Regional Overview

Chronology from May 2017 to Aug 2017

: North Korea launches a missile over Japan that lands in waters off the northern region of Hokkaido.

: India and China agree on an “expeditious disengagement” of troops at a disputed border area at the Doklam Plateau in the Himalayas.

: Chinese Foreign Ministry sends official note to the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing expressing opposition to Jakarta’s renaming of the southwest part of South China Sea to North Natuna Sea.

: The Rakhine Advisory Commission, led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, releases report that says the Muslim community in Myanmar’s Rakhine State has become particularly vulnerable to human rights violations due to protracted statelessness and profound discrimination.

: ROK and US Combined Forces Command conduct the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercise. In addition, UN Command forces from seven countries, including Australia, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, participate.

: Secretary of State Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Mattis host Japanese Foreign Minister Kono Taro and Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori for a Security Consultative Committee (“2+2”) meeting in Washington.

: Indian and Chinese soldiers are involved in an altercation in the western Himalayas, raising tensions between two countries that are already locked in a two-month standoff in another part of the disputed border.

: KCNA reports Kim Jong Un delayed a decision on firing missiles toward Guam.

: China’s President Xi calls for a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue in a telephone call with President Trump.

: KCNA reports that the KPA Strategic Force is “carefully examining” plans to launch four missiles toward Guam and surround the US territory in an “enveloping fire.”

: President Trump warns that “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with the fire and the fury like the world has never seen.”

: North Korean Foreign Minister  Ri Yong Ho, speaking at the ASEAN Regional Forum, blames the US for the situation on the Korean Peninsula and says Pyongyang would “teach the US a severe lesson” if it used military force against North Korea.

: Foreign ministers from ASEAN endorsee a framework for the South China Sea code of conduct. It is adopted on Aug. 6 during the ASEAN-China Post-Ministerial Conference.

: UNSC passes Resolution 2371 in response to North Korean long-range missile tests. It bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore, and seafood. It also prohibits countries from increasing the current number of North Korean laborers working abroad, and bans new joint ventures with North Korea and new investment in current joint ventures.

: National security advisers from the US, South Korea, and Japan hold a video conference to coordinate their response to North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats.

: ASEAN-related meetings are held in Manila including the 50th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and Post-Ministerial Conferences, 18th ASEAN Plus 3 Foreign Ministers Meeting, 7th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting, and 24th ASEAN Regional Forum.

: North Korea launches a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan (East Sea). The missile reportedly travels for 45 minutes and lands in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

: Vietnam orders a private oil company to stop drilling in contested territory one week after China allegedly threatens to attack its bases in the Spratly Islands.

: Two Chinese fighter jets intercept a US Navy surveillance plane over the East China Sea.

: US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue is held in Washington DC.

: Indonesia unveils a new official map of the national archipelago that includes renaming of the southwest part of South China Sea to North Natuna Sea.

: Eleven TPP countries meet in Hakone, Japan and agree to draft a new version of the TPP text that makes minimal changes to reflect the US withdrawal from the group.

: Naval ships, aircraft, and personnel from India, Japan, and the US participate in exercise Malabar, which features ashore training in Chennai and at-sea training in the Bay of Bengal.

: G20 Summit is held in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders from Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and US attend.

: Two US bombers fly over parts of the South China Sea amid territorial disputes, asserting the right to treat the region as international territory.

:   US and South Korea conduct military exercise that is described as a response to the North Korean missile launch on July 4.

: North Korea tests what it claims to be its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead.

: China’s President Xi visits Russia and meets President Putin. They sign several agreements related to trade and investment, agriculture, infrastructure, energy, and culture. The joint statement reaffirms their support for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maintenance of regional stability, and solving the North Korean nuclear issue through dialogue.

: US destroyer USS Stethem conducts FON operation within 12 nm of Triton Island in the Paracel Island chain while shadowed by a Chinese warship.

: China files formal protest against Washington’s decision to sell arms to Taiwan.

:  Chinese President Xi travels to Hong Kong for celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese sovereignty and to oversee the July 1 swearing-in of Hong Kong’s first female chief executive Carrie Lam.

: South Korean President Moon Jae-in visits the US and meets President Trump. Discussion between the two focuses on North Korea and US-ROK trade.

