Regional cooperation on financial issues has begun to take shape in East Asia. The series of financial crises that hit East Asian and other emerging markets in 1997-8 made it clear that Asia lacked effective mechanisms for crisis prevention and management. Many policy-makers and commentators argued that there was a need for more effective regional mechanisms as a complement to global institutions such as the IMF. Several initiatives for cooperation on financial issues have since been made. These include the creation of modest liquidity support facilities to be drawn on in the event of future currency crises, technical assistance for monitoring financial flows and markets, and diplomatic coordination. Whether these initiatives are precursors to more ambitious forms of cooperation remains subject to contestation. Some analyses see them as the foundation of much more ambitious regional cooperation schemes, possibly even leading to a common East Asian currency, while sceptics see regional cooperation as very much a side-issue for most countries and therefore unlikely to go much beyond rhetorical statements of intent. Aspects of this debate are presented in the next chapter by Thomas in his discussion of financial as well as economic aspects of regional cooperation to date.