Regional Overview

Chronology from Sep 2021 to Dec 2021

: Chinese defense spokesman urges the United States to cease hostile naval and air force maneuvers against China.

: Taiwanese President Tsai-Ing-wen condemns China for police raids on the Hong Kong offices of pro-democracy media outlet.

: Philippines orders two new warships from South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries.

: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un opens the 4th Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

: President Biden signs 2022 National Defense Authorization Bill into law, which stipulates that the US will “support and legitimize” the National Unity Government in Myanmar.

: New UN special envoy on Myanmar Dr Noeleen Heyzer, expresses concern about escalating violence in Myanmar and calls for a new year’s ceasefire to facilitate humanitarian aid.

: Xinjiang’s newly appointed leader pledges to maintain focus on social stability in the far western region, where human rights practices have fed international criticism and boycotts.

: Taiwan looks to create a semiconductor task force for Lithuania as the two broaden ties in the face of China’s economic and political coercion.

: More than 10,000 Russian troops return to permanent bases after month-long drills near Ukraine.

: China’s regulatory body unveils a draft of new rules for domestic firms to raise funds overseas, allowing them to do so after registering with the regulator.

: Myanmar military attacks village of Mo So in Kayah State, killing 25 civilians. Among the burned bodies were several women and children and two international aid workers.

: Japanese Cabinet approves a 1% increase in the FY 2022 defense budget to $291 billion.

: Solomon Islands says China will send police officers to help train its police force.

: Germany dispatches warship to the South China Sea in an attempt to expand military deployments in Asia.

: President Biden signs into law the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which bans all imports from China’s Xinjiang region and imposes sanctions on foreign individuals responsible for force labor in the region.

: Senior South Korean diplomats hold talks with Chinese counterparts after a diplomatic spat with Taiwan.

: Beijing announces sanctions against four members of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in response to Washington’s latest sanctions targeting China’s Xinjiang policies on Dec. 10.

: Taiwan lodged a protest with South Korea after a conference invitation to one of its ministers was rescinded over “cross-Strait issues.”

: A Myanmar junta court postpones its verdict in Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial for illegally importing and possessing walkie talkies.

: State Department releases the Hong Kong Autonomy Act Report to Congress, which underscores US concerns about the PRC’s continued efforts to undermine the democratic institutions in Hong Kong and erode Hong Kong’s autonomy in its judiciary, civil service, press, and academic institutions.

: China blocks a US draft resolution in the UN Security Council that provides a system for humanitarian exceptions to economic sanctions imposed on Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

: Japanese PM Kishida announces that he is extending the ban on foreign visitors to Japan until at least early 2022.

: China vows o take all necessary measures to safeguard its institutions and enterprises after the US Senate passed a new law barring imports from the Xinjiang region.

: Hundreds of Myanmar villagers fled to Thailand after junta troops clashed with an ethnic rebel group.

: US Commerce Department hits several Chinese companies with export restrictions due to national security reasons.

: Treasury Department adds eight Chinese companies—including DJI, the world’s largest commercial drone manufacturer—to an investment blacklist for actively supporting the “surveillance and tracking” of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China.

: Secretary Blinken cuts short his trip to Southeast Asia due to a COVID-19 case among his traveling party.

: Indonesia cites strong US commitment as Secretary of State Blinken starts ASEAN tour.

: South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki says his government will begin the process to join the CPTPP, joining a growing list of applicants that includes China and Taiwan.

: At the G7 meeting, the UK Foreign Secretary stresses the importance of working with ASEAN countries and aims to forge closer tech, economic and security ties.

: On Human Rights Day, the US Treasury Department imposes investment restrictions on the Chinese company SenseTime, and sanctions two Chinese individuals over alleged oppression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. State Department designates four current and former senior PRC officials in Xinjiang for their involvement in arbitrary detention of Uyghurs. The US designates a number of entities in China and Russia for violating UNSC resolutions that prohibit UN member states from employing or hosting North Korean workers.

