Chronology from Jan 2023 to May 2023
: China and Singapore hold a four-day joint naval exercise in regional waters.
: India chairs the annual SCO defense ministers’ meeting in New Delhi. The SCO defense chiefs pledge to boost strategic communication, focus on consensus, and expand SCO cooperation and jointly safeguard regional security and stability.
: President Yoon and President Biden adopt the Washington Declaration to strengthen the United States “extended deterrence” commitment to South Korea.
: US and South Korea pledge cooperation on potential use of nuclear arms in response to any attack from North Korea, on a guarantee that Seoul swears off from developing its own nuclear weapon. President Yoon also states that the South Korea-US alliance will not be “shaken” by leaked US documents that allegedly contained the contents of tapped conversations of top South Korean officials.
: US and Philippine armed forces unleash a volley of missiles on a mock enemy warship in the South China Sea, in a show of military power and a strengthening alliance at a time of rising regional tension.
: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announces Sydney as the venue and host for the 2023 Quad Leaders’ summit, the third in-person meeting of the leaders of Australia, the United States, India, and Japan.
: Government and think-tank representatives from Myanmar and its neighbors, including India and China, hold talks in New Delhi as part of a secretive effort to de-escalate a bloody crisis in the army-run Southeast Asian nation.
: Chinese foreign ministry clarifies the government’s intention to continue supporting Central Asian countries in safeguarding their independence and territorial integrity, after a senior Chinese envoy in Europe raises an uproar by questioning the sovereignty of those states.
: Taiwan’s Han Kuang exercises are expected to focus on piercing blockade, combat forces preservation and maritime interception using the “Five Eyes” intelligence link in response to China’s over riding sovereignty claims in the region.
: South Korea and the US agree to boost economic partnerships in critical technology industries such as microchips, electric vehicles and batteries, post the US-South Korea bilateral meet.
: Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
: China and Russia sign a memorandum of understanding on strengthening maritime law enforcement cooperation to combat terrorism, illegal migration, smuggling of drugs and weapons and banning illegal fishing.
: Submarines from Russia’s Pacific Fleet destroy a mock enemy object as part of naval drills in the Sea of Japan.
: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz invites Chinese Premier Li Qiang for talks in Berlin, as the German government develops a new China strategy to reduce dependence on Asia’s economic superpower, a vital export market for German goods.
: Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei pledges his unconditional support for the “Republic of Taiwan” on a trip that comes as China steps up pressure on the handful of countries that still maintain formal ties with the island.
: United States sanctions three individuals for providing support to North Korea’s efforts to illegally generate funds for its nuclear and missile development programs.
: China’s cooperation with Europe and other nations is “endless” just as its ties with Russia are “unlimited,” China’s envoy to the European Union said, giving some reassurance of China’s neutrality over Ukraine.
: Sixth edition of Cope India-2023, an Air Exercise between the Indian and American Air Forces at Air Force Stations Kalaikunda, Panagarh and Agra concludes.
: China and Singapore plan military drills as Beijing deepens its defense and security ties with Southeast Asia, a region with strong existing US alliances.
: NASA and South Korea’s science agency are expected to sign a pact to boost outer space co-operation and expand high-tech partnerships and security ties to deter North Korea.
: Australia to prioritize long-range precision strike capability, domestic production of guided weapons, and diplomacy—key points of a review recommending the country’s biggest defense shake-up since World War II.
: China’s Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong lodges solemn representations with the South Korean ambassador over “erroneous” remarks by the South Korean President Yoon about Taiwan.
: Japan’s Self-Defense Forces prepare to shoot down North Korea satellites to minimize damage should a ballistic missile fall on Japan.
: Philippines and China to set up more lines of communication to resolve maritime issues in the South China Sea
: At the Lanting Forum in Shanghai, the Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang states that it is right and proper for China to uphold its sovereignty as both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to China.
: South Korea’s foreign ministry expresses “deep disappointment and regret” after Prime Minister Kishida sent a ritual offering of a “masakaki” tree stand to Yasukuni Shrine.
: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirms his attendance at the NATO summit, days after his New Zealand counterpart, Chris Hipkins, confirmed his participation. Australia and New Zealand are not members of NATO but have a decades-long relationship with the Western alliance.
: North Korea criticizes the G7 over call for denuclearization, while it vows to continue to build up its forces until military threats from the United States and its allies are eliminated.
: Russia bans the League of Residents of Chishima and Habomai Islands from campaigning for Japanese sovereignty over four disputed islands seized by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II, amid rising tensions between Moscow and Tokyo.
: Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei announces plans to visit Taiwan, as a reciprocal gesture mirroring Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to the country. The Guatemalan delegation is expected to pitch the country as a destination for investment and will tour several companies with the hopes of replicating their business model back home.
: United States to coordinate closely with South Korea on more support for Ukraine, calling its key Asian ally “a stalwart partner” in defending Ukraine’s sovereignty.
: Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong urges Pacific island countries to stay united in the face of great power competition. Her visit to the French territory coincides with a push by a China-backed group for several Pacific island nations, including New Caledonia, to sign a splinter security pact.
: US Trade Representative Katherine Tai states that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework trade negotiations are progressing “at a very quick pace” and she expects results from the talks as early as by the end of the year. The IPEF marks Washington’s first major pan-Asian trade engagement effort in nearly a decade.
: Vietnam opposes China’s unilateral annual ban on fishing in a vast area of the South China Sea, calling it a violation of its sovereignty. China in its defense, says the ban, applicable from May 1 to Aug. 16, is to promote sustainable fishing and improve marine ecology.
: A US congressional war game simulating a Chinese invasion of Taiwan shows the need to arm the island “to the teeth,” after the exercise indicated the US must boost production of long-range missiles and businesses must brace for economic fallout.
