US - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Apr 2002 to Jul 2002

: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld says some U.S. forces will continue small unit training in the Philippines after the bulk of U.S. forces withdraw.

: Malaysia and the U.S. conduct the annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise involving 2,400 Malaysian soldiers and sailors and 1,400 U.S. Marines and Coast Guard personnel.

: Although “Balikatan 2002” will end July 31, President Macapagal-Arroyo announces plans to extend the stay of U.S. forces and seek their wider deployment for joint operations in the fight against Abu Sayyaf.

: PM Mahathir tearfully announces his resignation, but subsequently is convinced by party officials to remain in power for another 18 months to ensure a smooth transition of power to Deputy PM Abdullah Badawi.

: The Philippine Army reports that a leader of Abu Sayyaf has “no doubt” been killed in a speedboat clash between the military and a small guerrilla group.

: Two official Vietnamese delegations visit Washington to lobby against a Vietnam Human Rights bill that has passed the House and is pending in the Senate.

: The Philippine military announces that Philippine Scout Rangers had found the Abu Sayyaf group holding the two American hostages and a Filipina nurse.  In the ensuing firefight one U.S. hostage and the nurse were killed, the other U.S. hostage was rescued.

: Thai Gen. Surayud Chulanot on an official visit to the U.S. stresses the importance of Thai-U.S. military cooperation and Bangkok’s support for the war on terrorism.

: U.S. Customs Commissioner Robert Bonner announces an agreement with Singapore by which U.S. inspectors will begin security screening of cargo containers before they leave Singapore for the U.S.  This is the first time U.S. inspectors will be stationed overseas.

: The first of the Montagnard refugees from Vietnam departs Cambodia for resettlement in the U.S.  The refugees fled to Cambodia in February 2001 after Vietnamese authorities crushed antigovernment demonstrations in the Central Highlands.

: Speaking in Singapore, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz calls for renewed U.S.-Indonesian military links.

: Indonesian Vice President Hamzah Haz meets with a controversial Muslim cleric publicly linked by Singapore and Malaysia to a regional terrorist network and announces that, “There are no terrorists here.  I guarantee that.”

: USCINCPAC Fargo says it would be desirable for Japan and other Asia-Pacific countries to participate in future “Cobra Gold” military exercises to upgrade regional capabilities to deal with transnational threats.

: The U.S. House votes $8 million in aid for training Indonesian police as part of an antiterrorism bill but does not embrace the administration’s call for assistance to the Indonesian military.

: PM Mahathir declares that Malaysia will not seek foreign military assistance against internal terrorist threats.  He also notes that relations with the U.S. are improved and that the Bush administration is “more appreciative” of Malaysian policies.

: USAID signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Philippines providing a framework for assistance in Manila’s efforts to curb money laundering.

: Adm. Thomas Fargo, new USCINCPAC, visits U.S. troops in the southern Philippines.

: Philippines Senate Defense Committee Chairman Ramon Magsaysay, Jr., says there is no legal impediment to the extension of U.S.-Philippines military exercises aimed at eradicating Abu Sayyaf.

: The 21st annual “Cobra Gold” exercise in Thailand with the participation of 13,200 U.S., 7,700 Thai, and 700 Singaporean forces.

: A senior Malaysian legal affairs official meets with U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and reports he was told the U.S. endorses Malaysia’s use of the Internal Security Act to fight terrorism.

: PM Mahathir visits the U.S. and signs antiterrorism treaty.

: Indonesian Minister of Defense Matori Abdul Djalil meets with Secretary Rumsfeld and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in Washington in an effort to speed up the restoration of full military cooperation.

: A senior officer in Burma’s military government holds a series of meetings in Washington with a number of agencies including state, justice, and the CIA exploring how Burma can shed its designation as a narco-state.

: The New York Times report indicates widespread popular concern in Indonesia that the U.S.-sponsored war on terrorism will become a war on democracy as the U.S. moves to assist the Indonesian Army and police despite their histories of human rights abuses.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell travels to the Philippines, Thailand, and Burma.

: Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is freed after 19 months of house arrest.

: Hundreds of Muslim students protest the presence of Ambassador Boyce in Makassar, accusing him of being behind the arrest two days earlier of the leader of Laskar Jihad.

: Public opinion poll shows 69 percent of Filipinos support U.S. assistance to Philippine troops on Basilan, 31 percent are opposed.

: Singapore Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew meets with President Bush at the White House in a meeting devoted primarily to international terrorism.  The president expresses his “great gratitude” for Singapore’s support in the war on terror.

: DM Najib visits the U.S. to discuss terrorism and Middle East issues with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and members of Congress.

: Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrives in the Philippines.

: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs Peter Brookes arrives in Jakarta to initiate a new U.S.-Indonesia security dialogue to explore restoring military cooperation severed in 1999.

: Malaysian Defense Minister Najib Tun Razak says Indian and U.S. navies are welcome to conduct joint antipiracy patrols in the Malacca Straits.

: The U.S. and Philippines armed forces launch joint exercises in central Luzon – the second phase of “Balikatan 2002.”  About 2,700 U.S. troops are involved in training in jungle warfare, tactical night-flying, amphibious landings, and search and rescue.

: U.S. Ambassador Skip Boyce reaffirms that the U.S. does not support separatist movements in Indonesia – whether in Irian Jaya or elsewhere.

: USCINCPAC Adm. Dennis Blair visits the southern Philippines to assess the ongoing deployment of U.S. forces to assist Philippine troops operating against the Abu Sayyaf; the Philippines declares U.S. troops could return fire if attacked.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James Kelly meets with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Kuala Lumpur.

: Philippines Supreme Court rules that ongoing U.S. counterterrorism training for Filipino soldiers is legal because it is covered under the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement.  However, the Court says it has “no doubt that U.S. forces are prohibited from engaging in offensive war on Philippines territory.”

: A presidential spokesman indicates the Philippines would approve the deployment of a U.S. engineering brigade from Okinawa to help in development projects on Basilan Island.

: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick begins talks in Singapore with ASEAN trade ministers.

: U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye (D-Hi.) and Ted Stevens (R-Ak.) of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee arrive in the Philippines to assess the deployment of 660 U.S. troops in the southern Philippines.

Date Range