The East Asia Forum (EAF)

The 7th East Asia Forum in Seoul (September 1-2, 2009)

The 7th East Asian Forum (EAF) was held on September 1-2, 2009 in Seoul, Korea, which was attended by 65 participants in total from ASEAN+3 countries, including Mr. Jong-rak Kwon, Vice Minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Korea and Mr. Sayakane Sisouvong, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Secretariat. Among them, there were 7 participants from Japan, including Mr. KATORI Yoshinori, Ambassador for ASEAN of Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Prof. ITO Kenichi, President and CEO of the Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR), Prof. KAWAI Masahiro, Dean of Asian Development Bank Institute. Prof. HIRONO Ryokichi, Professor Emeritus of Seikei University, Prof. SHINDO Eiichi, Professor Emeritus of University of Tsukuba, Mr. YANO Takuya, Senior Research Fellow of JFIR.

The 7th EAF was held under the main theme of "Accelerating the Integration of East Asian Community Building," which was composed of the Plenary Session, three concurrent Working Group Sessions of Government, Business and Academia, and the resumed Plenary Session.

In the Plenary Session, all representatives of ASEAN member countries, Japan, China, Korea, and ASEAN Secretariat delivered their statements, in which all the representatives agreed on the importance of promoting regional cooperation in East Asia. Ambassador KATORI Yoshinori representing Japan mentioned that Japan will continue to support the building of an East Asian community, pursued on the basis of the East Asian Study Group (EASG) recommendations.

The Working Group Session of Government Circle was held under the theme of "Role of EAF for the Integration of East Asia" and "Revitalization of the EAF", which was chaired by H.E. Bounkeut Sangsomsak, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR. In this session, there was a consensus among the participants that EAF has been contributing to the cooperation in East Asia by positioning itself as a unique platform that produces synergy of various ideas from government officials.

The Working Group Session of Business Circle was held under the theme of "Global Financial Crisis and Deepening of the Economic Cooperation in East Asia" and "Revitalization of the EAF", which was chaired by Mr. Somkiat Anuras, Vice Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. Participants recommended measures to further strengthen cooperation and eventually to realize East Asian economic integration, as well as enhance cooperation to secure the intercontinental trade competence.

The Working Group Session of Academic Circle was held under the theme of "Strengthening of Social and Cultural Cooperation in East Asia" and "Revitalization of the EAF", which was chaired by Dr. John Wong, Professor Emeritus of the East Asia Institute, Singapore. All the participants agreed that social and cultural cooperation is a key pillar in establishing an East Asian community. Strengthened cooperation in this field contributes to enhancing mutual understanding which would facilitate the community building process.

In the resumed Plenary Session, moderators of the three Working Groups summarized the outcomes of each meeting. It was emphasized that the ASEAN+3 countries would make more efforts in pursuing the ideas and recommendations at each Working Group sessions. At the end of the Session, the representative from Vietnam stated that it would host the 8th EAF next year.