US - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Apr 2007 to Jul 2007

: Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Timothy Keating visits the Philippines for high-level military and political discussions.

: A U.S. Navy delegation led by Adm. Mike Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations, visits Vietnam for talks with the Vietnam Navy High Command.

: Vietnam’s President Nguyen Minh Triet visits the U.S., emphasizing enhanced economic relations but encounters human rights concerns in Congress.

: The two top leaders of the Southeast Asia al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah are apprehended by the elite U.S.-trained Detachment 88 of the Indonesian National Police, significantly weakening the terrorist group’s leadership.

: State Department releases its 2006 Human Trafficking Report which blacklists Malaysia (with a Tier Three designation) for the first time for failing to prevent thousands of young women and children from falling victim. The Philippines is also listed as not fully complying with minimum protection standards.

: Indonesia and the Hawaii National Guard announce an agreement to collaborate on non-lethal equipment maintenance and disaster relief operations.

: Vietnam release Nguyen Vu Binh, a prominent government critic, before the trip of President Nguyen Minh Triet to the U.S.

: Through its Rewards for Justice Program, the U.S. pays out over $10 million to four former Abu Sayyaf terrorist group members who provided information that led to the death of two top Abu Sayyaf leaders in Sulu.

: Laos commends the U.S. for arresting Hmong leader Vang Pao and eight others for plotting to overthrow the Lao government.

: Gen. Peter Pace visits Kuala Lumpur to discuss cooperation between the two countries’ militaries. He also addresses students at the Malaysia Armed Forces Staff College.

: Defense Secretary Gates meets Singapore PM Lee to discuss bilateral defense cooperation and regional security. Gates expressed appreciation for Singapore’s reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan.

: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnel, PACOM head Adm. Timothy Keating, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace attend the annual Shangri-La Dialogue of Asian-Pacific defense and foreign affairs officials in Singapore.

: U.S.-Philippine naval CARAT exercise begins in the Muslim militant region of Basilan. Some 1400 U.S. forces are participating with a focus on anti-terrorism, counter-smuggling, and humanitarian activities.

: A U.S. maritime training ship, Golden Bear, docks in central Vietnam to distribute medical supplies as prelude to a training agreement between the California Maritime Academy and the Vietnam Maritime University.

: Visiting Washington, top U.S. diplomat in Burma Shari Villarosa states that the new constitution being drafted in that country is a sham meant to solidify the military’s power once a supposedly civilian government takes over.

: At an Indonesian press conference, Assistant Secretary Hill states that the U.S. seeks to expand training and joint operations with Indonesian armed forces. He denied allegations in Indonesia that the U.S. contributed funds to President Yudhoyono’s 2004 election.

: The White House expresses concern over the arrest of political dissidents in Vietnam, saying the detentions were out of character for the country’s modernization.

: Assistant Secretary Hill meets Vietnam President Nguyen Minh Triet.

: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill on a Southeast Asia visit urges Burma to free Nobel laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. However, the Burmese junta extended her house arrest for another year.

: The State Department expresses concern over the prospect of a Russian deal to provide a nuclear research reactor for Burma which has “neither the regulatory nor the legal framework or safeguard provisions” to handle a nuclear program.

: Bangkok announces that former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s foundation had negotiated deep price reductions for generic versions of these products that will particularly benefit Thailand and Brazil.

: Annual Thai-U.S. Cobra Gold exercises begin in Pattaya. Of a total of almost 5,000 personnel, 1,900 are from the U.S. with smaller contingents from Singapore, Japan, and Indonesia. Cobra Gold is the largest U.S.-led multilateral exercise in Asia.

: Speaking at the 116th Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in Bali, Malaysia calls upon the U.S. to leave Iraq and stop being the “world’s policeman.”

: The United States announces it will donate 11 Vietnam War-era UH-11 “Huey” helicopters to the Philippine military to help fight communist and Muslim rebels, according to the chief of the Philippine air force.

