Chronology of US - Southeast Asian Relations

Content Type
Journal Article
Comparative Connections
Issue Number
Publication Date
January 2010
Center for Strategic and International Studies
No abstract is available.
Political Geography
United States, Southeast Asia
Oct. 1, 2009: President Barack Obama says that “the United States stands ready to help in this time of need” after a devastating earthquake struck Padang Sumatra, killing over 1,000 people. Oct. 3, 2009: The US embassy in Jakarta says it has already provided $300,000 in aid to victims of the Padang earthquake and has earmarked an additional $3 million. Oct. 7, 2009: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell at a US Senate hearing says baseline conditions for Burma\'s electoral process must include release of all political prisoners, open candidacies, free media, and an open campaign. Oct. 9, 2009: US forces bring aid to flooded areas around the Philippine capital and to the northern Philippines after that area was affected by a devastating storm. Oct. 9, 2009: US Navy ships arrive in Padang, Sumatra to distribute aid and help survivors of the previous week\'s earthquake. Navy helicopters evacuate survivors and provide food and other materials to villages cut off by the quake. Oct. 18, 2009: More than 1,000 Indonesian and US Marines engage in a joint exercise in East Java to help the Americans learn about jungle warfare from the Indonesians while the latter learn about urban warfare from the Americans. Oct. 20-30, 2009: On a 10-day US visit, Singapore\'s founding father and Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew meets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers, as well as President Obama. Oct. 21, 2009: Secretary Campbell announces at a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that the US will send a high-level fact-finding mission to Burma. US-Southeast Asia Relations 63 January 2010 Oct. 23-25, 2009: The fourth East Asia Summit convenes in Hua Hin, Thailand, involving ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand. Topics covered include the economic crisis, food and energy, climate change, and natural disasters. Oct. 26, 2009: US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney says it is up to the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to determine what role the US might play in their peace process. Oct. 27, 2009. Singapore hosts a Proliferation Security Initiative exercise with 2,000 personnel, 18 ships, and eight planes from several countries, including Japan and the US. The exercise involves interdicting a ship carrying weapons of mass destruction. Nov. 1-24, 2009: Singapore air and ground forces engage in their most complex air-ground joint exercises with 540 personnel at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Nov. 3-4, 2009: Secretary Campbell and Deputy Assistant Secretary Scot Marciel travel to Burma to meet senior officials of the government, members of the opposition including Aung San Suu Kyi, and representatives of ethnic groups. Nov. 4, 2009: Secretary Campbell says that the US will not lift sanctions on Burma until there is some progress toward democracy. Nov. 9, 2009: The lawyer for Aung San Suu Kyi says she is hopeful that US engagement with the country\'s military rulers will spur democratic reforms. Nov. 9, 2009: US and Indonesian Navy Special Forces begin a 24-day joint exercise on Sumatra, focusing on counter-terrorism. Nov. 11-13, 2009: Secretary Clinton visits the Philippines to express US support in the wake of devastating typhoons. She also urges Asian nations to encourage Burma\'s leadership to hold “free, fair, and credible elections.” Nov. 13-15, 2009: The annual APEC leaders meeting is held in Singapore. Nov. 15, 2009: President Obama holds a one-day summit with ASEAN leaders in Singapore after the conclusion of the annual APEC meeting. In the past, no such summit was held because of the US refusal to meet with Burma\'s ruling junta. Nov. 15, 2009. The US and ASEAN agree that Burma\'s 2010 elections must be “free, fair, and transparent” to be credible. Dec. 3, 2009: The Singapore Foreign Ministry welcomes President Obama\'s continued commitment in Afghanistan as “a positive and pragmatic way forward.” Dec. 3, 2009: China and Thailand announce they will conduct their first joint military exercise next year to which the US will be invited to send observers. US-Southeast Asia Relations 64 January 2010 Dec. 11, 2009: The US and Indonesia sign an agreement establishing a Peace Corps program that will begin in mid-2010. The first group of 25 volunteers will be English language teachers. Dec. 11, 2009: Thai authorities, based on information from US intelligence, detain a cargo plane from North Korea loaded with weapons bound for an undetermined destination. Seizure of the aircraft was authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1874. Dec. 14, 2009: The US signs an agreement with Cambodia to help Phnom Penh strengthen seaport security against smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material. Dec. 17, 2009: On a visit to Spain, Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet applauds President Obama\'s first year in office as “very positive” and “courageous.” Dec. 19, 2009: Despite objections from the US and UN, Cambodia deports 20 Uighur refugees who had sought asylum back to China. A US embassy spokesman said it was wrong to expel the Uighurs “without the benefit of a credible refugee determination process.” Dec. 24, 2009: Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejiajira, in response to objections by US senators and human rights groups about the possible expulsion of 4,000 ethnic Hmong to Laos, states his government “will act according to the law, and we will be very careful.” The Hmong, who fought on the US side in the Second Indochina War, fear political persecution if repatriated. Dec. 28, 2009: Thailand begins repatriating 4,000 Hmong refugees to Laos despite pleas from the US, UN, and human rights groups. Some of the Hmong are eligible for UN refugee status.