: Thirteen Chinese air force planes enter Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

: Department of State issues a statement on the announcement by Nicaragua that it is breaking ties with Taiwan and establishing diplomatic relations with the PRC.

: US imposes an arms embargo and new export restrictions on Cambodia over the growing influence of China’s military in the country.

: New Zealand’s Defence Force warns of the increasing security threat posed by China to the country and its neighbors.

: Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds hearing on “The Future of U.S. Policy on Taiwan,” with witnesses Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner.

: Nearly 100 Japanese lawmakers from several political parties visit Yasukuni Shrine, prompting the South Korean government to express “deep concern and regret.”

: Biden administration announces US diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.

: A court in military-ruled Myanmar finds deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of charges of incitement and breaching coronavirus restrictions.

: Russia and India sign a flurry of trade and arms deals during President Putin’s visit to New Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Modi.

: Lowy Institute’s Asia Power Index projects that the next century will be dominated by the US and China.

: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin delivers a speech titled “The China Challenge” at the 2021 Reagan National Defense Forum.

: Russia and ASEAN conclude their first joint naval exercise as the region faces rising tensions with China.

: US says it is keeping South Korea on its list of countries to be monitored for currency practices.

: India-Russia ties deepen amid mutual concerns including Afghanistan.

: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen offers support for his eldest son as his potential successor.

: Top diplomats of South Korea and five Central Asian nations gather at a regional forum in Tajikistan to explore ways to expand cooperation and promote economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

: China tells Indonesia to stop drilling for oil and natural gas in maritime territory that both countries regard as their own during a months-long standoff in the South China Sea.

: Myanmar’s military government files a new corruption charge against deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and former President Win Myint.

: Myanmar’s navy seizes a boat carrying 228 Rohingya and arrests all on board, after members of the persecuted Muslim minority group try to leave the country.

: Taiwan’s air force scrambles to warn away 27 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense zone.

: Japanese government approves a supplementary budget increase defense spending for FY 2021 to $52,8 billion, or 1.09% of GDP, the highest percentage in a decade.

: Five members of US House of Representatives arrive in Taiwan for a short trip expected to focus on security matters, the second time in a month US lawmakers have visited.

: India and China win  two posts as delegates for Asia to the Executive Committee of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).

: Biden administration invites Taiwan to its “Summit for Democracy” in December, infuriating China.

: China’s birthrate plummets to lowest level seen in official annual data going back to 1978, as the government struggles to stave off a looming demographic crisis.

: During the fifth edition of the East Asia Summit (EAS) on Maritime Security Cooperation, India expresses its commitment toward the vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).

: Chinese President Xi Jinping meets regional counterparts in a virtual summit marking the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations.

: Chinese leader Xi Jinping says his country will not seek dominance over Southeast Asia or bully its smaller neighbors amid ongoing friction over the South China Sea.

: “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania” officially opens. This is the first representative office in Europe that uses the name “Taiwanese.”

: Chinese envoy lobbies Southeast Asian nations to let Myanmar’s military ruler attend a regional summit being hosted by China’s president next week.

: Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa stresses the importance of peace and stability between China and Taiwan and expresses “serious concern” about the situation in Hong Kong and China’s Xinjiang region.

: US designates North Korea as a state violator of religious freedom.

: Thailand’s legislature shoots down a draft bill aimed at strengthening democracy and at weakening military’s political role.

: Speaking to reporters in New Hampshire, Biden says Taiwan “makes its own decisions,” and is “independent.” Hours later Biden amends his statement, saying “we are not encouraging independence.”

: Richardson returns to Myanmar to meet with Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and to negotiate the release of Danny Fenster, a US journalist who had been detained following the February coup.

: US and China simultaneously release detained citizens from each country. Daniel Hsu is allowed to leave China and seven Chinese nationals convicted of crimes in the US are sent back to China.

: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a new city being built near the border with China and a sacred mountain revered by his family in his first public appearance in more than a month.

: Thousands of Thais take to the streets of Bangkok demanding reform of the monarchy, defying a court ruling that such demands are a veiled attempt to overthrow the institution.

