East Asia Summit

East Asia Summit

The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a forum held annually by leaders of 16 countries in the East Asian region. EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings. The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur on December 14 2005.

Countries involved

The 16 countries involved in the first EAS in December 2005 (Malaysia), second EAS in January 2007 (the Philippines) and third EAS in November 2007 (Singapore) were:

* the 10 members of flagicon|ASEANASEAN
** IDN
** MAS
** PHI
** SIN
** THA
** BRU
** VIE
** LAO
** MYA
** CAM
* plus the three additional members of ASEAN Plus Three
** CHN
** JPN
** KOR
* plus
** IND
** AUS
** NZL

History prior to the first East Asia Summit

The concept of an East Asia Grouping has significant history going back to an idea first promoted in 1991 by then Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad for an East Asia Economic Caucus [ [http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=6645 Yale Globel Online, The East Asia Summit: More Discord than Accord, 20 December 2005] ] .

The final report in 2002 of the East Asian Study Group, established by the ASEAN Plus Three countries, was based on an EAS involving ASEAN Plus Three, therefore not involving Australia, New Zealand or India [ [http://www.aseansec.org/viewpdf.asp?file=/pdf/easg.pdf Report of the East Asian Study Group] ] . The EAS as proposed was to be an ASEAN led development, with the summit to be linked to ASEAN summit meetings however the issue was to which contries beyond those in ASEAN the EAS was to be extended to.

The decision to hold the EAS was reached during the 2004 ASEAN Plus Three summit and the initial 16 members determined at the ASEAN Plus Three Ministerial Meeting held in Laos at the end of July 2005 [ [http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/eas/outline.html Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Japan) - General Information on East Asia Summit] [http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed081805a.cfm First appeared in The Asian Wall Street Journal - Watching the East Asia Summit] ] .

Credit for advancing the forum during the 2004 ASEAN Plus Three summit has been attributed to Malaysia [ [http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=6645 Yale Globel Online, The East Asia Summit: More Discord than Accord] ]

Meetings held

First EAS in 2005

Prior to the first meeting there was significant discussion as to which countries should be represented [ [http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=76332| Mahathir blasts Australia over summit - Nine MSN] [http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=88748 Executive decisions - The Indian Express] ] . At the time there were difficulties in the relationship between the "Plus Three" members (ie Japan, China and South Korea) of ASEAN Plus Three [ [http://www.bowring.net/easiasummit.htm International Herald Tribune - An Asian Union? Not yet] [http://www.worldpress.org/Asia/2192.cfm| Battle Looms Over Inaugural East Asia Summit] ] , and the perception that India and to a lesser extent Australia and New Zealand were present to balance the growing China power [ [http://english.people.com.cn/200512/07/eng20051207_226350.html People's Daily Online - East Asia Summit: in the shadow of sharp divisions] ] all meant the first meeting's achievements were limited. Russia expressed early interest in EAS membership and attended the first EAS as an observer at the invitation of 2005 EAS host Malaysia.

Second EAS in 2007

The next EAS was to be held on December 13 2006 in Metro Cebu, Philippines. After the confidence building of the inaugural EAS the 2006 EAS will help to define the future role of the EAS, its relationship with ASEAN Plus Three and the involvement of Russia in EAS. However in the face of Tropical Typhoon Utor the summit was post-poned until January 2007 [ [http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/breakingnews.php?id=114940 Bangkok Post - Asean summit may be reset for Jan 8-13] [http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/net/2006/12/13/asean.summit.shelved.effectively..html Sun Star - Asean summit shelved ‘effectively’?] ] . It was re-scheduled for January 15 2007, approximately a month after the original scheduled date.

The outcomes are summarised in the [http://www.12thaseansummit.org.ph/innertemplate3.asp?category=docs&docid=36 Chairman's Statement of the Second East Asia Summit] .


The EAS members signed the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security, a declaration on energy security and biofuels containing statement for members to prepare, non-binding, targets [ [http://www.12thaseansummit.org.ph/innertemplate3.asp?category=docs&docid=31 Cebu Declaration on East Asian energy security] ] .

