is appointed AIT Washington chairman; Amb. Stephen M.Young is AIT director in Taipei.

: Thai PM Thaksin dissolves Parliament and calls for snap elections on April 2, 2006.

: Philippine President Arroyo declares state of emergency in the Philippines on the rumors of an attempted coup.

: Unification Ministry official states that the ROK government has agreed to the DPRK request for 150,000 tons of fertilizer for use in spring.

: U.S. embassy official reveals the U.S. has provided the ROK government physical evidence of DPRK counterfeiting activity.

: ROK and DPRK Red Cross committees meet at Mt. Kumgang to exchange letters between families and to discuss repatriation of ROK prisoners of war remaining in the North and abducted South Koreans.

: U.S. and Philippine forces hold Exercise Balikatan 2006 in Cebu, Luzon, and Jolo, Sulu. Two U.S. warships are diverted from the exercise to provide humanitarian aid to those affected by the Leyte mudslide.

: Mudslide on the Philippine island of Leyte kills more than 1,800 people.

: The Korea Times and Hankook Ilbo conduct a survey of 1,000 people aged 18-23; 48 percent of respondents say they would support North Korea if the U.S. attacked nuclear facilities in the DPRK.

: Macau’s Banco Delta Asia agrees to terminate all links with North Korean entities and has appointed two independent accounting firms to monitor clients.

: ROK FM Ban declares candidacy for United Nations secretary general.

: Myanmar’s junta extends house arrest of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s Deputy Tin Oo for another 12 months under the anti-subversion law.

: ROK Assistant DM for Policy Ahn and U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Lawless meet in Guam for sixth round of Security Policy Initiative meeting. Transfer of wartime operational control of ROK armed forces to Korea, consolidated relocation of U.S. forces, and the U.S. handover of 10 major security missions to Korea are on the agenda.

: Myanmese PM Soe Win meets Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing.

: National Security Council Acting Senior Director for Asian Affairs Dennis Wilder and Clifford Hart, director of the State Department’s Taiwan Desk, reportedly travel secretly to Taiwan to try to dissuade Chen Shui-bian from abolishing the National Unification Council.

: Moscow hosts G-8 finance ministers meeting; China, Brazil, India, and South Africa also invited.

: China and the Philippines formalize extradition treaty, which will support law enforcement efforts on drug trafficking and other transnational crimes.

: Lee Jong-seok takes office as new ROK minister of unification.

: Fourth round of China-Japan Strategic Dialogue held in Japan to discuss bilateral, regional, and global issues.

: Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni pardons political opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Cheam Channy.

: DPRK and Japan resume normalization talks in Beijing, using the three-track format to cover one topic – historical, security, and abduction issues – per day.

: ASEAN Secretary General Ong Keng Yong indicates that ASEAN is in discussions with Washington on establishment of the first formal U.S.-ASEAN Summit, which could take place in late 2006 or early 2007.

: U.S. Defense Department releases 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review.

: U.S. and ROK announce plans to open FTA talks in May.

: In Lunar New Year’s address, President Chen considers abolishing the National Unification Council and Guidelines, reapplying for UN membership as Taiwan rather than Republic of China, and calling for a new constitution.

: WHO secretariat rejects proposal giving Taiwan observer status.

: Google officially launches service in China with .cn address.

: Taiwan resumes import of U.S. beef.

: Mainichi Shimbun public opinion poll shows public evenly divided on question of whether next prime minister should visit Yasukuni Shrine.

: U.S. Treasury Dept. team briefs ROK officials on alleged currency counterfeiting by North Korea.

: Third year of direct cross-Strait Lunar New Year’s flights between Taiwan and China.

: Japan halts import of U.S. beef after shipment of beef that did not conform to standards.

: Secretary of State Rice hosts ROK FM Ban for first SCAP meeting to discuss global, regional, and bilateral issues. A joint statement is released on the “strategic flexibility” of U.S. forces in South Korea.

: Asst. Secretary Hill visits Beijing to meet Chinese Vice FMs Yang Jiechi and Wu Dawei and DPRK Six-Party Talks envoy Kim Gye-gwan.

: USTR Rob Portman announces South Korea will reopen ROK markets for specific beef products.

: President Chen stops briefly in Los Angeles.

: Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill visits Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia.

: Asia Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate meeting held in Sydney, including representatives from the U.S., Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea. It is considered an alternate to the Kyoto Protocols.

: JDA Director General Nukaga meets with counterparts in Britain, Russia, and U.S.

: Kim Jong-il makes “secret” visit to China, echoing Deng Xiaoping’s 1992 “Southern tour.”

: Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces conduct joint exercises with U.S. Marines in California; exercises focus on defense of remote islands.

: Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran visits Beijing for second round of strategic dialogue.

: Australian FM Downer meets Secretary Rice in Washington D.C.

: North Korea officially denies U.S. claims of DPRK counterfeiting.

: Last of the KEDO workers withdraw from the light-water reactor construction site in Kumho, North Korea.

: Japan refuses to join Germany, India, and Brazil in new bid for permanent UN Security Council seats. Instead, Japan will work the U.S. on an alternate plan.

: Aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk sailor admits killing a 56-year-old Japanese woman in Yokosuka.

: PM Koizumi reiterates his position that Yasukuni Shrine visits are “a matter of heart.”

: Chinese government releases Hong Kong journalist Jiang Weiping who was on a list of prisoners the U.S. had wanted released prior to President Bush’s November 2005 visit.

: North Korea says it will not attend the Six-Party Talks as long as U.S. financial sanctions remain in place.

Date Range