Pang Zhongying As a result of the global financial crisis, conditions for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region have increased rather than diminished. First, China will soon surpass Japan in nominal GDP, becoming the second largest economy in the world. The combined GDP of China and Japan accounts for about one-sixth of the world economy and the economic aggregate of East Asia will reach one-fifth of the worlds total, if the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are included. Considering the relatively high growth in China and other Asian economies and the shrinking or slow growth of the US economy in the future, the importance of East Asia in the global economy will keep rising. Second, intra-regional trade in East Asia continues to grow and has exceeded the trade volume with the US and other regions respectively. China, Japan, the ROK and ASEAN have become each others largest trade and investment partners. East Asia has seen de facto integration fuelled by markets and private players. Third, the importance of the US market to East Asian countries is decreasing. After the financial crisis, the US has to increase savings and reduce spending. China and Japan, which have huge holdings of US treasury bonds, have to consider whether they should continue to support the current economic system which is centred on the US, given the US dollars devaluation as a result of increased money being printed. Fourth, the positive role of ASEAN in promoting East Asian regional cooperation has been recognised and supported by regional powers, including China. The ratification of the ASEAN Charter in December 2008 offers the legal basis for establishing an 'ASEAN Community. ASEAN has reiterated that an 'ASEAN Community with political, security, economic and cultural aspects as the main pillars would be set up as scheduled by 2015. If the 'community, with great potential, takes shape, it will further promote the East Asian regional integration. Fifth, no single country can address various global issues, as Hillary Clinton has acknowledged: America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own. Regional frameworks and regional mechanisms are very necessary to resolve these issues. Currently, the various regional forums and mechanisms in Asia are basically oriented at resolving issues. The 'ASEAN 10 Plus 3'' meeting emerged to cope with 'the Asian Financial Crisis'; 'the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)' is the outcome of responding to new regional safety challenges after the collapse of the Soviet Union; 'the Six-Party Talks' are designed to realise a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula; the Chiang Mai Initiative aims at preventing financial crises. Multiple issues, such as the energy and food crises, climate change and security threats, will further impel East Asian countries to resort to more multilateral solutions. Sixth, regional integration processes in Europe, South America and Africa have made progress, exerting pressure on East Asia, which is less integrated. If Asia doesnt engage in genuine cooperation, it will be left at a disadvantage in the new world economic system. Seventh, when the new ruling party of Japan declared that it would pursue a more independent economic and foreign policy, the Obama Aadministration had to change its approach, claiming that the US also wants to participate in an 'East Asian Community. If consensus on regional cooperation can be reached, it will not only present a fundamental solution for coping with regional peace and security challenges, but also provide a fresh approach to exploring new growth models and new regional division of labour in East Asia. China will continue to participate in various forums and mechanisms, with the aim of further deepening and developing them. China could encourage and support closer and effective interaction of existing regional cooperation and integration initiatives to establish a web or network of regional cooperation and integration in Asia and beyond. Moreover, China should coordinate with other powers to play a collaborative role. - China Daily