: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un orders preparations for the planned launch of the country’s first spy satellite to counter threats from the United States and South Korea. Analysts say the military satellite is part of the reclusive, nuclear-armed state’s efforts to advance surveillance technology, including drones, to improve its ability to strike targets in the event of a conflict.
: South Korean President Yoon opens door for possible military aid to Ukraine if it comes under a large-scale civilian attack; signaling a shift in his stance against arming Ukraine for the first time.
: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to convene envoys on Afghanistan from various countries to work on a unified approach to deal with the Taliban authorities here on.
: South Korean President Yoon comments on Taiwan in an interview with Reuters, prompting China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to comment on Yoon’s comments the same day, labeling them “meddling.” South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounces China’s response the following day and summons Chinese Ambassador Xing Haiming.
: United States and South Korea conduct combined attack drills as part of the Korea Marine Exercise Program to strengthen capabilities and interoperability.
: United States and Thailand conduct the third bilateral energy dialogue in Washington, DC.
: Recently elected New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins to attend the upcoming NATO summit.
: Rick Waters, deputy assistant secretary of state for China and Taiwan, accepts Washington’s knowledge of China’s transnational law enforcement within the borders of “dozens of countries” in a US House of Representatives hearing.
: Australia and New Zealand to sign an Arms Co-operation Deal, Plan ANZAC, to improve army interoperability with more cooperation over training, capability, readiness and personnel.
: G7 industrial powers stress unity amid growing acts of coercion and sanctioning of nuclear weapons, committed by China and Russia respectively.
: Japan and South Korea hold their first security talks since 2018, centered around strategic environments surrounding the two countries. Their finance ministers also announce plans to hold a bilateral meeting for the first time in seven years, heralding closer cooperation in economic policy that has been hampered by diplomatic conflict.
: Tokyo lodges a protest against Russia over its military exercises around disputed islands near Japan’s Hokkaido.
: Russia brushes off Japanese criticism of naval exercises by its Pacific Fleet, saying it needed to be on guard against a variety of regional threats while focusing on Ukraine.
: South Korea, the United States, and Japan stage joint naval missile defense exercises to improve responses to North Korean threats, as Pyongyang accuses Washington of ramping up “nuclear blackmail” with military drills.
: Taiwan to buy 400 US land-launched Harpoon missiles in the face of rising threat from China. The Pentagon announced a $1.17 billion contract for 400 of the anti-ship missiles, saying production was expected to be completed by March 2029.
: South Korea fires warning shots after toward a North Korean vessel that breached the Northern Limit Line, the de facto sea boundary.
: China launches a weather satellite as civilian flights alter their routes to avoid a Chinese-imposed no-fly zone to the north of Taiwan which Beijing put in place because of the possibility of falling rocket debris.
: Japan’s Economy and Trade Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi urges members of the G7 nations to help emerging countries reduce emissions, including the financing of decarbonization in “hard-to-abate” industries.
: A suspect is arrested after allegedly throwing an explosive device at Prime Minister Kishida in an assassination attempt.
: China’s top diplomat Wang Yi “hopes and believes” Germany will support China’s “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan, at a meeting with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock; adding that China once supported Germany’s reunification.
: South Korean Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo states that there is a possibility that Japan could join the South Korea-US intelligence alliance.
: Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken express a desire to deepen their ties as Washington seeks to solidify alliances to counter an increasingly assertive China.
: US, South Korea, and Japan hold the 13th Defense Trilateral Talks, a director-general level talk in Washington, DC to discuss the North Korean threat and ways to deepen trilateral security cooperation.
: North Korean States media announces the testing of a new solid-fuel ICBM, the Hwasong-18, to “radically promote” its nuclear counterattack capability.
: Beijing’s ambassador to Manila remarks that Philippines is “stoking the fire” of regional tensions by offering expanded military base access to the United States, whose goal is to interfere in China’s affairs with Taiwan. This statement comes in the light of Philippines identifying four more bases that Washington can use under an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement signed in 2014.
: South Korea and the United States hold joint air drills following North Korea’s recent firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
: Chair of ASEAN bloc strongly condemns a military air strike on a village in Myanmar, reported to have killed up to 100 people including civilians.
: Japan, India, and France announce a common platform for talks among bilateral creditors to coordinate restructuring of Sri Lanka’s debt. This move is expected to serve as a model for solving the debt woes of middle-income economies.
: Canada and South Korea plan to launch talks on an information security agreement to facilitate intelligence-sharing and promote security ties, earlier this year.
: China’s foreign ministry sanctions US Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, for visiting Taiwan and sending “serious wrong signals” to Taiwan independence separatist forces.
: China opts out of a United Nations project to survey Asian wet markets and other facilities at high risk of spreading infectious diseases from wild animals to humans.
: Xi stresses need to deepen military training, preparation and comprehensively raise their level of modernization after inspecting his country’s Southern Theatre Command navy.
: Taiwan’s defense ministry announces the incursion of 14 Chinese air force planes across the Taiwan Strait’s median line. This demarcation serves as an unofficial barrier between the two sides.
: Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party nominates Vice President William Lai Ching-te as its presidential candidate in the 2024 election.
: South Korea reaches an agreement to lend the United States 500,000 rounds of 155mm artillery shells. This deal would give Washington greater flexibility to supply Ukraine with ammunition while sticking to the government principle of not providing lethal weapons in conflict zones.
: French President Emmanuel Macron favors the status-quo on Taiwan, he says, after facing backlash over comments calling for caution against being drawn into a crisis over Taiwan driven by an “American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction.”
: United States becomes the first major fishing nation to ratify a deal to cut subsidies contributing to overfishing. The deal aims to cut billions of dollars in harmful subsidies that empty the ocean of marine life.
