Social inequalities can threaten economic development and, in turn, undermine political regimes. Economic instability can exacerbate poverty, unemployment, hunger, disease and disease. Social instability can result from environmental scarcity or the unequal distribution of the use of environmental goods among stakeholders. Failure to address these critical and persistent social problems can lead to both economic and political disruption.  The author wishes to thank Professor John Ravenhill (Department of International Relations, Australian National University) and Professor Carlyle A. Thayer (School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Australian Defence Force Academy, University of New South Wales) and Nigel Brew, Jeffrey Robertson and Richard Webb (Research Branch, Parliamentary Library) for their most useful comments on the drafts of this document. There is an element of idealism in liberal internationalism, because the United States thinks other countries will do their best. A classic example of a liberal internationalist is President Woodrow Wilson, who aspired to a League of Nations to voluntarily save the world after World War I. The EAS began against a backdrop of intense diplomatic maneuvers and shadow boxes and ended with the power play played outside. China and Japan have engaged in a bitter struggle for supremacy, with Beijing attempting to take the lead of the planned EAC (i.e. the East Asian community), and Tokyo has tried to contain its rival with the help of other cautious Chinese countries in the Asia-Pacific region.  ASEAN`s relationship with China has evolved significantly over the past decade.
For many years, relations between the People`s Republic of China and Southeast Asia have been marked by mutual mistrust and reservations, with China supporting communist parties in regional states. China also has overlapping claims in the South China Sea with four ASEAN members (Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam). However, since the mid-1990s, relations between China and Southeast Asia have improved markedly. The period of the Asian financial crisis (from mid-1997) marked a turning point in relations. .