Regional Overview

Chronology from Sep 2019 to Dec 2019

: Chinese health authorities investigate 27 cases of “viral pneumonia” in Wuhan, linked to the seafood market in the city. Seven were in critical condition and “the cause of the disease is not clear.”

: China, Russia, and Iran conduct a four-day naval exercise in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.

: An elderly couple visit a Hubei Provincial with symptoms of fever, cough, and fatigue. Their CT images are seen by Dr. Zhang Jixian, who noticed features different from flu or pneumonia. Zhang reports the discovery of the viral disease to be probably infectious.

: Leaders of China, South Korea, and Japan meet in Chengdu, where they express their mutual commitment to peace on the Korean peninsula, denuclearization, and a China-Japan-ROK free trade agreement. The meeting is Abe and Moon’s first in 15 months.

: Trump and the US Trade Representative announce a phase one trade deal with China.

: South Korea and Australia meet in Sydney for “two plus two talks” to discuss joint efforts for regional security and other issues of mutual concern.

: The symptoms of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus are first confirmed, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report.

: The eighth joint India-China military training exercise, Hand-in-Hand 2019 takes place in the Indian state of Meghalaya.

: Chinese and South Korean Foreign Ministers Wang Yi and Kang Kyung-wha meet in Seoul.

: Kim Jong Un appears atop a white horse at Mt. Kumgang, hinting at a return to a more confrontational stance toward the US.

: US House of Representatives approves the Uygur Intervention and Global Humanitarian Unified Response Act of 2019.

: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir meets President Moon in Seoul and they agree to a strategic partnership.

: Russia, China, and South Africa start trilateral maritime exercise off Cape Town.

: Vietnam releases its 2019 defense white paper, launched in a ceremony led by Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh.

: Prime Minister Abe meets Foreign Minister Wang in Tokyo.

: Busan hosts ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit, bringing together the leaders of South Korea and10 Southeast Asian countries.

: Hong Kong votes in district-level elections. The pro-democracy bloc gains control over 17 out of 18 District Councils, and nearly 90% of the overall seats.

: Bougainville voting lasts two weeks, and results in almost 98% voting in favor of independence from Papua New Guinea.

: South Korea announces its decision to continue the General Security of Military Intelligence Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan, just six hours before the agreement was to expire.

: Tuvalu Foreign Minister Simon Kofe expresses support for Taiwan and reaffirms strong diplomatic ties. Kofe says that Tuvalu rejected offers from Chinese companies to build artificial islands.

: India’s Strategic Forces Command test fires two Prithvi-II tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles as part of its annual training to test the combat readiness of the missile forces.

: The US Senate passes the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

: Taiwan’s Ministry of Education welcomes university students fleeing turmoil in Hong Kong to attend lectures at colleges in Taiwan to continue their studies.

: The first case of someone in China suffering from the novel coronavirus could have been a 55-year old Hubei man, the South China Morning Post reports in March

: China sails its domestically built aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait as part of sea trials. In response, Taiwan scrambled ships and jets to monitor the carrier group.

: Thai Prime Minister Prayut and US Defense Secretary Esper sign the US-Thailand Joint Vision Statement 2020, setting general areas of focus for defense collaboration.

: ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Retreat is held in Bangkok.

: US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper meets South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo in Seoul, pressing South Korea to pay more for the cost of stationing US troops.

: Indian and US militaries engage in Tiger Triumph, joint tri-service humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises in Andhra Pradesh, India.

: The 12th China-ASEAN Conference on People to People Friendship Organizations is held in Bandung, Indonesia.

: India withdraws from the RCEP trade agreement.

: China announces 26 new measures to open its markets to Taiwanese firms and treat Taiwanese the same as Chinese.

: The 35th ASEAN Summit, the 22nd ASEAN+3 Summit, and the 14th East Asia Summit are held in Bangkok along with various 10+1 meetings between ASEAN and its dialogue partners.

: Russian military aircraft enters the Korean Air Defense Identification Zone. In response, South Korea scrambles fighter jets. Russia denies any airspace violations.

: South Korea and Indonesia reach a preliminary trade agreement.

: Xi visits Nepal and meets President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. They agree on a trans-Himalayan railroad link extending from Tibet to Nepal.

