Regional Overview

Chronology from May 2014 to Aug 2014

: Thailand’s coup leader, Prayuth Chan-Ocha is formally endorsed as prime minister by King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

: Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conducts Peace Mission 2014 joint military exercise to deter the “three evil forces” (terrorism, separatism, and extremism) in Inner Mongolia.

: Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman rejects a US protest of the previous day accusing China of dangerous harassment of US surveillance flights over the South China Sea.

: US Department of Defense denounces dangerous intercept of US reconnaissance aircraft by armed Chinese fighter aircraft over the South China Sea.

: President Xi Jinping visits Mongolia and meets President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. They agree to upgrade bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

: US and South Korea conduct annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian military exercise. North Korea demands the exercise “should be cancelled unconditionally,” adding that failure to do so would push the “Korean peninsula to the brink of a war and increase the danger of a nuclear war.”

: Three Japanese Cabinet members and other politicians visit Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II. Prime Minister Abe does not visit the shrine, but sends an offering. The visit and offering are condemned by China and Korea.

: North Korea fires five short-range rockets into the East Sea.

: US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey visits Vietnam to become the first chairman to visit Vietnam since 1971.

: Pope Francis visits South Korea, marking the first papal visit to an Asian country since 1999.

: Russia begins military drills near the Kuril Islands. Japan issues a protest.

: Secretary of State Kerry, Secretary of Defense Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey meet Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defense Minister David Johnston for annual Australia-US Ministerial Consultations in Sydney.

: Singapore hosts annual Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) naval exercises with personnel from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States participating.

: Australia announces it will join the US in humanitarian airdrops in Iraq.

: Secretary of State Kerry travels to Myanmar, Australia, and Solomon Islands.

: Secretary of Defense Hagel visits India and meets Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defense Minister Arun Jaitley.

: Japan releases its 2014 Ministry of Defense white paper, which is criticized by South Korea for claiming the Dokdo/Takeshima islets as Japanese territory.

: The 47th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting/Post Ministerial Conference, the 21st ASEAN Regional Forum, the 15th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers Meeting, and the fourth East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting are held in Nay Pyi Taw.

: Chinese media condemn Japan’s decision to name individual islets of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

: North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong visits Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Singapore in conjunction with his attendance at the 21st ASEAN Regional Forum and East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting.

: Chinese military announces the development of the Dongfeng-41, a nuclear missile with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles with a range of 7,500 miles.

: Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida meets Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi. Japan agrees to provide Vietnam six naval vessels.

:  Pitch Black air combat exercise with fighter aircraft from the US, Singapore, France, Thailand, the UAE, New Zealand, and Australia is held near Darwin, Australia.

: Secretary of State Kerry visits India and meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the fifth annual Strategic Dialogue between the two countries.

: North Korea fires four projectiles into the East Sea.

: US and Singaporean navies hold annual CARAT exercises in the South China Sea.

: Fifteen Pacific Island countries hold the Pacific Islands Forum in Palau.

: President Xi meets Laotian counterpart Choummaly Saygnasone in Beijing.

: People’s Liberation Army Navy conduct military drills off the Gulf of Tonkin and in the East China Sea.

: Fourth Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers Meeting takes place in Seoul.

: North Korea launches a short-range missile into the East Sea.

: US and Indian navies, along with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force conduct annual Malabar exercise. Portions of the exercise are held off the southern coast of Japan.

: Japanese Prime Minister Abe visits Latin America and the Caribbean.

: Japan government rejects UN Humans Rights Committee call to take responsibility for its use of sex slaves during World War II.

: Japan and South Korea resume high-level talks on wartime sex slaves in Seoul.

: China and South Korea hold fourth Defense Strategic Dialogue in Beijing.

: Joko Widodo is officially declared winner of Indonesia’s presidential election.

: Japan and Mongolia sign a free trade agreement.

: China removes its offshore oil rig from contested waters near the Paracel Islands, a month before schedule.

: Malaysian Airlines flight 17 shot down over eastern Ukraine.

