Prior to the Asian ﬁnancial crisis in 1997, few would have seriously argued
for the creation of a system of regional ﬁnancial cooperation in East Asia. Financial liberalization and market-led integration process were already
taking place in the region. The ﬁnancial crisis was a watershed that gave
East Asians a strong impetus to search for a regional mechanism to prevent
future crises. This search is now gathering momentum, opening the door to
possibly signiﬁcant policy-led integration in East Asia (Bergsten 2000;
Henning 2002). Bergsten noted that East Asia might be on the brink of an
historic evolution, as Europe was half a century ago.