Regional Overview

Chronology from Sep 2012 to Dec 2012

: China and the US hold the 23rd Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Washington.

: The Liberal Democratic Party wins 294 seats in the 480-seat lower house of parliament in Japanese general election.

: China submits a continental shelf claim to the United Nations that asserts Chinese sovereignty in the East China Sea to the Okinawa trough.

: Philippine Energy Secretary Carlos Jerisho Petilla announces that Manila will temporarily suspend the process for awarding contracts for three oil and gas blocks in the South China Sea.

: Philippines and the US hold their third Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in Manila.
Dec. 12, 2012: North Korea launches a satellite into outer space using a three-stage rocket.

: Vietnamese police disperse anti-China protests in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City that stemmed from tensions over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

: Negotiators meet in Auckland for the 15th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

: North Korea announces a Dec. 10-22 launch window for a satellite launch from its launch facility at Sohae.

: Japan announces the postponement of planned talks to normalize relations with North Korea.

: US Department of the Treasury releases its Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, which does not label China a currency manipulator but instead emphasizes China’s actions to appreciate its currency and move to a more market determined exchange rate.

: The First Vietnam-Japan Defense Strategic Dialogue at the deputy-ministerial level is held in Hanoi, co-chaired by Deputy National Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh and Deputy Defense Minister Kanazawa Hironozi.

: Official negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are initiated by ASEAN leaders and their six regional free-trade partners (Australia, China, India, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand).

: Trade ministers of South Korea, China and Japan meet on the sidelines of the ASEAN Plus 3 Summit to officially open separate talks toward a three-way free trade pact.

: At the US-ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, the “US-ASEAN Expanded Economic Engagement Initiative” (E3) is launched to expand trade and investment ties.

: ASEAN heads of government initial the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration – years in negotiation – stipulating the individual to be the focus of human rights, though providing each state with implementation authority based on its national situation.

: The 21st ASEAN Summit, ASEAN dialogue partner meetings, the 15th ASEAN Plus 3 Summit, and the 7th East Asia Summit are held in Phnom Penh.

: President Barack Obama visits Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar.

: Thailand and the US release a Joint Vision Statement for the Thai-US Defense Alliance that outlines the goals for what is described as a 21st century security partnership.

: Japan and North Korea meet in Ulan Bator to discuss past abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea. Japanese negotiator Shinsuke Sugiyama and Song Il Ho, DPRK’s ambassador for normalization talks with Japan agree to future discussions on the topic.

: ASEAN defense ministers meet in Siem Reap to exchange views on national defense and regional security issues.

: Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) are held in Perth.

: Secretary of Defense Panetta visits Asia with stops in Australia to attend the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations, Thailand to sign a Thailand-US Joint Vision Statement, and Cambodia to address the ASEAN defense ministers.

: Chinese Communist Party (CCP) 18th Party Congress is held in Beijing. Seven new members are appointed to the Politburo Standing Committee including

: Laos starts construction on a $3.6-billion hydropower dam on the Mekong River that was delayed for 18 months amid opposition from downstream countries and activists.

: Barack Obama is re-elected president of the United States.

: Japan and US militaries conduct Keen Sword naval exercise involving 37,000 Japanese and 10,000 US military personnel.

: Ninth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is held in Vientiane, Laos.

: Australia, New Zealand, and China conduct Cooperation Spirit 2012 in Brisbane. It is the first joint exercise to be held by the three nations’ military forces in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

: The World Trade Organization (WTO) General Council approves membership for Laos, making it the last member of ASEAN to join the multilateral trading system.

: Assistant Secretary Campbell visits Seoul to meet Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kyou-hyun and others to discuss the DPRK, economic issues, and regional cooperation.

: US and ROK hold the 44th Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell travels to Tokyo to meet Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai and other senior officials.

: Fourth US-China Asia-Pacific Consultations are held in San Francisco.

: Foreign and defense ministers from India and Japan meet in Tokyo for a second round of their “2+2 dialogue.”

: Delegation of former US security officials, led by former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley visit Tokyo and Beijing to discussion tensions regarding territorial claims in between Japan and China in the East China Sea.

: US and Cambodian navies conduct their third annual joint military exercises, called Combat Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).

