Regional Overview

Chronology from Sep 2015 to Dec 2015

: South Korean Foreign Minister Yun and Japanese counterpart Kishida meet in Seoul and agree to “finally and irreversibly” resolve the issue of Japan’s wartime exploitation of Korean women as “comfort women/sex slaves.”

: The defense and foreign ministers of Japan and Indonesia meet in Tokyo in a “two-plus-two” format and agree to strengthen security and economic ties.

: China’s Foreign Ministry summons the US charge d’affairs in Beijing to protest the Obama administration’ s authorization of arms sales to Taiwan and says it would impose sanctions on the firms involved.

: The 14th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Prime Ministers Meeting is held in Zhengzhou, China. They issue a statement on regional economic cooperation.

: US announces the planned sale of $1.83 billion in military equipment to Taiwan. Included in the package are two decommissioned US Navy frigates, anti-tank missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and amphibious assault vehicles.

: Assistant Secretary of State Russel travels to Asia with stops in Thailand, Laos, and Japan. In Thailand, Russel leads the US delegation to the fifth US-Thai Strategic Dialogue on Dec. 16, marking the first time the dialogue has been held since 2012.

: UN Framework on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP21) is held in Paris.

: North and South Korea hold vice-ministerial meeting in Kaesong. The talks end without any substantive agreement and no plans for subsequent meetings.

: Prime Minister Abe visits India and meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

: Despite protests from China and Russia, a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting is held on North Korea’s human rights violations.

: Singapore Minister for Defense Ng Eng Hen visits Washington and meets Secretary of Defense Carter. They sign a joint enhanced defense cooperation agreement (DCA) that will provide a framework for an expanded defense relationship.

: US Special Representative for North Korea Policy Sung Kim hosts a trilateral meeting in Washington with ROK Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Hwang Joon-kook and Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Ishikane Kimihiro.

: Chinese and Thai air forces conduct first joint exercises that China says are aimed at increasing “mutual trust and friendship.”

:  Tenth East Asia Summit Leaders Meeting is held in Kuala Lumpur.

: The 27th ASEAN Summit is held in Kuala Lumpur.

: UN General Assembly passes a resolution calling for North Korea to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its human rights violations.

: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting is held in Manila.

: G20 Summit is held in Antalya, Turkey.

: US and Cambodia conduct sixth CARAT naval exercise.

: China’s Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou meet in Singapore as “leaders of the two sides,” marking the first time since the civil war between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China ended in 1949.

: President Xi visits Singapore and meets counterpart Tony Tan Keng Yam.

: Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Vietnam and meets General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong and President Truong Tan Sang.

: Secretary of State Kerry visits Central Asia with stops in Bishkek, Samarkand, Astana, Dushanbe, and Ashgabat.

: ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+) is held in Kuala Lumpur.

: The 47th ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) is held in Seoul.

: President Park and Prime Minister Abe meet in Seoul marking the first bilateral meeting between leaders of the two countries since May 2012.

: Chinese Premier Li, Japanese Prime Minister Abe, and South Korean President Park hold a trilateral summit in Seoul, the first such meeting since 2012.

: Annual ROK-US Military Committee Meeting (MCM) is held in Seoul.

: Australian Navy ships HMAS Stuart and HMAS Arunta visit China’s South China Sea base at Zhanjiang and conduct military exercises with the Chinese Navy.

: Permanent Court of Arbitration awards its first decision in The Republic of Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China case, ruling that the case was “properly constituted” under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, that China’s “non-appearance” (i.e., refusal to participate) did not preclude the Court’s jurisdiction, and that the Philippines was within its rights in filing the case.

: US guided missile destroyer USS Lassen reportedly sails within 12nm of Subi Reef and Mischief Reef in the South China Sea.

:   Indonesian President Joko Widodo visits the US and meets President Obama and other senior officials.

