At a meeting in Seoul on 1-3 November 1992, representatives of some two dozen strategic studies centres from ten countries in the Asia Pacific region (Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the USA) decided that there was a need to provide a more structural regional process of a non-governmental nature ... to contribute to the efforts towards regional confidence building and enhancing regional security through dialogues, consultation and cooperation.
Over the next eight months, the concept of a Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) was widely canvassed among both government officials and regional security analysts, and agreement was reached to formally establish CSCAP at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 8 June 1993. For further details see The Kuala Lumpur Statement.
The CSCAP Charter was adopted at a meeting of the Steering committee Pro Tem in Lombok, Indonesia, on 16 December 1993. The Charter was subsequently amended in August 1995 (see the revised CSCAP Charter).
CSCAP has been described as 'the most ambitious proposal to date for a regularised, focused and inclusive non-governmental process on Asia Pacific security matters'. CSCAP has made considerable progress over the last couple of years. New Zealand, Russia, North Korea, Mongolia and a Western European consortium have joined as Full Members of the Council and the Indian Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) has become an Associate Member. The People's Republic of China and Vietnam joined as Full Members in December 1996. The European Union joined as an Associate Member in June 1994 and was granted Full Membership in December 1998. India became an Associate Member in December 1994 and was elevated to Full Membership in June 2000. Cambodia and Papua New Guinea were also granted Full Membership in June 2000 (see CSCAP Structure). With member committees from all the major countries in the Asia Pacific, CSCAP is now looking forward to consolidating its links to the first track ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
CSCAP activities are guided by a Steering Committee composed of representatives of the broad-based member committees that have been established in each of the member countries. The CSCAP Steering Committee meets twice a year - in June in Kuala Lumpur and in December in one of the other member countries. The Steering Committee is co-chaired by a member from an ASEAN Member Committee and a member from a non-ASEAN Member Committee. The co-chairs are Mr Ralph Cossa from US-CSCAP as the Non-ASEAN Co-Chair and Associate Professor Nguyen Thai Yen Huong from CSCAP-Vietnam as the ASEAN Co-Chair for the current period.
The Steering Committee is served by a Secretariat, which is currently located in Kuala Lumpur at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia.