Regional Overview

Chronology from May 2011 to Aug 2011

: Noda Yoshihiko is confirmed in the Diet as Japan’s sixth new premier in five years, replacing outgoing Kan Naoto who resigned on Aug. 26.

: Philippine President Benigno Aquino III leads a delegation of 270 businessmen on a visit to China with stops in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xiamen.

:   PLA Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ma Xiaotian and Defense Minister Liang Guanglie meet Vietnamese Vice Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh in Beijing.  They agree to resolve the South China Sea disputes through continued consultation and dialogue.

: ROK nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac meets counterpart Wu Dawei in Beijing.

: Kim Jong Il visits Northeast China following his Russian tour and meets State Councilor Dai Binguo in Heilongjiang province on Aug. 26.

: The Pentagon publishes its Annual Report to Congress on the Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.

: Vice President Biden visits Mongolia and meets Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold and President Tsakhia Elbegdorj.

: Vice President Biden visits Japan and meets Prime Minister Kan. They agree to move ahead with the realignment of US forces in Japan and Biden is quoted as saying “our alliance will continue to serve as the cornerstone of peace and security in East Asia.”

: Police in Hanoi arrest dozens of people at an anti-China rally as they gathered for the 11th week of protests.

: Lee Myung-bak undertakes state visits to Mongolia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. He signs energy and related accords worth $11 billion in total.

: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il visits the far eastern region of Russia and meets President Dmitry Medvedev on Aug. 24 in Ulan Ude.

: Vice President Joe Biden visits China and meets President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

: ROK and the US conduct the annual joint military exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian in South Korea.

: China’s aircraft carrier Varyag undergoes its first sea trials.

: Chinese government reports that it was hit by nearly 500,000 cyber-attacks last year, about half of which originated from foreign countries including the US and India.

: South Korean National Security Advisor Chun Yung-woo visits Washington to consult with US officials on the next steps regarding the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

: Foreign Minister Lavrov announces Russia will send 50,000 tons of grain to North Korea to help it cope with food shortages after devastating floods.

: South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan visits Russia to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program among other issues with counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

: Japan’s Ministry of Defense issues its 2011 Defense White Paper.

: Security software vendor McAfee publishes a report about a hacking group that penetrated 72 companies and organizations in 14 countries since 2006 in an operation called Operation Shady RAT that stole national secrets, business plans and other sensitive information.

: North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan meets Special Envoy for DPRK Policy Stephen Bosworth in New York. Special Envoy for Six-Party Talks Clifford Hart and DPRK Human Rights Envoy Robert King also attend the meetings.

: South Korea and China hold their first strategic military talks, covering defense exchanges and regional security issues including North Korea. Delegations are led by ROK Vice Defense Minister Lee Yong-gul and Chinese Deputy Chief of General Staff Ma Xiaotian.

: ASEAN naval chiefs meet formally for the first time in Hanoi.

: Truong Tan Sang is elected state president by the Vietnamese National Assembly.

: The 18th ASEAN Regional Forum is held in Bali.

: The two Koreas’ foreign ministers, Pak Ui Chun and Kim Sung-hwan, meet briefly but cordially at the ARF.

: East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting is held in Bali.

: The North and South Korean chief Six-Party Talks negotiators unexpectedly hold a two-hour bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the ARF in Bali. Wi Sung-lac and Ri Yong Ho agree to make joint efforts to resume the talks as soon as possible.

: The Foreign Ministers and senior representatives of the Lower Mekong Basin countries – Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Viet Nam – and the Secretary of State Clinton met in Bali, Indonesia for the 4th Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) Ministerial Meeting.

: China and ASEAN agree to a set of guidelines that would be part of a revised Code of Conduct on the South China Sea disputes. Secretary of State Clinton praises the new guidelines as “an important first step.”

: The 44th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) and Post-Ministerial Conferences (PMC) with ASEAN dialogue partners are held in Bali.

: The International Court of Justice rules that Thailand and Cambodia should withdraw their forces from a disputed border area adjacent to the Preah Vihear temple.

: Three US Navy ships make a seven-day visit to Vietnam that includes naval training exercises.  Officials stress that the visits are part of routine exchanges.

: South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin visits China and meets Vice President Xi Jinping. Kim and Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie agree to establish an annual strategic dialogue.

: Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Indonesian National Defence Forces (TNI) co-host the inaugural ASEAN Militaries’ Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Table-Top Exercise (AHX) in Singapore and Indonesia.

