Regional Overview

Chronology from Sep 2014 to Dec 2014

: United States, Japan, and South Korea sign a trilateral agreement on intelligence sharing about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

: AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crashes in the Java Sea while enroute from Surabaya to Singapore. Countries from around the region including US, China, South Korea and several Southeast Asian countries provide assistance in the search and recover operation.

: Japanese Diet formally elects Abe Shinzo as prime minister.

: Malaysian Armed Forces and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conduct their first-ever bilateral military exercise “to develop a common framework for humanitarian and disaster relief operations.”

: The 25th session of the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) is held in Chicago.

: The 13th annual Shanghai Cooperation Organization Prime Ministers Meeting is held in Astana.

: LDP-Komeito coalition wins election victory in Japan; Xinhua warns against “right-wing” trend in Japanese politics.

: South Korea-ASEAN special summit is held in Busan.

: Russian President Vladimir Putin visits India and meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They sign 20 agreements on a range of issues, including ones on defense cooperation and energy exploration.

:   US Senate Intelligence Committee releases a report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and interrogation program following 9/11.

: Japanese-built facility in Harbaling, China begins destroying some 300,000 chemical weapons abandoned after World War II.

: Two Vietnamese frigates make the first-ever port call by Vietnam’s Navy in the Philippines as part of goodwill visit.

: Sixth round of China, Japan, and South Korea FTA talks are held in Tokyo.

: Japanese Prime Minister Abe dissolves the Lower House of the Diet.

: The Xiangshan Forum with a theme of “cooperation and win-win, build Asian community of destiny” is held in Beijing. Several defense chiefs from the region participate in the forum for the first this year.

: China and New Zealand announce that the two countries have upgraded their bilateral relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” a decision made during talks between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister John Key.

: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visits China and meets Defense Minister Chang Wanquan in Beijing to discuss practical bilateral military cooperation in the areas of high-level visits, joint exercises, and professional communication.

: Choe Ryong Hae, a member of the Politburo Presidium and Secretariat of the KWP, leads a DPRK delegation on a visit to Russia with stops in Moscow, Khabarovsk, and Vladivostok. The group meets President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

: Australia and China sign a bilateral declaration of intent to conclude a wide-ranging trade agreement.

: Meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit, President Obama, Prime Minister Abe and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot meet and agree to deepen their countries’ military cooperation and work to strengthening maritime security in the Asia-Pacific region.

: G-20 Summit is held in Brisbane.

: In conjunction with his participation at the G-20 Summit, President Xi Jinping makes state visits to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji and meets leaders of Pacific Island countries that have established diplomatic relationship with China.

: The ninth East Asia Summit is held in Nay Pyi Taw.

: The 25th ASEAN Summit is held in Nay Pyi Taw.

: The 22nd APEC Economic Leaders Meeting is held in Beijing.

:  Presidents Park Geun-hye and Xi Jinping announce that South Korea and China have concluded years of negotiations on a free trade agreement.

: President Obama visits Asia with stops in Beijing for APEC Leaders Meeting, Nay Pyi Taw for the East Asia Summit, and Brisbane for the G-20 Summit.

: North Korea announces the release of two US citizens, Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller, to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who travels to Pyongyang to meet senior North Korean officials and escort the detainees back to the US.

: Delegation headed by Ihara Junichi, director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, travels to Pyongyang to receive an update about progress on the abduction issue.

: Third Seoul Security Summit is held with participation by vice-defense ministers and security experts from 26 different countries.

:   Inaugural meeting of the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI) is held in Seoul.

: US Special Envoy for Six-Party Talks Sydney Seiler travels to South Korea, China, and Japan to meet senior officials in each country to discuss North Korea policy. While in Seoul he also represents the US at the first meeting of the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative.

: Japanese government officials led by Foreign Ministry Director General for Asian and Oceanic Affairs Ihara Junichi visit Pyongyang to discuss the investigation into Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s.

: China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi visits Vietnam in an effort to repair relations strained by the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

:   Australia hosts a meeting of ministers of the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating countries in Sydney.

: China and 20 other Asian countries sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing.

: US and ROK hold their annual Security Consultative Meeting in Washington. It is followed by a 2+2 meeting with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Defense Minister Han Min-koo and Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.   

: North Korea releases Jeffrey Fowle, a US citizen who was arrested in May for leaving a Bible at a sailor’s club in the city of Chongjin, where he was traveling as a tourist.

: Joko Widodo is inaugurated as president of Indonesia.

: Secretary of State Kerry hosts State Councilor Yang Jiechi in Boston for private meetings to exchange views on US-China relations and global issues of common interest.

: Vietnamese Defense Minister Gen. Phung Quang Thanh leads a delegation of 12 senior military officers on a visit to Beijing at the invitation of Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Chang Wanquan “to strengthen friendly relations and comprehensive cooperation between the two armed forces and discuss measures to promote bilateral defense relations….”

: Japanese government calls for revisions to the 1996 UN report condemning the comfort women/sex slaves issues in light of the recent retraction by Asahi Shimbun that relied on questionable wartime accounts by Yoshida Seiji.

: North and South Korea hold their first high-level military talks in seven years following a series of incidents on their land and maritime borders.

