Regional Overview

Chronology from Apr 2006 to Jul 2006

: PM Koizumi and President Bush issue joint statement declaring a new alliance for the 21st century based on “common values and interests.” Bush agrees to step up cooperation on reforming the UN to realize Japan’s bid for a permanent UNSC seat.

: ROK Vice Finance Minister Bahk Byong-won tells a forum in Seoul that the South will intensify technical assistance and training, especially in market economics and management, so as to expedite sustainable economic growth in the North.

: House Foreign Relations Committee, by 37-5 majority, approves United States and India Cooperation Promotion Act of 2006 that authorizes the president to exempt the U.S.-India nuclear cooperative agreement from statutory prohibitions, clearing the way for the transfer of civilian nuclear technology, including nuclear reactors and fuel, to India.

: The amphibious command and control ship USS Blue Ridge docks in Shanghai for exchanges with the PLA Navy.

: PRC Premier Wen states that “China is paying close attention to news that North Korea is possibly planning a missile-launch . . . I hope all parties will continue their efforts to maintain the stability of the Korean Peninsula.”

: MSDF destroyer Kirishima returns to Japan, cutting short participation in U.S.-led naval exercises off Hawaii. Some attribute the return to the need to monitor a possible North Korean missile launch.

: Prime Minister Koizumi makes final visit to the U.S. as prime minister. A White House dinner, Oval Office visit, and Graceland tour are planned.

: Recall of President Chen does not pass the Taiwan Legislative Yuan.

: ROK FM Ban visits Beijing to meet with counterpart FM Li. They agree on a “concrete and persuasive proposal” to get North Korea to return to the Six-Party Talks as a precursor to bilateral talks between North Korea and the U.S.

: Australian PM John Howard meets Chinese PM Wen in Shenzhen to deepen cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector.

: Eight nations including Japan and South Korea participate in the 20th U.S. Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2006 exercises.

: FM Aso and Ambassador Schieffer sign documents to strengthen cooperation on ballistic missile defense development.

: PSI meeting is held in Warsaw, Poland to review the past three years, look at emerging problems and their solutions, and discuss PSI’s future.

: For the first time, the Japanese Aegis-equipped destroyer Kirishima takes part in a U.S. missile defense test, performing long-range surveillance and tracking exercises with the U.S. destroyer Shiloh.

: In a Washington Post editorial, former Clinton defense officials William Perry and Ashton Carter argue for a preemptive strike against North Korea’s Taepodong missile while it is still on the launch pad; the White House quickly rules out this option.

: Kyodo News reports that the U.S. calls Japan’s decision to withdraw ground troops from Iraq and increase airlift support a “positive” example of progress in transferring the security role to the Iraqi people. National Security Advisor Hadley says Japan is staying in the mission and actually expanding its air role.

: Japan agrees to resume buying U.S. beef after sending inspectors to the U.S. to monitor meat-packing facilities.

: Former ROK President Kim Dae-jung postpones planned visit to North Korea.

: Prime Minister Koizumi announces that Japan will withdraw ground troops from Iraq. The withdrawal will be coordinated with Britain and Australia. Japan’s ASDF will remain to transport goods and personnel to Baghdad for the U.S.-led coalition.

: China sends a 10-member delegation to observe Valiant Shield, U.S. military exercises off the coast of Guam.

: Fourteenth round of family reunions held at Mt. Geumgang, allowing two groups of 100 elderly persons each from North and South to spend three days meeting long-lost relatives.

: FM Aso says Tokyo will seek an immediate meeting of the United National Security Council if North Korea fires a missile and that consideration of sanctions is “inevitable.”

: ASEAN Secretary General Ong Keng Yong says the emerging East Asian community will not exclude the U.S. even as China seeks a larger role in Southeast Asia.

: U.S. and Russian officials agree on a seven-year extension of the Nunn-Lugar initiative. The program provides U.S. money and expertise to secure and destroy Soviet-era caches of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

: Tokyo makes a request to Pyongyang to stop preparations to launch a Taepodong 2 missile through the North Korean embassy in Beijing.