: South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup talks with Secretary of Defense Austin regarding recent news of leaked documents that the US wiretapped conversations of top South Korean national security officials. The two agree that a “great deal of disclosed information was fabricated.” Kim Tae-hyo, South Korean principal deputy national security adviser, states that South Korea and the US believe that a “large portion” of the leaked classified documents may be fake and are considering the involvement of a “third party.”
: US and the Philippines conduct the 38th iteration of the Balikatan (“Shoulder-to-Shoulder”) exercises.
: China ends three days of military drills around Taiwan, after testing integrated military capabilities under actual combat conditions, having practiced precision strikes and blockading the island that Beijing views as its own.
: A spokesperson for the Department of State announces that the US commitment to South Korea is “ironclad” when asked about recently leaked documents revealing (among other things) that the US may have eavesdropped on conversations at the South Korean presidential office. A South Korean presidential official states that South Korea will seek “appropriate measures” from the US if necessary after looking into the validity of the leaked documents.
: US, Japan, Australia, and India hold the Quad Cyber Challenge.
: Malaysia express firm commitment to protecting its sovereign rights and interests in the South China Sea after China expressed concern about Malaysian energy projects in a part of the South China Sea that China also claims.
: House of Representatives votes unanimously to instruct the White House to work toward changing China’s status as a “developing nation” in the World Trade Organization.
: North Korea does not respond to the South’s usual twice-daily calls at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on their telephone liaison channel, nor to the separate daily test calls at 4 p.m. on two military hotlines covering the West and East Seas. On April 10, the Ministry of Unification concludes that Pyongyang has unilaterally severed all communications.
: Over 5,000 people flee into Thailand after fighting between the Myanmar military and armed ethnic rebels.
: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul visits Taiwan and meets Tsai and Vice President Lai Ching-te. On the 13th, China responds by sanctioning him personally, adding to the list of senior members of Congress on Beijing’s blacklist.
: China and Cambodia conclude “Golden Dragon 2023” joint military exercise.
: Japan sets out the new aid scheme—Overseas Security Assistance—to allow overseas defense funding by offering countries financial assistance to help them bolster their defenses, marking its first unambiguous departure from rules that forbid the use of international aid for military purposes. The OSA will be managed separately from the Overseas Development Assistance program that for decades has funded roads, dams and other civilian infrastructure.
: US House Speaker McCarthy meets with Taiwan President Tsai before a bipartisan group of US lawmakers at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library outside Los Angeles.
: A US B-52 strategic bomber joins military exercises with South Korea in the latest demonstration of the allies’ readiness to respond to any North Korean provocation. The bomber, in the first deployment to South Korea of a US B-52 since March 6, joined US F-35B and F-16 fighters, and South Korean F-35 jets for the exercise.
: Trade ministers of the G7 countries hold their first meeting of the year via teleconference, to discuss export controls and economic security by reaffirming “that export controls are a fundamental policy tool to address the challenges posed by the diversion of technology critical to military applications as well as for other activities that threaten global, regional, and national security.”
: China urges the World Trade Organization to scrutinize US-led technology export restrictions aimed at curbing its ability to make advanced chips. Chinese representatives addressed the WTO meeting by demanding that Japan, the Netherlands and the United States to report their plans and subsequent measures to the body and urged the WTO to step up supervision on the matter.
: China and France agree to work for a peaceful solution to the Ukraine conflict during French President Macron’s three-day visit to China.
: South Korea, the United States, and Japan hold a trilateral naval exercise featuring the USS Nimitz carrier that is focused on enhancing response capabilities against underwater threats.
: For the first time, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification publishes its annual report on North Korean human rights.
: Biden administration convenes the second Summit for Democracy, co-hosted with the governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, and Republic of Zambia.
: Myanmar’s State Administrative Council officially dissolves 40 political parties, including the National League for Democracy, the party of Aung San Suu Kyi and the winner of the November 2020 elections that the military set aside with the coup of Feb. 1, 2021.
: Media reports suggest the US, Japan, and Philippines plan to create a trilateral framework involving their national security advisers.
: North Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea.
: US Treasury Department imposes sanctions on two individuals and six entities in Myanmar and advises that the provision of jet fuel to the Tatmadaw will come under US sanctions.
: US Forces Korea conducts the first training on the deployment of a remote launcher of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system stationed in South Korea.
: North Korea conducts a new underwater nuclear strategic weapon test and cruise missile exercise to “alert the enemy to an actual nuclear crisis.”
: House Select Committee on China holds a hearing entitled “The Chinese Communist Party’s Ongoing Uyghur Genocide.”
: A US Navy destroyer sails near one of the most important man-made and Chinese controlled islands in the South China Sea, in a freedom of navigation mission that Beijing denounced as illegal.
: Rick Waters, head of the State Department’s “China house” travels to Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong for meetings with Chinese officials.
: North Korea criticizes US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield for calling on the UNSC to denuclearize North Korea. North Korea states that pressure to dismantle its nukes means “a declaration of war.”
: Solomon Islands awards a multi-million-dollar contract to a Chinese state company to upgrade an international port in Honiara in a project funded by the Asian Development Bank. The Solomon Islands had struck a security pact with Beijing in 2022, prompting concern from the United States and its allies, including Australia, New Zealand and Japan, over China’s ambitions to build a naval base in the region.
: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr grants the US access to four new military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.These sites will be located in various parts of the Philippines, including in a province facing the South China Sea.
: North Korea fires multiple cruise missiles off its east coast in a latest series of tests of its weapons as its rivals, South Korea and the United States, conducted joint military exercises.
