US - Southeast Asia
Chronology from Apr 2008 to Jul 2008
: Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visits U.S. and meets President Bush.
: Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo visits the U.S. In addition to President Bush, she meets presidential candidates McCain and Obama.
: The U.S. hospital ship USNS Mercy visits Cam Ranh Bay Vietnam for a 10-day stay, treating hundreds of patients.
: Secretary of State Rice accuses the Burmese junta of backtracking on even the “modest steps” it had promised to meet regularly with Aung San Suu Kyi and to permit her to meet with her NLD colleagues.
: The U.S. State Department declares the Philippine’s Rajah Solamin Movement to be a terrorist group linked to Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya.
: The U.S. Supreme Court blocks the recovery of $35 million held by a U.S. brokerage firm for over 9,500 human rights victims of the Marcos era in the Philippines.
: A U.S. Navy helicopter from the medical ship USNS Mercy is hit by gunfire while on a humanitarian mission in Mindanao. Subsequently, the Mercy curtails its humanitarian mission and leaves for its next stop in the central part of the island country.
: The U.S. State Department backs the conclusion of a UN Human Rights Monitor that Burma’s draft constitution vote was far from credible and that political prisoners were being held in “appalling” conditions.
: U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey in Jakarta offers Washington’s support for the establishment of an Indonesian anti-corruption task force.
: U.S. Navy ships loaded with food, water, and medical supplies, after weeks of waiting, leave the area after the Burma government refused to permit them access.
: U.S. C-130s have delivered more than 2 million pounds of emergency relief supplies from Thailand to Rangoon by this date.
: The U.S. agrees to provide the Philippines with $15.5 million to help guard its southern maritime border against pirates, smugglers, and terrorists.
: In Bangkok, Secretary Gates expresses U.S. support for Thailand’s democratically elected government and says Washington would frown on any military coup attempt.
: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen visits Mindanao for the Balikitan exercises and meets Philippine Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano.
: Restoring military aid to Cambodia after a 10-year hiatus, the U.S. gives 31 used trucks to the country’s military.
: At the Singapore Shangri-La Dialogue, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates obliquely warns China not to pressure Southeast Asian claimants to South China Sea resources in Beijing’s quest for energy and says the U.S. will play an “enduring role” in Asia. Gates accuses Burma’s junta of “criminal neglect” in blocking large-scale international aid for cyclone victims and praises Malaysia for its role in protecting the Malacca Strait from piracy and terrorism.
: The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy begins a humanitarian medical service deployment in Indonesia.
: U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in an Indonesian visit offers to resume joint exercises between the two countries’ special forces that had been halted for several years.
: President Bush expresses outrage at Burma’s military junta’s decision to extend Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest for another year.
: U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN Marciel states the U.S. is prepared to offer more than the $20.5 million in aid already donated, contingent on access to the worst hit areas.
: Burma’s military rulers say foreign aid workers will be given visas to deliver assistance, but foreign military equipment and personnel are still prohibited. Only 25 percent of those in need have received any aid.
: Fifty U.S. military cargo flights have landed in Rangoon by this date. No other locations have been served.
: U.S. ASEAN envoy Marciel tells a Congressional hearing that swift aid access to cyclone-devastated areas in Burma is more important than the fundraising conference requested by the ruling junta.
: Burma’s government mouthpiece, The New Light of Myanmar, states that foreign donors are a greater threat than the cyclone and that the U.S. ships could be used to overthrow the government.
: Shari Villarosa, chief of the U.S. mission in Rangoon, flies over the Irrawaddy delta with Burma’s foreign minister by helicopter and states: “It was a show.”
: An additional four C-130 cargo planes land in Burma, the Rangoon authorities now permitting daily relief flights, but still no visas for relief agency personnel.
: U.S. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe dismisses the Burmese constitution referendum, which the regime claims received a 92.4 percent approval.
: The White House announces an additional $13 million in aid to Burma for food and logistical assistance as cyclone relief.
: State Department officials state they are concerned that international relief goods are being sold by the junta on the local black market.
: Adm. Keating is on board the first U.S. relief flight to Rangoon, the first time in years a USPACOM commander has entered Burma. On the 13th, two more U.S. relief flights are permitted to land in Rangoon.
: Burma’s junta opens the polls for a referendum on a new constitution, which it says will pave the way for democratic elections in 2010. Pro-democracy campaigners say the ballot will be rigged and accuse the generals of trying to prolong their reign.
: The U.S. Ambassador to Thailand says that a U.S. disaster relief team is waiting in Thailand for visas to Burma.
: The U.S. head of mission in Burma says the country’s death toll could go to 100,000 from the cyclone and its aftermath.
: Secretary of State Rice urges Burma’s military government to admit disaster assistance from the international community.
: U.S. Secretary of State Rice says that Burma should consider foreign disaster relief as humanitarian and not political intervention.
: After a two-day delay, Burma allows the first aircraft load of UN-sponsored relief goods for victims of Cyclone Nargis into the country. However, workers from several international aid agencies are still not given visas to enter the country.
: U.S. and Thai troops stage Cobra Gold. This year’s annual joint military exercise takes place in northern Thailand, emphasizing peacekeeping and includes over 5,000 Thai and 6,000 U.S. forces plus small contingents from Singapore, Indonesia, and Japan.
: Tropical Cyclone Nargis strikes Burma, devastating much of the fertile Irrawaddy River delta and the nation’s major city, Rangoon.
: ASEAN trade ministers agree to help each other during the global food crisis and to take measures to maintain the stability of rice prices and boost production.
: President Bush issues executive order that instructs the Treasury to freeze the assets of Burmese “state-owned companies that are major sources of funds that prop up the junta.” The sanctions target companies and industries that produce timber, pearls, and gems.
: The Vietnamese government announces that it will end an adoption agreement with the U.S. amid accusations of corruption. A recent report from the U.S. embassy in Hanoi cited cases in which children had allegedly been sold and families pressured to give up their babies. Vietnam dismisses the claims as unfair.
: The U.S. Senate votes to award Aung San Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives December 2007, is passed unopposed in the Senate.
: Singapore Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong meets President Bush in the White House. The president describes Singapore as “a very strong ally” on the global war on terror.
: The U.S. appoints Scott Marciel as the first U.S. ambassador for ASEAN affairs. He also serves as deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific.
: USPACOM Commander Adm. Keating visits Indonesia and praises the latter’s military peacekeepers in the Lebanon UN force.
: U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney pledges U.S. rice exports to the Philippines to ensure supplies amid soaring commodity prices.
: Secretary Hill meets with his North Korean counterpart in Singapore.
: U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) Commander Adm. Timothy Keating visits Brunei and discusses anti-terrorist cooperation.
: Secretary Hill visits East Timor and praises the fledgling state’s ability to cope with the recent assassination attempts on President Jose Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.