: Recently-appointed Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano visits China. He meets Chinese counterparts Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi in Beijing.

: KCNA says North Korea will impose a “death penalty” on former South Korean President Park Geun-hye and former head of the National Intelligence Service Lee Byoung-ho for their alleged plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un.

: US releases annual Trafficking in Persons Report. It downgrades China’s status as among the world’s worst offenders, citing Beijing’s complicity in North Korea’s export of forced labor.

: Indian Prime Minister Naendra Modi visits the US and meets President Trump. They agree to promote strategic cooperation.

: Inaugural US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue co-chaired by Secretary of State Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Mattis for the US, and State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of staff of the PLA for China, is held in Washington.

: China stages military exercises in the Paracel Islands.

: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines launch trilateral maritime patrols of borders, which will allow hot pursuit operations to cross borders until authorities of the other country take over.

:  Indian Army intercepts and stalls road-laying efforts by Chinese in Doka La area of the Doklam Plateau, leading to a standoff between the Indian Army and China’s PLA.

: Otto Warmbier, a US citizen who had been detained in North Korea since January 2016, is released to US Special Representative for North Korean Policy Joseph Yun and returns to the US. He reportedly has been in a comatose state for the past 17 months.

: The 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is held in Astana.

: Two US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers fly a training mission from Guam over the South China Sea in conjunction with the Navy’s USS Sterett guided-missile destroyer.

: Secretary of State Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis visit Sydney for the 2017 Australia-US Ministerial Consultations hosted by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defense Minister Marise Payne.

: Vietnam’s PM Nguyen visits Japan and meets Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.

: UNSC expands North Korea sanctions, barring 14 officials from traveling to UN member states and four companies, including Koryo Bank and Kangbong Trading, from doing business with UN member state entities.

: Shangri-La Dialogue (16th Asia Security Summit) is held in Singapore.

: USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan strike groups and Japanese destroyers Hyuga and Ashigara conduct a joint exercise in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

: Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visits the US and meets President Trump, first Southeast Asian leader to visit Washington during Trump administration.

: US Navy destroyer, USS Dewey, sails within 12 nm of Mischief Reef in the Spratley Islands, the first US freedom of navigation operation in the region since October 2016.

: Philippine President Duterte visits Russia and meets President Vladimir Putin. Duterte cuts his trip short after declaring martial law in Mindanao following a skirmish between the military and members of the Maute Group, a terrorist group affiliated with the Islamic State.

: UNSC condemns North Korea’s latest missile test and directs its sanctions committee to redouble its efforts to implement existing sanctions.

: On the sidelines of APEC meetings in Hanoi, the remaining 11 countries of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agree to pursue the trade agreement without the US. The APEC forum fails to issue a consensus statement when the US refuses wording agreed by the other 20 APEC countries that supported free trade and opposed protectionism.

: US, ROK, and Japan call for an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss the latest missile launch by North Korea.

: North Korea launches an intermediate-range missile (Pukguksong-2, also known as KN-15) 500 km into the East Sea (Sea of Japan). KCNA claims the test demonstrates accuracy of the missile’s guidance system and confirms the capacity of the rocket’s propulsion system.

: The 14th meeting of senior officials from China and ASEAN on implementation of a code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea is held in Guiyan, China. Participants agree on a draft COC, which will be submitted to the foreign ministers for consideration.

: China hosts delegates from 138 countries for Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, including: Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Laotian President Bounnhang Vorachith, and Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.

: North Korea conducts a test of what KCNA identifies as a Hwasong-12 missile and describes as a “medium long-range missile that “can carry a heavy nuclear warhead.”

: In Beijing for the Belt and Road Forum, Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang meets President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People. They have “positive” talks, “without any criticism of each other” on the South China Sea.

: Jakarta Gov. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to two years in prison following a trial seen as a test of Indonesia’s religious tolerance.

: US and Philippines conduct 33rd iteration of Balikatan military exercises, with special focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and counter-terrorism operations, in multiple locations in the Philippines.

: North Korea accuses the US CIA and South Korea’s intelligence service of a plot to attack its “supreme leadership” with a biochemical weapon.

: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets foreign minister of 10 ASEAN countries in Washington and urges them to do more to help cut funding streams for North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and to minimize diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

: China calls for immediate dismantlement of the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea.

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