: Japan Prime Minister Abe visits Mongolia and five Central Asian Countries including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan.

: Japanese Defense Minister Nakatani Gen visits South Korea; he meets Defense Minister Han and attends Seoul’s International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition.

: Xiangshan Forum is held in Beijing.

: China hosts ASEAN defense ministers in Beijing for a “deep exchange of views.”

: Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force joins the US and Indian navies in the annual Malabar training exercise in Chennai, India. Japan had taken part in these exercises as an invited guest in the past, but joined this year as a permanent member.

: Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and head of the Japanese National Security Council Yachi Shotaro co-chair the second China-Japan high-level political dialogue in Tokyo.

: South Korean President Park Geun-hye visits the US and meets President Obama and other senior officials. She is accompanied by Defense Minister Han Min-koo.

: Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter co-host Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defense Minister Marise Payne in Boston for the 2015 Australia-US Ministerial (AUSMIN) consultations.

: US and Philippines conduct the 31st iteration of the Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX).

: The US, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, with Bangladesh Navy officials observing, conduct Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training Exercise (SEACAT), a naval exercise focused on anti-piracy in the South China Sea.

: Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Japan, South Korea, and China to discuss key political, economic, and security issues.

: Trade representatives from the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam) meet in Atlanta and conclude negotiations on the trade agreement.

: Secretary Kerry hosts an ASEAN-US ministerial meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

: South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Secretary of State Kerry, and Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio meet on the sidelines of UNGA.

: Secretary Kerry hosts the inaugural US-India-Japan Trilateral Ministerial Dialogue with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

: South Korea, China, and Japan hold the eighth round of negotiations for a trilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in Beijing.

: Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the US with stops in Seattle to meet business leaders, Washington DC for a summit with President Obama and a state dinner, and New York to participate in the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

: Japanese Diet passes legislation that reinterprets self-defense and gives the government the authority to send its Self-Defense Forces overseas to defend allies, even if Japan itself is not under attack. China criticizes the legislation as destabilizing to regional security.

: Secretary of State Kerry warns of “severe consequences” if North Korea continues to develop its nuclear weapons and missiles.
Sept. 17-22, 2015: China and Malaysia conduct Peace and Friendship 2015 in Malaysia and surrounding waters.  It is the first joint military exercise between the two militaries and the largest bilateral exercise between China and an ASEAN country.

: North Korea’s KCNA announces the DPRK’s main nuclear facility at Yongbyon has “resumed normal operations,” that the country is improving its nuclear weapons “in quality and quantity,” and that it is ready to “face US hostility with nuclear weapons any time.”

: Malcolm Turnbull is sworn in as prime minister of Australia after ousting Prime Minister Tony Abbot in a party leadership ballot.

: Photographs published by Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) show construction of a 3,000-meter retaining wall on Mischief Reef that matches work by China on Subi Reef and Fiery Cross Reef, where it has constructed airfields and other facilities.

: Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly Nguyen Sinh Hung meets Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, saying Vietnam hopes to deepen its relations with the US.

: Thailand’s junta-appointed National Reform Council rejects a draft charter by a vote of 135 to 105, effectively extending the military regime’s rule for at least 22 more months.

: Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu says that the country will upgrade military facilities on the Natuna Islands.

: President Xi Jinping meets Myanmar President Thein Sein in Beijing.

: US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel visits Myanmar and meets Cabinet officials, members of the Union Election Commission, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and ethnic leaders.

: China marks the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War over Japan with a large military parade in Tiananmen Square.

: While in Beijing for the 70th anniversary of the victory over Japan, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Prawit Wongsuwon meets Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Xu Qiliang, They agree to strengthen military ties.

: Lao President Choummaly Sayovone visits Beijing and meets Premier Li Keqiang. They pledge to strengthen bilateral ties with Li emphasizing the two countries’ similarities and China’s desire to advance relations with ASEAN countries and protect the peace, prosperity, and stability of the region.

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