Regional Overview

Chronology from Apr 2009 to Jul 2009

: Kurt Campbell is confirmed as U.S. assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

:   Chinese Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ma Xiaotian asks the U.S. to stop arms sales to Taiwan.

: The U.S. and the European Union initiate World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement procedures against China for alleged trade-distorting export restrictions on critical raw materials.

: China and Singapore conduct Cooperation-2009, a joint antiterrorism training exercise, in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

: The first Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) summit is held in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

: President Hu visits Moscow and meets President Medvedev.

: Ninth Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit held in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visits Washington and meets President Obama.

: China, Japan, and South Korea sign an agreement to cooperate on environmental issues including green growth, prevention of yellow dust, and pollution control at the 11th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting in Beijing.

: UNSC unanimously passes Resolution 1874, which calls on UN members to inspect cargo vessels suspected of carrying military materials in or out of North Korea.

: DPRK Foreign Ministry denounces UNSC Resolution 1874 and says that North Korea will “weaponize” its existing plutonium stockpiles, begin a program to enrich uranium, and take “firm military action if the United States and its allies try to isolate us.”

: A PLA Navy submarine collides with an underwater sonar apparatus towed by a U.S. destroyer in the South China Sea.

: The WHO raises its alert on swine flu to level 6, the highest level, in its first designation of a global pandemic in 41 years.

: Malaysian armed force chief General Abdul Aziz Zainal visits Indonesia for talks after the navies of both countries face off several times in recent weeks.

: Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Thai counterpart Kasit Piromya agree to enhance strategic cooperation between their countries.

: North Korea court sentences two U.S. reporters to 12 years in a labor camp for “the grave crime they committed against the Korean nation and their illegal border crossing.”

: Delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg visits Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing for talks on how to respond to North Korea’s latest nuclear test.

: Defense Secretary Gates, Japanese Defense Minister Hamada Yazukazu, and South Korean Defense Minister Lee Sang-Hee participate in a trilateral dialogue on the margins of the Shangri-La Security Dialogue in Singapore.

: The UN Conference on Disarmament adopts a “program of work,” which opens the way for negotiations on a new nuclear arms control treaties.

: Japanese Diet passes a $150 billion economic stimulus package including spending and tax cuts totaling 3 percent of GDP.

: North Korea announces that it no longer considers the Korean Armistice Agreement valid.

: President Obama nominates John Roos as ambassador to Japan.

: South Korea announces it will participate in the Proliferation Security Initiative.

: The UN Security Council unanimously condemns North Korea for violating UNSC Resolution 1718 by testing a nuclear device.

: North Korea fires two short-range missiles into the East Sea/Sea of Japan.

: North Korea tests a nuclear device.

: The 9th Asia-Europe Foreign Minister Meeting is held in Hanoi.

: Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj of Democratic Party is elected president of Mongolia.

: Former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun commits suicide.

: North Korea notifies South Korea that all business contracts regarding land use, wages, and taxes in the Kaesong Industrial Complex are void.

:   Taiwan Minister of Health Yen Chiang-chuan attends the WHA as an observer.

: President Obama nominates Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to be U.S. ambassador to China.

: The Diet approves an agreement requiring Japan pay up to $2.8 billion of the total estimated cost of $10.2 billion to transfer U.S. marines from Okinawa to Guam.

: Japan and Russia sign a nuclear energy cooperation agreement that will enable the transfer of Japanese technology to Russia and the sale of more nuclear fuel to Japan.

: Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa resigns.

: North Korea rejects bilateral talks with the U.S. and vows to strengthen its nuclear deterrent because the Obama administration is taking a hostile stance toward the country.

: Special Representative on North Korean Policy Stephen Bosworth visits China, South Korea, and Japan to discuss a response to North Korea’s threat to quit the Six-Party Talks.

: Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese finance ministers agree to provide 80 percent of the $120 billion Chiang Mai Initiative liquidity fund.

: The U.S. surveillance ship USNS Victorious is involved in a confrontation with Chinese fishing boats in the Yellow Sea.  The Pentagon claims the ship was engaged in routine operations in international waters but China insists that the activity was illegal.

: North Korean Foreign Ministry threatens to conduct additional nuclear and intercontinental missile tests and “build a light-water reactor power plant and start the technological development for ensuring self-production of nuclear fuel”  if the UNSC does not apologize for condemning its recent rocket launch.

