Regional Overview

Chronology from May 2018 to Aug 2018

: President Trump accuses China of complicating Washington’s relationship with North Korea by rendering its ally economic assistance, as talks on Pyongyang’s denuclearization are at a standstill.

: The 17th annual Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise involving sailors and coast guardsmen from Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, US, Thailand, and Vietnam begins.

: Peace Mission 2018, the joint military exercise of SCO, is conducted in Chebarkul, Russia with the eight-member states undertaking joint training. This is the first time India and Pakistan participate in the exercise.

: Scott Morrison is sworn in as prime minister of Australia.

: US and China levy 25 percent duties on an additional $16 billion of each other’s imports.

: Malaysian PM Mahathir visits China and meets Xi and other senior leaders.

: US Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane flies over the Spratly Islands and receives six radio warnings from the Chinese military to “Leave immediately and keep out to avoid any misunderstanding.”

: Twenty-fifth ASEAN Regional Forum is held in Singapore.

: China announces it is prepared to impose tariffs between 5 percent and 25 percent on $60 billion worth of US goods in retaliation against recent tariffs imposed on China by the US as well as US-proposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports.

: President Trump receives a second letter from North Korean leader Kim, stating North Korea’s dedication to denuclearization. Trump responds with a desire to meet again with the North Korean leader.

: Fifty-first ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting is held in Singapore.

: China and ASEAN agree on an initial draft document regarding conduct in the South China Sea. This draft will serve as a baseline for future joint talks and negotiations.

: US Congress passes legislation authorizing $716 billion in total defense spending for the coming fiscal year, FY2019.

: Malaysian PM Mahathir meets Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Kuala Lumpur. They advocate closer diplomatic and economic ties.

:   Secretary of State Pompeo makes remarks on America’s Indo-Pacific economic vision, at US Chamber of Commerce Indo-Pacific business forum announcing new economic strategy to support broader US Indo-Pacific strategy.

: Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) announces that it won all 125 parliamentary seats in the July 29 elections. Critics widely dismiss the elections as undemocratic.

: North Korea delivers the remains of US soldiers killed during the Korean War to a US delegation in Pyongyang.

: Tenth BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit is held in Johannesburg, South Africa. PRC President Xi urges a deepening of relations between the five countries to open a second “Golden Decade.”

: Sixth US-Japan Cyber Dialogue is held in Washington. A US-Japan-South Korea meeting of cyber experts is held the following day.

: US and Japan hold fifth Comprehensive Dialogue on Space in Tokyo.

: UN Security Council unanimously supports the denuclearization of North Korea.

: President Trump orders the US government to investigate if higher tariffs on foreign-made vehicles and auto parts are justified on national security grounds. Japanese PM Abe warns that US tariffs on Japanese automobiles will be harmful to both economies and retaliatory tariffs may be levied.

: Japan and European Union sign bilateral trade deal eliminating nearly all tariffs.

: President Moon states that India and ASEAN have been raised to the level of Korea’s relations with the four major powers of the US, China, Japan and Russia as part of South Korea’s “New Southern Policy.”

: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, European Council President Donald Tusk, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hold the 20th China-EU leaders’ meeting in Beijing. China and the European Union agree to jointly work to safeguard the rules-based international order, promote multilateralism and support free trade.

: Second Round of China-India Dialogue on Maritime Cooperation held in Beijing. Chinese Director General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Wu Jianghao and Indian Joint Secretary for Disarmament and International Security Affairs at the Ministry of External Affairs Pankaj Sharma co-chair the dialogue.

: US accuses North Korea of breaching a United Nations sanction cap on refined petroleum via unlawful ship-to-ship transfers at sea with unknown third parties.

: President Moon visits Singapore and meets Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. They agree to expand cooperation between their nations, including expanding trade, investment in human resources and state that they agreed to enter a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) within the year.

: South Korean President Moon visits India and meets President Modi. They agree to strengthen the “special strategic partnership” including upgrading their Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

: Japanese PM Abe receives courtesy call from Secretary of State Pompeo at the Prime Minister’s Office.

: South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha visits Japan and meets PM Abe at the Prime Minister’s Office.

: Secretary of State Pompeo visits Vietnam and meets General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Truong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

: Two US Navy warships, the USS Mustin and USS Benfold guided-missile destroyers, sail through the Taiwan Strait.

: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets North Korean officials in Pyongyang to discuss specific commitments to denuclearization.

: North Korean state-run media denounces the United States for criticizing North Korea’s human-rights record while the two countries attempt to improve diplomatic ties.

: US and China tariffs begin on $34 billion in each other’s imports, with possibility of further tariffs being enacted in future. There are no signs of negotiations to ease tensions.

: Defense Secretary Mattis and Japanese Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori agree to continue joint military exercises.

: Second US-Japan Pacific Dialogue is held in Tokyo, Japan.

: Secretary of Defense Mattis states that the US will keep current troop levels in South Korea.

: 26th biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) military exercise held in and near Hawaii. China, which was disinvited, deploys a Type 815 Dongdiao-class naval vessel to observe the exercise.

: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visits Beijing and meets President Xi, Politburo Member Yang Jiechi, and Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe. Mattis reaffirms the importance of strategic transparency in the US-China defense relationship.

