Regional Overview

Chronology from Jan 2012 to May 2012

:   Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario meet Secretary of State Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Washington to consult on defense, security, political, and economic policies.

:   Japanese Prime Minister Noda visits the US, meets President Obama, and attends a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Clinton.

: US-Japan Security Consultative Committee announces that around 9,000 marines and their family members – roughly half of the US Marine presence on Okinawa – will be transferred off the island and relocated to Guam, Hawaii, and Australia.

: In a letter to Sen. John Cornyn, the White House says the US will give “serious consideration” to selling Taiwan F-16C/D jets, in addition to upgrading the F-16A/B jets.

: Chen Guangcheng, a blind lawyer under house arrest, enters the US Embassy in Beijing seeking assistance.

:   Pakistan successfully launches an upgraded, intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

: Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai warns North Korea against conducting a nuclear test, saying it would violate China’s national interest.

:   China and Russia conduct a joint naval exercise in the Yellow Sea focusing on search and rescue, joint air defense, anti-submarine tactics, rescue of hijacked vessels, and anti-terrorism.

:   Japanese Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko hosts a meeting of Mekong region leaders, promising $7.4 billion in aid to the region.  Leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam attend.

:   India successfully tests a long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

:   Former independence fighter Jose Maria de Vasconcelos, also known as Taur Matan Ruak, is elected president of East Timor.

:   Tokyo Gov. Ishihara Shintaro announces that the Tokyo Municipal Government is negotiating to purchase three of the privately owned Senkaku Islands.

:   The UN Security Council unanimously adopts a Presidential Statement’s “strongly condemning” North Korea for its attempted satellite launch.  The statement calls the launch a “serious violation” of previous UNSC resolutions 1718 and 1874.

: The US and the Philippines conduct a joint military exercise named Balikatan on Luzon and off the coast of the western-most Filipino island of Palawan.

:   North Korea withdraws its offer to accept IAEA inspections at the Yongbyon nuclear facilities in response to the withdrawal of the offer of food aid from the US.

:   North Korea unveils a new long-range missile and missile transport vehicle during a military parade culminating two weeks of celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the birthday of Kim Il Sung.

:   North Korea attempts to launch a satellite; the rocket carrying the satellite breaks apart within moments of launch.

: North Korea holds the fifth session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly. Kim Jong Un is elected first chairman of the DPRK National Defense Committee.

: North Korea holds a Worker’s Party of Korea Delegates Conference. Kim Jong Un is named first secretary of the Worker’s Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission. Membership in both the Political Bureau of the party’s Central Committee and the politburo’s five-member Presidium are also conferred.

: Bo Xilai is suspended from the party’s Central Committee and its Politburo, pending investigation for “serious disciplinary violations.”

:   Chinese vessels block a Philippine warship from arresting crews of Chinese fishing boats off Scarborough Reef in the South China Sea, initiating an extended standoff.

:   Japanese, Chinese, and ROK foreign ministers meet in Ningbo, China.

:   The first 180 US Marines arrive in Darwin, Australia as the initial step in a plan to establish a force of 2,500 marines by 2017.

: The 20th ASEAN Summit is held in Phnom Penh.

: Myanmar holds parliamentary elections; National Democratic League wins 43 of the 45 seats being contested.

: Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Cambodia and meets King Norodom Sihamoni, Prime Minister Hun Sen, and other senior officials.

: Fourth BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit is held in New Delhi.

: US government suspends food aid to North Korea, saying the decision was based on the DPRK’s commitment to refrain from launching missiles and its lack of credibility in being able to “deliver the assistance to those who need it.”

: The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit is held in Seoul with participation by more than 53 heads of state and international organizations.

: Fifth BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit is held in Durban, South Africa.

: Leung Chun-ying is elected as Hong Kong’s Special Administration Region’s (SAR) new chief executive.

:   Chinese President Hu Jintao meets Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Beijing.

: Bo Xilai is dismissed as Chongqing party chief and its related municipal posts.

: The US-Korea Free Trade Agreement takes effect.

: Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong visits Japan and meets Prime Minister Noda.

: The US, Japan and the European Union file a joint complaint to the World Trade Organization criticizing China’s restrictions of rare earth mineral exports.

: Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai visits the US and meets Assistant Secretary Campbell.

: North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and Lim Sung-nam, South Korea’s representative to the Six-Party Talks, attend a forum at Syracuse University.

: South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan visits the US and meets Secretary of State Clinton to discuss mutual cooperation on regional and bilateral issues.

: The seventh Korea-Japan-China Senior Foreign Affairs Officials’ Consultation and the first Asian Policy Dialogue are held in Beijing.

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

: Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visits Seoul and meets Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and President Lee Myung-bak to discuss regional and bilateral issues.

: North Korea and the US reach a tentative agreement that includes a moratorium on the North’s nuclear and missile programs and the provision of 240,000 tons of US food aid.

: US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nide travels to Korea and Japan to discuss economic and political issues.

: US and South Korea’s armed forces conduct the annual Key Resolve/Foal Eagle military exercise.

: Prime Minister Noda visits Okinawa prefecture and meets Gov. Nakaima Hirokazu to discuss relocation of Futenma Air Station.

: US Special Representative Glyn Davies meets North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan in Beijing to discuss the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

: The first Viet Nam-Australia Defense and Diplomacy Strategic Dialogue is held in Canberra, Australia.

: Indonesian Defense Minister Purnome Yusgiantoro visits Beijing and meets counterpart Liang Guanglie to discuss military cooperation.

