Regional Overview

Chronology from Oct 2006 to Dec 2006

: With the handover of the U.S. Marine to the U.S. embassy staff, the decision is made to hold Balikatan exercise in the near future.

: Beijing releases China’s National Defense in 2006 white paper.

: ROK FM Song Min-soon meets PM Abe in Tokyo. FMs Song and Aso Taro sign treaty to aid law enforcement to tackle cross-border crimes.

: Vietnam’s East Asia Commercial Bank closes all correspondent accounts to transfer money in and out of North Korea. The decision was the result of Vietnam’s entry into the WTO and growing ties with the U.S.

: A 7.1 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Taiwan disrupts internet and phone connectivity. A return to full service is expected to take about three weeks.

: Japan-China joint history project convenes in Beijing.

: UN Security Council unanimously votes on Resolution 1737 to impose sanctions on Iran to curtail its nuclear program.

: U.S. announces that it is canceling the February Balikatan 2007 exercises that it holds with the Philippine armed forces due to the dispute over the custody of a U.S. Marine convicted of rape.

: U.S. and Japan sign agreement to exchange detailed global topographic data including images on terrain, waterways, geographic survey data, area names, aerial routes, earth magnetism, and water depths in areas including the East China Sea. The memorandum of understanding is believed to have the stipulation that the exchanged information be kept confidential.

: First meeting of Japan-China Exchange Year of Culture and Sports 2007 is held at the Keidanren Kaikan.

: Pacific Commander Adm. William J. Fallon declares that the U.S. armed forces could not accept a Philippine judge’s decision to keep a convicted marine in a Philippine jail in violation of the VFA.

: Philippine President Gloria Arroyo tells a gathering at the Asian Development Bank that “charter change” (constitutional revision) will remain a top priority during her administration.

: U.S. and DPRK meet on the sidelines of the SPT to discuss the financial issues.

: Robert Gates sworn in as U.S. defense secretary.

: U.S.-based Verizon Business signs construction and maintenance agreement to build first generation undersea optical cable system – Trans-Pacific Express (TPE) – directly linking the U.S. and China.

: Thai Central Banks announces foreign exchange restrictions on investors who did not keep their money in Thailand for a year. The order is rescinded for only stocks, but bonds and some other investments still have restrictions.

: U.S.-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act signed by President Bush.

: Six-Party Talks resume in Beijing. North Korea insists on full-fledged nuclear power status.

: Japan Defense Agency upgraded to defense ministry, which will come into being Jan. 9, 2007. Education Reform Bill that aims to promote patriotism passes National Diet.

: Eighth UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is sworn in.

: First session of U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue held in Beijing. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson leads U.S. delegation, and Premier Wu Yi leads Chinese delegation. U.S. delegation meets President Hu and Premier Wen. Issues include trade reform, global current account imbalances, capital market reform, China’s growth strategy and exchange-rate policy, and cooperation on energy and the environment.

: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets Japanese PM Abe in Tokyo. A Strategic and Global Partnership is established.

: Secretary Rice and FM Alexander Downer meet in Washington, for 21st Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations to discuss global and regional security and the state of the 55-year old alliance between the two nations.

: U.S. Trade Representative releases 2006 Report to Congress on China’s WTO Compliance. It finds mixed record by China in implementing its WTO obligations.

: Former President George H.W. Bush leads U.S. delegation to Bangkok, for the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne.

: ASEAN Summit and ASEAN Plus Three Summit postponed until Jan. 10-15 due to Typoon Seniang.

: U.S. Congress passes U.S.-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act.

: U.S. Congress passes bill on permanent normal trade relations status for Vietnam. This paves the way for implementation of WTO regulations in the bilateral trade relationship.

: Japan, Korea, and China agree on the sidelines of ASEAN-related meetings in Cebu, Philippines to start negotiations next year on a trilateral investment agreement.

: Presidential memorandum is sent to Secretary Rice to impose sanctions on North Korea as described in Arms Export Control Act and the Atomic Energy Act.

: Philippine government announces postponement of East Asia Summit and other meetings planned for Dec. 11-13. It proposes to host the meetings in January 2007.

: The U.S. and six other nations join Secure Freight Initiative to improve port security and prevent nuclear-related smuggling by using advanced detection devices to scan containers for nuclear and radiological materials. The initiative fulfills a congressional mandate established in the Safe Ports Act of 2006 to scan 100 percent of U.S.-bound cargo from three overseas ports.

: U.S. Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea Jay Lefkowitz participates in a UN panel discussion on North Korean human rights abuses. He calls on China and South Korea to play an active role in pressing North Korea to end abuses.

: Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, armed forces chief overthrows elected Fijian government of Laisenia Qarase in a bloodless coup.

