East Asia - Latin America Forum is an informal mechanism for integration and cooperation among the countries of the two regions. It is an instrument for dialogue and consultation, conceived on the basis of values such as equality, respect and pursuit of mutual benefits, as an open proposal in constant evolution. It is based upon consensus, the promotion of cooperation between private sectors and Governments coming closer to one another.
The proposal considers globalization, technological change, growing integration and the challenges which Latin America and East Asia face in the 21st century, to pose demands in the sense of taking action in the absence of direct dialogue between regions and thus, being able to establish a link on the basis of common elements ¨C cultural wealth and economic concerns related to development and progress ¨C which allow for the promotion of political dialogue, the reinforcement of economic cooperation and the strengthening of relations among regions.
In 1998, Singapore¡¯s Prime Minister, Mr. Goh Chok Tong, paid an official visit to then Chilean president, Eduardo Frei, and at the time suggested the possibility of creating a mechanism for dialogue between Latin America and Eastern Asia. The initiative received full support from the Chilean government, believing it to be extremely useful in advancing Latin America¡¯s as well as Eastern Asia¡¯s presence in the international realm.
The first EALAF Meeting of Senior Officials held in Singapore from September 1 through 3, 1999, marked the beginning of EALAF. In said gathering, the first general outlines of the new space for dialogue and cooperation between regions were set.
Meeting was attended by, on behalf of Latin America, representatives from Argentina,
Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and
Venezuela. On Asia¡¯s part, delegates from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, South Korea,
China, Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Likewise, representatives from Australia and New Zealand, not considered as part
of the Asian block, were also present.