: Biden, Xi, and leaders of APEC member economies conclude their virtual APEC Leaders’ Meeting, agreeing on a series of commitments regarding the coronavirus pandemic, economic recovery, and climate change mitigation.

: South Korea’s main opposition presidential candidate says he will strengthen military cooperation with the United States and Japan if elected to better cope with North Korea’s nuclear threat and strive to make the North a leading foreign policy priority for the U.S.

: Senior US and South Korean diplomats discuss how to restart stalled talks with North Korea, days after the North conducted artillery firing drills in its latest weapons tests.

: US national security advisor Jake Sullivan says the “stiff competition” between the United States and China in the Indo-Pacific does not have to turn into a new Cold War, describing the United States as “doubling down” on its presence in the region.

: UN Security Council expresses deep concern over increased violence across Myanmar and calls for an immediate end to fighting and for the military to exercise utmost restraint.

: Secretary Blinken says the US and its allies would “take action” if China uses force to alter the status quo over Taiwan.

: Pacific Rim senior officials agree to make coronavirus vaccines more accessible and reduce carbon emissions at the APEC forum.

: Australia pledges more than 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Cambodia.

: Leaders of APEC focus on economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, emphasizing supply chain support and decarbonizing economies, at virtual talks this week.

: In an interview with CNN, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan says that US is seeking coexistence with China rather than containment or a new cold war.

: North Korean mechanized troops hold artillery fire competition as part of efforts to boost defense capabilities.

: China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) says it will continue to finance developing countries to acquire COVID-19 vaccines.

: ASEAN Secretariat announced that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement will enter into force on Jan. 1, 2022.

: Bill Richardson, former US ambassador to the United Nations, visits Myanmar on a private humanitarian mission to encourage the regime to allow the distribution of aid and to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, he secures the release from prison of Aye Moe, a former employee of the Richardson Center for Human Rights.

: ADB launches a plan to speed the closure of coal-fired power plants in Indonesia and the Philippines to lower the biggest source of carbon emissions.

: ADB wins commitments of $665 million to support climate-related projects in Southeast Asia.

: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida signals that he will pursue policies aimed at deterring China, addressing climate change, and accelerating recovery from the pandemic.

: US expresses concern about increased military operations in parts of Myanmar, including Chin state, where it said more than 100 homes and churches had been destroyed.

: Secretary Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meet in Rome, on the margins of the G20, where Blinken reaffirms US’ one-China stand on Taiwan and both sides reaffirm the need to keep communication lines open.

: China submits renewed emissions cutting plan that promises to peak carbon pollution before 2030.

: Australia rejects a push by the US and the European Union to join a global pact to cut methane emissions, expected to be announced at the crucial COP26 summit.

: Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen confirms the presence of US military trainers in Taiwan during a CNN interview.

: Speaking at a virtual East Asia Summit, President Biden calls China’s actions toward Taiwan a threat to peace and stability and reiterates that US support for Taiwan is “rock-solid.” He reaffirms US support for human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and for the rights of the people of Hong Kong.

: Secretary of State Blinken urges United Nations member states to support Taiwan’s “robust, meaningful participation throughout the UN system.”

: Japan and China extend a currency swap arrangement, signed in 2018, for three years to October 2024.

: Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will continue to push Myanmar’s military junta to allow the group’s special envoy to visit the country.

: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) finance ministers agree to step up efforts to expand COVID-19 vaccine manufacture and supply and work together to ensure a sustainable and inclusive recovery.

: Speaking at a CNN town hall event, Biden answers the question if the US “would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked” with “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki later walks back Biden’s statement that the US is committed to defending Taiwan should it come under Chinese attack, sayingUS policy “has not changed.”

: South Korea launches first homemade rocket, which officials call an important step toward ​placing domestically made satellites in orbit to better monitor growing threats from North Korea.

: United States offers to meet North Korea without preconditions and says Washington has no hostile intent toward Pyongyang.

: Philippines issues a diplomatic protest over Chinese vessels challenging its ships patrolling the South China Sea with sirens, horns, and radio communications.