Trade and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA)

As to trade and regional integration the following was noted in the Chair's report:

12. We welcomed ASEAN's efforts towards further integration and community building, and reaffirmed our resolve to work closely together in narrowing development gaps in our region. We reiterated our support for ASEAN's role as the driving force for economic integration in this region. To deepen integration, we agreed to launch a Track Two study on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) among EAS participants. We tasked the ASEAN Secretariat to prepare a time frame for the study and to invite all our countries to nominate their respective participants in it.

We welcomed Japan's proposal for an Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

The reality appears however that movement towards such a relationship is a long way-off. Lee Kuan Yew has compared the relationshiop between South-East Asia and India with that of the European Community and Turkey, and has suggested that a free-trade area involving South-East Asia and India is 30 to 50 years away [ [http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/news/stories/s1933180.htm Original link dead] ] .

The members of EAS agreed to study the Japanese proposed [ [http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ed20070117a1.html The Japan Time's Online: Success for the EAS?] [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aTQBbNiwLtw4&refer=home Bloomberg - India, Australia, N.Z. Will Join Trade Bloc, Ong Says] ] Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA). The Track Two report on CEPEA is due to be completed in mid-2008 [ [http://www.thejakartapost.com/detaileditorial.asp?fileid=20071121.E03&irec=2 The Jakarta Post - East Asia Summit and broader economic integration in Asia] ] and at the Third EAS it was agreed this would be considered at the Fourth EAS.

As noted above the Second EAS welcomed the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). It was subsequently announced that the ERIA would be established in November 2007 [ [http://www.bruneitimes.com.bn/details.php?shape_ID=37631 The Brunei Times - Link Dead] ] and confirmed at the Third EAS.

Third EAS in 2007

The issues of Myanmar (Burma), following the 2007 Burmese anti-government protests,and climate change were expected to be discussed at the Third EAS.

Myanmar successfully blocked formal discussion of its internal affairs [ [http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/specialreport/news/312568_51/1/.html ASEAN stands ready to help Myanmar: Singapore PM Lee - Channel News Asia] ] .

The summit did issue the Singapore Declaration on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment.

The Summit also agreed to the establishment of ERIA and to receive the final report on CEPEA at the Fourth EAS [ [http://www.aseansec.org/21127.htm Chairman's Statement of the 3rd East Asia Summit Singapore, 21 November 2007 - Paragraphs 13 and 14] ] .

The outcomes are summarised in the [http://www.aseansec.org/21127.htm Chairman's Statement of the 3rd East Asia Summit Singapore, 21 November 2007] .

East Asian Community

After the EAS was established the issue arose of whether any future East Asia Community would arise from the EAS or ASEAN Plus Three. Prior to the creation of the EAS it appeared that ASEAN Plus Three would take the role of community building in East Asia [ [http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/DH31Ae06.html Asia Times Online: ASEAN: Trouble in the family] [http://english.people.com.cn/200410/14/eng20041014_160226.html People's Daily On-line: Establishing East Asian Community becomes common understanding: Interview Wu Jianmin, president of China Foreign Affairs University] ]

Malyasia felt that it was still the case that the role of the community building fell to ASEAN Plus Three shortly before the second EAS despite "confusion" [ [http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/12/5/nation/16226090&sec=nation Original link dead] ] . China apparently agreed whereas Japan and India felt the EAS should be the focus of the East Asian Community [ [http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/editorial/20061215TDY04005.htm Original link dead] [http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news.php?id=210504 Original link dead] ] .

After the first EAS the feasibility of EAS to have a community building role was questioned with Ong Keng Yong, the secretary-general of ASEAN being quoted as describing the EAS as little more than a "brainstorming forum" [ [http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=117796 Timor parliament to consider oil deal ] ] . Nevertheless the [http://www.aseansec.org/18579.htm Chairman’s Press Statement for the Seventh ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting] Kuala Lumpur, 26 July 2006 said

25. The Ministers welcomed the convening of the East Asia Summit as a forum for dialogue on broad strategic, political and economic issues of common interest with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in East Asia. In this respect, they recognized that the East Asia Summit could make a significant contribution to the achievement of the long-term goal of establishing an East Asian community.

