Regional Overview

Chronology from Jan 2013 to May 2013

: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. They reaffirm bilateral ties and express their desire to coordinate on regional and international security issues.

: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei. He reaffirms China’s support for ASEAN integrationist developments and expresses China’s willingness to discuss the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea.

: North Korea rejects South Korea’s offer to resume negotiations on reopening Kaesong Industrial Complex. South Korea orders pull-out of remaining workers.

:   Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Joseph Yun testifies to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on “Security and Defense:  Cooperation and Challenges.”

: Brunei hosts 22nd ASEAN Summit.  Leaders agree to work toward a binding code of conduct in the South China Sea and to resolve differences over the South China Sea through peaceful and diplomatic means.

: Japan is formally invited by the other participants to join talks on the TPP.

: Trade ministers of the APEC forum discuss free trade and ways to facilitate investment as their meeting held in Surabaya, Indonesia.

: Indonesia hosts South-South Cooperation Forum.

: Cambodia and Thailand argue their claims to the disputed Preah Vihear Temple land at the International Court of Justice.

: The US approves Japan’s entry into Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.

: US Secretary of State John Kerry visits Northeast Asia with stops in Seoul, Beijing, and Tokyo.

: Japan deploys Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 missile interceptor in Tokyo in anticipation of a missile launch from North Korea.

: The Boao Forum is held in Hainan Province.

: Japan extends unilateral sanctions against North Korea for two more years.

: The US and Philippines conduct the annual Balikatan military exercise, with approximately 8,000 troops participating.

: Hassanal Bolkiah, the sultan of Brunei, visits China to meet President Xi Jinping and attend the Boao Forum, where he gives a keynote address.

: North Korea prevents South Korean workers from entering the Kaesong Industrial Zone. The ROK government maintains that the joint complex is still open.

: North Korea states that it plans to reopen nuclear facilities at the Yongbyon complex, which houses a uranium enrichment plant and a 5MW graphite moderated reactor.

: The attendees of the 19th China-ASEAN Senior Officials’ Consultation agree to fully execute the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and work toward completing a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.

: South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yun Byung-se visits the US and meets Secretary of State John Kerry. They reaffirm bilateral support and calls for North Korea to reenter the Six-Party Talks.

: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visits the US and meets President Obama.

: Representatives from the government of Thailand and Muslim rebel groups hold talks in Kuala Lumpur aimed at curbing violence in Southern Thailand.

: North Korea announces that it has cut the last military hotline with Seoul because there was no need for communications between the countries in a situation “where a war may break out at any moment.”

: Four Chinese ships begin military drills at James Shoal, located near the coast of Malaysia in the southernmost part of the South China Sea.

: US and South Korean sign a new military plan that lays out their joint response to the “North’s local provocations, with the South taking the lead and the US in support.”

: Chinese President Xi visits Russia and meets President Vladimir Putin. They agree to coordinate defense strategies and ratify the guidelines for the 2013-2016 China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation.

: Vietnam accuses China of firing on one of four fishing boats in the Paracel/Xisha Islands. China denies the allegations and urges the Vietnamese government to combat illegal fishing in its territory.

: Indonesia hosts third Jakarta International Defense Dialogue. Some 1,300 military officials from 45 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe attend.

: Widespread riots in several Myanmar cities following a dispute between Muslims and Buddhists. Government declares emergency rule.

: Japan orders a private warehouse to turn over five aluminum alloy rods seized from a ship that was traveling from North Korea to Myanmar last August 2012.

: Japan-ASEAN dialogue focusing on strengthening maritime security cooperation is held in Tokyo.

: North Korea announces that it no longer considers the 1953 Korea Armistice Agreement valid and cuts off the military hotline with Seoul.

: The US announces sanctions that will apply to North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank and four officials who have links to North Korean weapons production programs.

: Myanmar officials and the Kachin rebels meet in the Chinese town Ruili to conduct peace talks. They agree to continue talks until a permanent ceasefire is reached.

: ROK and US conduct the annual Key Resolve command post exercise, featuring the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff in the leading role for the first time.

: Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah visits the US and meets President Obama.

: North Korea announces that it is withdrawing from all previous non-aggression agreements with South Korea.