: ROK President Moon visits Russia and meets counterpart Vladimir Putin. Their discussion focuses on economic cooperation and the situation in North Korea.

: United States withdraws from the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC).

: North Korean Chairman Kim visits China and meets President Xi in Beijing.

: South Korea and the United States announce the decision to stop all planning for and suspend the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercise scheduled to be held in August.

: President Trump imposes 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods, accusing China of intellectual copyright theft. China responds with equal tariffs on $50 billion of US goods.

: President Moon states that the South Korean government will “carefully consider” suspending military drills with the US following the US-DPRK Summit.

: South Korean President Moon and Secretary of State Pompeo meet in Seoul to discuss the agreements reached at the United States-North Korea Summit.

: PM Abe hosts meeting with Malaysian PM Mahathir at the Prime Minister’s Office.

: The US-DPRK summit is held in Singapore. President Trump and Chairman Kim sign a joint declaration that calls for improved diplomatic relations, a new peace regime and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and a resumption of the recovery of US POW/MIA remains from North Korea.

: Prime Minister Abe calls President Trump regarding the US-DPRK summit.

: China hosts Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Qingdao.

: President Xi meets Prime Minister Modi of India in Qingdao. They agree that the “two sides should make persistent efforts to speed up the implementation, maintain strategic communication, expand economic and trade cooperation, promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges and enhance coordination and cooperation on international and regional affairs.”

: President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Beijing, pledging to “firmly support each other in defending their respective values.”

: Canada hosts the G7 Charlevoix Summit.

: Prime Minister Abe visits Washington and meets President Trump.

: Australia-New Zealand-United States Pacific Security Cooperation Dialogue held at the Department of State in Washington.

: China warns against US provocations in the South China Sea following two B-52 bombers flying past Chinese-held artificial islands.

: ROK President Moon hosts summit with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

: The 17th Asia Security Summit, or Shangri-La Dialogue, is held in Singapore.

: President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker meets China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Brussels. They note the danger of protectionism and the need to cooperate to safeguard UN Charter principles and open world trade.

: After meeting with North Korean Vice-Chairman Kim, President Trump confirms the US-DPRK summit will take place in Singapore on June 12.

: Secretary of State Pompeo meets North Korean Vice-Chairman Kim Yong Chol in New York to discuss preparations for the upcoming US-DPRK summit.

: President Trump calls PM Abe to discuss recent developments in North Korea. They affirm the shared imperative of dismantling North Korea’s chemical, biological, and ballistic weapons programs.

: Two US Navy destroyers, the USS Higgins and the USS Antietam, conduct a freedom of navigation operation near Tree, Lincoln, Triton, and Woody Islands in the Paracels.

: North Korea Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan states that the DPRK is willing to meet with the US “at any time, any format”

: China urges the United States and North Korea to hold denuclearization summit.

: President Trump cancels proposed June 12 summit with Chairman Kim, citing “the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed” in recent North Korean statements.

: North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui releases statement referring to US Vice President Pence as a “political dummy” for his comments on North Korea and says it was up to the Americans whether they would “meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.”

: North Korea dismantles its nuclear testing ground at Pungye-ri.

: In response to China’s continued militarization of islands in the South China Sea, the Pentagon disinvites the PLA Navy from the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.

: China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits the US and meets Secretary of State Pompeo.

: ROK President Moon visits Washington and meets President Trump, Secretary of State Pompeo, and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

: President Trump blames Chinese President Xi for the delay or cancellation of his summit with Kim Jong Un.

: President Trump warns North Korea to denuclearize or risk overthrow, saying, “[the Libyan] model would take place if we don’t make a deal,” referring to the overthrow of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhdafi.

: North Korea denies South Korean reporters access to the dismantling of its nuclear test site.

: Chinese trade delegation led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He visits Washington for consultations with US counterparts. He meets President Trump.

: North Korea’s KCNA announces that the DPRK canceled high-level North South talks scheduled for May 16 and threatens to cancel the Kim-Trump summit in response to the decision to proceed with the US-ROK military exercise, denouncing it as “a rude and wicked provocation.”

: US and South Korea conduct annual military exercise Max Thunder.

: Mohamed Mahathir’s opposition grouping Pakatan Harapan, with a small ally, win general election in Malaysia ending the long rule of the Barisan Nasional coalition, which has been in power in Malaysia since its birth as an independent country in 1957.

: Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in hold a trilateral summit in Tokyo.

: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Pyongyang to make additional arrangements in anticipation of the Trump-Kim summit.

: President Donald Trump announces that the US will withdraw from the “defective” Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

: Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry requests that China withdraw military equipment from the South China Sea.

: US and the Philippines conduct joint military exercise Balikatan, which focuses on counterterrorism in an urban setting as well as traditional security scenarios.

: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un travels to China and meets President Xi Jinping in Dalian.

: A delegation of senior US economic advisers travels to Beijing and meets President Xi Jinping and Vice President Wang Qishan.

:   Seven-member trade delegation that includes US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative, goes to China for bilateral consultations on trade relations. The meetings are candid but make no progress.

: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit North Korea in years, meets Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in Pyongyang.

: CNBC reports that China has installed antiship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on Mischief Reef, Subi Reef, and Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea.

Date Range