US - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Apr 2005 to Jul 2005

: The nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier USS Nimitz arrives in Port Klang, Malaysia, for a visit.

: Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, hosts the U.S.-ASEAN Dialogue in Washington.

: Rep. Loretta Sanchez attempts to block funds for Vietnamese participation in IMET, but withdraws the amendment when Rep. Jim Kolbe persuades her that IMET training for Vietnam will “provide an additional context for the Vietnamese to understand how important it is for the U.S. to see improvements in human rights.”

: U.S. expresses serious concern about political repression in Burma during a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council.

: Agency for International Development Director Andrew Natsios announces that $656 million in aid to Indonesia, part of the package requested by President Bush for tsunami relief, has been released by the Office of Management and Budget.

: The Pew Global Attidues Project releases a new survey of the Muslim world, which indicates that Indonesian approval of the U.S. has doubled since the tsunami relief operation, but still lags pre-2001 levels.

: President Bush and Prime Minister Khai meet at the White House, the first official visit of a Vietnamese head of state since the end of the Vietnam War.  They sign accords on adoption, religious freedom, and agricultural cooperation.

: After a meeting between PM Khai and Secretary Rumsfeld, the two nations announce that Vietnam will participate in the IMET program for the first time.

: PM Khai and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez witness signing of major business and operating agreements between U.S. and Vietnamese business groups, including Boeing, Motorola, and Unocal. Vietnam also promises the American Insurance Group a license to sell non-casualty insurance in Vietnam in six months.

: On the first day of his visit to the U.S., Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai meets Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in Seattle. Microsoft promises to assist Vietnam’s technological development and train 50,000 Vietnamese teachers.

: U.S. and Indonesian officials meet under the auspices of the U.S.-Indonesian Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and discuss intellectual property rights, agriculture, customs and the domestic investment climate.

: Rep. Chris Smith, chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations of the House International Relations Committee, holds hearings on human rights in Vietnam.

: U.S. and Indonesia sign a debt deferral agreement, rescheduling $212 million to help Indonesia free up resources for tsunami assistance.

: Philippines-U.S. Mutual Defense Board concludes 46th anniversary meeting, which includes strategic dialogues and approves reactivation of the Joint MDB secretariat.

: Rumsfeld stops in Thailand and meets with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to discuss regional security issues.

: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld attends the three-day meeting of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Conference in Singapore, where he questions China’s growing military expenditures.

: State Department releases the 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report.  Indonesia and Singapore are unchanged as Tier 2 countries, but Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos are upgraded from the Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 2. The Philippines stays on the Tier 2 Watch List, while Cambodia slips down to Tier 3, making it eligible for sanctions.  Burma stays on Tier 3.

: President of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters, a California-based insurgency group, is arrested in Long Beach on federal charges of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, for a November 2000 assault on Cambodia’s Ministry of Defense.

: U.S. Navy begins two weeks of antiterrorism exercises with Singapore in the South China Sea.  The exercises involve more than 1,500 troops, a submarine, and 12 ships.

: Ambassador Nitya Pibulsongkran, head of the Thai negotiating team for the U.S.-Thai Free Trade Agreement, says that negotiations are one-quarter complete and estimates they will take another two years.

: U.S. and Indonesia resume bilateral energy consultations after an eight-year hiatus.

: President Bush meets with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the White House. Bush announces that the U.S. will donate another $400 million for tsunami relief, bringing the total official U.S. contribution to $857 million, and that Indonesian participation in the International Military Education and Training program will resume after 14 years.

: U.S. Embassy in Jakarta closes due to a specific threat against it on the internet, re-opens a few days later.

: White House sends notice to Congress that emergency conditions in Burma extend beyond May 20, 2005, the first step toward renewing sanctions against the military regime.

: Zoellick wraps up his trip in Singapore with a meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, at which he reiterates U.S. policy on Burma’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2006.

: In Malaysia, Zoellick meets with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, discusses security in the Strait of Malacca, and witnesses the signing of an agreement to renew military-to-military relations.

: In Indonesia, Zoellick signs a memorandum of understanding with Jakarta for reconstruction of the road from Banda Aceh to Meulaboh, a $245 million project.

: The U.S. Army Pacific and the Logistics General Department of the People’s Army of Vietnam co-host the four-day 15th Asia-Pacific Military Medicine Conference in Hanoi.

: In Hanoi, Zoellick announces the conclusion of a religious freedom agreement with Vietnam.

: In the Philippines, Zoellick meets with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.  Discussing the situation in Mindanao, he hints that development aid to the Philippines may increase if progress is made on negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

: Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick departs for a nine-day visit to Southeast Asia where he will call upon the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.  Zoellick will review post-tsunami reconstruction efforts as well as bilateral security and economic issues.

: Cobra Gold military exercises with U.S., Thai, Singapore, and Japan militaries open in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The 11-day exercise adds disaster response to the agenda.

: Hospital ship USS Mercy wraps up emergency assistance in Nias after an 8.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island March 8.

:   U.S. trade representative announces that Indonesia will remain on the Special 301 Priority Watch List for 2005, after reviewing the country’s trade practices for intellectual property rights protection.

: U.S. and Thailand conclude third round of negotiations on a free trade agreement.

: State Department issues a statement of concern over avian flu, which has killed 50 people in Southeast Asia to date, and offers bilateral technical and epidemiological help to affected countries.

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