: President Bush accepts resignation of John Bolton, U.S. envoy to the UN.

: In a notorious rape trial in the Philippines that dragged on for over a year and became a test for the U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement, one U.S. marine is convicted and three others acquitted. Sentenced to 40 years, he became the first U.S. soldier convicted of wrongdoing since the Philippines shut down U.S. bases in 1992.

: U.S. and South Korea open fifth round of bilateral meetings on an FTA in Big Sky, Montana.

: President Roh makes state visits to Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia. He meets President Yudhoyono to exchange views on collaboration on energy, resources and other issues. Visiting New Zealand and Australia, Roh calls for collaboration on natural resources and energy, shipbuilding, and information and technology.

: Korea rejects second batch of U.S. beef.

: Fourth annual U.S. Asia Pacific Council is held in Washington. The conference focuses on “Fundamental Change in Asia and the United States Response.”

: Assistant Secretary of State Hill and Kim Gye-gwan begin two days of meetings in Beijing about resuming Six-Party Talks; South Korea extends its deployment of troops in Iraq for a year.

: NATO summit convenes in Riga, Latvia. It is the first NATO summit held on the territory of the former Soviet Union.

: China hosts preparatory meetings for resumption of Six-Party Talks.

: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visits Japan and meets PM Abe. The two leaders establish a Strategic Partnership for Peaceful and Prosperous Future.

: Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian survives third impeachment vote.

: Korea rejects shipment of U.S. beef because of bone fragments.

: Russian Minister for Emergencies Sergei Shoigu visits Beijing to attend a SCO emergency ministers conference for coordinating and integrating measures in time of emergency. An action plan on cooperation in disaster relief is passed.

: U.S. and Russia sign WTO market access agreement that moves Russia closer to full integration with the global, rules-based trading system.

: U.S. and PLA navies take part in a bilateral joint search and rescue exercise. Following a port visit to Zhanjiang, the USS Juneau participates in the exercise off the southern Chinese coast.

: President Roh makes a state visit to Cambodia, the first visit by a sitting Korean president since normalization in 1997.

: Bush, Abe, and Roh exchange views on the situation in Northeast Asia on the sidelines of the APEC meeting.

: President Bush meets leaders of the seven ASEAN members of APEC on the sidelines of the conference.

: President Bush expresses “understanding” of Thailand’s political situation. In a separate meeting with President Arroyo, the Philippine leader calls for a “deeper and broader” U.S. role in Philippine counterterrorism.

: APEC Leaders Meeting is held in Hanoi. President Bush and PM Abe meet for the first time since Abe took office, reaffirm the U.S.-Japan alliance and close cooperation on the DPRK. U.S.-Japan-ROK meeting also held, and three leaders agree that close trilateral cooperation is important to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue.

: UN General Assembly approves resolution on the “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” which includes condemnation of abductions as an international concern and a violation of human rights.

: The 14th APEC Leaders Meeting is held in Hanoi, Vietnam.

: U.S. and South Korean defense officials begin two days of meetings on burden-sharing arrangements in Washington.

: Commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet Adm. Gary Roughead arrives in China on the USS Juneau for a weeklong visit that includes U.S.-Chinese joint naval exercises.

: The 18th Joint Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting is held in Hanoi. Sidelines meetings occur among the Six-Party Talks nations.

: President Bush and Secretary Rice travel to Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia. Bush holds bilateral meetings with leaders from Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia, China, and Russia.

: U.S. House of Representatives fail to approve Vietnam’s PNTR status.

: South Korea announces it will not join Proliferation Security Initiative.

: PM Fradkov visits China to hold 11th regular China-Russia Prime Ministers’ meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao and attend the closing ceremony of the Year of Russia.

: Japan and U.S. forces hold annual joint exercise in waters around Japan.

: U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigns and former CIA Director Robert Gates is nominated as the new defense secretary.

: Under Secretary Burns and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi hold third round of the U.S.-China Senior Dialogue in Beijing.

: In U.S. mid-term elections, the Democratic Party regains a majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

: WTO General Council approves Vietnam’s membership. Vietnam will formally join the WTO Jan. 11, 2007.

: First sub-ministerial meeting of the ROK-U.S. Strategic Consultation for Allied Partnership held in Seoul with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung-hwan and Under Secretary Burns heading their delegations.

: U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney states that the U.S. is satisfied with the conduct of a trial for four U.S. marines charged with rape. Kenney said the trial showed that the Philippine-U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement worked and requires no revision.

: Some 25 senior SCO military officials meet in Beijing for the second “China’s Peaceful Development and the SCO” forum and to discuss defense cooperation. Officers from observer nations Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and India also attend.

: Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph travel to Tokyo, Beijing, and Seoul to discuss the Six-Party Talks and implementation of UNSCR 1718.

