According to UKM's Prof Lee Poh Ping, the contagious effect of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis has demonstrated that the East Asian countries are very interconnected and the idea of an East Asian Community is still viable, although there have been some changes in political and economic landscapes in Northeast and Southeast Asia.

Last year's Asean and East Asian summits held in Malaysia not only saw the conspicuous absence of the United States, but also a public row between China and Japan. Meanwhile, serious debates about the limit of East Asia's organizational inclusiveness, coherence and identity of Asean as well as its role and effectiveness in the current international and regional situation continues.

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