: Russian President Vladimir Putin remarks that Chinese proposals tabled by Xi Jinping can be used as the basis of a peace settlement in Ukraine. In a joint statement at the end of Xi’s state visit to Moscow, the two men caution against any steps that might push the Ukraine conflict into an “uncontrollable phase,” adding that there could be no winners in a nuclear war.
: China’s President Xi Jinping invites Russian President Vladimir Putin for the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, to be held in China later this year.
: Russia flies two Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bomber planes over the Sea of Japan for more than seven hours, as Japan’s Prime minister begins his visit to Ukraine. The planes are capable of carrying nuclear weapons and Moscow regularly flies them over international waters in the Arctic, North Atlantic and Pacific as a show of strength.
: China and Cambodia hold the first ever Golden Dragon 2023 Joint Military Naval exercises in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
: Russia overtakes Saudi Arabia to become China’s top oil supplier in the first two months of 2023, as buyers snap up sanctioned Russian oil at steep discounts. Arrivals from Russia totaled 15.68 million tons in January-February, or 1.94 million barrels per day, up 23.8% from 1.57 million bpd in the corresponding 2022 period, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
: North Korea conducts a two-day practice simulating a tactical nuclear counterattack to South Korea-United States “war” drills.
: Prime Minister Kishida deems India “an essential partner when it comes to realizing Japan’s free and open Indo-Pacific vision,” as he announces joint maritime exercises with India and the United States, as well as goodwill exercises with ASEAN and the Pacific Islands, in addition to promising $75 billion in investment to counter China and help regional economies across all sectors.
: South Korea and the United States conduct high-tech military drills with increased “intensity and realism” to bolster deterrence against North Korean provocations.
: 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released by the US Department of State, calls out North Korea for dozens of human rights issues such as torture, total state control of media, and trafficking.
: Kishida travels to India to promote a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and invites Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the G7 summit in May.
: Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi discusses global security and China’s presence in the Pacific with the leader of the Solomon Islands; in the very first visit by a Japanese foreign minister to the island state.
: North Korea fires a short-range ballistic missile toward the East Sea.
: A US B-1B strategic bomber returns to South Korea for joint exercises and as a show of force as North Korea fires a ballistic missile into the East Sea.
: Russia, China, and Iran complete three-way naval exercises in the Arabian Sea that included artillery fire at targets on the sea and in the air.
: Taiwan vows to remain resilient and pragmatic and support its allies, not bowing before the “big bully in the neighborhood,” as the island faces the loss of long-term ally Honduras to China.
: China blocks the United States from broadcasting an informal United Nations Security Council meeting on human rights abuses in North Korea online.
: North Korea fires a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile toward the East Sea in a show of the “toughest response posture” against “aggressive” combined drills by the US and South Korea.
: China’s foreign ministry counters Japan’s territorial claims over disputed waters in the East China Sea, calling the move a “grave violation” of Chinese sovereignty.
: South Korean President Yoon travels to Tokyo to meet with Prime Minister Fumio, the first such summit between leaders of the two countries in 12 years.
: US Senate confirms President Joe Biden’s nominee Eric Garcetti as Ambassador to India.
: China’s Coast Guard enters waters around disputed East China Sea islets on Wednesday to counter what it called the incursion of Japanese vessels into Chinese territorial waters.
: South Korea participates in a US-led multinational anti-submarine warfare exercise to enhance joint anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese meets his Fiji counterpart in Suva to alleviate concerns surrounding its $245 billion nuclear-powered submarine program. Australia is party to a nuclear-free zone treaty with 12 other South Pacific nations, including Fiji, which is gridlocked by the effects of nuclear weapons tests by the United States and France.
: China, Iran, and Russia conduct joint naval exercises titled “”Marine Security Belt” exercises “in the Gulf of Oman to “deepen practical cooperation among the navies of participating countries.”
: US Environmental Protection Agency finalizes a rule to require industrial facilities and power plants in 23 states to cut their smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, under the final “Good Neighbor” plan.
: Negotiators from 14 countries, including the US, take part in the second round of negotiations on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework in Bali.
: China, Russia, and Iran hold a joint naval drill, code-named “Security Bond-2023,” in the Gulf of Oman.
: Honduras President Xiomara Castro announces the country will switch its diplomatic relations from the Republic of China to the People’s Republic of China.
: North Korea fires two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine in the East Sea.
: South Korea and the United States begin the 11-day Freedom Shield exercise that present “realistic” scenarios reflective of North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats.
: South Korean navy destroyer ROKS Choe Yeong conducts a joint field exercise with the USS Rafael Peralta.
: Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to re-establish relations after years of hostility that had threatened stability and security in the Gulf and helped fuel conflicts in the Middle East from Yemen to Syria. The deal, brokered by China, was announced after four days of previously undisclosed talks in Beijing between top security officials from the two rival Middle East powers.
: A Gallup Korea poll shows that 59% of Koreans do not approve of the Yoon government’s compensation plan because it does not involve an apology or compensation from Japanese firms.
: President of Federated States of Micronesia David Panuelo mentions the commencement of talks with Taiwan about switching diplomatic ties for $50 million in assistance after frustrations with China.
: North Korea fires a short-range ballistic missile toward the Yellow Sea.
: Chinese government announces a 7.2% rise, to $225 billion, in the country’s defense budget for 2023, though foreign analysts estimate that actual military spending may be 1.1 to 2 times higher than stated in the official budget.
: ASEAN and Chinese officials meet for a three-day discussion for the “China-ASEAN Joint Working Group on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.”
: South Korea and the United States stage combined air drills involving a US nuclear-capable B-52H strategic bomber.
: China announces the contribution of 200,000 euros ($217,000) to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for technical assistance to Ukraine for the safety and security of nuclear power plants or other peaceful nuclear facilities in Ukraine.