: Xi meets Modi in Mamallapuram, India. They agree to establish a new mechanism to discuss trade and resolve India’s trade deficit with China.

: Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare meets Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. They sign bilateral agreements to increase cooperation in foreign affairs, economic technology, and education.

: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Xi in Beijing.

: Japan and the US sign a bilateral trade agreement. “The agreement will lead Japan to eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7.2 billion of US food and agricultural products, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

: A North Korean fishing trawler collides with a Japanese patrol vessel in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

: Officials from North Korea and the United States meet in Stockholm, but reach no agreement on future talks.

: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte meets Putin in Sochi. They agree to “strengthen their countries’ partnership in the fight against terrorism and enter into more economic cooperation.”

: Vietnam demands that China withdraw an oil exploration ship from an area in the South China Sea that is claimed by both countries.

: Malaysian telecoms giant Maxis agrees to buy 5G equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies.

: Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi meets Abe in Tokyo.

: China unveils intercontinental strategic nuclear missile, Dongfeng-41 at the National Day military parade in Beijing.

: China restores diplomatic ties with Kiribati.

: Japan’s annual defense white paper places China above North Korea as the major threat to Japanese security for the first time.

: Singapore and the US participate in the bilateral naval exercise Pacific Griffin in the waters off the coast of Guam.

: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

: Modi meets Trump at a “Howdy, Modi!” rally in Houston.

: Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships visit the Philippines.

: Morrison visits US President Donald Trump at the White House. Morrison is the second world leader to be given a state dinner by Trump.

: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets Prime Minister Abe in Tokyo.

: Kiribati breaks diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Taiwan responds in kind.

: South Korea revokes Japan’s preferential trade partner status.

: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets Putin at the Kremlin.

: ASEAN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sign Practical Arrangements “to promote cooperation in nuclear science and technology, applications, nuclear safety, security and safeguards.”

: Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama meets Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Canberra. They sign “a comprehensive new partnership agreement covering security cooperation, trade, people-to-people links, greater multilateral cooperation, and increased connections between Australian and Fijian institutions.”

: Solomon Islands announces that it will switch diplomatic recognition to China. Taiwan responds by breaking diplomatic ties with the Solomon Islands.

: China, Russia, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan conduct Center 2019 military exercise in Western Russia and Kyrgyzstan.

: Singapore, India, and Thailand conduct a joint naval exercise, beginning in Port Blair, India.

: Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev meets Chairman Xi Jinping in Beijing. They agree “to develop a permanent comprehensive strategic partnership.”

: Royal Australian Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force hold joint drills in Japan, codenamed Bushido Guardian 2019.

: Wang meets Napalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali in Kathmandu.

: US INDOPACOM Commander Adm. Philip Davidson visits Brunei and meets Second Minister of Defense Awang Halbi bin Mohd Yussof, and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

: Pakistan hosts trilateral meeting of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Raabani, and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to discuss “trade, counterterrorism and an end to Afghanistan’s 18-year war.”

: Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo meets Putin in Vladivostok on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum. They agree to “promote talks for the dispute over four Japanese-claimed, Russian-held islands off Hokkaido and the conclusion of a peace treaty.”

: Modi meets Mahathir in Vladivostok on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum.

: Mahathir meets Putin on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.

: Moon meets Laotian President Bounnhang Vorachit in Vientiane. They discuss elevating ties by Korea “investing more in various business sectors” in Laos.

: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum. They agree to establish “joint development and production of military equipment, spare parts and components as well as improving the system of after sales services.” Modi also offered a $1 billion line of credit to Russia to develop its Far East.

: South Korean President Moon meets Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw.

: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad visits Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen in Phnom Penh. They sign agreements “to boost bilateral trade, investment and tourism.”

: South Korean President Moon Jae-in meets Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in Bangkok. They agree to “expand bilateral partnerships to high-tech sectors in response to the fourth industrial revolution.”

: Inaugural ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise begins in Thailand and finishes in Singapore, including eight warships, four aircraft, and more than 1,000 personnel from the US and all 10 ASEAN countries.

: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits North Korea and meets Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho. The meeting is described as “an important follow-up step to implement consensus at the highest level between our two parties and countries and to advance bilateral relations.”

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