It appeared that over time following the first EAS the focus was less on whether the EAS has a role in community building to what the role and whether it was secondary to ASEAN Plus Three. By mid-2006 the Chinese news site Xinhua Net suggested the community would arise through a two-phase process with ASEAN Plus Three as the first phase and the EAS as the second phase [ [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-07/29/content_4890285.htm Xinhua - English ] ] . The China-India joint declaration of 21 November 2006 linked, at paragraph 43, the EAS with the East Asian Community process [ [http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=22168 PIB Press Release ] ] .

The concentric circle model of the community process with ASEAN at the centre, ASEAN Plus Three at the next band and the East Asia Summit at the outer band is supported by the [http://www.aseansec.org/21099.htm| Second Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation Building on the Foundations of ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation] which said:

III. Looking Forward to a Decade of Consolidation and Closer Integration (2007-2017) A. Defining the Objectives and Roles of the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation in the Emerging Regional Architecture 1. We reaffirmed that the ASEAN Plus Three Process would remain as the main vehicle towards the long-term goal of building an East Asian community, with ASEAN as the driving force. ... 3. We recognised and supported the mutually reinforcing and complementary roles of the ASEAN Plus Three process and such regional fora as EAS, ARF, APEC and ASEM to promote East Asian community building. 4. We reiterated that East Asian integration is an open, transparent, inclusive, and forward-looking process for mutual benefits and support internationally shared values to achieve peace, stability, democracy and prosperity in the region. Guided by the vision for durable peace and shared prosperity in East Asia and beyond, we will stand guided by new economic flows, evolving strategic interactions and the belief to continue to engage all interested countries and organisations towards the realisation of an open regional architecture capable of adapting to changes and new dynamism.

On any view community building is not a short term project. However after the second EAS the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was confident that the EAS would lead to an East Asia Community [http://www.dailyindia.com/show/103864.php/East-Asia-Summit-would-ultimately-lead-to-creation-of-East-Asia-community:-PM] . China had also apparently accepted this was the case [ [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-01/16/content_5612470.htm Xinhua - English ] ]

If achieved the Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia (CEPEA) would be a tangible first step in the community building process. The second EAS seems to have increased confidence in CEPEA but is still only a proposal [ [http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1074792 DNA - World - East Asia summit is an unqualified success for India - Daily News & Analysis ] ] .

It has been suggested that as the EAS consists of an "anti-region" the propsects of it forming a community are less than likely [http://www.stanleyfoundation.org/publications/pab/Breslin_07_PAB.pdf] .

The relationship with ASEAN Plus Three

The relationship between the EAS on the one hand and ASEAN Plus Three on the other is still not clear. As discussed above, some countries are more supportive of the narrower ASEAN Plus Three grouping whereas others support the broader, more inclusive EAS. ASEAN Plus Three, which has been meeting since December 1997 [ [http://www.aseansec.org/16580.htm ASEAN secretariat - ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation] ] has a history, including the Chiang Mai initiative [ [http://www.aseansec.org/afp/113.htm ASEAN secretariat - China, Japan, South Korea, ASEAN Agree on Wider Currency Swap Arrangements] ] which appears to have led to the development of the Asian Currency Unit. This may be significant for those advocating a broader role for EAS in the future.

The tension between the groupings extends to the respective members' intentions towards future Free Trade Agreements with China and South Korea focused on ASEAN Plus Three and Japan on the broader EAS members [ [http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news_business.php?id=215499 Bernama - Japan Pushes For Expanded EAFTA Comprising 16 Countries] [http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.aspx?cu_no=2&item_no=104241&version=1&template_id=48&parent_id=28 Gulf Times - Link dead] ] .

The 1997 Asian financial crisis had demonstrated the need for regional groupings and initiatives. It was during this time ASEAN Plus Three had commenced and it was also during this time that the East Asian caucus was being discussed.

