In the past, the experience of the ‘East Asian Miracle’ and the sufferings from the ‘East Asian Meltdown’ were the impetus to generate and develop East Asian regional identity. The situation, however, is changing drastically. The future of East Asia regionalism has become amorphous because of complicated new trends. Japan, one of the important actors that constitute triangular relationships in East Asia, has been encouraging development of East Asian regionalism in the economic arena. Australia and Japan continue to work closely together in APEC, and are both founding members of the East Asia Summit. China’s growing political presence in East Asia, particularly within ASEAN, and the emergence of new regional organisations after the Asian Financial Crisis meant that John Howard could not afford to ignore regional multilateral diplomacy, despite his preference for bilateralism. When the Labor Party took power in 2007, it continued the trend found in the late Howard administration towards regional multilateralism.