US - Southeast Asia
Chronology from May 2011 to Aug 2011
: Two Vietnamese democracy activists are among more than 10,000 prisoners granted amnesty by Hanoi to mark the country’s National Day.
: Presidential election is held in Singapore; former Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan wins.
: Thai-Cambodian Regional Border Committee meeting is held in Thailand’s northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province to discuss several issues including troop withdrawal.
: In a letter to Secretary Clinton, 16 US senators urge Vietnam to free dissident priest Nguyen Van Ly, saying his arrest could jeopardize Washington’s growing ties with Hanoi.
: Naval forces of the US and Singapore conduct their 17th CARAT exercise.
: The aircraft carrier USS George Washington calls in Vietnam, receiving Vietnamese officials and US embassy personnel.
: Umar Patek, one of Southeast Asia’ most wanted terrorists, is extradited from Pakistan to Indonesia.
: The USS George Washington calls in Loem Chabang, Thailand. Sailors on board engage in civic action as well as tourism.
: Derek Mitchell, recently deputy assistant secretary of defense, is appointed to be special envoy to Burma to help develop a cohesive international policy toward the country.
: The US and Vietnam open their first formal military relationship with a collaborative agreement in military medicine.
: ASEAN naval chiefs meet formally for the first time in Hanoi.
: Secretary Clinton in Hong Kong calls on Asian states to move from “a hodgepodge of inconsistent and partial bilateral [trade] agreements” to “true regional integration.”
: The ARF convenes with Secretary Clinton attending. She urges South China Sea disputants to back their claims with legal evidence – a challenge to China’s declaration of sovereignty over vast stretches of the region.
: Secretary Clinton at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) gathering in Bali urges ASEAN to convince Burma to become more “seriously involved with the international community” including domestic political reforms and “nonproliferation agreements.”
: China and ASEAN agree to a set of guidelines that would be part of a revised Code of Conduct on the South China Sea disputes. Secretary of State Clinton praises the new guidelines as “an important first step.”
: Sen. Webb calls on the State Department to clarify US treaty commitments to aid the Philippines in the event China uses force in the South China Sea.
: The International Court of Justice rules that Thailand and Cambodia should withdraw their forces from a disputed border area adjacent to the Preah Vihear temple.
: Three US Navy ships begin a seven-day exercise with the Vietnamese Navy. Rear Adm. Tom Carney states the long-planned exercise demonstrates America’s ongoing presence in the Western Pacific and South China Sea.
: A US Federal Court of Appeals rules that Indonesian villagers in Aceh have the right to sue Exxon-Mobil in US courts for alleged human rights abuses dating back to 2001.
: Burma’s Deputy Chief of Mission to the US requests political asylum, citing the flawed elections in his country, conflicts with ethnic minority groups, and continued threats against Aung San Suu Kyi.
: Thailand’s Pheu Thai Party led by Yingluck Shinawatra wins an absolute parliamentary majority in Thailand’s national election over the governing Democratic Party.
: US and Philippine navies hold their annual CARAT exercise in the waters east of Palawan.
: The four remaining top leaders of the Khmer Rouge go before the UN-backed genocide tribunal in Phnom Penh for offenses committed between 1975 and 1979.
: The US Senate passes a resolution sponsored by Sen. Webb deploring China’s use of force against Philippine and Vietnamese ships.
: Singapore complains that the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report was riddled with “inaccuracies” about the city-state’s actual record. Malaysia similarly complains.
: The State Department announces the US is consulting with other countries to establish a UN commission of inquiry to investigate human rights violations in Burma.
: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper meets Secretary del Rosario and promises to share intelligence on the regional maritime situation.
: Secretary of State Clinton meets Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario and affirms US security commitments.
: Radical Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual founder of Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, is convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 15 years in jail.
: US and Vietnam hold their fourth Political, Security, and Defense Dialogue in Washington. Under Secretary of State William Burns and Assistant Secretary Campbell meet Vice Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh to discuss the strategic dimensions of the relationship.
: The US Navy leads a naval counter-terrorist (SEACAT) exercise in the Sulu Sea with ships from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Brunei.
: US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas states that the US is committed to helping the Philippines in any dispute over the South China Sea.
: Sen. James Webb introduces Senate resolution condemning China’s use of force in the South China Sea and calling for peaceful, multilateral negotiations of maritime disputes.
: US Marines complete a training program for Thai police and military on the use of nonlethal force for crowd control one year after the Thai military killed 91 in an anti-coup insurrection in Bangkok.
: Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell arrives in Surabya, Indonesia, to prepare for the East Asia Summit, which President Obama will attend in November.
: The 10th annual Shangri-La Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue is held in Singapore.
: Sen. John McCain meets Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon and pledges support for democracy restoration.
: US Pacific Command Commander Adm. Robert Willard in an address to Malaysia’s Institute for Security and Strategic Studies Asia-Pacific Roundtable praises cooperation between the two countries’ navies and urges peaceful negotiation to resolve South China Sea conflicts.
: Members of the US Congress criticize Vietnam for convicting seven land rights activists and sentencing them to between two and eight years in jail for “subversion.”
: Deputy Assistant Secretary Yun, visiting Burma, states the US is seeking “common ground” with the new government. Nevertheless, the Obama administration has extended economic sanctions.
: The US and Indonesian navies hold their 17th CARAT exercise with three US warships participating and a total of 1,600 Navy and Marine personnel.
: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and the Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell visits Kuala Lumpur to discuss global terrorism, trade policy, and the role of US armed forces in the Pacific.
: Deputy Assistant Secretary Yun meets Nobel Prize winner and Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon. He also meets several leaders of the new government.
: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Yun meets Burma’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin.
: ASEAN Defense Ministers meet in Indonesia.
: Philippine President Benigno Aquino III visits the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. Philippine officials say no message was implied in the visit; it was just “routine.”
: The 2011 Cooperation Afloat and Readiness Training (CARAT) Thai-US exercises focus on maritime interdiction, combined operations at sea, anti-piracy and anti-smuggling. As in the past, interoperability of the participating navies is stressed.
: ASEAN heads meet in Jakarta and discuss mediation of the Thai-Cambodian military conflict on the Preah Vihear temple grounds. No solution is reached.
: US-based Human Rights Watch issues a report condemning the Thai government for not prosecuting those responsible for killings during the 2010 anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok.