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 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 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 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".