Regional Overview

Chronology from Jul 2009 to Oct 2009

: Foreign ministers from China (Yang Jiechi), Japan (Okada Katsuya), and South Korea (Yu Myung-hwan) meet in Shanghai to prepare for an Oct. 10 leaders’ summit in Beijing.

: Detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi announces through her attorney that she is ready to help the military junta get the West to lift economic sanctions.

: A U.S. interagency delegation led by Deputy Secretary James Steinberg visits Vietnam, Malaysia, China, South Korea, and Japan for consultations on bilateral, regional, and global issues.

: The Group of 20 (G20) economic summit is held in Pittsburgh.

: Prime Minister Hatoyama meets President Obama on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

:   Speaking on the sidelines of the UN, Secretary Clinton announces a change in the Obama administration’s Burma policy to engage the military junta while still maintaining economic sanctions.

: President Obama says that Iran and the DPRK “must be held accountable” if they continue to put their pursuit of nuclear weapons ahead of international security.

: The General Debate of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly is held in New York.  

: Presidents Obama and Hu meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

: Speaking in New York, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak offers North Korea a “grand bargain” to give up its nuclear program in return for aid and security guarantees, warning the communist state the offer may be its last chance to “ensure its own survival.”

: The UN hosts a one-day climate summit in New York, which is attended by 86 presidents and 36 prime ministers.

:  The Chinese and Russian naval escort taskforces carry out a joint exercise named Peace Blue Shield 2009 in the west sea area of the Gulf of Aden.

: Noordin Mohamed Top, a Malaysian who headed a violent splinter faction of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network, is killed along with three of his militants during raid on a house outside Solo City, Indonesia.

: The U.S. government announces that it will not be pursuing a missile defense platform in Poland and the Czech Republic.

: Japan’s Diet elects Hatoyama Yukio as prime minister.

: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman urges the U.S. “to discard its Cold War mindset and prejudice, correct the mistakes in the NIS [2009 National Intelligence Strategy] report and stop publishing wrong opinions about China which may mislead the American people and undermine the mutual trust between China and the United States.”

: Dai Bingguo, envoy of President Hu Jintao, accompanied by Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, visits North Korea and meets Chairman Kim Jong-il. According to Xinhua, Kim tells him that “North Korea will continue adhering towards the goal of denuclearization … and is willing to resolve the relevant problems through bilateral and multilateral talks.”

: U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair releases the 2009 U.S. National Intelligence Strategy, which groups China with Iran, North Korea and Russia as nations with the ability to “challenge U.S. interests in traditional and emerging ways.”

: The International Atomic Energy Agency’s 53rd Annual General Conference is held in Vienna. Amano Yukiya is formally appointed as the agency’s fifth director general.

: President Obama announces plans to impose a 35 percent tariff on automobile and light-truck tires imported from China.

: Taiwan’s former President Chen Shui-bian is sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of corruption.

: Wu Bangguo meets President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Washington.

: North Korea says that it released water from the dam on the Imjin River because of a sudden high water level at the dam. It also promises to provide timely warnings to South Korea in the future, but does not mention the campers or apologize for the incident.

: Taiwan Premier Liu Chao-shiuan resigns after severe public criticism of the way the government responded to Typhoon Morakot.

: North Korea releases about 40 million tons of water from the dam on the Imjin River located 40 km north of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), which results in flooding south of the DMZ, killing six South Korean campers.

: Taiwan announces that it will not attempt to seek UN membership this year.

: The finance ministers and central bank governors of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) gather in London to discuss the current situation of the world economy and their fiscal and monetary policy responses. They call for enhancing and consolidating the role of the Group of 20 major developed and developing countries (G20) in managing world economy.

: U.S. Envoy on North Korea Stephen Bosworth visits China, South Korea, and Japan to coordinate with counterparts on prospects for resuming Six-Party Talks.

: Cross-border traffic between North and South Korea returns to normal, ending eight months of restrictions imposed by the North.

: The British Commonwealth suspends Fiji for failing to make progress in holding elections by October 1, 2010.