: Negotiators from more than 100 countries complete a UN treaty to protect the high seas, to reverse marine biodiversity losses and ensure sustainable development; after five rounds of protracted UN-led negotiations.
: China’s National Budget 2023 allocates 1.55 trillion Yuan ($224 billion) to military spending and the state is expected to boost defense expenditure by 7.2%, slightly outpacing 2022’s economic growth forecast.
: South Korea announces that its companies would compensate people forced to work under Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation, seeking to end a dispute that has undercut US-led efforts to present a unified front against China and North Korea. This solution shall help resolve the colonial-era forced labor that has overshadowed political and trade relations between the two neighbors.
: As the chair of the G7 in 2023, the Japanese government pledges financial and technological support to help ASEAN countries decarbonize their economies, combat global climate change and promote “realistic energy transition.”
: Philippines spots a Chinese navy ship and dozens of militia vessels around a contested Philippine-occupied Thitu island in the South China Sea, as territorial tensions mount in the area.
: South Korea and Japan create a new channel of bilateral communication to negotiate a resolution of the wartime forced labor issue.
: US State Department announces $6 billion in funding commitments around the world to protect oceans and fight climate change. The announcement includes 77 different commitments, with $3 billion allocated for climate resilience and climate research, more than $665 million for sustainable fisheries and $200 million tackling marine pollution.
: A Cambodian court convicts former leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kem Sokha of treason and sentenced him to 27 years of house arrest. Under detention since 2017, his sentencing is a clear warning to the remnants of the Cambodian political opposition ahead of general elections on July 23.
: United States and South Korea announce that they will conduct more than 10 days
: A Russian submarine launches the Kalibr cruise missile from Sea of Japan in a drill. These missiles have been previously used by Kremlin to attack multiple targets in Ukraine, including power stations, by launching them from ships and submarines in the Black Sea.
: United States adds 37 Chinese and Russian entities to its trade blacklist for activities including contributing to Russia’s army, supporting China’s military and facilitating or engaging in human rights abuses in Myanmar and China.
: Vietnam’s National Assembly elects Vo Van Thuong as the country’s new president, in a reshuffle of the country’s top leadership amid a sweeping anti-graft campaign.
: Quad foreign ministers meet to reaffirm support for an inclusive, resilient, free and open Indo-Pacific.
: In his first speech addressing the March First Independence Movement Day, President Yoon calls Japan a “partner” to work together to face global challenges.
March 2, 2023: White House announces a new Cyber-Security strategy in the latest effort to bolster its cyber defenses amid a steady increase in hacking and digital crimes targeting the country. The strategy urges tighter regulation of existing cyber-security practices across industries and improved collaboration between the government and private sector.
March 2, 2023: White House announces a new Cyber-Security strategy in the latest effort to bolster its cyber defenses amid a steady increase in hacking and digital crimes targeting the country. The strategy urges tighter regulation of existing cyber-security practices across industries and improved collaboration between the government and private sector.
: Thailand and the United States kick off military exercises involving more than 7,000 personnel and forces from 30 countries, with the annual “Cobra Gold” drills; one of the world’s longest-running multilateral military exercises and the biggest in Southeast Asia, to shore up alliances in Asia at a time of increasing competition with China. The latest edition of this drill will include a new component focused on space exercises.
: South Korean and US special commandos conduct Exercise Teak Knife, combined drills set to strengthen the “ironclad” security commitment between the allies.
: Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office indicts four of former President Moon Jae-in’s former minister-level officials for alleged involvement in the forced repatriation of two North Korean fishermen in 2019.
: South Korea, the United States, and Japan hold their first economic security dialogue, amid efforts to strengthen the resilience of supply chains and develop technology. With an intent to expand bilateral economic security cooperation with the United States to the trilateral level, the countries discussed cooperation to protect technology and data and vulnerabilities arising from economic interdependence.
: China accuses the US of “endangering” peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait after a US P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance military plane flies through the sensitive waterway; citing Beijing’s “sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction” over the strait.
: International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s investment arm, will provide Sri Lanka a $400 million cross-currency swap facility to help fund essential imports; as the Indo-Pacific island nation grapples with its worst financial crisis in over seven decades.
: JPMorgan proposes a new Asia credit index with slashed China weighting in parallel to its existing $85 billion Asia credit index, amid growing geopolitical tensions and dimming appetite for Chinese property bonds.
: G20 finance chiefs fail to reach a consensus on describing the war in Ukraine and end the meeting by issuing a “Chair’s summary and an Outcome document” in which it simply summed up the two days of talks and noted disagreements.
: USS Springfield, a US nuclear-powered submarine, arrives in South Korea, in an apparent warning to North Korea’s repeated missile provocations.
: North Korea fires four Hwasal-2 strategic cruise missiles to demonstrate the “war posture” of the country’s nuclear combat forces.
: Canada pledges four more Leopard 2 battle tanks, an armored recovery vehicle, over 5,000 rounds of 155 mm and a new legion of sanctions targeting 129 individuals and 63 entities including Russian deputy prime ministers and other officials to Ukraine in its defense against Russia.
: US State Department marks the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine by sanctioning more than 60 top Russian officials, including cabinet ministers and regional leaders, and three nuclear weapons institutes.
: Pacific Islands Forum agrees to pass on the diplomatic post to Taiwan ally Nauru in 2024; as it resolves to face climate change and superpower rivalry as a united “family.”
: North Korea test-fires four strategic cruise missiles during a drill designed to demonstrate its ability to conduct a nuclear counterattack against hostile forces; in response to the US-South Korea simulated exercises held earlier.
: China issues a 12-point “Position Paper on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis.”
