The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)


July 26, 2023

The idea of the Asia-Europe Meeting was initially brought up by the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Goh Chok Tong, at the third Europe/East Asia Economic Summit, with the aim of strengthening Asia-Europe relations. Supported by France, which occupied the EC Presidency at the time, and which promoted the idea among European Union member states, an epoch-making "Asia-Europe Meeting" was held in Bangkok, Thailand in March 1996. The leaders from 25 countries of Asia and Europe as well as the European Commission attended the First Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM1). ASEM1 marked the start of a new forum which facilitates dicussion between Asia and Europe as two major regions undergoing dynamic changes and development in the post-cold war world.

ASEAN member countries and the EU were already having ministerial dialogues at the time. However, the participation of Japan, China and Korea on the Asian side meant that ten Asian countries and Europe (15 countries and European Commission) started to have regular summit meetings.

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