: The Democratic Party of Japan wins control of government in the Lower House election for the first time in its history, driving the Liberal Democratic Party out of power for only the second time since it was formed in 1955.

: The Dalai Lama visits Taiwan.

: North Korea releases a South Korean crew and its 29-ton fishing vessel that had been detained since July 30, 2009.

: The UN releases a statement saying that more than 30,000 refugees from the northeast region of Myanmar have fled into China as a result of recent fighting between Myanmar’s military and rebel ethnic armies.

: A special session of the U.S.-China Military Maritime Consultative Agreement talks are held in Beijing.

: South Korea launches the first space rocket launch from its soil after repeatedly postponing it due to technical reasons. While the launch is successful, the satellite fails to deploy to its intended orbit and falls back into the earth’s atmosphere.

: U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman arrives in Beijing.

: DPRK notifies ROK Unification Ministry that border crossings and cargo train service would be “restored to the way they were before the December 1 measure,” which restricted the number of times ROK workers could travel to the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

: China’s Defense Ministry launches its first official web site in what it describes as an effort to be more transparent. The English version can be found at

: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson meets DPRK diplomats from the UN.

: Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung dies.

: John Roos is sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

: Thousands of supporters in Bangkok present a petition to the Royal Palace seeking a pardon for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

: The U.S. and South Korea conduct Ulchi Freedom Guardian, an annual joint military exercise involving about 56,000 ROK troops and 10,000 U.S. troops.

: Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jung-eun meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang and they agree to resume tours to Kumgang Mountain and Kaesong.

:   U.S. Sen. James Webb meets Burma’s junta leader Gen. Than Shwe and obtains the release of convicted American John Yettaw.

: China’s Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, who chairs the Six-Party Talks, visits Pyongyang and meets North Korean counterpart Kim Kye-gwan and other officials.

: Japanese Prime Minister Aso Taro expresses deep regret in a ceremony marking the 64th anniversary of Tokyo’s surrender saying “Our country inflicted tremendous damage and suffering on many countries, particularly people in Asia. As a representative of the Japanese people, I humbly express my remorse for the victims, along with deep regret.”

:   Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming attends the 41st ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting and signs the ASEAN-China Investment Agreement in preparation for the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, which will come into effect in January 2010.

: North Korea releases Yu Seong-Jin, a South Korean engineer employed by the Hyundai manufacturing group, after chairwoman of the Hyundai group, Hyun Jung-Eun, intercedes on his behalf.

: Sen. James Webb visits Burma and meets both Gen. Than Shwe and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and wins the release of John Yettaw.

: India and ASEAN sign a free trade agreement after more than six years of talks.

: China rejects a requested port call in Hong Kong by a Japan MSDF ship because of “sensitive issues” and “technical details,” which are believed to be related to trips to Japan by the Dalai Lama and Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer.

: Philippine military and police overrun two jungle camps on Basilan Island believed to be under the control of Abu Sayyaf militants.

: Burma’s junta extends Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest by 18 months.

: Bangkok’s Criminal Court says it does not have the authority to extradite Victor Bout, a Russian arms dealer, from Thailand to the U.S. on charges of offering to supply weapons to Colombian rebels. The Thai government and the U.S. appeal the ruling.

: China launches Stride 2009, a two-month long exercise involving 50,000 soldiers, focused on deploying forces long distances.

: Typhoon Morakot causes extensive damage and hundreds of death in Taiwan leading to harsh criticism of President Ma and the resignation of several government officials.

: Former President Bill Clinton visits Pyongyang and meets Chairman Kim Jong-il. Following the meeting, North Korea announces the release of two U.S. journalists who had been detained since being arrested in March for illegally entering the country.

: Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino dies in Manila from complications associated with colon cancer.

: A Chinese investment company developing a copper mine in North Korea with a DPRK company sanctioned under UNSC resolutions pulls out of the joint project.

: A South Korean fishing boat that reportedly had a problem with its navigation system is towed away by a North Korean patrol boat after it strayed north of the maritime border.

: Japan Times reports that China has pulled out of scheduled U.S.-Japan-China trilateral policy planning talks.