: North Korea fires a suspected submarine-launched missile into waters off Japan.

: Myanmar will release a total of 5,636 prisoners jailed for protesting the coup that ousted the civilian government.

: Malaysia and Indonesia share strong reservations over Australia’s decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines, even though nuclear weapons were not part of the plan.

: Prime Minister Kishida sends ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine.

: China’s military condemns the United States and Canada for each sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait.

: Russian and Chinese warships conduct the first ever joint patrol in the western part of the Pacific Ocean.

: Myanmar’s junta says it is “extremely disappointed” with ASEAN’s decision to exclude its leader Min Aung Hlaing from an upcoming summit.

: Southeast Asia’s foreign ministers decide not to invite Myanmar’s military leader to an ASEAN annual summit.

: Biden condemns the “oppression and use of forced labor of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang” in a speech at the dedication ceremony for the University of Connecticut’s new Dodd Center for Human Rights.

: Satellite pictures surface showing China upgrading military air sites near Taiwan.

: Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) conducts Taiwan Strait transit in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Winnipeg.

: ASEAN Special Envoy for Myanmar Erywan Yusof cancels his planned trip to Myanmar after the junta refuses access to Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for Democracy under detention.

: Myanmar’s ruling military allows a special Southeast Asian envoy to visit the country but does not allow him to meet detained former leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

: Britain reaffirms an Asia “tilt” as a new warship makes a stop at Singapore.

: Spokespersons for the two militaries say talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders to disengage troops from key friction areas along their border have failed.

: China and Taiwan trade barbed comments over the future of the island territory.

: Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida agrees in his first talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping since taking office on the need to work together on issues of shared concern.

: Senior French senator says Taiwan should be called a country, doubling down on earlier comments that have angered Beijing.

: Asian Development Bank announces plans to create funds to facilitate early closures of coal-fired power plants in Southeast Asia.

: US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visits India to exchange views on regional issues pertaining to the Indo-Pacific region.

: Biden announces that he has spoken to President Xi about Taiwan and they agreed to abide by the “Taiwan agreement.”

: Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says he will call a general election on Oct 31.

: Southeast Asian countries voice disappointment about army-ruled Myanmar’s commitment to an agreed peace plan.

: Taiwanese Foreign Minister warns his country is preparing for war with China and asks Australia for help.

: US voices concern regarding China’s increasing military activity near Taiwan and adds that China’s military pressure against Taiwan undermines regional peace and stability.

: President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines says that he would retire rather than pursue the vice presidency next year.

: North Korea announces it testfired a new type of anti-aircraft missile. The latest launch marks North Korea’s seventh major weapons test this year.

: Taiwan says 25 Chinese fighter jets, including nuclear-capable bombers, entered its defense zone on a day Beijing marked its national day.

: Report from the Lowy Institute shows China’s aid to the Pacific Island countries has declined in recent years.

: North Korea test-fires a newly developed hypersonic missile, joining a race headed by major military powers to deploy the advanced weapons system.

: Kishida Fumio is elected president of Japan’s majority Liberal Democratic Party, and by extension its new prime minister.

: World Bank downgrades growth forecasts for most countries in East Asia and the Pacific region as economies slowed on the back of COVID-19.

: White House says a near-simultaneous release of top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and two Canadians, detained shortly after her arrest, is not a prisoner swap.

: North Korea fires unidentified projectile into the East Sea, days after Pyongyang held out the prospect of an inter-Korean summit if the South drops “double standards.”

: South Korea Daejeon District Court orders sale of patents and copyrights of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for compensation of two wartime forced laborers. The next day, Japanese FM Motegi says ruling ordering sale of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries assets is “a clear violation of international law.”

: Xi Jinping congratulates Eric Chu on his election as KMT chairman and welcoming the KMT’s commitment to the 1992 Consensus.

: Taiwan Strait situation is “complex and grim,” Chinese President Xi Jinping writes in a congratulatory letter to the newly elected leader of the KMT.

: North Korea says it will consider a summit with South Korea if mutual respect between the neighbors can be assured.

: Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs releases a fact sheet on US interference in Hong Kong affairs and support for anti-China, destabilizing forces.

: China releases Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig after nearly three years of detention, lending weight to suspicions that their arrests were retaliation for Meng’s arrest.

: Leaders of the Quad release a statement outlining their cooperation in areas including pandemic response, climate change, and critical and emerging technologies.

: Taiwan’s air force scrambles to warn off 19 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense zone.

: US Vice President Kamala Harris meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and stresses the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

: US prosecutors announce that they are dropping their extradition request against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and that she will be released, almost three years after Canadian authorities arrested her on bank and wire fraud charges at the US’ behest. Meng is officially released the following day.

: Taiwan formally applies to join the CPTPP.

: South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggests in his UN speech that the two Koreas and the US, probably joined by China, declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

: President Biden speaks to the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Xi Jinping deliversspeech to UNGA on the same day.

: Russia says, in reaction to AUKUS, that the US is ready to jeopardize the entire security architecture of Asia in a bid to strengthen its control over the region.

: Xi Jinping reiterates his nation’s longtime policy of multilateralism, telling world leaders at the United Nations that disputes among countries “need to be handled through dialogue and cooperation.”

: North Korea criticizes a US decision to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia and threatens unspecified countermeasures if it finds the deal affects its security.

: Key US senators overseeing trade say that Washington needs to step up efforts to assert itself in the Indo-Pacific region after Beijing applies to join the CPTPP.

: Recent satellite images show North Korea is expanding a uranium enrichment plant at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex.

: Taiwan’s Economy Minister expresses concern about China’s “sudden” decision to apply to join the CPTPP. Taiwan would ultimately submit its application on Sept. 22.

: North Korean state media accuses the United States of double standards over military activities and pursuing a hostile policy towards Pyongyang.

: China formally applies to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

: North Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea, says South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

: Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom (AUKUS) announce a new trilateral security arrangement.

: North Korea successfully test-fires a new type of long-range cruise missile, a low-level provocation amid stalled talks with the United States.

: China gifts Cambodia a $150 million stadium in Phnom Penh as a part of Beijing’s biggest infrastructure grant to the country.

: Japan’s Defense Ministry says a suspected Chinese submarine has been seen near its southern islands.

: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi tells a top Vietnamese official the two countries should refrain from unilateral actions regarding the South China Sea.

: Three members of the Hong Kong Alliance, a pro-democracy group in Hong Kong, are charged with subversion under the national security law and the group is hit with financial penalties.

: China pledges 200 million yuan ($31 million) worth of aid to Afghanistan, including food supplies and COVID-19 vaccines.

: President Biden speaks with President Xi Jinping of China, expressing concern over China’s cyber activities while arguing that the two leaders could set aside their differences to work together on climate change.

: Hong Kong police arrest four members of a pro-democracy group known for its yearly vigil commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

: Seoul Central District Court issues ruling in lawsuit stating that Nippon Steel is not required to pay compensation to children of a World War II-era forced laborer.

: In a statement issued on its website, the International Olympic Committee announces suspension of North Korea Olympic Committee until the end of 2022 due to non-participation in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

: Myanmar’s military leaders agree to an ASEAN call for a ceasefire until the end of the year to ensure safe distribution of humanitarian aid.

: Thai protesters return to the streets, demonstrating against authorities due to its fumbles on COVID-19 containment and policies.

: HMS Queen Elizabeth docks at the Yokosuka naval base, the first first port call in Japan by a British aircraft carrier.

: Signaling increased concern with Chinese assertiveness in the waters around Japan, British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth makes its first port call in Japan.

: Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide announces that he will not seek re-election, meaning his one-year tenure as PM will end after the next general election in October.

: Vietnam’s COVID-19 epicenter Ho Chi Minh City considers reopening economic activity, shifting from a “zero COVID-19” strategy to a policy of living with the virus.

: Seoul Central District Court orders Japan to disclose all assets in South Korea by March 21, 2022 in connection with asset seizure ruling for “comfort women” compensation.

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