Regional Overview

Chronology from Oct 2004 to Dec 2004

: Taiwan’s High Court rejects appeal to nullify March 20 presidential elections results.

: Taiwan celebrates official opening of the world’s tallest skyscraper, known as “Taipei 101,” at 1,679 feet tall.

: Pres. Bush announces that the U.S., Australia, Japan, and India will form an international coalition to lead tsunami relief efforts.

: China releases Defense White Paper that says the military will crush any major Taiwanese move toward independence. Taiwan responds, accusing Beijing of escalating tensions.

: DPRK blames the South for the rupture in North-South ties, accusing it of systematically harming relations by various actions over the past two years.

:   Massive 9.0 earthquake erupts in the ocean floor off Sumatra, causing tsunami across the Indian Ocean, killing over 150,000 in coastal areas in South and Southeast Asia.

: Japan and U.S. agree on joint use of U.S. military bases in Japan.

: Taiwan officials downplay Secretary Armitage’s remarks: “Armitage was very clear. U.S. policy toward Taiwan has not changed.”

: PM Thaksin says Thai officials were negligent in the deaths of 78 Muslims that died in army custody in October and will be punished.

: Japan issues visa for former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui sightseeing trip despite protests from China.

: Pres. Bush says U.S. is not seeking regime change in North Korea and is committed to six-party dialogue.

: Dep. Sec. Armitage remarks that Taiwan is biggest “land mine” in the U.S.-China relationship; says Washington is not required to come to Taiwan’s defense if attacked by China.

: PM Abdullah Badawi of Malaysia visits India to promote “some form of free trade agreement” and “to build new bridges.”

: VP Kalla elected Golkar Party chairman, giving Indonesian ruling party a parliamentary majority.

: Taiwan condemn’s China’s anti-secession law.

: Japan and U.S. sign MOU to improve cooperation in missile defense programs.

: Xinhua reports China will introduce anti-secession legislation for deliberation during its Dec. 25-29 session of the Chinese Parliament.

: PM Koizumi and Pres. Roh hold a “working summit” in Ibusuki, Japan.

: DPRK warns Tokyo that sanctions would be “an act of war.”

: Unification Minister Chung Dong-young leads a delegation to the Kaesong Industrial Zone. He is cold-shouldered by the DPRK’s far more junior delegation head, and Northern media do not report his presence.

: Taiwan’s ruling party suffers surprise defeat in parliamentary elections to the opposition pan-blue coalition, which wins 114 of 225 legislative seats

: Burma’s military junta announces release of additional 5,070 prisoners, bringing the total number of prisoners recently released to over 14,000.

: Japan approves the “National Defense Program Guideline for FY 2005 and After,” which will allow an enhanced security partnership with the U.S.

: Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley says a goal of U.S. policy is the “transformation” of North Korea.

: PM Koizumi announces Japan will maintain its troops in Iraq for another year.

: United Airlines launches first daily commercial flights from U.S. to Vietnam since 1975.

: Tokyo expresses “extreme regret” that DNA tests show that remains provided by the DPRK do not match those of a missing Japanese woman, Yokota Megumi.

: Indonesian authorities arrest governor of Aceh, Abdullah Puteh, for alleged involvement in corruption.

: Pres. Chen calls for changing names of state corporations and overseas offices to use “Taiwan.”

: DPRK says it will not return to Six-Party Talks until the new U.S. administration clarifies its position.

: Main East Sea Road connecting North and South Korea officially opens.

: Pres. Chen publicly reaffirms his commitment to “four noes.”

: Flash floods and landslides in the Philippines kills more than 300.

: ROK concludes FTA negotiations with Singapore.

: Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest extended.

: WHO official says bird flu pandemic could kill 20-50 or even 100 million people.

: ASEAN and ASEAN Plus Three summits in Vientiane, Laos; India, Australia and New Zealand leaders invited.

: State Dept. warns Pres. Chen about a referendum on independence; reaffirms importance of Chen’s “four noes” pledge.