: US and South Korean Deterrence Strategy Committee conducts its 1st Table-Top/Simulated Exercise, known as DSC TTX, in response to Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s recent aggressive nuclear policy and advancements in nuclear capabilities.
: United States is set to expand the number of troops helping train Taiwanese forces, at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing.
: G7 nations raise $39 billion worth of economic support for Ukraine and urge an IMF program for the country by the end of March. The decision comes after a meeting of the bloc’s finance ministers and central bank governors on the eve of the war’s first anniversary.
: After a four-year gap, China and Japan resume diplomatic and security talks with the successive holding of the 29th regular consultation between China and Japan diplomatic authorities, the 17th China-Japan security dialogue, and the 16th China-Japan economic partnership consultation.
: Philippines and Australia discuss pursuing joint patrols in the South China Sea, days after the Southeast Asian country held similar talks with the United States on the need to counter China’s assertiveness in the strategic waterway.
: China and Japan square off at their 1st Formal Security Talk in over four years. The talks, aimed at easing tensions between the world’s second- and third-largest economies, come as Tokyo worries that Beijing will resort to force to take control of Taiwan in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, sparking a conflict that could embroil Japan and disrupt global trade.
: North Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea, following the joint air drills staged by South Korea and the United States.
: US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield urges the UN Security Council to condemn North Korea’s ballistic missile launches and encourage Pyongyang to engage in diplomacy.
: Philippines and the United States discuss conducting joint coast guard patrols, including in the South China Sea, in a response to overlapping sovereign claims in the strategic waterway and China’s “aggressive activities” in the region; which has also become a flashpoint for Chinese and US tensions around naval operation.
: Russia, China, and South Africa hold second joint naval drill, Mosi-2, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of South Africa.
Feb. 22, 2023: Following North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches, South Korea, the United States, and Japan conduct a trilateral missile defense exercise to strengthen security cooperation.
Feb. 22, 2023: Following North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches, South Korea, the United States, and Japan conduct a trilateral missile defense exercise to strengthen security cooperation.
: North Korea launches a long-range ballistic missile into the sea off Japan’s west coast, after warning of a strong response to upcoming military drills by South Korea and the United States. Japanese authorities declare that the missile plunged into waters inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone more than an hour after it was launched, suggesting the weapon was one of Pyongyang’s largest missiles.
: Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers meet on sidelines of Munich Security Conference reiterating the need for “close communications between the two countries on each diplomatic level to resolve issues of concern.”
: In an effort to maintain lines of communication, Secretary Blinken meets Wang Yi on the sidelines of the 59th Munich Security Conference, the first high-level meeting between Chinese and US officials since the balloon incident.
: China imposes sanctions on US defense manufacturers Raytheon and Lockheed Martin as a “countermeasure” for their fulfillment of arms sales contracts for Taiwan.
: US Vice President Kamala Harris discusses challenges posed by China with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and agrees to remain closely aligned in meetings with the European leaders, held alongside the Munich Security Conference.
: Taiwan finds crashed weather balloon on a remote island, after it had found the remains of a probable crashed weather balloon likely from China on a remote and strategically located island near the Chinese coast, amid a dispute between China and the United States over spy balloons.
: Myanmar’s parallel National Unity Government asks the US for more sanctions against the Tatmadaw and increased funding for anti-junta forces.
: Japan says it will start a pilot program in April to test the use of a digital yen, its central bank, joining a growing number of countries seeking to catch up with front-runner China in launching a central bank digital currency.
: South Korea releases its latest defense white paper describing North Korea as its “enemy” for the first time in six years and reporting an increase in Pyongyang’s stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium up to 70 kg.
: US, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan hold first meeting of the “Chip4” or “Fab 4” initiative to build a resilient semiconductor supply chain, involving senior government officials.
: China’s President Xi Jinping and his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, call for the lifting of sanctions on Iran as an integral part of a stalled international agreement on its nuclear program.
: Over 60 countries including the US and China sign a modest “call to action” endorsing the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the military at the first international summit on military AI, co-hosted by the Netherlands and South Korea this week at The Hague.
: Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology releases a study suggesting the negligible impact of the release of waste water from Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear power into South Korean water bodies.
: China puts Lockheed Martin and a unit of Raytheon Technologies on an “unreliable entities list” over arms sales to Taiwan, banning them from imports and exports related to China in its latest sanctions against the US companies.
: Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi announces that Japan will invite his Ukrainian counterpart to the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting to be held in Germany.
: Manila’s Army Chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner announces that the Philippines and the United States will carry out their biggest joint military drills in 2023, against a backdrop of growing tensions with China in the South China Sea.
: Japan condemns China’s violations of its airspace by uncrewed surveillance balloons and “strongly suspects” that Chinese surveillance balloons entered Japanese territory at least three times since 2019.
: China Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA), the country’s top chip industry trade group, opposes reported export controls from the United States, Japan and the Netherlands.
: Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr summons China’s ambassador to express his “serious concern” over China’s actions in the South China Sea, where a Chinese coast guard ship directed a “military-grade laser” at one of its ships supporting a resupply mission to troops in the disputed waterway, temporarily blinding its crew on the bridge.
: Prime Minister Modi and President Biden meet to review ongoing and new initiatives to deepen the India-US Comprehensive and Global Partnership and welcome the Air India–Boeing agreement.
: Officials from China, India, Saudi Arabia, and G7 nations will participate in a first virtual meeting of a new sovereign debt roundtable.
: US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet will lead a delegation to Pakistan and Bangladesh, as Washington and Islamabad seek to repair ties strained under former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
: United States and Papua New Guinea make substantial progress on the text of a defense cooperation agreement that lays the groundwork for closer military ties between the two nations. The agreement is expected to improve the capacity of Papua New Guinea’s Defense Force and increase stability and security in the region.
