US - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Sep 2022 to Dec 2022

: Laos Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh resigns and is replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone.

: Malaysian Parliament approves prime ministership of Anwar Ibrahim in a vote of confidence.

: 2023 National Defense Authorization Act passes in Congress and incorporates the Burma Unified Through Rigorous Military Accountability Act (BURMA Act) of 2021.

: Thai government conducts a “non-ASEAN” meeting on the Myanmar conflict, inviting officials from the military time in Naypyidaw and other regional leaders. Among the other ASEAN states, only Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia send their foreign ministers.

: ASEAN and the European Union hold their first in-person summit in Brussels, to commemorate 45 years of relations.

: US State Department announces that it will downgrade relations with Myanmar by not replacing US Ambassador to Naypyidaw Thomas Vadja when he leaves his post at the end of December. The embassy will be led by the Deputy Chief of Mission Deborah Lynn, acting as Chargé d’Affaires.

: Indonesian Parliament votes to revise the country’s Criminal Code to criminalize adultery, sex outside marriage, and insults to the president or other state authorities.

: In an address to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong chastises the United States for lackluster economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.

: ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) is hosted in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with participation from 9 of 10 ASEAN states (Myanmar being absent), plus 8 “dialogue partners.”

: Following her visit to Thailand to represent the United States at the APEC meeting, Vice President Kamala Harris travels to the Philippines and visits Palawan, a Philippine military base on the edge of the South China Sea.

: Malaysia holds general elections and Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the multi-ethnic Pakistan Haraphan (PH) coalition and of the People’s Justice Party (PKR) becomes prime minister after complicated negotiations to assemble a ruling coalition. Anwar is sworn in on Nov. 24.

: Myanmar junta releases 5,800 prisoners, 400 of whom are estimated to be political detainees including Australian economist Sean Turnell and US citizen Kyaw Htay Oo.

: Thailand hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting and brokers a consensus statement that calls Russia out for the war in Ukraine. The group adopts the Bangkok Goals on the Bio-Circular-Green Economy.

: Indonesia hosts the G20 Summit in Bali. The meeting focuses on the global economic situation but does not dodge the war in Ukraine in the consensus Leaders’ Declaration.

: Just Energy Transition Partnership (JEPT) for Indonesia, which will facilitate Indonesia’s transition to clean energy, is launched on the margins of the G20 Summit.

: At the ASEAN Leaders Summit in Cambodia ASEAN agrees “in principle” to admit East Timor as its 11th member. Dili will have observer status until its formal admission, which will likely come in the middle of the decade.

: President Biden participates in the East Asia Summit in Cambodia and the adjacent US-ASEAN Summit. Presidents Xi Jinping of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia do not attend the EAS.

: At the 10th Annual US-ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, President Biden and ASEAN leaders elevate US-ASEAN relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

: After an aerial bombardment by the Burmese junta in Kachin State on Oct. 23, the US Treasury Department targets Sky Aviator Company, Ltd., for sanctions for operating in Myanmar’s defense sector.

: United States and Singapore conduct the first US-Singapore Cybersecurity Dialogue, in Singapore, co-chaired by Cybersecurity Agency of Singapore Chief Executive David Koh and US Ambassador at Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy Nate Fick.

: ASEAN foreign ministers (minus Myanmar) meet in Jakarta at the ASEAN Secretariat to discuss the conflict in Myanmar. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi expresses “disappointment” that the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus Plan has not advanced, and acknowledges that the situation in Myanmar is worsening.

: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., announces that Manila will drop a $215 million helicopter deal with Russia and instead purchase military helicopters from the United States.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Daniel Kritenbrink travels to Vietnam and Laos. In Vientiane he co-chairs the 10th US-Laos Comprehensive Dialogue.

: US Treasure Department announces sanctions on three individuals for procurement of Russian-made arms from Belarus for the military regime in Myanmar.

: US and Filipino Marines kick off large-scale joint drills in and around Philippine Islands facing the South China Sea and in Japan, with Japanese and South Korean military participating as observers.

: US State Department Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism Timothy Betts visits Indonesia for a counterterrorism dialogue with the Indonesian National Counterterrorism Agency.

: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin conducts a Defense Ministers Meeting in Hawaii with his counterparts in Japan, Australia and the Philippines.

: Thailand’s Constitutional Court rules that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s term as prime minister terminates in 2025, resolving disputes over whether his years as junta leader after the 2014 coup were to be counted.

: The third ministerial (and first in-person meeting) of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is held in Los Angeles. The 14 members declare which pillars that they will negotiate in and agree upon the main issue areas for each pillar.

: US State Department Undersecretary for Arms Control Bonnie Jenkins travels to the Philippines, Vietnam, and Singapore.

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