: The second summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is held in Kazakhstan; Presidents Putin and Hu hold informal meeting during the CICA summit.

: Fifth annual summit of SCO Heads of State held in Shanghai. Iranian President Ahmadinejad attends as observer.

: Taipei and Beijing announce expansion of direct cross-Strait flights to include special charter cargo flights, the regularization of charter passenger flights during designated holidays, medical emergencies, and for humanitarian purposes.

: Kabaya Ryoichi, major of Yokosuka, says his city would accept the first U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier stationed in Japan, saying he has no choice because there is no possibility that a conventional aircraft carrier will be sent.

: Jemaah Islamiyah spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir is released from a Jakarta jail after serving 26 months for criminal conspiracy relating to the 2002 Bali and 2003 Marriott bombings.

: U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow is among 76 Seoul-based envoys who visit the Gaeseong Industrial Zone, with ROK FM Ban.

: South Korea and Japan hold 5th round of talks on the demarcation of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in Tokyo.

: U.S. Coast Guard cutter Rush becomes the first major Coast Guard vessel to visit China since World War II when it arrives at Qingdao.  The visit helps further law enforcement cooperation between the U.S. and China.

: The 10th ROK-ASEAN Dialogue held in Seoul.

: U.S. and China hold the eighth annual round of Defense Consultative Talks (DCTs) in Beijing.

: Taiwan President Chen receives AIT’s Burghardt; reiterates remaining “four noes;” State Dept. welcomes Chen’s statement as profoundly important.

: FM Ban says that South Korea and the U.S. are “deeply concerned” about reports that North Korea may test fire a Taepodong 2 missile.

: U.S. Pacific Commander Adm. William Fallon visits U.S. forces engaged in civic action programs in Mindanao. A few days earlier the U.S. hospital ship Mercy provided free medical services to local villagers in the area.

: State Department’s annual Report on Human Trafficking is released.

: First round of Korea-U.S. FTA negotiations held in Washington, D.C.

: U.S. move to have Myanmar (Burma) formally discussed at the UN Security Council for the first time is opposed by Russia, China, and Japan.

: World Health Organization says Taiwan will be able to participate in all WHO-sponsored Asia Pacific technical meetings.

: Vice President of the Philippines Noli de Castro visits China.

: Fifth IISS Shangri-La Dialogue held in Singapore.

: Presidents Bush and Hu speak by phone. They discuss U.S.-China relations, North Korea, and the Iran nuclear issue.

: Timor-Leste President Xanana Gusmao makes state visit to China, and meets President Hu.

: South Korea holds by-elections. The conservative Grand National Party (GNP) wins in most contests. The ruling Uri Party fails to claim a single seat and wins only one of 16 ballots for mayors and provincial governors.

: Taiwan opposition parties KMT and People First Party initiate a recall motion against President Chen Shui-bian in the Legislative Yuan.

: The U.S. and Vietnam sign a bilateral market access agreement required for Vietnam’s bid to join the WTO.

: Japanese Cabinet approves plans for realignment of 8,000 U.S. Marines to Guam.

: U.S. and Singapore navies launch the 12th annual Cooperation Afloat and Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise with 11 ships, a submarine, and two aircraft.

: DPRK FM Paek Nam-sun meets Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing in Beijing to discuss Six-Party Talks and also visits Guangzhou.

: Chinese government offers $2 million in aid to Indonesia to help victims of the Yogyakarta earthquake.

: The 12th China-ASEAN Senior Officials’ Consultation opens in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with an aim to deepen cooperation.

: Indian Defense Minister Mukherjee visits China and meets with FM Li Zhaoxing and DM Cao.

: Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest extended another year by Myanmar ruling junta.

: U.S., Japan, Canada, and Russia proceed with anti-smuggling exercise starting in Shanghai after China and South Korea drop out for fear of offending North Korea. South Korea participates in the second half of the exercise, where a mock search of a “suspect” ship is conducted for smuggled people and drugs in Busan.

