The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a regional leaders’ forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on major challenges facing the East Asia region.
The inaugural EAS was held in Kuala Lumpur in December 2005 comprising the 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam) plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. Russia and the US joined the EAS at the Leaders’ summit in Bali, Indonesia on 19 November 2011.
The 18 EAS members represent collectively 56% of the world’s population, account for almost 55% of global GDP and account for 67% of New Zealand’s exports.
The focal point for the EAS is the annual Leaders’ summit. Annual consultations of foreign ministers and trade ministers are held back-to-back with ASEAN meetings. Ministerial meetings have been held in the areas of environment, energy, finance and education. Other key items of discussion in the EAS have been disaster management, pandemic preparedness and regional economic integration. New Zealand and Thailand are currently leading an EAS initiative on regulatory cooperation.