US - Southeast Asia

Chronology from May 2015 to Aug 2015

:  Visiting the Philippines, Pacific Command Commander Adm. Harry Harris says the US plans to boost the number and size of bilateral exercises.  Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin requests that US ships escort Philippine ships during resupply missions to the country’s Spratly Island outposts.

: US and Malaysia conduct CARAT Malaysia 2015, a joint military exercise.

:   In Vietnam to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations, Secretary Kerry states that deeper ties depend on Hanoi’ s greater commitment to human rights and democratic values.

: ASEAN Regional Forum is held in Kuala Lumpur. Secretary Kerry attends and announces a $4.3 million contribution to the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center for the creation of a system to document and trace illegal fishing in the region.

Aug. 4, 2015    Secretary of State Kerry speaks at the Singapore Management University acknowledging obstacles that led to the stalemate in the TPP negotiations in Maui but expressing the hope that they will be overcome in future meetings.

: US and Indonesia conduct CARAT Indonesia 2015 exercise with over 1,000 US personnel.

: ASEAN-related foreign minister and post-ministerial meetings (48th ASEAN, 16th ASEAN+3, and fifth East Asia Summit) are held in Kuala Lumpur.

: US and Vietnam conduct a joint peacekeeping workshop in Hanoi to help Vietnam establish a national peacekeeping center.  Peacekeeping cooperation was agreed upon during the July visit General Secretary Ngyuen Phu Trong to Washington.

:  Annual State Department Human Trafficking Report places Thailand in the bottom tier because of child slavery in the fishing industry; Malaysia is promoted to the next highest category although human rights critics say there is no justification for its elevation.

: In a Washington speech, Japan’s top military commander Adm. Kawano Katsubashi states his country may conduct surveillance patrols in the South China Sea.

:  Singapore and US navies conduct bilateral CARAT exercise involving 1,400 personnel and several combat vessels.

:  Vietnam’s Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong visits the US and meets President Obama.  Their main topic of discussion is the Trans Pacific Partnership.

: ASEAN Secretariat announces during a meeting in Kuala Lumpur that the group will create a fund to aid regional countries that host the victims of human trafficking. US State Department and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees also participate in the meeting.

:   State Department’s annual human rights report criticizes Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

: Philippine and Japanese navy ships exercise together in the South China Sea, focusing on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

: US and Philippines conduct their 21st annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines military exercise.

: Assistant Secretary of State Russel visits Singapore and Malaysia in preparation for the upcoming ASEAN Regional Forum.

: In Jakarta, Anne Richards, assistant secretary of state for refugees, speaks on US contributions to relieve the plight of Rohingya boat people from Myanmar.  She also praises the rescue efforts from Indonesia and Malaysia.

: Defense Secretary Carter meets Vietnamese Navy and Coast Guard officials in Hanoi and pledges $18 million for Vietnam’s purchase of US patrol craft to safeguard territorial waters.  On June 2, the two countries sign a defense agreement.

:  Vietnam and the US sign a joint vision statement during Secretary Carter’s visit to Hanoi.

: At the annual Singapore Shangri-La dialogue, Defense Secretary Carter criticizes China’s land reclamation in the Spratly Islands, particularly “the prospect of further militarization.”  He also announces the Southeast Asian Maritime Security Initiative to provide equipment and training to South China Sea littoral states.

: US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter meets Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin in Hawaii, discussing security issues in the South China Sea and agreeing to hold a 2-plus-2 assistant secretary-level meeting as soon as possible.

:  Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights Tom Malonowski says the US still has active sanctions against Myanmar for persecution of Muslim Rohingya.

:  Assistant Secretary of State for Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel, referring to a US P-8A Poseidon flight near Spratly islets that China, says that all countries have freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.

: Deputy Secretary of State Blinken in Myanmar discusses the Rohingya boat exodus with President Thein Sein. US Embassy in Yangon issues a statement urging Myanmar to work with regional partners to deal with the crisis.

: US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft flies over the region of the Spratly Islands. Chinese Navy repeatedly warns the aircraft to depart the airspace.

: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets visiting Secretary of State John Kerry and says China has no intention of scaling back island expansion activities in the Spratly Islands.

: Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Vietnam in advance of a visit to Washington by General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong.

: Senior officials from all 10 ASEAN states meet senior US officials at the White House to discuss maritime security and China’s reclamation activities in the Spratly Islands.

: President Barack Obama notifies Congress he is renewing his authority to maintain sanctions against Myanmar for another year because of human rights abuses and ill treatment of the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state.

: Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Del Rosario in Washington asks the US for more help in resisting China’s land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea.

: Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs David Shear in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says US bomber and surveillance aircraft would be deployed to Australia.

: Greeting Singapore’s foreign minister in Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry cites both countries’ national concern over China’s actions around the Paracel Islands.

Date Range