: South Korean Coast Guard officers shoot and kill the captain of a Chinese fishing boat in a confrontation in the Yellow (West) Sea, triggering a protest from Beijing.

: Thousands of protesters return to the street in Hong Kong following the collapse of talks between protest leaders and the government.

:   Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha makes his first official trip abroad to visit Myanmar.

: US and Japan release the interim report on the revision of the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation.

: Myanmar announces that it will release over 3,000 prisoners, including former military intelligence officers.

: Warships from the two Koreas exchange warning shots after a North Korean ship briefly violates the disputed Northern Limit Line in the West (Yellow) Sea.

: Japan-ASEAN Defense Vice-Ministerial Forum is held in Yokohama.   Representatives agree to increased cooperation in information sharing, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, defense exercises, and anti-piracy efforts.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel travels to Seoul, Tokyo, and Nay Pyi Taw to meet counterparts and, in Nay Pyi Taw, lead the US delegation to the East Asia Summit (EAS) Senior Officials Meeting.

: North Korea’s Hwang Pyong So and two others visit South Korea to attend the closing ceremonies of the 17th Asian Games. They also meet South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae and National Security Director Kim Kwan-jin, agreeing to resume high-level North-South dialogue.

: During a visit by Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh to Washington, the US announces a partial lifting of a ban on the sale of military equipment to Vietnam. Secretary of State Kerry says the policy was “to allow the transfer of defense equipment, including lethal defense equipment, for maritime security purposes only.”

: Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss economic growth and cooperation on security, clean energy, climate change, and other issues.

: US and Philippines conduct annual Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX), which involves nearly 4,000 troops and includes live-fire exercises on the island of Luzon and a mechanized assault exercise on the island of Mindanao.

: Japan and North Korea hold talks in Shenyang on the abduction of Japanese nationals during the Cold War.

: US delegation led by Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies travels to China, South Korea, and Japan to meet senior officials in each country to discuss North Korea policy.

: Demonstrations in Hong Kong protest China’s refusal to grant full democracy. The number of protesters increases after the police attempt to disperse by using tear gas. Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou voices support for the protesters’ call for free elections.

: In a speech at the UN General Assembly, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong states that the DPRK’s nuclear weapons are not a “bargaining chip” and that the Korean nuclear issue will be resolved with termination of the US hostile policy.

: US-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting is held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

: North Korea Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) meets in Pyongyang for the second time in the year. Hwang Pyong So, the top political officer of the Korean People’s Army, is elected as vice chairman of the National Defense Committee replacing Choe Ryong Hae who had taken the position in the SPA session in April.

: South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

: South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong meets Japanese counterpart Saiki Akitaka in Tokyo for a strategic dialogue for the first time in nearly two years.

: Japan and China agree to resume talks on launching a bilateral “maritime communication mechanism” designed to avoid accidental military confrontation.

:   At a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Secretary of State John Kerry denounces human rights abuses in North Korea and states that the international community can no longer ignore the situation in the North given the findings of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea (COI)

: A group of 70 business leaders from Hong Kong visit Beijing and meets President Xi, who reiterates the need to uphold the “one country, two systems” policy and warns that Beijing will not tolerate political liberalization in Hong Kong.

: Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD) is held in San Diego. Participants include government officials and academics from the US, China, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and Russia.

: Crew of the Chinese fishing boat detained by North Korea on Sept. 12 is returned to Dalian after the captain is forced to admit to poaching in North Korea territorial waters. The captain denies any wrongdoing after his release.

: US conducts Valiant Shield joint military exercise in Guam. The biennial maneuvers include about 18,000 Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel and features the Air-Sea Battle concept, which aims to overcome an enemy force’s attempt to deny access and maneuverability within sea lanes and air space.

: North Korea sentences Matthew Miller, a US citizen who ripped up his visa upon arrival in Pyongyang, to six years with labor on charges of entering the country illegally and trying to commit an act of espionage.

: President Xi Jinping makes a four-nation Asia visit to Tajikistan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and India.

: North Korean Coast Guard seizes a Chinese fishing boat and detains the crew of six, demanding a fine of 250,000 yuan ($40,700) for releasing the boat and its crew.

: The 14th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit is held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Leaders of the six member countries issue the Dushanbe Declaration, approve documents on SCO expansion, and pass a resolution on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

: South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Lee Kyung-soo, Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Sugiyama Shinsuke, and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin meet in Seoul to discuss the state of trilateral relationship.

: South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Hwang Joon-kook visits Washington to meet US counterpart Glyn Davies to discuss ways to resume the long-stalled Six-Party Talks.

: US Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert speaking in Washington states that Malaysia has invited the US to fly P-8 Poseidon surveillance flights from east Malaysia over the South China Sea.  The supposed offer is subsequently denied by Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirms in its annual report that North Korea has restarted the 5MWe reactor at its Yongbyon facility.

:   US National Security Advisor Susan Rice travels to Beijing to meet senior Chinese officials, including State Councilor Yang Jiechi, to consult on a “range of bilateral, regional, and global issues.”

: North Korea launches three short-range missiles off its east coast. The missiles reportedly flew 210 km before landing in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

: Chinese President Xi Jinping and all six other members of the Politburo Standing Committee publicly commemorate Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II.

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