US - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Oct 2006 to Dec 2006

: Pacific Commander Adm. William J. Fallon declares that the U.S. armed forces could not accept a Philippine judge’s decision to keep the convicted marine in a Philippine jail in violation of the VFA.

: The Aceh provincial and district heads election is being monitored by an official 40-member U.S. team that will visit all polling stations.

: Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush dines with King Bhumibol to honor his 60 years on the Thai throne.

: U.S. Congress gives final approval to a bill providing Vietnam with normal trade relations with the U.S.

: A day before the Philippines postpones the ASEAN Cebu summit because of a hurricane heading toward Cebu City, intelligence about possible terrorist attacks leads the U.S. and other embassies to warn their citizens to avoid travel to Cebu.

: New Marine Police Training Facility built with U.S. funds opens in Jakarta. It focuses on training marine police to deal with maritime security and transnational crime.

: In a notorious rape trial in the Philippines that became a test for the U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement, a U.S. Marine is convicted and three others acquitted. Sentenced to 40 years, he became the first U.S. soldier convicted of wrongdoing since the Philippines shut down U.S. bases in 1992.

: U.S. AID provides $250,000 in cash assistance to Philippine families affected by Super Typhoon Reming. AID is providing additional funds to relief organizations assisting areas hit by the Super Typhoon.

: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton on a visit to Thailand urges its military rulers to restore democracy quickly after their September coup. President Clinton was touring Southeast Asia to examine post-tsunami recovery.

: Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz urges U.S. business people in Chicago to invest in several new Malaysian growth areas for which the government has pledged $100 million to build infrastructure.

: President Bush spends six hours in Indonesia and meets President Yudhoyono, speaking about education and health aid while thousands of protestors are kept away from the meeting site in Bogor.

: President Bush meets leaders of the seven ASEAN members of APEC on the sidelines of the conference.

: President Bush expresses “understanding” of Thailand’s political situation. In a separate meeting with President Arroyo, the Philippine leader calls for a “deeper and broader” U.S. role in Philippine counterterrorism.

: President Bush meets General Secretary of the Vietnam Communist Party, Nang Duc Manh as the 14th APEC summit gets underway.

: President Bush arrives in Singapore to begin a five-day Asian tour that includes the APEC summit in Hanoi and a six-hour stop in Indonesia.

: Secretary Rice broaches prospect of a Pacific free trade zone stretching from China to Chile if WTO talks fail. The proposal was made at the APEC summit.

: The State Department removes Vietnam from its list of nations that severely violate religious freedom.

: The U.S. officially welcomes Vietnam into the World Trade Organization for which it initially applied nearly 12 years ago.

: U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney states that the U.S. is satisfied with the conduct of a trial for four U.S. marines charged with rape. Kenney said the trial showed that the Philippine-U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement worked and requires no revision.

: A member of deposed Philippine President Joseph Estrada’s inner circle who fled to the U.S. after being charged with corruption six years ago is extradited to face criminal prosecution in Manila. Charlie Ang allegedly ran a protection racket for gamblers at the behest of Estrada.

: The SS Wilson, a U.S.-flagged chartered ship, leaves Indonesia with equipment for Indonesia’s peacekeeping forces bound for Lebanon – an instance of cooperation between the Indonesian and U.S. militaries.

: 700 Indonesian Muslims rally outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta protesting the forthcoming visit of President Bush.

: State Department spokesman Sean McCormack welcomes PRC Premier Wen Jiabao’s proposal for increased military cooperation with ASEAN as “part of a broader dialogue on common security issues.” The State Department greeted the Chinese offer as a move to “increase transparency and promote stability.”

: During the Philippine-U.S. biannual Talon Vision and Amphibious Landing Exercise in Luzon in which 5,700 U.S. marines and sailors from Okinawa participated, Philippine forces receive training in explosive ordnance control using remote control robots Americans have developed in Iraq.

: Secretary Rice using her discretionary authority allows Chin minority refugees from Burma into the U.S. even though they fought against the government of Burma – an apparent violation of the 2001 U.S. Patriot Act.

: In a speech at Southern Methodist University, Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew urges the U.S. to stay the course in Iraq because successful liberalization in the Arab world will positively affect Southeast Asian Muslims.

: U.S. marines on a humanitarian mission in Mindanao rescue three Filipino fishermen whose boat had capsized.

: U.S. and Philippine forces engage in amphibious exercises.

: Indonesia’s military denies any link to four Indonesians, including a retired general, charged in the U.S. with conspiring to export arms to Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka and to customers in Indonesia.

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