: President Roh nominates Lee Jae-jeong, senior vice president of the Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification, as unification minister; Song Min-soon, chief secretary to the president for unification, foreign, and security affairs as foreign minister; Gen. Kim Jang-soo, Army chief of staff, as minister of defense; and Kim Man-bok, first deputy director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), as NIS director.

: North Korea announces that it will return to the Six-Party Talks after a secret meeting between Kim Gye-gwan, Christopher Hill, and Wu Dawei. At the meeting, U.S. tells North Korea that it is prepared to discuss issues surrounding Banco Delta Asia and to form a bilateral mechanism or working group to deal with the problem.

: China-ASEAN Commemorative Summit held in Nanning, China.

: Naval and law enforcement personnel from Australia, Bahrain, France, Italy, UK, U.S. amid other nations participate in Proliferation Security Initiative exercise Leading Edge, the maritime portion of a two-phase exercise in the Persian Gulf.

: Bush-Putin-initiated Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism meeting held in Rabat, Morocco. Representatives from 12 nations attend.

: UN Secretary General-elect Ban Ki-moon at the invitation of Beijing visits China to meet President Hu, State Councilor Tang, and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and to discuss the North Korea nuclear stand-off.

: Australia-Japan-U.S. Counterterrorism Talks held in Tokyo.

: Fourth round of U.S.-Korea talks on a free trade agreement open in Jeju.

: The 38th ROK-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) held in Washington, D.C. Defense Ministers Donald Rumsfeld and Yoon Kwang Ung lead delegations.

: State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan briefs Rice on his meetings in Pyongyang with Kim Jong-il.

: State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, special envoy of President Hu, meets Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang.

: ROK, U.S., and Japan foreign ministers hold a two-hour meeting at ROK FM Ban’s residence. This is the first trilateral meeting among the ministers since October 2000.

: U.S. Congress enacts National Defense Authorization Act for 2007, which requires appointment of a senior U.S. coordinator on Korea within 60 days.

: The 28th ROK-U.S. Military Committee Meeting held in Washington.

: SCO holds first education ministerial meeting in Beijing. Representatives agree to set up expert team to verify education certificates of SCO member states.

: Russian PM Mikhail Fradkov meets President Roh during a visit to Seoul.

: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice travels to Japan, South Korea, China, and Russia to discuss implementation of UNSCR 1718.

: Presidents Roh and Putin hold 20-minute phone conversation to discuss the North Korean nuclear test. Roh reiterates that Seoul would not tolerate a nuclear North and that it supports UNSC Resolution 1718.

: U.S. and Philippine forces engage in amphibious exercises.

: UN General Assembly elects ROK Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon as next UN secretary general.

: UNSC Resolution 1718 is unanimously passed: it imposes sanctions on North Korea and demands a halt the DPRK nuclear and missile programs.

: Presidents Roh and Hu hold a Korea-China summit in Beijing.

: DPRK Korea Central News Agency declares U.S.-initiated UN sanctions an “act of war.”

: Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, meets delegation from Japan’s Kyodo News headed by President Ishikawa Satoshi.

: State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, and others visit Washington, D.C. and Moscow to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

: Japan announces new sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear test, include a ban on all North Korean ships from Japanese ports.

: South Korea Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon is confirmed by the Security Council as next United Nations secretary general, to succeed Kofi Annan on Jan. 1, 2007.

: PM Abe travels to South Korea and meets President Roh Moo-hyun for the long awaited bilateral meeting.

: North Korea announces that it has successfully conducted a nuclear test. U.S. Geological Survey detects an earthquake with a estimated magnitude of 4.2 in Hwaderi near Punggye-Yok.

: Presidents Roh Moo-hyun and George W. Bush have a 20-minute phone conversation regarding the announcement of the nuclear test by North Korea.

: Presidents Vladimir Putin and Bush have a phone conversation about the North Korean nuclear test and agree the test dealt a blow to the global nonproliferation regime and that there was need to coordinate efforts to resolve the problem.

: PM Abe Shinzo makes official visit to China and meets President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, and Chairman Wu Bangguo. Both sides agree to promote exchange and cooperation in politics, economy, security, society, and culture.

: UN Security Council issues statement that urges “the DPRK not to undertake such a test and to refrain from any action that might aggravate tension, to work on the resolution of non-proliferation concerns and to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through political and diplomatic efforts.”

: U.S. sends a message to DPRK via its UN mission in New York not to conduct the test.

: North Korea announces plans to conduct a nuclear test to counter “hostile U.S. policy.”

: North Korea announces that it “will, in the future, conduct a nuclear test.”

: At the North’s request, the first inter-Korean military talks since July’s missile tests are held at Panmunjom.

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