East Asia Summit
The East Asia Summit (EAS) is the premier leaders’ forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on key challenges facing the East Asian region. The EAS provides Australia with the opportunity to engage collectively with the major players in the Indo-Pacific. It has the right membership to be effective and relevant, bringing together leaders of ASEAN, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the ROK, Russia and the United States. It fosters frank discussion among leaders on key strategic, political and economic issues. This is increasingly important given the changing strategic dynamics in Asia.
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 2015, these statements covered regional maritime cooperation; countering violent extremism; moderation, cyber, epidemics and pandemics. Leaders also endorsed the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance Malaria Elimination Roadmap that outlines the approach to realise the common goal of an ‘Asia Pacific free of malaria by 2030’.
Founded in 2005, the EAS is a relatively young institution and is growing into its role. Leaders have recognised that sharpening EAS effectiveness requires timely implementation of their decisions. To assist that, leaders directed that Ambassadors to ASEAN from EAS countries deepen their engagement on key issues. This is a core priority for the Australian Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta.
In addition to the Leaders’ meeting, annual meetings of EAS Foreign Ministers and Economic Ministers are usually held in July/August. These also serve as platforms for frank discussion of regional security, economic and social issues. They are also important for developing new ideas on statements for leaders’ consideration.
Discussions by Foreign Ministers typically cover regional and global political and security developments. In 2015 this included maritime security in the South China Sea, countering violent extremism, DRPK, the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement and the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Foreign Ministers adopted a statement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran.
The 18 EAS member countries are a substantial part of the world economy - collectively 55 per cent of the world’s population and account for around 55 per cent of global GDP [IMF purchasing power parity GDP figures 2014]; EAS countries received more than 77 per cent of Australia's total exports and two-way trade with EAS countries was worth $460.9 billion in 2014-2015.
In their August 2015 meeting, EAS Economic Ministers discussed the declaration of the ASEAN Economic Community and ongoing efforts to address behind the border measures related to non-tariff measures, services integration and reforms of investment policies.