: Top Communist Party official Wang Huning meets with Taiwan’s senior opposition leader Andrew Hsia to discuss the need for maintaining the “peace and stability of cross-strait relations.”
: Department of Commerce adds six Chinese companies to the Entity List over their involvement in Beijing’s balloon surveillance program.
: US signs a memorandum of understanding with the Federated States of Micronesia.
: Australian government will examine surveillance technology used in offices of its defense department amid reports citing security risks from Chinese-made cameras installed there posed a security risk.
: Japan and the Philippines pledge closer security ties amid China tensions by penning a deal, allowing their armed forces to work together during disaster relief operations. The two sides also agree to establish a framework that would “strengthen and smooth the process of holding joint exercises.”
: Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim vows to facilitate peace talks to a long-simmering insurgency in restive southern Thailand during an official visit to the country.
: First Australian coal cargoes arrive in China, after the easing of an unofficial ban on imports introduced by Beijing more than two years ago.
: North Korea showcases its missile production muscle during a night-time parade, displaying more intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and hinting at a new solid-fuel weapon; despite United Nations Security Council resolutions and sanctions.
: United States, Britain, and Australia carry out joint air drills over the Nevada desert and beyond, as part of an effort to simulate high-end combat operations against Chinese fighter aircraft and air defenses.
: Opposition gains majority in key Solomon Islands province after anti-China leader ousted. Daniel Suidani, a vocal critic of the country’s relationship with China, vocally opposed the Solomon Island switching recognition from Taiwan to China in 2019.
: Philippine President Marcos visits Japan seeking closer security ties, as Manila increasingly sides with the United States in its regional tussle with China.
: Australia and New Zealand talk up their relationships with China at a joint prime ministerial news conference in the latest sign of strengthening ties with their biggest trading partner.
: Canada and Taiwan agree to commence formal talks to start formal negotiations for a deal to encourage two-way foreign investments and deepen their Indo-Pacific partnership.
: Philippine Coast Guard steps up its presence in the disputed South China Sea by deploying additional vessels and conducting more sorties and over-flights to protect maritime territory and the country’s fishermen.
: China protests the downing of the balloon with the US Embassy in Beijing.
: South Korea and Australia’s central banks renew a currency swap agreement valued at 9.6 trillion won or A$12 billion, for five years until early 2028. The agreement, first signed in 2014, allows either party to exchange funds in their own currency for the other currency under pre-set terms.
: ASEAN chair Indonesia says it will intensify talks on code for South China Sea, amid escalating tensions in the strategic waterway.
: A US military fighter jet shoots down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina, a week after it first entered US airspace.
: South Korea Foreign Minister Park Jin reaffirms commitment to strengthening “extended deterrence” in relation to North Korea in a meeting with US top diplomat Antony Blinken amid concerns over Pyongyang’s increasing missile and nuclear capabilities.
: China objects to further cooperation between Britain, the US, and Australia on nuclear submarines in a statement made by the foreign ministry during a formal briefing.
: Micronesia will sign an extension of its economic and security pact with the United States; a deal seen as important in Washington’s efforts to counter Chinese influence in the Pacific.
: World Bank allows two separate proceedings to resolve a long-running disagreement over water between India and Pakistan to run in parallel, fearing the stalemate endangered the historic Indus Water Treaty.
: United States and South Korea conduct joint air exercises for the second time in a week with some of their latest warplanes, despite North Korean complaints that the exercises increase tensions on the peninsula.
: Philippines grants the US greater access to bases amid mounting concern over China’s increasing assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea and tension over self-ruled Taiwan. The United States would be given access to four more locations under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
: South Korea and the US stage combined air drills over the Yellow Sea.
: Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi discuss concerns over disputed East China Sea islands. The disputed East China Sea islets claimed by both China and Japan have long been a sticking point in bilateral relations. China calls the islands Diaoyu, while Japan calls them Senkaku.
: US reopens its embassy in the Solomon Islands with Secretary Blinken hailing it as an important signal of Washington’s commitment to democracy in the Pacific region.
: US launches a partnership with India to compete against China on military equipment, semiconductors, and artificial intelligence.
: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stresses the importance of NATO working closely with partners in the Indo-Pacific. He notes that Europe cannot not ignore what happens in East Asia, as global security is interconnected.
: US and allies mark anniversary of Myanmar coup with more curbs on energy officials and junta members, among others.
: To hold onto power under the current constitution, the State Administrative Council in Myanmar extends the State of Emergency imposed during the coup on Feb. 1, 2021 for another six months.
: US Customs and Border Protection begins to issue detention notices against aluminum shipments originating in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region over concerns of forced labor.
: NATO and Japan pledge to strengthen ties in face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing military cooperation with China. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and Prime Minister Kishida note that these developments have created the most tense security environment since World War II.
: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen holds a telephone call with Czech President-elect Petr Pavel in a diplomatic coup for Taipei.
: Defense chiefs of the United States and South Korea vow to expand military drills and boost nuclear deterrence planning to counter North Korea’s weapons development and prevent the possibility of a war.
: Myanmar’s military, which has been is invited to take part in a regional military meeting co-chaired by the United States and Thailand.
: A Chinese surveillance balloon floats across the continental United States after first being spotted over Alaska on Jan. 28.
: Kiribati announces that it will rejoin the Pacific Islands Forum, ending a split that had threatened unity at a time of increased superpower tensions in the strategically located region.
: France and Australia unveil plans to jointly manufacture ammunition for Ukraine to shore up defense cooperation and move past a row over Canberra’s decision to ditch plans to buy French submarines two years ago.
