The idea of an Asia Cooperation Dialogue was raised at the First International Conference of Asian Political Parties (held in Manila between 17–20 September 2000) by Surakiart Sathirathai, then deputy leader of the now defunct Thai Rak Thai Party, on behalf of his party leader, Thaksin Shinawatra, then Prime Minister of Thailand. It was suggested that Asia as a continent should have its own forum to discuss Asia-wide cooperation. Afterwards, the idea of the ACD was formally put forward during the 34th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Hanoi, 23–24 July 2001 and at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat in Phuket, 20–21 February 2002.
Promote interdependence among Asian countries in all areas of cooperation by identifying Asia's common strengths and opportunities which will help reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for Asian people whilst developing a knowledge-based society within Asia and enhancing community and people empowerment;
Expand the trade and financial market within Asia and increase the bargaining power of Asian countries in lieu of competition and, in turn, enhance Asia's economic competitiveness in the global market;
Serve as the missing link in Asian cooperation by building upon Asia's potentials and strengths through supplementing and complementing existing cooperative frameworks so as to become a viable partner for other regions;
Ultimately transform the Asian continent into an Asian Community, capable of interacting with the rest of the world on a more equal footing and contributing more positively towards mutual peace and prosperity.
Membership and expansion of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue
The ACD was founded by 18 members. Since March 2016, the organization consists of 34 states as listed below (including all current members of ASEAN and the GCC). Overlapping regional organization membership in italics.