: Chinese Customs authorities seize North Korea-bound vanadium, a strategic metal used to strengthen steel.

: First U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue is held in Washington.

: Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou is elected leader of the Kuomintang Party (KMT) and receives a congratulatory telephone call from China’s President Hu Jintao.

: The Philippine government suspends its military offensives against secessionists in Mindanao in an effort to restart negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

: Final results from Indonesia’s presidential election held on July 8 are announced and confirm that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won a landslide victory over his two opponents, capturing 61 percent of the votes and a majority in 28 of Indonesia’s 33 provinces.

: Heads of the central banks of China, South Korea, and Japan hold their first regular meeting in Shenzhen, China.

: Secretary Clinton meets representatives of the four riparian Lower Mekong basin countries (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam) to discuss water management policy – the first time the U.S. has been involved in Mekong River issues.

: A fourth round of U.S.-Russian consultations on a new strategic offensive arms reduction treaty (START) begins in Geneva.

:  Secretary of State Clinton at the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phuket, Thailand, signs the Association’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, a nonaggression pact, while declaring “The United States is back in Southeast Asia.”

: China and Russia conduct joint antiterrorism military exercise Peace Mission 2009 in Khabarovsk.

: Japan’s Prime Minister Aso Taro dissolves the Lower House of the Diet and officially calls an election for Aug. 30 with campaigning set to begin on Aug. 18.

: The Japanese Diet passes an antipiracy law that provides a basis for ongoing antipiracy operations by the Maritime Self-Defense Forces off the coast of Somalia.

:  ASEAN foreign ministers denounce the Jakarta bomb attacks and express solidarity with Indonesia in its “fight against terrorism.”

:  The 42nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, Post Ministerial Conferences, and 16th ASEAN Regional Forum are held in Phuket, Thailand.

: Terrorists attack two hotels in Jakarta leaving 8 dead and over 50 injured.

:   Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell travels to Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing for consultations.

:  Liu Zhenmin, China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, states that the China is opposed to putting the Myanmar question on the UN Security Council agenda and would not support sanctions as a result of the military junta’s sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi.

: President Obama, in letters to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, vows to veto any defense spending bill that includes additional funding for the F-22 aircraft.

: Chinese President Hu Jintao cancels plans to attend a G8 summit in Italy and flies home after reports that chaos and panic in Urumqi, Xinjiang.

: Several major public and private U.S. and South Korean websites are overloaded by distributed denial of service attacks.

: Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei meets U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg to discuss the North Korean nuclear issue and the recent riots in Xinjiang, among other issues.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton drops by during the meeting.

: North Korean ship, Kang Nam I, which the U.S. Navy had been tracking because it was suspected of carrying illicit cargo, returns to Nampo without delivering any cargo.

: Lee Chan-ho, chief analyst of cross-border ties at the ROK Ministry of Unification, reports that as of June 22 DPRK media have denigrated President Lee Myung-bak 1,705 times so far this year: an average of 9.9 times each day, up from 7.6 last year.

: U.S. President Barack Obama visits Moscow. He meets President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, opposition leaders, business students, and journalists.

: Violent clashes between Uighur and Han Chinese in Urumqi, Xinjiang.

: North Korea fires seven ballistic missiles into the East Sea/Sea of Japan. South Korea puts its military on high alert and calls this a “provocative act” that violates UN Security Council resolutions banning all DPRK ballistic missile activity.

: Japanese Cabinet extends the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (MSDF) refueling mission in the Indian Ocean to Jan. 15, 2010. The extension is made under the special measures law that allows Japanese vessels to refuel ships of countries involved in anti-terrorism efforts.

: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visits Burma (Myanmar) and meets Senior Gen. Than Shwe, but is not allowed to meet Aung San Suu Kyi.

: North Korea test-fires four short-range KN-01 surface-to-ship missiles, with a range of 120-160 km, from a base at Sinsang-ri north of Wonsan.

: Japanese diplomat Amano Yukiya is elected to replace Mohamed ElBaradei as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

: Chinese nuclear envoy Wu Dawei visits Russia, U.S., Japan, and South Korea to discuss DPRK denuclearization.

Date Range