: US and South Korea conduct annual naval exercises off the east coast of South Korea. The exercise includes a trilateral search and rescue exercise involving US, South Korean, and Japanese maritime forces.

: President Xi Jinping visits South America to attend the annual BRICS Summit and to visit countries in the region.

: US Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert visits China and meets counterpart Adm. Wu Shengli in Beijing.

:  South Korea resumes humanitarian funding for North Korea after four years of economic sanctions stemming from the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan.

: Chinese government condemns Prime Minister Abbott’s pro-Japanese and anti-Chinese comments during Prime Minister Abe’s recent visit to Australia.

: North Korea launches two short-range missiles into the East Sea.

: North Korea condemns the docking of the USS George Washington in the South Korean port of Busan.

: Japanese Defense Minister Onodera visits Washington and meets Secretary of Defense Hagel.

: North Korea fires two short-range missiles into the East Sea. For the first time in 20 years the missiles are fired from an inland area rather than a coastal region.

: US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), co-chaired by Secretary of State Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, and Vice Premier Wang Yang is held in Beijing.

: Japanese Prime Minister Abe visits Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Australia to discuss concerns in energy, trade, and defense.

: Chinese Coast Guard detains six Vietnamese fishermen for “illegally operating in Chinese territory.”

: Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Fan Changlong meets Indian Army Chief of Staff Bikram Singh to boost bilateral military cooperation.

: Japan lifts some unilateral sanctions on North Korea after progress is made on investigating Cold War kidnappings of Japanese nationals by the DPRK.

: Chinese President Xi Jinping visits South Korea.

: Trade officials meet in Ottawa to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

: North Korea fires two missiles off its eastern coast.

: Chinese government and media criticize Japanese decision to exercise the right of collective self-defense.

: Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario visits Hanoi and meets Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh. They agree to establish a joint commission “to formulate a road map in working towards a strategic partnership.”

: An estimated 500,000 protestors carrying banners with slogans, including “We want real democracy” and “We stand united against China” attend a rally in Hong Kong to mark the anniversary of the handover of the territory from the United Kingdom to China.

: North Korean and Japanese officials meet in Beijing to discuss the reinvestigation of the abductions of Japanese citizens in the 19702 and 1980s.

: Japan’s Cabinet approves a resolution that will allow the country to exercise the right to collective self-defense by reinterpreting the pacifist Constitution.

: North Korea launches two short-range projectiles into the East Sea.

: North Korea’s National Defense Commission proposes a mutual halt of hostile military activities on the peninsula. South Korea dismisses the proposal as insincere.

: Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio visits Cambodia and meets Prime Minister Hun Sen.

: Myanmar President Thein Sein visits China and meets President Xi to celebrate the 60th anniversary of an agreement on the five principles of peaceful coexistence between China, India, and Myanmar.

: North Korea launches three short-range projectiles off its east coast, claiming they represent state-of-the art precision guided missiles.

: US and Philippines conduct Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) naval exercises near disputed South China Sea waters claimed by China.

: Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercises involving 22 countries, 49 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are held in Hawaii.

: US Ambassador to China Max Baucus, in his first public address since his arrival in March, criticizes China’s lack of protection for basic rights such as freedom of expression.

: Zhang Zhijun, director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, visits Taiwan to reciprocate Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Wang Yu-chi’s trip to China in February.

: Philippine President Benigno Aquino visits Japan and meets Prime Minister Abe, offering support for Abe’s plan to reinterpret the constitutional ban on collective self-defense.

: International Criminal Court decides that North Korea will not face war crimes for the 2010 artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island and sinking of the ROK Navy ship Cheonan.

: European Union condemns the recent coup in Thailand and halts all official visits and postpones the signing of a partnership and cooperation accord.

: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long visits the US and meets President Obama, Vice President Biden, and National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Lee calls for US support to finalize the TPP.

: Fifth round of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is held in Singapore.

: South Korean Navy holds live-fire drills near Dokdo/Takeshima Islands. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide denounces the exercises.

: Japan announces completion of a review of the Kono Statement issued in 1993 regarding the forced sexual-slavery of South Korean women during World War II.

