Over the past decade or so, two major developments have deeply altered

both the economic and political setting in East Asia, giving rise to what can arguably be called a ‘‘new Asia’’, an Asia that has the potential to dra-

matically affect world balances. The first of these changes relates to the

apparent shift away from informal ‘‘open regionalism’’ towards an institution-

based form of economic and political co-operation in the region, while the

second is associated with the rise of China as a major actor in the eco-

nomic, diplomatic, and strategic regional arena.