: South Korean and US navies hold a series of joint anti-submarine exercises in the Yellow Sea.

: ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan visits Burma and meets President Thein Sein to discuss preparations for the nation’s 2014 chairmanship of ASEAN.

: Japan’s Finance Minister Azumi Jun visits Beijing and meets Vice Premier Wang Qishan to discuss economic cooperation.

: Korean Ambassador to the US Han Duk-soo resigns his post. Sa Gong-il, the current head of the Korea International Trade Association, is the new ambassador.

: Japan’s Director General of the Economic Affairs Bureau at the Foreign Ministry Yagi Takeshi travels to the US and meets Assistant Trade Representative Wendy Cutler to discuss Japan’s intention to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

: The 14th round of negotiations on the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is held in Tokyo.

: Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visits the US and meets President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. He makes stops in Washington DC, Iowa, and Los Angeles.

: China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu travels to Iran to discuss “Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West.”

:   US Congress approves the transfer of a second Coast Guard cutter to the Philippines Navy.  A retired US cutter was transferred in 2011, but most of the ship’s radar and sensor equipment was removed.  Manila requests that the equipment on the second cutter remain.

: ROK Special Representative Lim Sung-nam and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov agree to promote the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

: Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro travels to the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia to discuss security cooperation.

: India’s Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai visits the US to discuss trade and security cooperation.

: U.S. and Japan agree to transfer 4,700 marines from Okinawa to Guam as part of the 2006 bilateral agreement in which more than 8,000 US Marines are to be relocated.

: Secretary of State Clinton signs a sanction waiver for Burma, which will allow it to receive help from the World Bank and other financial institutions.

: China and Russia veto a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution on Syria calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

: Assistant Secretary Campbell visits Phnom Penh to discuss Cambodia’s role as 2012 ASEAN chair.

: Japanese government officials travel to the US and meet counterparts from the State and Treasury Department to discuss sanctions on Iran.

: Assistant Secretary Campbell visits Hanoi.

: Assistant Secretary Campbell visits Seoul and meets South Korean and Japanese officials.

: Glyn Davies, US special representative for North Korea policy, and Clifford Hart, US special envoy for the Six-Party Talks, travel to Moscow and meet Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and Ambassador-at-large for the Six-Party Talks Grigory Logvinov to discuss bilateral and security issues.

: South Korea’s Deputy Defense Minister Lim Kwan-bin, acting US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Peter Lavoy, and Japan’s head of the Defense Ministry Policy Bureau Nishi Masanori meet in Jeju.

: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Japan, Brunei, New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji.

:   Second US-Philippine Strategic Dialogue is held in Washington.  Issues include increasing joint exercises and rotating US troops through Philippine bases.  Protestors picket the US Embassy in Manila, while Chinese media call for sanctions on the Philippines.

: In his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama announces the creation of a new trade enforcement group to stop unfair trade practices in countries such as China.

: Myanmar’s Parliament approves a motion calling for a halt to fighting and the resumption of peace talks between the military and rebels in the northern state of Kachin.

:   People’s Daily proclaims the Diaoyu Islands to be a “core interest” of China.

: ROK Special Representative Lim Sung-nam and Japan’s Director General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Sugiyama visit Washington and meet Assistant Secretary of State Campbell and Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies.

: China’s Sate Councilor Dai Bingguo travels to New Delhi and meets National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon to discuss boundary issues.

: US State Department Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Robert Einhorn and Treasury Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Daniel Glaser visit South Korea to discuss Iran’s nuclear issues and sanctions.

: Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou is re-elected president in Taiwan.

: The 31st annual Cobra Gold military exercise is held in Thailand. Participants include military units from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and the US. Nine countries including China and Russia participate as observers.

: Secretary of State Clinton announces the US decision to start a “process of exchanging ambassadors with Burma.”

: South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik travels to Oman and the United Arab Emirates to discuss oil supply issues.

: US imposes sanctions on China’s state-run Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp. for selling refined oil to Iran.

: Japan’s envoy to the Six-Party Talks Shinsuke Sugiyama travels to Seoul and meets counterpart Lim Sung-nam.

: Japan’s Foreign Minister Gemba Koichiro travels to Afghanistan and meets President Hamid Karzai.

: North Korea announces that it intends to “remain open to suspending uranium enrichment in exchange for US food aid.”

: North Korea announces it will start issuing special pardons for convicts on Feb. 1 “to commemorate milestone birthdays of its two late leaders.”

: Aung San Suu Kyi announces her candidacy for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Burma.

: US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner travels to Beijing and Tokyo to meet senior officials including Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko.

: Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysian leader of the People’s Alliance Party, is acquitted of sodomy charges.

: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak makes a state visit to China and meets President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

: Lim Sung-nam, South Korea’s special representative for Korea Peninsula peace and security affairs, travels to Beijing and meets Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei.

: China successfully launches its Ziyuan III satellite.

: Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Myanmar Derek Mitchell visits Burma and Thailand to follow up on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s December visit to Burma. In northern Thailand, he meets local officials and assistance groups working with refugees in the border region.

: President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta release a new strategic guidance document entitled Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense.

: Indian Army Gen. VK Singh visits Burma and meets President Thein Sein and other senior officials.

: Chinese Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee Chen Zhili visits Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as President Hu Jintao’s special representative.

: US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell visits China, South Korea, and Japan to discuss developments in North Korea after the death of Kim Jong Il.

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