: Unofficial civil referendum on electoral reform is held in Hong Kong, with over 700,000 participants.

: US State Department publishes the 2014 Trafficking in Persons report, adding Thailand and Malaysia to the list of countries that have failed to tackle human trafficking. Both countries protest this characterization.

: The 18th ASEAN-ROK Dialogue is held in Busan. For the first time, a separate dialogue on security is included.

: Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi visits Vietnam and meets Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi to exchange views on bilateral relations and ongoing maritime tensions.

: Japan agrees to relax visa requirements for nationals of Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and India.

: US State Department urges reforms in Myanmar to ensure free elections.

: Inter-sessional meeting of the negotiations on the Japan-China-South Korea Free Trade Agreement is held in Tokyo.

: South Korea and the US hold the first in a planned series talks to discuss the transfer of wartime operational command of South Korean troops.

:  Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario calls for a moratorium on actions that can provoke tensions in the South China Sea.

: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key visits the US. He meets President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

: Foreign and defense ministers of Japan and Australia meet in Tokyo and agree to cooperate on defense equipment and technology research and development. Hydrodynamics, used in submarines, will be the first area of the joint research.

: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot visits the US and meets President Barack Obama.

: Japan accuses China of flying fighter jets “dangerously close” to two of its military planes near disputed waters in the East China Sea where China’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) overlaps with that of Japan.

: Permanent Court of Arbitration announces that China will have until Dec. 15 to file a memorial countering Philippine evidence in its case against Chinese claims in the South China Sea. China’s Foreign Ministry restates its refusal to participate in the case.

: US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker leads a delegation of US business executives and members of the US-ASEAN Business Council to Vietnam, the Philippines, and Myanmar for meetings with heads of state, cabinet officials, and business leaders.

: Japan Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori, South Korea Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, and US Secretary of Defense Hagel meet on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

: Shangri-La Defense Forum is held in Singapore.

: Japanese Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Australian Defense Minister David Johnston hold trilateral talks in Singapore on the margins of the Shangri-La Dialogue.

: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak makes a state visit to China.

: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits South Korea and meets counterpart Yun Byung-se to discuss the North Korea’s nuclear program as well as an upcoming visit by Chinese President Xi to Seoul.

: Japanese and North Korean officials meet in Stockholm. North Korea agrees to reopen its investigation into the whereabouts of the remaining Japanese citizens believed to have been abducted by the North Korean government. Japanese government will relax sanctions.

: Narendra Modi is sworn in as prime minister of India.

: North Korea fires artillery shells into water near South Korea ships.

: Thai military declares a coup and suspends the constitution. Army Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha is identified as the junta leader.

:   Thai military declares martial law.

: Philippines and Indonesia reach settlement of maritime boundaries.

: Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Ministerial Meeting is held in Singapore.

:   Russian President Vladimir Putin visits China. He and President Xi Jinping attend the opening of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.

: Eighth ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting is held in Nay Pyi Taw.

: Russia and China conduct Maritime Cooperation-2014 naval exercises off China’s east coast near Shanghai.

: Myanmar hosts the 24th ASEAN Summit in Nay Pyi Taw.

: Philippine National Police maritime patrol arrests 11 Chinese fishermen whose vessel is intercepted 60 nm off the coast of Palawan province. China demands the release of the fishermen, saying they were in an area where China has “undisputable” sovereign rights.

: Thailand’s Constitutional Court dismisses Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office for abuse of power, along with nine Cabinet officials.

: US and the Philippines conduct Balikatan military exercise featuring live-fire drills, landing exercises, search-and-rescue operations, humanitarian response operations, and demonstrations of maritime surveillance systems. A small contingent from Australia participates.

: China’s Maritime Safety Administration announces that all ships are prohibited from entering a 1.6 km radius (subsequently expanded to 5 km) surrounding an oil drilling area near the Paracel (Vietnam Hoang Sa; China: Xisha) Islands until operations end on Aug. 15.

: China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) deploys a deep-water drilling rig, the HD-981, in disputed waters near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

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