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Backgrounder: ASEAN Plus China, Japan, ROK cooperation mechanism (ASEAN+3)

Updated: Sep 7,2016 11:08 AM     Xinhua

VIENTIANE — Leaders from the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as China, Japan and the Republic of Korea meet in Vientiane on Sept 7 for the 19th ASEAN Plus Three Summit (10+3).

The ASEAN plus China, Japan, ROK cooperation mechanism incorporates the ASEAN+3 as well as the ASEAN+1 framework. The latter stands for ASEAN’s respective cooperation mechanism with China, Japan and ROK.

The two frameworks were established in the late 1990s when ASEAN countries decided to enhance cooperation with other major economies of Asia against the backdrop of economic globalization.

The first ASEAN Plus Three summit was held in Malaysia in December 1997, a very important time when all countries in the region were facing an economic setback. The financial crisis was regarded as having provided the impetus for this summit.

The two frameworks, initially focused on economic cooperation, have expanded in recent years to the fields of politics, security and culture. Nowadays, they have developed into mechanisms of great significance in strengthening and deepening East Asia cooperation at various levels and in various areas, particularly in economic, social and political areas.

A total of 66 dialogue mechanisms at various levels have been established in 24 fields within the framework of ASEAN+3, covering diplomacy, economy, finance, agriculture, labor, tourism, environment, the fight against cross-border crime, health care, energy, telecommunications, social welfare and administration innovation.

Within the framework of ASEAN+1, great emphasis has been put on cooperation in the sectors of agriculture, information and communication industry, human resources development, mutual investment and development of the Mekong River Basin.

State leaders, ministers and other high-ranking officials from 10 ASEAN countries, China, Japan and ROK meet annually to discuss cooperation and major international and regional issues.

Apart from the above-mentioned three countries, ASEAN has also carried out ASEAN+1 dialogue with some countries outside of the region on an aperiodic basis.

Established in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.