The EAS is just one regional grouping and some members down play its significance, the former Australian Prime Minister John Howard has stated that the EAS was secondary as as regional summit to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) which has on his view a premier role [ [http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2005/s1530494.htm AM - APEC leads Asian summits, PM says ] ] . Not all members of the EAS, notably India, are members of APEC. However as the EAS meetings are scheduled with the ASEAN Plus Three meetings (they both follow the annual ASEAN meetings) and all members of ASEAN Plus Three are members of EAS the ability of the two forums to remain relevant given the existence of the other remains in question. China has stated its preference for both EAS and ASEAN Plus Three to exist side-by-side [ [http://english.people.com.cn/200512/14/eng20051214_228024.html People's Daily Online - East Asia Summit, a new platform for regional cooperation ] ] .

The relationship between APEC, ASEAN Plus Three and the EAS remained unresolved heading into the 2007 APEC meeting [ [http://english.vietnamnet.vn/politics/2006/11/633054/ VietNamNet Bridge ] ] . Following the meeting Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi described ASEAN Plus Three as the primary vehicle and implied APEC was the lesser of the three [ [http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/11/19/nation/16071554&sec=nation Make Apec relevant to all ] ] . At the same time a Malaysian commentator writing in a Singaporean newspaper described concentric circles for the three with ASEAN Plus Three at the centre and APEC at the outer, also suggested the Nikai Initiative, with its regional OECD like plans, might overtaking the remaining role for APEC [ [http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/nst/Saturday/Columns/20061118123949/Article/index_html The New Strais Times On-line - Link dead] ] .

Possible future members

RUS participated in the first EAS as an observer at the invitation of 2005 host Malaysia and has requested to become a member. Its request to become a future member seems to be supported by China and India [ [http://www.hindu.com/2007/02/15/stories/2007021521771400.htm The Hindu : National : Trilateral business meet later this year ] ] .

TLS is a candidate ASEAN member seeking membership within five years (from 2006) [ [http://www.aseansec.org/afp/154.htm East Timor Needs Five Years to Join ASEAN: PM ] ] ; presumably new members of ASEAN would also join the EAS [cite news |title=09-East Timor soon to join ASEAN |url=http://news.balita.ph/html/article.php/20070109122630046|publisher=Balita - Linking Filipinos worldwide with news since 1994 |date=2007-01-09 |accessdate=2007-03-06] .

PAK and MNG have been proposed as future members by Malaysia [ [http://english.people.com.cn/200610/21/eng20061021_313882.html People's Daily Online - Interview: Malaysian PM Badawi says China-ASEAN ties developing rapidly] [http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=104480 Online International News Network - Pak-Malaysia stresses enhancing trade, economic relations] ] .

PAK and BAN have been raised by Japan [ [http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200705250094.html Link in Japanese] ] .

The USA has now stated that it hopes to have some role in the future of the EAS [ [http://news.inq7.net/breaking/index.php?index=3&story_id=68096 Original link dead] ] .

The flagicon|EUEuropean Union has indicated it wishes to have a role as an observer [ [http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/06/227&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy New Visions for EU-Japan Relations Opening of Joint EU-Japan Symposium Brussels, 6 April 2006] ] .

The flagicon|Arab LeagueArab League has held talks and expressed its desire to have a role as an Observer [ [http://www.arableagueonline.org/las/arabic/details_ar.jsp?art_id=343&level_id=205 League of Arab States ] ]

However, ASEAN has decided to freeze new "membership" of EAS for at least two years [ [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1539589.cms Times of India - East Asia Summit freezes membership for 2 years] ] .

ee also

* Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere: unrelated concept in the mid-20th century
* ASEAN Free Trade Area: The FTA arrangements between the 10 members of ASEAN
* Asian Currency Unit


External links

* [http://www.aph.gov.au/library/intguide/FAD/eastasia_summit.htm The East Asia Summit: Issues and outcomes]
* [http://www.ceac.jp/e/index.html The Council on East Asian Community]
* [http://futureworldaffairs.blogspot.com/2007/03/east-asias-new-multilateralism-hopes.html East Asia New Multilateralism Hopes]

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