Asia-Europe Meeting

(The Belt and Road Initiative)

Updated:2017-04-20 |

Asia-Europe Meeting


The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is a major inter-governmental process designed to foster a new comprehensive partnership between Asia and Europe. Its goals are to encourage dialogue, mutual understanding, and cooperation, and create favorable conditions for economic and social development on the two continents.


The First ASEM Summit was held in Bangkok, Thailand, in March 1996. It published a Chairman’s Statement and announced the decision to hold a summit of Heads of State and Government every two years. The 10th ASEM Summit, in Milan (Italy) in 2014, accepted Croatia and Kazakhstan as partners, and the number of countries involved rose to 53.


The ASEM rests on three pillars: political dialogue, economic cooperation, and socio-cultural exchanges. Its main activities include the Summits, Foreign Ministers Meetings and other Ministerial Meetings. Its day-to-day operations are coordinated through ASEM Senior Officials Meetings.


The Summits set ASEM principles and priorities. These biennial meetings are held alternately in Asia and Europe, and to date 11 Summits have been convened.

The Foreign Ministers Meetings are responsible for the overall coordination and policy planning of all activities, adopting guidance documents and approving new initiatives.

The Senior Officials Meetings are held to ensure continuity in the work of ASEM and oversee preparations for the Summits and for Foreign Ministers Meetings.


The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), founded in 1997, is the only permanent institution under ASEM. It is tasked with promoting greater mutual understanding between Asia and Europe through academic, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.