The year 2019 marks the end of a decade defined by natural disasters, political turmoil and mass displacements in the Asia-Pacific region.
From the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan that killed about 16,000 people and triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster, to the forced evacuation of more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh in 2017, the region experienced major disruptions in the last 10 years. will continue to reverberate in the coming years.
Political triumphs and transitions also dominated the incumbents, including the 2014 military coup in Thailand and the historic 2015 elections in Myanmar that catapulted Aung San Suu Kyi to power.
The monarchy of Thailand and Japan also changed hands with the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2016 and the abdication of the throne of the Japanese emperor Akihito earlier this year.
These are some of the momentous events in the region in the last decade:
The Thai state deploys troops as tension increases
Years of discontent between supporters of former exiled prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the ruling elites of Thailand exploded on the streets of Bangkok in the first months of 2010, when the government of then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva turned to the military to quell the protests that They had brought to the capital. to a stalemate.
At least 90 people died and 2,000 were injured in the worst political violence in the country in 20 years.
Thaksin's sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, won the elections the following year, but as protests resumed, the military intervened again. The general who led the coup d'etat of 2014, Prayuth Chan-ocha, was elected to head the government in controversial elections in 2019 that, according to critics, were designed to preserve the control of power by the military.
Jailed writer and activist Liu Xiaobo received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. "
At the ceremony in Oslo, Liu was represented by an empty chair.
China said awarding the prize to a "criminal,quot; like Liu was a "blasphemy." His wife, Liu Xia, was placed under house arrest.
Liu, a leading critic of the Chinese government who participated in the Tiananmen Square protests and drafted Letter 08, developed liver cancer while in jail and died in the hospital, still under surveillance, in July 2017.
A year later, Liu Xia was finally released and allowed to leave for Germany.
At 2.46 p.m. On March 11, 2011, an earthquake of magnitude 9.1 shook the seabed of the Pacific Ocean not far from Japan, causing a tsunami that rose to 38 meters when it crashed on the northwest coast of the main island of Honshu.
At least 16,000 people died when the water wall crashed on land, and hundreds of thousands were expelled from their homes.
Tendenko: Survive the 2011 Tsunami
In Fukushima, the nuclear power plant was flooded, Overwhelming reactor cooling systems, which cause multiple collapses and send radiation to a large area in a disaster that only rivals Chernobyl.
Kim Jong-il declared dead tot at the age of 69 years after suffering a heart attack while on board a train during a trip outside Pyongyang.
Kim took power in 1994 after the death of his father, Kim Il-sung, who had led North Korea since the Korean War split the Korean peninsula in half.
Although the two sides signed a ceasefire in 1953, they remain technically at war. The death of young Kim paved the way for the appointment of his Kim Jong-un, who later carried out a deadly purge of the Northern leadership.
Xi Jinping was announced as the next leader of the almighty Communist Party of China. It was formally installed as a leader in March 2013.
With the announcement, Xi also became head of the Chinese army, which marked a break with the tradition of withdrawing leaders who cling to the post during a transition period to extend their influence.
The period prior to the rise of Xi to power was disturbed by the events surrounding Bo Xilai, a political star seen as a candidate for a top position until a scandal in which his wife was convicted of murdering a British businessman. The sensational issue torpedoed Bo's political career.
North Korea announced that it will restart all nuclear facilities at its main Yongbyon complex, generating new fears of conflict in the region.
After the move, the United States parked a warship in front of the Korean peninsula.
Typhoon bursts into the Philippines, tired of disaster
It was reported that at least 6,000 people died when one of the strongest storms recorded occurred in central Philippines. Hundreds of thousands of people were also displaced from their homes.
The head of the Thai army announces that a military commission that imposed martial law is taking control of the country's government.
General Prayut Chan-Ocha, who headed the commission, said military takeover was necessary to maintain order in the country during a political turmoil. Prayut would later become the country's prime minister.
Thailand has experienced 12 coups, including the May 2014 coup, since It became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.
MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing the 298 people on board. The disaster occurred only four months after another Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, MH370, disappeared on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Russia and its separatists in Ukraine were accused of shooting down the plane using a BUK missile launcher.
The Netherlands, which leads the investigation of what happened, will begin to judge four key suspects in March 2020.
The governor of Jakarta, Joko & # 39; Jokowi & # 39; Widodo, was elected president of Indonesia. He won his opponent, former General Prabowo Subianto, who would later challenge him again in the 2019 presidential elections.
Widodo, a former furniture manufacturer widely known as "Jokowi," campaigned as a new face and a stranger. He also promised to reform the economy and the political system of the country.
Lee Kuan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore, died at the age of 91.
Singapore's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, dies at 91
Lee was widely regarded as solely responsible for the unique success story of Singapore, the architect behind his fantastic transformation of a glorious fishing village into one of the world's economic powers.
Thousands queued to sign the condolences books, lined up in the streets despite the rain, for his funeral.
After almost four decades of brutal military rule, Myanmar held elections. Aung San Suu Kyi and his party, the National League for Democracy, won overwhelmingly, but Suu Kyi was excluded from the presidency by the constitution.
