US - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Apr 2009 to Jul 2009

:      A two-week peacekeeping training exercise involving 20 Asia-Pacific countries and fully funded by the U.S. Pacific Command begins in Indonesia.

:      Thirty-one members of Congress petition Secretary Clinton to convince Thailand not to repatriate Hmong refugees to Laos and to allow outside access to a Hmong refugee camp along the border.

:    The annual U.S. watch list of countries suspected of not doing enough to combat human trafficking is released and includes most Southeast Asian countries.

:     The second security dialogue between the U.S. and Vietnam is held in Washington and discusses peacekeeping training as well as disaster relief, counterdrug, and counterterrorism cooperation.

:   The U.S. and Singapore navies in their 15th annual CARAT exercise deploy submarines for the first time alongside surface combatants.

:   The Cambodian government complains that Ambassador Williamson’s criticism of corruption in Cambodia is “incomplete, irresponsible, and unfounded.”

:   Defense Secretary Robert Gates visits the Philippines and promises additional aid for building Philippine military counterinsurgency capacity.

:   The 8th Shangri-La Defense Dialogue among Asia-Pacific defense ministers meets in Singapore.

:   Secretary Clinton excoriates Burma’s leaders for trying opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, saying the trial is “outrageous” and that her detention is based solely on the desire to stifle her “political popularity.”

:   On a four-day visit to Phnom Penh, U.S. Ambassador-at-large for War Crimes Clint Williamson says the Cambodian Khmer Rouge tribunal is “making real progress” but needs to implement anti-graft mechanisms.

:   President Obama extends sanctions on Burma for another year saying the junta’s actions “are hostile to U.S. interests” and pose an “extraordinary threat” to U.S. national security.

:    Secretary Clinton meets visiting Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman to discuss maritime piracy among other issues, including the stalled Malaysian-U.S. trade agreement.

:    U.S. embassy officials are given access to John W. Yettaw, who is being detained in Insein Prison along with Aung San Suu Kyi.

:   State Department spokesman Ian Kelly urges Burma’s junta to provide medical care for Aung San Suu Kyi who is ill and whose physician has been arrested.

:   Burma’s military junta arrests John W. Yettaw, a U.S. citizen, for swimming across a lake to the residence of detained opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

:   Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff General Subandrio states that future suppliers for the Indonesian armed forces must guarantee that there will be no embargo of their sales.  This is a reaction to U.S. embargos imposed by Washington during the latter Suharto years.

:    The State Department states that the U.S. is not considering lifting sanctions against Burma as Washington reviews its Burma policy.

:   The State Department pays tribute to ASEAN for its work in helping bring relief to the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Burma as well as ASEAN’s continued work with humanitarian aid groups.

:   U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney says the Visiting Forces Agreement works well and needs no modification.  The Philippine Senate is considering a review of the arrangement.

: Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo meets Secretary Clinton who refers to the city-state as a critical part of the global economy and praises its efforts to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

:   Malaysian Prime Minister Najib promises to investigate after a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee report claims that thousands of Burmese refugees were handed over to human traffickers in Thailand and forced to work in brothels, fishing boats, and restaurants to earn enough money to buy their freedom.

:   U.S. Justice Department documents on harsh interrogation techniques practiced against top Al Qaeda detainees in 2002 are released indicating that these actions occurred in Thailand, a revelation previously denied by the Thai government.

:   The U.S. offers to assist the Philippines with technical support, though not direct combat assistance, in freeing two Red Cross hostages being held by the Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines.

:   The annual Philippine-U.S. Balikatan joint exercise takes place in the Bicol region.  For the first time in 16 years, U.S. aircraft for the exercise operate from Philippine bases.

:   State Department spokesman Robert Wood characterizes the anti-government violence in Thailand that led to the cancellation of an ASEAN plus 3 and the East Asia Summit as “unacceptable” and urges political opponents to return to peaceful demonstrations.

:   A group of 10 U.S. women senators urge UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to put pressure on Burma’s ruling junta to scrap election plans and release Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.

:   Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a Cambodian New Year’s message cites progress in Khmer-U.S. relations over the past year including U.S. Navy humanitarian ship visits, economic assistance, and the presence of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers in 11 provinces.

:   The annual ASEAN summit convenes in Pattaya, Thailand, including meetings with the association’s major dialogue partners. On April 12, the meeting is disrupted by pro-Thaksin opposition demonstrators and foreign leaders flee by helicopters and ships.

:   Visiting Vietnam, Sen. John McCain calls for closer economic relations and also greater political freedom.

:   U.S. charge d’affaires in Burma Larry Dinyer says Washington has so far provided a total of $74 million in humanitarian assistance to Cyclone Nargis survivors.

Date Range