: DPRK calls Pres. Bush an “incorrigible ignoramus.”

: Dalai Lama visits Russia.

: Asian health ministers meet in Thailand to discuss bird flu.

: IAEA Governors rebukes South Korea for conducting undeclared illegal nuclear experiments, but refrain from referring the matter to the UNSC.

: Burma’s military junta says it will release an additional 5,000 prisoners.

: DM Juwono Sudarsono says Indonesia has elected to enter into military cooperation with Russia and China.

: Burma’s military junta releases 4,000 prisoners.

: DPRK says ROK nuclear efforts pose a “great threat to peace.”

: APEC Leaders meeting in Santiago, Chile. President Bush holds bilateral summits with PM Koizumi, Presidents Roh, Putin, and Hu to pressure DPRK to resume Six-Party Talks.

: Thai King Bhumibol offers second appeal for peace in the south and for restraint on the part of the police and military.

: DPRK denies portraits of Kim Jong-il have been taken down and calls reports a U.S. plot to overthrow its government.

: Taiwan Affairs Office denounces Taiwan’s constitution reform efforts; dismissing President Chen’s conciliatory remarks as rhetoric.

: APEC Minsterial Meeting in Santiage, Chile.

: PM Koizumi expresses dissatisfaction with DPRK explanations about Japanese abductees.

: Pres. Chen says he will seek to join UN as “Taiwan.”

: Russian FM Lavrov says government intends to follow the declaration that was concluded with Japan in 1956, which stipulates handing over two of the Kuril Islands (Habomai and Shikotan) to Japan.

: In Los Angeles speech, Pres. Roh rules out military option for dealing with DPRK.

: Gas explosion at a coal mine in Henan, China kills 33.

: IAEA says ROK scientists illegally conducted secret nuclear tests on a larger scale than Seoul had previously declared.

: Taipei releases 10-point plan for cross-Strait relations; statement reaffirms nonnuclear policy.

: Japan’s MSDF goes on alert after unidentified submarine is found in Japanese waters.

: Japan and DPRK hold new talks in North Korea on Japanese abductees.

: Japanese newspaper reports U.S. sets a “red line” against North Korean export of nuclear materials.

: Korean Air and Asiana to resume regular flights to Taipei that had been suspended since the ROK’s diplomatic recognition of the PRC in 1992.

: PM Thaksin warns Muslim separatists provocations could worsen violence in the south.

: Putin signs Kyoto protocol, which will allow the treaty to come into force in 2005.

: First ARF Security Policy Conference held in Beijing.

: President Bush wins re-election.

: DPRK’s KCNA accuses ROK of “grave provocation” following Nov. 1 naval clash.

: U.S. Army Sgt. Charles Jenkins found guilty of desertion, and sentenced to 30 days confinement and a dishonorable discharge.

: South Korean warship fires warning shots at DPRK boats that entered ROK waters.

: Xinhua reports martial law imposed in Henan province due to ethnic unrest.

: IAEA Chief ElBaradei says DPRK represents a grave challenge to nuclear weapons proliferation.

: China Daily publishes an article entitled “U.S. Strategy to be Blamed,” by former Vice Premier Qian Qichen, that harshly criticizes President Bush’s foreign policy.

: Thai King Bhumibol urges PM Thaksin to use more restraint in troubled southern provinces.

: Indonesian government re-opens trial of Jemaah Islamiyah leader and cleric Abubakar Basyir.

: TCOG meets in Seoul. U.S., ROK, and Japan agree on need to hold a new round of Six-Party Talks by the end of 2004.

: Japanese citizen, Shosei Koda, is taken hostage in Iraq and subsequently beheaded.

: Proliferation Security Initiative naval exercise held in waters off Tokyo Bay; North Korean UN amb. protests exercise as a violation of the UN Charter.

: Sec. Powell tells Phoenix TV and CNN that “reunification” between Taiwan and China is the eventual outcome that “all parties are seeking” and that Taiwan is not an “independent” country and “does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation.”

