US - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Jul 2006 to Oct 2006

: Washington suspends $24 million in military assistance to Thailand.

: Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla visits the U.S. to encourage more foreign investment in his country, particularly in mineral resources.

: A bloodless military coup ousts Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra while he is in New York for the UN General Assembly. The U.S. regrets the lapse in democratic procedures and hopes for the restoration of democracy.

: UN Security Council schedules a formal review of the situation in Burma for shortly after Sept. 19.

: Thailand denies it hosted a secret detention center for the U.S. CIA to hold high level al-Qaeda prisoners after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

: John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the UN, asks the Security Council to place Burma on its agenda to discuss human rights and the lack of democracy.

: The Mercy completes a five-month humanitarian mission in Southeast Asia during which medical and dental services were provided to thousands in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and East Timor.  Mercy staff also provided medical education and civil engineering projects.

: U.S. Pacific Command and Indonesia’s armed forces sign a Terms of Reference to increase defense cooperation in Education, Intelligence, Training, and Logistics.

: U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy ends a six-week humanitarian mission in Indonesia, conducting surgeries, primary and emergency health care. Mercy personnel also trained Indonesian paramedics and saw thousands of patients.

: U.S. and ASEAN sign Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (not a treaty). The document promises better protection for U.S. intellectual property. The U.S. has complained about inadequate protection for films and computer software.

: A two-day labor dialogue between Vietnam and the U.S. takes place in Washington where U.S.-funded projects on job creation, people with disabilities, child labor, and HIV/AIDS in the workplace are reviewed.

: U.S. Ambassador-at-large for Religious Freedom John Hanford visits Vietnam.

: Philippine and U.S. Navies engage in a CARAT exercise involving 8,000 Philippine marines and 2,000 U.S. personnel. The exercise includes counterterror and transnational crime scenarios.

: At a Singapore National Day reception, deputy U.S. treasury secretary announces plans by the Bush administration to seek the appointment of a U.S. ambassador to ASEAN.

: Philippine Senate Agriculture Committee sends a declaration to the U.S. attorney general opposing former Philippine Agriculture Secretary Jocelyn Bolante’s application for political asylum in the United States. The declaration states that Bolante fled the Philippines to avoid prosecution for the “plunder of public funds.”

: U.S. and Brunei Navy ships begin a CARAT exercise emphasizing interdiction of maritime crime and terrorists.

: Thousands gather in front of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta to protest U.S. support for Israel in its fight with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, but President Yudhoyono rejects calls for Indonesia to send militants to fight against Israel.

: President Bush renews economic sanctions against Burma for continued human rights violations.

: Malaysia and the U.S. sign a criminal investigation agreement to combat terrorism and corruption on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting.

: Hundreds of anti-Israeli demonstrators from the youth wing of Malaysia’s ruling UMNO party storm the convention center where the ARF was meeting, insisting on talking with Secretary Rice to halt Israel’s aggression against Lebanon. Police held the demonstrators back.

: Secretary Rice praises ASEAN for the “important evolution” of its policy in dealing with Burma, especially the need for the junta to make political reforms and release Ann Sang Suu Kyi from house arrest.

: On the sidelines of the ARF meeting, Secretary Rice meets Vietnamese Foreign Minister Khiem and reiterates the Bush administration’s support for permanent normal trade relations.

: The U.S. and ASEAN initial a five-year action plan to boost trade and investment ties as well as counter-terrorism and the fight against HIV/AIDs.

: Philippines awarded a $21 million anti-corruption program grant under the U.S. Millenium Challenge Account Threshold Program.

: 10 ASEAN foreign ministers and Secretary Rice sign a framework document to implement the 2005 ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership.

: Malaysian Foreign Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi tells Secretary Rice to have the U.S. use its influence to broker immediate ceasefires in Lebanon and Gaza.

: Michael Ray Aquino, a former Philippine National Police officer, pleads guilty in U.S. federal court to unauthorized possession of U.S. defense documents.

: U.S. and Malaysian navies begin a 10-day CARAT exercise involving some 3,000 personnel. The exercise includes land and sea combat and rescue.

: U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mullins visits Singapore and underscores the longstanding cooperation between the two navies.

: The Philippine and U.S. militaries agree to conduct joint military exercises under the newly formed Security Engagement Board. The new Board focuses on nontraditional security threats such as terrorism.

: Pacific Commander Adm. Fallon pays an introductory visit to Cambodia.

: The U.S. Navy hospital ship, Mercy, completes a six-day humanitarian mission on Indonesia’s Nios island. Thousands of patients were treated on shipboard and on shore.  NGOs from several countries worked with the Mercy medical staff.

: U.S. Pacific Commander Adm. William Fallon begins a four-day visit to Vietnam for military and security discussions, his first in his current post.

: Indonesian and U.S. Navies began their annual CARAT exercises to enhance bilateral cooperation. The 2006 CARAT exercises began in Singapore in June and were followed by Thailand and then Indonesia.  Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines will follow before the exercises conclude in August.

: Some 1,000 protestors from the Islamist PAS party march on the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur protesting Israeli incursions into Gaza and U.S. support for Israel.

: Some 10,000 Indonesians mass in front of the U.S. Embassy to condemn Israel’s offensive into the Gaza Strip and Israeli arrests of Palestinian officials. The protestors come from the Muslim-oriented Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

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