: U.S. and ROK conduct Security Policy Initiative meeting in Hawaii.

: North Korea notifies South Korea that it will cancel the planned May 25 test runs of the crossborder rail link.

: U.S. and Malaysia inaugurate senior officials dialogue on economic and security issues. Asst. Secretary of State Chris Hill attends the meeting in Putrajaya.

: Asst. Secretary Hill travels to China and  South Korea over pending bilateral and Six-Party Talks issues.

: Department of Defense releases Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2006.

: The fifth Asian Cooperative Dialogue is held in Doha, Qatar. China, South Korea, and Japan meet on the sidelines to discuss bilateral issues.

: U.S. naval hospital ship Mercy docks in Manila to begin a four-week medical mission primarily in the southern Philippines, part of a five-month deployment to the Asia-Pacific.

: Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill discusses U.S. views on East Asia at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.

: Taiwan’s first National Security Report released.

: Vietnam, China, and the Philippines are to strengthen security cooperation in the Spratly Islands after an apparent pirate attack left four Chinese dead.

: UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari is allowed to meet Aung San Suu Kyi, raising hopes that she would soon be released from house arrest.

: President Bush renews sanctions against Myanmar for failing to take steps toward the restoration of democracy.

: Japan, China, India, and the U.S. pledge capability development assistance to the littoral states for maritime security enhancements in the Malacca Strait at ARF Security Policy Conference.

: Fourth meeting of the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee at the Office of Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation is held in Gaeseong.

: ARF Senior Officials Meeting held in Karambunai, Malaysia.

: Korea-ASEAN FTA is concluded and is to come into effect in July. Thailand opts out over concerns over agricultural issues.

: Foreign ministers meet in Shanghai to prepare for the SCO summit scheduled for mid-June.

: U.S., Thai, Singaporean, Indonesian, and Japanese military forces participate in exercise Cobra Gold 2006 for Combined Command Post Exercise and multiple Combined Field Training Exercises.

: In Washington, Vietnam and the United States reach an agreement on the conditions for Hanoi’s accession to the WTO, which will occur later this year.

: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan travels to South Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, and Thailand.

: President Chen overnights in Batam, Indonesia en route home.

: President Bush meets with three prominent Chinese Christian activists and pledges to discuss religious freedom with Chinese leaders.

: Treasury Department releases semi-annual Report on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies saying that China has been too slow to revalue the RMB, but doesn’t label China a “currency manipulator.”

: President Chen transits Libya en route home: meets Gadhafi’s son.

: During Congressional testimony, Deputy Secretary Zoellick warns that Taiwan independence means war.

: In Seoul, Korea and India hold second round of Joint Task Force talks to conclude the Korea-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

: First ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting is held in Kuala Lumpur.

: Pacific Commander Adm. Fallon meets with top Chinese Defense and Foreign Ministry officials and tours military installations in China; extends invitation to observe U.S. military exercise near Guam.

: South Korea begins withdrawal of its troops from Iraq. Ban on U.S. citizens having any business relationship with North Korea-flagged vessels takes effect.

: Thai constitutional court nullifies Thailand’s April parliamentary elections.

: Fifth Japan-China Vice Ministers’ Comprehensive Policy Dialogue takes place in Beijing.

: President Roh visits Mongolia.

: Indonesian President Yudhoyono offers to mediate between the U.S. and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program during President Ahmadinejad’s Jakarta visit.

: President Chen opts not to transit the U.S. en route to Paraguay.

: Finance ministers of Japan, South Korea, China, and ASEAN release a joint statement that they will double the liquidity support for countries within the group facing a foreign exchange crisis and promote research on a single Asian currency.

: Vice President Cheney lambastes the Russian government in a widely publicized speech in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, accusing the Russian government – among other things – of using energy to blackmail its neighbors.

: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) releases annual report in which China is listed as a “country of particular concern” due to restrictions, state control, and repression of religious communities.

: Taiwan President Chen summons AIT’s Young to complain about transit arrangements after the U.S. reportedly offers only brief stop in Hawaii or Alaska.

: U.S. and Japan release joint statement confirming deal to realign U.S. Forces in Japan by 2014 after U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Meeting in Washington.

: USTR releases 2006 Special 301 Report, which emphasizes China’s IPR violations and moves U.S. policy toward using WTO dispute settlement mechanisms in regards to China.

: President George Bush meets with Yokota Sakie, mother of Yokota Megumi who was abducted by the North Koreans.

: Chinese and Vietnamese navies start joint patrol in Beibu Gulf in the South China Sea, the first time the Chinese navy patrols jointly with a foreign counterpart.

: PRC State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan makes a secret trip to Pyongyang and briefs Chairman Kim Jong-il on the results of Hu Jintao’s summit with George Bush.

: Yomiuri Shimbun reports the U.S. will return four military facilities in Okinawa to Japan. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station, Naha Military Port, Makiminato Service Area in Urasoe, and Camp Kuwae will be returned by the end of fiscal 2013.

: Taiwan holds Hanguang 22 exercise; retired U.S. Adm. Blair observes.

: China and U.S. co-sponsor APEC Anti-Corruption Workshop in Shanghai.

: Russian Vice Premier and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov visits Beijing, co-chairs Russian-Chinese Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation, and joins annual meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) defense ministers.

: China hosts sixth annual Boao Forum on Hainan Island.

: Japan and U.S. strike a deal over cost sharing on relocating 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam, with Tokyo paying 59 percent, or $6.09 billion, of the estimated $10.27 billion total.

: The Fourth Indonesia-U.S. Security Dialogue takes place in Washington, D.C.  U.S. technical assistance for Malacca Strait patrols is discussed.

: Taipei requests transit stops in New York and Los Angeles during President Chen’s trip to Latin America in early May.

: The 18th inter-Korean ministerial meeting is held in Pyongyang.

: Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia signed a formal agreement to coordinate anti-piracy patrols along the Strait of Malacca.

: Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev threatens to close the U.S. airbase at Manas by June 1 unless Washington agrees to new terms demanded by the Kyrgyz government; a new agreement is subsequently reached.

: Department of State releases fact sheets calling for increased religious freedom, as well as greater political and civil rights in China.

: PRC President Hu Jintao visits U.S.

: Japanese Foreign Ministry releases 2006 Diplomatic Blue Book; cites China for lack of transparency about military buildup.

: DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan says North Korea could use the standoff in the Six-Party Talks to bolster its military “deterrent force” and demands return of funds at Banco Delta Asia as a precondition for resumption of talks.

: In rare public criticism, Russian Foreign Ministry pointedly tells Iran that it is on the wrong path, in response to the public statement by President Ahmadinejad that Iran has successfully enriched uranium for the first time.

: Japan’s Foreign Ministry announces that DNA tests show that South Korean Kim Young-nam is likely to be the husband of abductee Yokota Megumi.

: North East Asia Cooperation Dialogue held in Tokyo; senior Six-Party Talks negotiators participate in their private capacities, but senior U.S. and DPRK delegates do not meet and no progress toward resumption of formal talks occurs.

: Sixth Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) exercise Pacific Protector 06 takes place in northern Australia simulating air interception of WMD.

: National Security Advisor Steve Hadley at a Strategic Asia Forum in Washington lays out “three basic insights” into the Bush administration’s strategy in East Asia.

: State Department releases annual Supporting Human Rights and Democracy report.

: Premier Wen Jiabao announces $12 billion aid for South Pacific islands.

: PM Thaksin announces resignation but will remain caretaker prime minister until one is elected.

: Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan visits North Korea on the first stop on a five Asian nation tour – Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea.

: PM Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai party wins majority of votes cast but boycotts and public demonstrations raise questions about the election’s validity.

: High-level Myanmar delegation visits Russia.

: Thai snap elections called by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra are held.

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