Asia-Pacific Summits 101

Here are some basic things to know about three major multilateral summits in the Asia-Pacific political calendar.

ASEAN Summit

What: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional grouping, comprising 10 member-states in Southeast Asia, focused on regional collaboration and prosperity. The ASEAN Summit is a semi-annual gathering of these 10 leaders. ASEAN also conducts one meeting per year with its external dialogue partners, including New Zealand.

The chairmanship of ASEAN rotates among the 10 member-states annually. Vietnam is the 2020 chair of ASEAN, taking over from the 2019 chair, Thailand.

East Asia Summit

What: The East Asia Summit (EAS) is annual leaders’ forum focused on regional cooperation and strategic dialogue on security, political, and economic issues. Vietnam is hosting in 2020 as the chair of ASEAN.

The EAS has 18 members: The 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) as well as Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United States and Russia.

The EAS membership represents around 54 percent of the world’s population and accounts for 58 percent of global GDP. The event can only be chaired by an ASEAN member. New Zealand attended the first EAS in 2005.

APEC Summit

What: The APEC Summit is an annual regional economic forum founded in 1989 with 21 Asia-Pacific members, focused on regional economic integration, and trade and investment liberalisation. New Zealand is a founding member.

At present, all member economies border the Pacific Ocean. 

APEC is of particular importance to New Zealand, which will be hosting APEC in 2021. That will be the largest event hosted by the New Zealand Government.

Malaysia will be hosting APEC in 2020. 

– Asia Media Centre

Readings on NZ-ASEAN relations