: 78 Muslim men die in southern Thailand during transit to Thai military barracks following a demonstration.

: Chief of the PLA General Staff Gen. Liang visits U.S., meets Secretaries Rumsfeld and Powell, and NSC Adviser Rice.

: Burma’s Senior Gen. Than Shwe visits India – the first Burmese head of state to visit India in nearly 25 years.

:   29 North Koreans seek asylum in a South Korean school in Beijing.

: Russian Duma ratifies the Kyoto Protocol.

: Secretary Powell visits Japan, China, and South Korea.

: ROK court blocks government plan to move the capital from Seoul, saying this decision can only be approved by referendum.

: State Dept. denounces deposed Burma Gen Khin Nyunt’s successor, Lt. Gen. So Win, as the officer responsible for the May 2003 attack on Aung San Suu Kyi’s caravan.

: SBY inaugurated first directly-elected president of Indonesia.

: Burma PM Khin Nyunt is placed under house arrest on corruption charges and retired from office.

: Russian security services seize two containers filled with highly radioactive material at a scrap yard in central Russia.

: Pres. Bush signs North Korean Human Rights Act, which authorizes humanitarian aid to refugees and provides nearly $24 million a year to nonprofit organizations to support human rights, democracy, rule of law, and the development of a market economy in North Korea. DPRK calls Act a “declaration of war.”

: DPRK No. 2 leader, Kim Yong-nam visits Beijing; says the DPRK still regards six-nation talks as the best way to reach a solution.

: 20 North Korean asylum-seekers enter the South Korean Consulate in Beijing.

: Remains believed to be those of U.S. soldiers recovered in the DPRK are returned home via the DMZ.

: JoongAng Ilbo poll shows 65 percent of Koreans have favorable opinion of U.S. but 72 percent felt unfavorable toward President Bush.

: Pres. Putin pays a state visit to China.

: China rejects Taiwan’s call for peace talks: “When Chen Shui-bian says he wants to ease tensions, it is false. When he says he wants independence, it is true.”

: IAEA reports experiments were carried out during Taiwan’s brief revival of a nuclear weapons program in the 1980’s that has since been abandoned.

: Deputy Secretary of State Armitage visits Tokyo; attends int’l donors’ conference on Iraq.

: EU imposes tougher sanctions after the military junta in Burma fails to meet Oct. 7 deadline to release Aung San Suu Kyi.

: Taiwan Pres. Chen proposes resumption of cross-Strait talks based upon “1992 meeting in Hong Kong.”

: Australian PM Howard wins fourth term; his ruling coalition increases its majority in the House and captures the Senate.

: KCNA says the six-party talks can be resumed right now if the U.S. “makes a switchover in its hostile policy.”

: IAEA chief ElBaradei says the ROK’s work with uranium and plutonium does not appear to be part of a weapons program.

: Pres. Bush telephones Pres. Hu to discuss Beijing’s exchange rate policy, Taiwan, and efforts to defuse the North Korean nuclear crisis.

: King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicates, ending a reign of 63 years.  His youngest son, Prince Sihamoni, is selected the new king.

: ROK and DPRK hold mil-mil talks to discuss rail and road links through the DMZ.

: The 5th ASEM summit is held in Hanoi; 38 leaders from Asia and Europe attend and call on Burma to pursue democratic reforms.

: The U.S. agrees to extend the withdrawal of 12,500 U.S. troops from the ROK: 5,000 will depart in 2004; 3,000 in 2005; 2,000 in 2006; and 2,500 in 2008.

: Thailand reports 11th death from bird flu.

: Indonesian election commission reports President-elect Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) wins 60.6 percent of the vote over incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri.

: Kyodo News Agency reports the PRC has confirmed to other parties in the Six-Party Talks its assessment that the DPRK has a uranium enrichment program.

: Pres. Roh Moo-hyun makes first visit to India by a South Korean leader.

: North’s KCNA news agency states “It will be impossible to expect any development of the inter-Korean relations unless the truth about South Korea’s secret nuclear experiments is probed.”

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