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East Asia Summit (EAS)

East Asia Summit (EAS)

The East Asia Summit (EAS) is the Indo-Pacific's premier forum for strategic dialogue. It is the only leader-led forum at which all key partners meet to discuss political, security and economic challenges facing the Indo-Pacific, and has an important role to play in advancing closer regional cooperation. Australia participated, as a founding member, in the inaugural EAS held in Kuala Lumpur on 14 December 2005.

The EAS has 18 members - the ten ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) along with Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States. ASEAN leads the forum, and the chair position rotates between ASEAN Member States annually. EAS members represent 54 per cent of the world's population and account for 58 per cent of global GDP worth an estimated US$49.6 trillion. In 2019, Australia's two-way trade with EAS countries was worth A$645.6 billion, 70 per cent of Australia's total two-way trade.

EAS Meetings and Processes

The EAS calendar culminates in the annual Leaders' Summit, which is usually held alongside ASEAN Leaders' meetings in the fourth quarter of every year. In addition to their discussions, leaders issue statements on topical issues, to signal political will for framing policy responses and to provide a basis for cooperation.

In addition to the Leaders' Summit, meetings of EAS Foreign Ministers and Economic Ministers are held annually. These also serve as platforms for frank discussion of political, regional security and economic issues and prepare for the Leaders' Summit, including by developing new ideas on statements for leaders' consideration. Meetings of the EAS Environment, Energy, and Education Ministers are also held frequently.

Additional support for the EAS is provided through the EAS Ambassadors' Meeting in Jakarta (EAMJ). EAS Ambassadors in Jakarta meet regularly to discuss emerging issues, prepare for EAS meetings, and take forward decisions by EAS leaders.

A dedicated EAS Unit within the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta also supports the monitoring and implementation of decisions by EAS leaders.

Recent activities in the EAS

The 14th EAS was held on 4 November 2019 in Thailand. EAS leaders discussed key regional issues including maritime security and the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, the situation in Rakhine State, counter-terrorism, regional economic integration, maritime cooperation, and connectivity.

EAS leaders adopted three statements in 2019 on: Partnership for Sustainability (co-sponsored by Thailand, China and New Zealand); Cooperation to Combat Transnational Crime (co-sponsored by Australia, Thailand, Myanmar, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand); and Combating the Spread of Illicit Drugs (co-sponsored by the US, China and Vietnam). EAS leaders also welcomed ASEAN's adoption in June 2019 of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which signals ASEAN's commitment to key principles of openness, transparency, inclusivity, respect for international law and sovereignty.

The 10th EAS Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held on 9 September 2020 via videoconference (due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Vietnam, as the 2020 ASEAN and EAS Chair, convened the meeting. Foreign Ministers discussed strategic challenges facing the region, including COVID-19 response and recovery, maritime security and the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, Rakhine State, and counter-terrorism.

The 8th EAS Economic Ministers' Meeting was held on 28 August 2020 via videoconference. Ministers discussed the global economic outlook, regional economic recovery, and the regional economic integration agenda. They also exchanged views on the importance of digital economy and resilient supply chains.

Health and economic experts from EAS countries also met on 14 October via videoconference to exchange views on COVID-19 response and recovery.

East Asia Summit documents 2020 (to October)

East Asia Summit documents 2019

East Asia Summit documents 2018

East Asia Summit documents 2017

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