First proposed by the Republic of Korea (ROK) in 2004 as a meeting outside the framework of the ASEAN Plus Three, the forum is meant to function as a coordinator of cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the three East Asian nations of China, Japan, and ROK.
With the seventh summit starting on May 9, we've put together a brief history of the previous six summits between China, Japan and ROK below.
What's expected from this year's summit?
Korean Peninsula peace process
With the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and ROK pledging to officially end the Korean War – hopes are high for a possible denuclearization of the peninsula.
Both China and Japan have stated that they are willing to talk with Pyongyang, with ROK having the most at stake in this process. However, experts are unsure if anything tangible will come out of this summit.
"Cooperation between the three countries on the Korean Peninsula is of great significance to the construction of a comprehensive cooperative relationship between China, Japan and ROK," Jin Linbo, researcher of China Institute of International Studies said, "but it is not clear that the 7th China-Japan-ROK summit will be able to achieve concrete results."
Perhaps the most important next step in the peace process will be the upcoming meeting between US President Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un. The two leaders will meet In late May or early June, with Singapore reported as the most possible venue.