: Chinese Vice Minister Fu Ying visits Manila and meets Philippine Foreign Affairs Under Secretary Erlinda Basilio to discuss reducing tensions and bolstering trade and economic ties. Fu also meets President Benigno Aquino and other senior officials.

: Deputy Secretary Burns visits New Delhi to meet senior government officials.

: China dispatches naval vessels, aircraft, and helicopters to the East China Sea for a one-day exercise to “strengthen the capacity to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime interests.”

: Deputy Secretary Burns travels to Myanmar and meets President Thein Sein, members of his government, and Aung San Suu Kyi.

: Deputy Secretary Burns travels to China to meet senior government officials.

: Japan, South Korea, and the US confirm that they would cooperate in addressing North Korea’s nuclear activities through the Six-Party Talks following a meeting in Tokyo of Shinsuke Sugiyama, director general of Japan’s Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Glyn Davies, US special representative for North Korean issues, and Lim Sung Nam, South Korea’s chief negotiator for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

: Former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and other senior government official, including two Cabinet ministers visit Yasukuni Shrine. South Korea and China express displeasure over the visits characterizing them as “extremely regrettable.”

: Chinese fisherman is killed by a South Korean Coast Guard officer during a boarding of a fishing vessel charged with illegal fishing. South Korea subsequently impounds two Chinese ships and 24 survivors.

: Deputy Secretary Burns travels to Seoul to meet senior South Korean officials and to participate in the US-ROK Strategic Dialogue.

: Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) sign a framework agreement that grants “exclusive powers” to the Bangsamoro Government, with the central government retaining authority over issues such as national security and foreign policy.

: Deputy Secretary of State William Burns travels to Japan and meets Foreign Minister Gemba and Defense Minister Morimoto.

: US and Philippines conduct their annual amphibious landing exercises (PHIBLEX) focused on disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, and maritime security.

: South Korea and the US announce a “missile guideline” agreement that enables South Korea to extend the range of its ballistic missiles from 300 km to 800 km.

: The initial rotation of US Marines completes their deployment in Darwin.

: ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF) is held in Manila. This AMF is the first to include the eight non-ASEAN members of the East Asia Summit.

: South Korea hosts a Proliferation Security Initiative exercise in waters off Busan. US, Australia, Japan and South Korea participate.

: Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), an informal dialogue among the participant countries involved in the Six-Party Talks – South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, and the US – is held in Dalian.

: China and the US hold annual meeting under the Sino-US Military Maritime Consultative Agreement in Qingdao.

: US Congress passes legislation supporting lending from international financial institutions to Myanmar, reversing a ban based on concerns that loans would benefit the previous military junta.

: The US lifts a 26-year ban on the visit of New Zealand warships to US Coast Guard and Navy bases around the world as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visits Wellington.

: Myanmar government pardons more than 500 prisoners, at least 80 of whom were prisoners of conscience.

: Aung San Suu Kyi makes an extended visit to the US.
Sept. 20, 2012: Third annual US-Indonesia Joint Commission Meeting chaired by Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and Secretary of State Clinton is held in Washington. The US agrees to sell eight Apache gunship helicopters to Indonesia.

: US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visits Japan, China and New Zealand.

: China sends six patrol boats to the East China Sea near the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands to carry out “law enforcement over China’s maritime rights.”

: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko hold impromptu talks at the APEC forum and concur on the need to create a future-oriented relationship.

: The annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leader’s Meeting is held in Vladivostok.

: A Chinese Maritime Safety Administration ship visits Honolulu to conduct a joint search and rescue exercise with the US Coast Guard.

: Secretary Clinton becomes the first US secretary of state to visit Timor Leste (East Timor) since its independence from Indonesia 10 years ago.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura Osamu confirms that Japan’s national government will purchase three of the five Senkaku Islands for about 2.05 billion yen ($26 million) from the current private owner.

: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expresses “disappointment” with China and Russia for blocking UN Security Council calls for stronger intervention in Syria.

: South Korea announces that it and Japan have temporarily suspended a military exchange program amid the dispute over Dokdo/Takeshima.

: Vietnam and China hold their third Strategic Defense Dialogue in Hanoi with Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh and Chinese counterpart Ma Xiaotian as co-chairs.

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