On 9 April 2010, the 16th ASEAN Summit Hanoi, Vietnam, passed a Chairman's Statement "Towards the Asean Community: from Vision to Action", encouraging Russia and the US to deepen their engagement in an evolving regional architecture, including a potential involvement with the East Asia Summit (EAS). ASEAN Foreign Ministers will study the matter in detail and a decision will be made at the next summit.
Since 1997, with the growth of interdependence and identity convergence among the East Asian countries, regional security has been maintained. And with ASEAN acting as the driving force and leader in regional integration, it has attracted other countries to advance cooperation in various fields.
On 1 January this year, ASEAN and China began the implementation of the China ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA). CAFTA is ASEAN's first FTA with a non-ASEAN partner and China's first FTA with a region. Its completion means that ASEAN's FTA arrangements with Japan, ROK, Australia, New Zealand and India are on track. Even the EU is conducting negotiations with ASEAN to build a FTA, and the US and Russia have expressed their intention to follow suit. These FTAs will definitely speed up the shift in the balance of world power to the East.
In recent years, ASEAN has expanded from a purely regional role to the global arena. In the Chairman's Statement to the 15th ASEAN Summit, "Enhancing Connectivity, Empowering Peoples", ASEAN leaders "agreed that the ASEAN Chair and the Secretary-General of ASEAN should be invited to participate in future G-20 Summits". They also "agreed to entrust ASEAN Finance Ministers to coordinate ASEAN's position ahead of G-20 Summits and to establish an ASEAN G-20 Contact Group". Embracing the US and Russia in the East Asia summit would be an important step, amounting to a breakthrough for ASEAN in its development of relations with the world's major powers, and in shaping East Asia's regional configuration.
This year, the 16th ASEAN summit in Vietnam called for collective action to realize an ASEAN security, political, and socio-cultural community by 2015. By setting the agenda at a series of summits ASEAN has been seeking to regularize the behavior of external powers according ASEAN norms, such as sovereignty, territorial integrity and the principle of consensus, and to ensure that the internal affairs of ASEAN members are not interfered in for any reason.
Last July, the US acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), and last November held its first summit with ASEAN in Singapore. US President Barack Obama has committed to attending the ASEAN-US Summit this year although the schedule has yet to be determined. ASEAN is burdened with arranging bilateral and multilateral summits with its partners in addition to internal summits among member states. Therefore, it intends to combine and integrate all its partners into the East Asia Summit as a comprehensive multilateral conference on the international scene.