The inaugural plenary meeting of the East Asia Forum was held on 14-16 December 2003, in Seoul, Korea, with the theme ‘Peace, Prosperity, and Progress in East Asia: Challenges and New Visions’. The forum was hosted by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, jointly coordinated by the Korean International Trade Association and Yonsei University, and sponsored by the Korea International Cooperation Agency. About 300 participants and guests were in attendance, including esteemed representatives of government, academic, and business circles from ten ASEAN countries plus China, Japan, and Korea and the ASEAN Secretariat. During the forum, the keynote speaker, President Roh Moo-hyun of the Republic of Korea, emphasized the importance of ‘narrowing the development gap in the region, institutionalizing intra-regional cooperation and making joint efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region.’
The establishment of the East Asia Forum (EAF) signified the realization of one of recommendations by the East Asia Study Group (EASG). The participants expect the EAF to develop into a valuable and comprehensive platform for promoting regional cooperation.
Amb.Wu Jianmin,Co-Interim Coordiantor of NEAT participated the Second East Asia Forum on 5-6 December 2004 at the Shangri-Ia Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The theme was "Towards an Integrated East Asian Community". The Forum was jointly organized by Wisma Putra and the East Asia Business Council of Malaysia.
The Second East Asia Forum was officially opened by Dato Seri Abdullah Hj. Ahmad Badawi on Monday, 6 December 2004, who delivered the keynote address.
Foreign Ministers of Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, the Secretary General of ASEAN, Mr. Ong Keng Yong, YABhg. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, HE Tsutomu Hata, the former Prime Minister of Japan, and HE Kim Dae-jung, the former President of the Republic of Korea attended the Forum.In addition, representatives from the Government, private sector and academia of the ASEAN + 3 countries also participated in the Forum, among them were Chinese representatives, Wang Yingfan, Vice-chairman of Foreign and Economy Committee, NPC, and Wu Jianmin, President of China Foreign Affairs University, Co-interim Coordinator of NEAT. Chinese representatives respectively delivered speech at the Forum.
The Second Country Coordinators' Meeting of the Network of East Asian Think-tanks (NEAT) was held during the Forum. Themes and procedures of the Third Annual Conference of NEAT were discussed and decided.
The EAF is one of the 26 measures recommended by the East Asia Study Group as a mechanism to enhance the ASEAN+3 cooperation and to achieve the region's common goal of an East Asian Community. The First East Asia Forum was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, in December 2003.
The Third East Asia Forum was held in Beijing, China on 31 October, 2005. The meeting was attended by nearly 100 government officials, scholars and business leaders from ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea and ASEAN Secretariat. Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan attended the Opening Ceremony and delivered a keynote speech.
The delegates exchanged views on the future development, goal, and approach, policies and existing problems of East Asia cooperation, and affirmed that East Asia economic integration has become an inevitable tendency and countries concerned should unswervingly push forward the East Asia community building. Participants agreed the ASEAN+3 Progress, with the expansion and deepening of exchanges and cooperation in various fields, has attained great success and played a key role in East Asia cooperation. They proposed that East Asia countries should fully exploit the existing channels and mechanisms, pay great attention to participation of various circles of society and push the cooperation of East Asia forward to a new stage of comprehensive development. The delegates emphasized that East Asia should uphold open regionalism and inclusiveness to strengthen contact and communication with countries outside this region, so as to achieve a win-win results. It was agreed that East Asia summit and other mechanisms such as “10+3" should be mutually complementary and make joint contributions to East Asia cooperation and the development of the world.
Set up in 2003, East Asia Forum is one of the 17 important cooperative measures under the framework of ASEAN plus Three, aiming at providing a platform of dialogue and cooperation for governments, businesses and academia and offering wisdom for East Asia cooperation.
The 4th East Asia Forum was held in Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia from 21-22 November 2006. It was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, co-funded by ASEAN-ROK Future Oriented Project Fund and International Foundation of Arts and Culture.
The topic of this forum was ‘East Asia Integration towards Building East Asia Community: Challenges and Prospects.' Experts from academia, government officials and business elites of 10 ASEAN + 3 countries took part in this forum.
The 5th East Asia Forum was successfully held on November 1, 2007 in Tokyo, Japan. The main theme of this forum was “Toward Building an East Asian community". Discussions centered on two topics ——“Enhancing Regional Investment" and “Further Strengthening Environmental Cooperation".
The 8th East Asia Forum was held in Da Lat, Viet Nam on 25-27 August 2010. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam hosted the forum which was attended by government officials, business representatives and scholars from ASEAN Member States, People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, and representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat. Her Excellency Nguyen Thi Kin Ngan, Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs of Viet Nam, was the forum’s keynote speaker. The theme of the 8th EAF was ‘Enhancing Connectivity for Greater Regional Integration and Community Building in East Asia.’
The 11th East Asia Forum was held on 20-22 August 2013 in Kyoto, Japan. The forum was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and attended by government officials, business leaders and scholars from ASEAN Member States, China, Japan and Republic of Korea, and representative from the ASEAN Secretariat. Esteemed officials and guests from Japan, Republic of Korea, Brunei Darussalam and CEAC formed the panel of keynote speakers. The forum was composed of three plenary sessions which discussed the topics: Cooperation for Tourism Resources, Promotion for Intra-Regional Tourism, and New Tourism and Facilitation for Tourism.
The 9th East Asia Forum was held in Chengdu, China on 15-17 September 2011, with the theme ‘Accelerating Regional Integration: Internal Growth Engine of East Asia.’ The forum was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and attended by about 100 government officials, business representatives and scholars from ASEAN Member States, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, and representative from the ASEAN Secretariat. His Excellency Mr. Abdulahat Abdulrixit, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, was the forum’s keynote speaker. A panel of esteemed government officials from Viet Nam, Republic of Korea, Japan, and Indonesia also delivered speeches during the opening ceremony. In his keynote speech, H.E. Mr. Abdulahat Abdulrixit acknowledged how EAF has become an important platform for the APT countries to ‘seek consultation, build consensus and enhance cooperation’ in the region. He also emphasized the APT countries should ‘make consistent efforts to ensure their role as the main vehicle in advancing East Asian cooperation towards an East Asia community.’
The 12th East Asia Forum was held on 26-27 November 2014 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, with the theme ‘Sustainable Growth: The Common Purpose Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Environmentally-Responsible East Asia.’ The forum was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam and was attended by government officials, business leaders and members of the academia from ASEAN Member States, the People’s Republic of China, Japan and Republic of Korea, and representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat. His Excellency Pehin Dato’ Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam, keynote speaker of the forum, acknowledged the successful gathering of the public, private and academic community through the EAF to discuss East Asia cooperation. He looked forward to the development of ‘niche projects that could foster and intensify cooperation among APT countries.’
The 10th East Asia Forum was held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on 15-17 August 2012, and was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic Union of Myanmar. The forum was attended by 92 participants composed of government officials, business representatives and members of the academia from ASEAN Member States, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Korea, and officials from the ASEAN Secretariat. Honored officials and representatives from the Republic Union of Myanmar, China, Republic of Korea, and the ASEAN Secretariat formed the panel of keynote speakers. The forum theme was ‘Narrowing the Development Gap in Rural and Urban Communities: Sharing Lessons and Experiences Among Us.’