: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s U.S. visit includes Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

: State Department’s annual terrorism report says Cambodia is vulnerable to a terrorist presence because of weak law enforcement and corruption.

: U.S. rewards two Filipino informants $85,000 for providing information leading to the deaths of two leaders of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.

: In its annual report, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative expresses concern over Thailand’s enforcement of intellectual property rights with a particular emphasis on generic drugs.

: Some 120 Philippine and 50 U.S. soldiers begin a three-month anti-terrorism exercise in Mindanao.

: U.S.-based East Timor human rights organization condemns the participation of Indonesian Maj. Gen. Noer Muis in a joint “command post” exercise with the U.S. military. Muis has been indicted for crimes against humanity in East Timor.

: Lt. Gen. Daniel Leaf, deputy commander of PACOM, visits Hanoi to discuss cooperation potential with Vietnamese military officials.

: Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, meeting with Cambodian National Police Commissioner Gen. Hok Lundy, urges the Cambodian police to combat trafficking in persons, a serious problem in Cambodia.

: Two Indonesian citizens are sentenced to more than a year in U.S. federal prison for conspiracy to smuggle sophisticated military devices to the Indonesian military. They will be deported upon completion of their sentences.

: The Indonesian Army and U.S. Army in the Pacific agree to create joint training at brigade level for UN peace operations. Indonesian troops coming from this program would replace troops assigned to the UN Peace Operation in Lebanon.

: About 80 U.S. soldiers are in Indonesia for Garuda Shield 2007, a joint exercise with Indonesian forces that signifies the resumption of brigade-level, army-to-army exercises that had been terminated in 1999. Washington restored full military relations with Indonesia in 2005.

: The Fifth Indonesia-U.S. Security Dialogue takes place in Jakarta with both sides committing to strengthen cooperation.

: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is quoted in The Wall Street Journal urging the U.S. to refocus on Asia or risk losing influence to China.

: U.S. Special Operations commander for the Pacific Maj. Gen. David Fridovich states that his troops, if asked, are prepared to train Thai forces in counterinsurgency. Fridovich cited rising violence in southern Thailand. Thai Army Commander Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin declines the offer.

: The U.S. government advises its citizens not to use Indonesian airlines after a series of deadly accidents this year.

: Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono visits the Pentagon.

: New PACOM Commander Adm. Timothy Keating in Malaysia praises vastly improved security in the Malacca Strait and says sharing maritime security information is an important U.S. goal.

: Counterterrorist officials from throughout Asia gather in Honolulu to compare experiences in fighting Islamist terrorism. They agree that much terrorist funding comes from Saudi Arabia.

: Philippine National Police Deputy Director Avelino Razon, Jr. assures a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee delegation that his country has “strong resolve” to uphold human rights amid the spate of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.

: Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudharsono asks that the United States consider providing training to Indonesia’s Special Forces.

: Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz leads a delegation to the U.S. to urge U.S. firms to set up service-based operations in Malaysia, a country with “a well-developed infrastructure, relatively low cost of doing business, as well as an educated and multilingual workforce.”

: U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Marine and visiting U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez criticize the physical prevention of wives of Vietnamese dissidents from visiting the ambassador’s Hanoi residence.

: U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee delegation visits Vietnam to discuss the search for MIA remains.

: First U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer program to Cambodia officially begins with 28 U.S. volunteers who will be teaching English in villages in six provinces.

: At a DoD hearing to determine “enemy combatant” status, Southeast Asian Jemaah Islamiyah leader, Hambali, held at Guantanamo, denies that he was an al-Qaeda member.

: The U.S. amends its International Traffic in Arms regulations to permit the sale of non-lethal defense equipment to Vietnam on a case-by-case basis.

: A Burmese student who taught English at the American Center in Rangoon is released after three months in jail. He had been arrested after accepting a U.S. Embassy offer to visit the U.S. and accused of being involved in a U.S.-sponsored political training program in Washington.

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