: South Korea’s Coast Guard arrests an unnamed oil dealer. He is accused of supplying 19,000 tons of diesel fuel, worth 18 billion won ($14.65 million), to North Korea in 35 ship-to-ship transfers during October 2021-January 2022, using a Chinese firm as intermediary for transport and payment.
: China’s coast guard drives away Japanese vessels from disputed waters in the East China Sea.
: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrives in Seoul in a move to intensify ties with Asia. The trip, intended to reach out to US allies like South Korea and Japan is band-wagoning with like-minded partners in the face of the war in Ukraine and rising competition with China.
: Russia rules out talks with Japan on renewing a pact that allows Japanese fishermen to operate near disputed islands off the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, known in Russia as the Kurils and in Japan as the Northern Territories. They have been at the core of decades of tension between the neighbors.
: Australia’s defense and foreign ministers aim to deepen security ties with France and Britain, as noted in their visits to Europe this week, flagging the Indo-Pacific as a key area of focus.
: Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun reports that Japan is considering lifting export controls to South Korea as they continue to work on a resolution to the wartime forced labor issue.
: Myanmar’s ruling junta announces tough requirements for parties to contest elections in 2023, including a huge increase in their membership. This move is expected to sideline the military’s opponents and cement its grip on politics.
: Thailand’s ruling pro-military Palang Pracharat Party picks political veteran and former army chief Prawit Wongsuwon as its prime ministerial candidate. Prawit, who serves as the current deputy prime minister, is expected to face-off with the incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
: United States Marine Corps opens a new base on Guam to counter China’s presence in the Western Pacific.
: A security assessment by the Indian Police in the Himalayan region of Ladakh reports there could be more clashes between Indian and Chinese troops along their contested frontier there as Beijing ramps up military infrastructure in the region.
: International Criminal Court will reopen its investigation into possible “crimes against humanity” committed in the Philippines during former President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, which led to the deaths of over a thousand civilians.
: Japan tightens sanctions against Russia following its latest wave of missile attacks in Ukraine, adding goods to an export ban list and freezing the assets of Russian officials and entities.
: US Trade Representative appeals two WTO dispute panel rulings brought by China on Section 232 tariffs and on “made in China” designations for Hong Kong to a defunct WTO Appellate Body.
: Central bank estimates show that South Korea’s economy shrank in the 4th quarter of 2022 for the first time in two and a half years.
: Human Rights Watch researchers report that several demonstrators, apprehended for publicly protesting China’s then-ongoing zero-COVID policy in 2021, continue to remain in detention.
: President Biden extends a program that allows for Hong Kong residents to remain in the US, citing the erosion of human rights and freedoms.
: A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime suggests a 33% jump in opium cultivation in military-ruled Myanmar. This growth is directly connected to the political and economic turmoil since the 2021 coup and has reversed a six-year downward trend in the strife-torn country.
: Chris Hipkins is confirmed as New Zealand’s next prime minister, with Carmel Sepuloni, as his deputy, marking the first time a person with Pacific Island heritage has risen to that rank. Hipkins succeeds Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s first female prime minister, who announced her resignation on Jan. 19.
: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. seeks foreign ministerial-level talks with China to resolve any new conflicts in the South China Sea by proposing that their top diplomats lead the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (established in 2017), to allow a more rapid response to future conflicts in the disputed sea.
: US President Joe Biden appoints long-time State Department official Julie Turner as North Korea human rights envoy, a position unfilled since 2017.
: US hits its debt ceiling and begins resorting to “extraordinary measures” to avoid default.
: Vietnamese State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc resigns ahead of the near certainty that he would be pushed out in Vietnamese Communist Party Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong’s “Burning Furnace” anti-corruption campaign.
: Indonesia deploys a warship to its North Natuna Sea to monitor a Chinese Coast Guard vessel that had been active in the resource-rich area in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone.
: South Korea’s advanced Army unit stages a joint field exercise with a US Stryker Brigade Combat Team near the inter-Korean border.
: Prime Minister of Japan Kishida Fumio meets with President Biden at the US-Japan Summit 2023. The two leaders exchange views on regional issues, establish consensus on the need to uphold the status quo in the Indo-Pacific, and concur on continuing to work closely in addressing issues related to China.
: China inducts the “Zhu Hai Yun,” the world’s first seaborne drone carrier with autonomous navigation and remote-control functions. It has been constructed under the supervision of the Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory and has been awarded the first intelligent ship certificate by the China Classification Society.
: In the South Korean foreign ministry’s report to President Yoon Suk Yeol on major policy tasks for 2023, First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong says Korea will continue to mend ties with Japan through “reasonable solutions” to pending issues, and also hope to resume shuttle diplomacy.
: US House of Representatives votes to establish China Select Committee, which will focus on the Chinese Communist Party’s economic, technological and security progress and the strategic competition between Beijing and Washington.
: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) is elected speaker of the House of Representatives on the 15th ballot, the longest such process for a House speaker in a century and a half. Rumors circulate that concessions made to Republican hardliners include demands for spending cuts in return for lifting the US’ debt ceiling.
: Chinese Embassy in South Korea releases a statement protesting the visit of several South Korean lawmakers to Taiwan.
: US 7th Fleet Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon transits the Taiwan Strait.
: China’s National Development and Reform Commission holds talks on proposals to allow four major importers—China Baowu Steel Group, China Datang, China Huaneng Group, and China Energy Investment—to make new purchases from Australia in 2023 after a more than two-year ban as relations between the nations improve.
: Chinese President Xi Jinping meets visiting Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. in Beijing. They sign 14 agreements stepping up bilateral cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, agriculture, renewable energy, infrastructure development, and maritime security cooperation. They also agree to set up direct communication channels to manage maritime disputes in the South China Sea.