Myanmar will return to the polls in 2020.
The mayor of the city of Davao, Rodrigo Duterte, was elected president of the Philippines for a term of six years.
Nicknamed "The Punisher," Duterte, 71, promised relentless repression against drugs and crime, and a reform of the country's constitution.
The single-issue mayor's campaign focused on law and order added to popular anxiety about corruption, crime and drug abuse, but for many his incendiary rhetoric and conversations about extrajudicial executions echo the past authoritarian of the country.
Since his victory, Duterte has carried out a deadly war on drugs. Earlier this month, police said at least 5,552 people were killed between July 1, 2016 and November 30, 2019. However, human rights defenders put the death toll at at least 27,000.
King Bhumibol of Thailand dies at the age of 88. The venerated monarch ruled the country for 70 years and earned the deepest respect of the great majority of Thais.
Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn becomes the new king of Thailand
Bhumibol was the revered "father of the nation." He reached the throne at the age of 18 in 1946 when his brother was shot dead in mysterious circumstances at the Royal Palace in Bangkok.
After his death, his son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn succeeded him. King Maha was formally crowned as the new monarch of Thailand earlier this year.
The plight of the Uyghurs
The Chinese government is carrying out an offensive against Uighur Muslim minorities in its westernmost province of Xinjiang.
Conservative estimates put the number of ethnic Uyghurs – and other Muslim minorities detained under some form of detention since 2017 – between one and 1.5 million.
However, Randall Schriver, the chief US defense officer. UU. In charge of Asia, he said in May that the figure was "probably closer to three million citizens," which represents almost a third of the total population of 10 million Uyghurs.
China has denied that the Uyghurs are being held against their will. Beijing has described the facilities as "training centers,quot; or "reeducation,quot; camps aimed at counteracting the "terrorist threat,quot; and "extremism,quot; in Xinjiang. Beijing also denies any abuse to the Uyghurs.
Myanmar's army began a brutal repression against the Rohingya in western Rakhine. Stripped of their rights, the Rohingya had already suffered years of suffering. Many were confined to camps after violent clashes with Rakhine ethnic Buddhists in 2012, while others sought help from human traffickers to escape to Southeast Asia.
At least 740,000 fled across the border with Bangladesh and remain in refugee camps in Cox & # 39; s Bazar.
In 2018, the UN investigators concluded that the Myanmar army carried out mass murders and group rapes of Rohingya with "genocidal intent." He asked for the prosecution of the commander in chief and five generals.
Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu-kyi, defended military action in Rakhine state during her appearance at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in December 2019, while denying the "genocidal intention,quot; of the State.
Malaysia: the biggest heist in the world | 101 east
An opposition alliance led by the former Malaysian ruler, Mahathir Mohamad, won a majority in parliament, a surprising victory that puts an end to the 60-year control of the power of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
The opposition won 113 seats, one more than necessary for the simple majority, which led to the dismissal of Najib Razak as prime minister.
Pakatan Harapan's victory was a surprising triumph that almost no one had predicted. It also paved the way for the prosecution of Najib in the case of 1MDB.
Najib, 66, now faces dozens of criminal charges on charges that $ 4.5 billion of 1MDB was stolen.
The president of the United States, Donald Trump, and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Sign an agreement promising to support a peaceful resolution to seven decades of hostilities between the two countries and a decrease in nuclear tensions, during a historic meeting in Singapore.
Since the June 12, 2018 meeting, the two leaders have met twice in Vietnam and on the border between South Korea and North Korea.
However, negotiations on the denuclearization of Pyongyang and the lifting of US sanctions have stalled, which led to the return of heated rhetoric between the two nations.
Nearly 2,000 people died when an earthquake struck the Indonesian city of Palu on the central island of Sulawesi. The 7.5 magnitude earthquake shook the city of 350,000 inhabitants, causing a tsunami that dragged people to the sea, as well as the liquefaction of the soil, which buried many people and homes.
At least 51 people died and dozens more were injured in shootings in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, after an armed man opened indiscriminate fire against the Muslim faithful.
A 28-year-old Australian man, Brenton Tarrant, was charged with multiple murder charges. His trial begins on June 2, 2020.
The attack led to a review of New Zealand's gun laws, and the government banned semi-automatic military-style weapons.
Japanese Emperor Akihito, 85, marks the end of his three-decade reign. He is the first monarch to abdicate his throne in 200 years.
Prince Naruhito, the emperor's firstborn, succeeded Akihito. The formal enthronement of Naruhito took place in an elaborate ceremony last October.
Massive protests broke out in Hong Kong following the decision of Executive President Carrie Lam to schedule a bill that allowed the extradition of suspects living in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
Millions of Hong Kong people took to the streets during several demonstrations, some of which have become violent.
So far, more than 6,000 people have been arrested, with almost 3,000 injured.
Hong Kongers has accused the authorities of using excessive force against protesters.
Amid the resistance of Beijing and the Hong Kong government, there are no signs that the six-month protest movement is ending.