: UN Security Council unanimously passes Resolution 2094 which includes several new sanctions against North Korean entities, requires full inspections of vessels from North Korea, and requires closer scrutiny of activity by North Korean diplomats.

: Malaysia rejects Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s call for a ceasefire.

: Malaysian fighter jets are used to attack the “Royal Army of Sulu” in the town of Tanduo on Borneo. Malaysian Embassy in the Philippines closes due to protesters.

: The 16th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations are held in Singapore.

: Malaysian police engage in a firefight with the self-identified “Royal Army of Sulu” in Lahad Datu in Sabah, resulting in several deaths.

: ROK and US conduct the annual Foal Eagle joint military tactical field training exercise, which involves over 200,000 ROK and 10,000 US forces.

: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra meets Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and asks Malaysia to mediate peace talks between Thailand and southern separatists.

: Three Chinese Maritime Surveillance ships are spotted within 12 nm of Senkakus/Diaoyus. A Chinese Y-12 aircraft heading toward the islands is intercepted by Japanese F-4J fighters.

: ASEAN and its six free trade partners held a meeting in Bali to discuss the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), focusing on tariff reduction, extending existing free trade agreements, and setting up a trade negotiation committee.

: Park Geun-Hye is sworn in as president of South Korea.

: Three Chinese Maritime Surveillance vessels and a fishing patrol boat are sighted within 12 nm of the Senkakus/Diaoyus.

: Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visits South Korea and meets President Park Geun-hye.

: Prime Minister Abe visits the US and meets President Obama.

: China formally rejects a Philippine proposal to take their dispute regarding sovereignty issues in the South China Sea to the UN for arbitration.

:   US computer security firm Mandiant releases a report stating Chinese state-sponsored hackers associated with PLA Unit 61398 have accessed information from numerous US government agencies and businesses.

: Three Chinese Maritime Surveillance ships enter disputed waters around Diaoyus/Senkakus.

: Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and Japanese counterpart Kishida, meet in Tokyo for the fourth Japan-Indonesia Strategic Dialogue on the sidelines of the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development.

: Members of the “Royal Army of Sulu” are cornered in Sabah, triggering a stand-off with the local police.

: North Korea conducts a third underground nuclear test with an estimated yield of six to seven kilotons. The test is condemned worldwide.

: Some 180 Filipinos, calling themselves the “Royal Army of Sulu,” land at the village of Tanduo in Lahad Datu town in Sabah and claim the region as part of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo.

: Japanese business daily Nikkei reports that the Japanese Coast Guard will donate 10 patrol boats to the Philippines.

: The 32nd annual Corbra Gold exercise is held in Thailand involving 13,000 military personnel from a several Asian states plus observers from a dozen others.

: Japan suggests a “seaborne communication mechanism” be set up between military officials of Japan and China to prevent future miscommunications.

: China’s Defense Ministry denies Japanese allegations that its navy ships locked radars on Japanese military vessels in late January, saying that Japan’s remarks “were against the facts,” and urging Japan to “stop stirring up tension in the East China Sea.”

: Japan claims two Russian fighter jets briefly entered Japanese airspace near Hokkaido, prompting Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force to scramble fighter jets.

: Negotiators from the government of Myanmar and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) meet in Ruili, China to talk about reducing military tensions and opening lines of communication with the hope of achieving an eventual cease-fire.

: US and South Korea conduct a joint naval exercise in the East Sea.

: US Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force conduct Cope North military exercise in Guam. The South Korean Air Force participates as an observer for the first time.

: South Korea successfully launches its first satellite into space.

: Sen. John Kerry assumes the position of US Secretary of State.

: Japan’s Cabinet approves a $52 billion military budget.

: Twenty of the world’s largest creditors, including the US, agree to cut nearly 50 percent of Myanmar’s foreign debt and provide a seven-year grace period for the remainder.

: Japan launches a radar-equipped satellite to increase surveillance of the region.

: The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University posts new satellite images of activity at North Korean atomic test site. The Institute estimates the facility could conduct a test “in a few weeks or less.”

: The Paris Club of creditor nations cancels $6 billion of Myanmar’s debt.

