**Abstract**

Time-symmetric theory (TST) is formulated as a theoretical foundation of time-symmetric physics (TSP), classical, relativistic and quantum. TST is based on the widely used in particle physics fact that the description of positive energy antiparticles moving forward in space and time is equivalent to the description of negative energy particles moving backward in space and time (Zisman 1940, Stückelberg 1941, Feynman 1949). In TST, this fundamental fact is generalized by formulating the equivalence principle of particle physics and applying it to all physical phenomena in the rest frames of negative energy particles. As a result, the group of transformations TST includes such inertial frames also that move backward in space and time with coordinates related to the ordinary ones by 4-inversion. This led to the formulation of time-symmetric relativity theory and corresponding relativistic quantum mechanics. In the latter, the probabilities remain positive, but the bilinear forms of the wave functions are associated with probability currents, the signs of which depend on the direction of movement along the coordinate axes, including the time axis. In TST, therefore, the Klein-Gordon equation is a consistent equation for probability amplitudes, and the fermion theory contains the necessary corrections, which make it physically more consistent, unchanging its main observational consequences. Applications of TST to quantum fields will be considered in the second article.