The 1st ASEM Summit (ASEM1) was held on 1-2 March 1996 in Bangkok, Thailand. The participants included representatives from the European Commission, the then 15 EU (European Union) Member States, the then 7 ASEAN countries (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), plus China, Japan, Korea and the European Commission. The Summit was themed, "New Comprehensive Asia-Europe Partnership for Greater Growth".
The need to strengthen relations between Asian and European countries served as an initiative for summit. The aim of the partnership was to strengthen ties between Asia & Europe and to promote peace, global stability and the regions’ prosperity.
The Bangkok summit agreed that the areas for cooperation would include political dialogue, economic cooperation and cooperation in other fields such as science and technology cross-flows, human resources development, development cooperation, the environment, and cultural and educational exchanges.