: North Korea calls the new UN sanctions a “declaration of war” and threatens “physical counter-measures” against the South.

: Japanese and Taiwanese Coast Guard ships exchange water cannon volleys near the Senkakus/Diaoyus, discouraging a group of Taiwanese activists from landing on the islands to “maintain sovereignty.”

: President-designate Xi Jinping meets Kim Moo-sung, envoy of the Republic of Korea. Xi urges “a treatment of tensions” concerning the newly strengthened UN sanctions against North Korea.

: Chief US Envoy for Six-Party Talks Clifford Hart and US Special Envoy on DPRK Policy Glyn Davies visit South Korea, China, and Japan to discuss post-actions following the implementation of new UN sanctions against North Korea.

: Philippines announces it submitted its dispute with China over territorial claims in the South China to a UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) arbitration tribunal.

: United Nations Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution (UNSCR 2087) condemning North Korea’s recent rocket launch and expanding existing UN sanctions.

: Japanese Coast Guard reports that three Chinese maritime surveillance ships enter Japanese territorial waters near the Senkakus.

: Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Qi Jianguo visits Myanmar to co-chair the first China-Myanmar Strategic Security Consultation with Commander-in-Chief of the Army Gen. Soe Win. He also meets President Thein Sein.

: Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio visits the US and holds a joint press conference with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

: After a meeting of the Mekong River Commission, Vietnam and Cambodia call on Laos to halt construction of a $3.5 billion hydropower dam pending further study and consultation with downriver countries.

: The minesweeper, USS Guardian, runs aground causing extensive damage to Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO world heritage site and Philippine national park located in the Sulu Sea near the island of Palawan.

: Prime Minister Abe visits Southeast Asia with stops in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia “to strengthen relations with countries that share universal values [with Japan] and for such ties to help Japan’s growth.”

: US and Japan conduct a five-day joint air exercise over the Pacific Ocean near Shikoku, which involves six US F/A-18 fighters and four Japanese F-4 jets.

: Assistant Secretary of State for Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Mark Lippert and National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs Daniel Russel travel to South Korea and Japan to meet counterparts in Seoul and Tokyo.

: Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force carries out a drill to reclaim an island from enemy forces at the Narashino Garrison in Chiba.

:   Japanese government releases $226.5 billion stimulus plan that includes increased military spending.

: Foreign Secretary del Rosario warns that the Chinese nine-dash line territorial claim poses a threat to the Asian region’s security.

: Two Chinese J-10 fighters are sent in response to two Japanese F-15 fighters following a Chinese Y-8 aircraft at Japanese military radar north the Senkakus/Diaoyus.

: Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio visits the Philippines and meets President Benigno Aquino and Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario. Del Rosario says the Philippines plans to acquire 10 coast guard vessels from Japan.

: Le Luong Minh assumes the post of secretary general of ASEAN.

: Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun visits Seoul as an envoy for incoming Chinese leader Xi Jinping, meeting President-elect Park Geun-hye. Zhang acknowledges South Korean frustration toward China’s North Korean policy.

: A Japanese opposition lawmaker urges Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to not alter the 1993 apology to World War II sex slaves and South Korean “comfort women.”

: Prime Minister Abe calls for “resolute” action against North Korea over its nuclear weapons program in telephone call with United Nations leader Ban Ki-Moon.

: Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa visits Myanmar’s Rakhine state at the invitation of the Myanmar government. He says that trust must be rebuilt between the Rohingya and the ethnic Rakhine in the state.

: Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt travel to Pyongyang and meet several high-level Foreign Ministry officials. US State Department expresses displeasure over the visit.

: China makes a diplomatic complaint to Myanmar after three bombs land within its territory during air attacks on the northern Kachin state.

:   Indonesian Prime Minister Marty Natalegawa pledges $1 million in humanitarian assistance to Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

:  South Korean court refuses to extradite a Chinese man who was accused of an arson attack at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo to Japan, ruling the attack was a “political crime.”

: Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the promotion of human rights and negotiation of a binding code of conduct for claimants in the South China Sea would top the country’s agenda as 2013 ASEAN chair.

: Myanmar government acknowledges that the military carried out air attacks against rebel fighters in the northern state of Kachin.

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