Tuesday 20 Oct 2020 | 17:07 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 20 Oct 2020 | 17:07 | SYDNEY

The East Asia Summit: From Wen to Hu


Malcolm Cook

17 May 2011 10:45

This year, Indonesia will host (probably in Bali) the first meeting of the newly expanded East Asia Summit, soon after the US, maybe for the last time, hosts APEC in Honolulu. One of the big questions is: how will the inclusion of the US and Russia in the East Asia Summit affect this still-quite-new regional organisation?

For watchers of diplomatic protocol and Chinese foreign policy, the larger and more powerful membership of the EAS has already led to a change in Chinese participation.

From 2005 to 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao was the Chinese leader who attended the East Asia Summit (along with the other ASEAN-centred organisations China is involved in at the leader's level, ASEAN-1 and ASEAN-3). This year though, President Hu Jintao, China's top leader, is expected to attend the East Asia Summit. Hu Jintao also attends APEC and the G20, which also include Russia and the US.

Seems while the US attendance at the East Asia Summit and its signing of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation is an acknowledgment of ASEAN centrality, the expected change of China's attendance at the East Asia Summit is an acknowledgment of the centrality of the US and Russia in Chinese strategic thinking and associated diplomatic protocol.

Photo by Flickr user Globovision.