: The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force conducts joint drills with the US and Australian navies in the South China Sea off Brunei. In the past, these drills have been conducted in seas west of Kyushu or near Okinawa.

: Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, visits China; meets counterpart Gen. Chen Bingde and visits several military installations.

: Yingluck Shinawatra and her opposition Pheu Thai Party win the elections in Thailand.  The following day, Yingluck announces that she will form a coalition government comprised of five parties.

: The Philippines and the US conduct Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) joint naval exercises in the Sulu Sea. Both sides emphasize the annual event is aimed at deepening defense ties and not linked to Chinese actions in the South China Sea.

: The US Senate unanimously approves a resolution deploring the use of force by China in the South China Sea and calling for a peaceful, multilateral resolution to maritime territorial disputes in Southeast Asia.

: Assistant Secretary Campbell hosts Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai in Honolulu for the inaugural US-China Consultations on the Asia-Pacific region.

: Secretary of State Clinton meets Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario and affirms US security commitments.

: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates host Japanese Foreign Minister Matsumoto Takeiki and Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi for a Security Consultative Committee (“two-plus-two”) meeting in Washington.

: Wi Sung-lac visits the US to meet Stephen Bosworth, special representative for North Korea policy, Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state, and Clifford Hart, the new envoy for the Six-Party Talks.

: Fourth annual US-Vietnam Political, Security, and Defense Dialogue led by Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro and Standing Vice Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh is held in Washington.

: Radical Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual founder of Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, is convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 15 years in jail.

: The 10th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit is held in Astana, Kazakhstan.

: US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas states that the US is committed to helping the Philippines in any dispute over the South China Sea.

: China stages military exercises in the South China Sea described as being aimed at “defending atolls and protecting sea lanes.”

: Vietnam conducts live-fire naval drills in the South China Sea about 40 km off Quang Nam province in central Vietnam.

: North Korea amplifies its account of May’s secret talks, including allegations that the South tried to use a bribe. It threatens to publish transcripts of the proceedings.

: Wi Sung-lac, Seoul’s top envoy on North Korean affairs, meets Wu Dawei, China’s special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs to reviving the Six-Party Talks.

: The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) and the Defense Officials Dialogue/8th ARF Security Policy Conference are held in Surabaya, Indonesia.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell visits Beijing for talks on bilateral and regional issues with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai and Special Representative for Korean Peninsular Affairs Wu Dawei.

: The Shangri-La Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue is held in Singapore.

: North Korea’s National Defense Commission (NDC) says that on May 9 the two Koreas held secret talks in Beijing. South Korea does not repudiate the story, but claims it was the North that took the initiative.

: China’s Foreign Ministry states that Vietnam’s oil and gas operations in China’s territorial waters “harms China’s rights, interests, and jurisdiction in the South China Sea and violates the consensus reached by the two countries on the South China Sea issue.”

: Vietnam accuses Beijing of “violating” its marine sovereignty in disputed areas of the South China Sea after Chinese ships damaged a PetroVietnam exploration boat. Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry calls on China to prevent any further incidents and provide compensation.

: Burmese President Thein Sein visits Beijing and meets Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao. The two countries announce establishment of a strategic relationship.

: US delegation led by Robert King, US special envoy for North Korea’s human rights, visits Pyongyang to discuss food aid and to raise human rights issues.

: Trade ministers from the 21 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum issue a joint statement after their meeting in Big Sky, Montana, expressing concerns about the status of world trade talks.

: China’s Defense Minister Liang Guanglie visits the Philippines. He and Philippine counterpart Voltaire Gazmin agree to avoid “unilateral actions” that could further increase tensions and acknowledge the need to ensure that the South China Sea remains stable.

: Leaders of Japan, China and South Korea hold a summit in Tokyo where they agree to cooperate on a number of regional issues, including nuclear safety and trade.

: North Korea’s Kim Jong Il visits China as the guest of Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

: The fifth ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) is held in Jakarta and endorses two new initiatives – the establishment of the ASEAN Peacekeeping Centers Networkand the ASEAN Defense Industry Collaboration.

: US Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth visits Seoul and meets Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan, Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Wi Sung-Lac, and Presidential Security Adviser Chun Young-Woo.

: US Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), John McCain (R-AZ), and Jim Webb (D-VA) release a statement calling for the reexamination of US military basing plans in East Asia, including the relocation of MCAS Futenma on Okinawa.

: China and the US hold their third Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in Washington DC.

: The 18th ASEAN Summit is held in Jakarta.

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