: WHO raises its pandemic alert for swine flu to level 5, meaning that it believes a global outbreak of the disease is imminent.

: Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou announces that “Chinese Taipei” has been invited to the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer.

: Japanese Prime Minister Aso Taro visits Beijing and meets Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao.

: WHO raises the pandemic alert for swine flu to level 4, meaning sustained human-to-human transmission is causing outbreaks in at least one country.

: Ships, aircraft, and submarines from the U.S., Japan, and India take part in Exercise Malabar 09 off the coast of Okinawa, Japan.

: The World Health Organization (WHO) announces a swine flu virus originating in Mexico represents a “public health emergency of international concern” and calls on countries to intensify surveillance for unusual outbreaks of flu-like diseases and severe pneumonia.

:  Abhisit lifts the state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas.

: Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) celebrates its 60th anniversary with an international fleet parade in the port of Qingdao featuring 25 naval vessels and 31 aircraft of the PLAN and 21 foreign vessels from 14 countries.

: The Philippine Court of Appeals overturns the rape conviction of a U.S. Marine sentenced in 2006 to life in prison in the alleged assault of a Filipino woman.

: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits North Korea April 23-24 and South Korea April 24-25 to discuss bilateral relations with both countries and “the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in northeast Asia.”

: China and Russia sign an oil cooperation agreement under which Russia will export oil to China for 20 years in exchange for loans to Russian state companies.

: UNSC calls for immediate restoration of democracy and fair elections in Fiji.

: The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is held in Hainan.

: Philippines and U.S. conduct Balikatan military exercises involving humanitarian missions, counterterrorism, and disaster response and rehabilitation.

: The DPRK orders IAEA inspectors and a separate U.S. nuclear monitoring team out of the country.

: North Korea says it is withdrawing from the Six-Party Talks, expelling International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from the country, reactivating its nuclear facilities, and going ahead with the reprocessing of spent fuel.

: Anti-government protests in Thailand come to a peaceful end after four days of violence, when leaders surrender to security forces, saying they want to avoid more bloodshed.

: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) issues a President’s Statement saying that the April 5 rocket launch by North Korea was a contravention of UNSC Resolution 1718 and calls for the enforcement of existing sanctions.

: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Premier Wen Jiabao, and Prime Minister Aso Taro meet in Pattaya despite the cancellation of the ASEAN-related meetings.

: The fourth East Asia Summit meeting, which was to be held in Pattaya, is cancelled after protestors briefly occupy the summit venue.

: President Iloilo restores Bainimarama to the post of interim prime minister after he dismisses the judges from the court who ruled Bainimarama’s government was invalid.

: The 12th ASEAN Plus 3 summit, which was to be held in Pattaya, Thailand, is cancelled after protestors briefly occupy the summit venue.

: Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declares a state of emergency and a public holiday to deal with mass anti-government protests in Bangkok. Protestors briefly block access to the venue for the ASEAN Plus 3 summit.

: Fiji President Ratu Josefa Iloilo repeals the country’s constitution, appoints himself head of state, and sets a 2014 election deadline after a court ruling on April 9 that declared the interim government of coup leader Frank Bainimarama to be invalid.

: Japan renews unilateral sanctions against North Korea for one year.

: Parliamentary elections are held in Indonesia with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party winning about 20 percent of the votes.

: North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) meets and reelects Kim Jong-il to a five-year term as the Chairman of the National Defense Commission (NDC). The SPA also promotes Kim’s brother-in-law, Jang Song-taek, to serve on the NDC.

: China officially reopens Tibet to travelers after being closed to tourists for nearly two months due to security fears linked to a number of sensitive anniversaries.

: Defense Secretary Robert Gates announces budget recommendations for fiscal year 2010, including a suggestion to end production of the F-22 stealth fighter.

: North Korea launches a long-range rocket. It claims a successful satellite launch, but the U.S. and South Korea say the launch was unsuccessful and they, with many other states, criticize Pyongyang’s act as provocative and call for an emergency meeting of the UNSC.

: North Korea launches a long-range ballistic missile.

: Najib Razak is sworn into office as the sixth prime minister of Malaysia.

: The G20 economic summit is held in London.

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