The identity of the Asia-Pacific continent as one of cultural, economic, and social difference to that of other continents, rationalises the importance of regional ties ahead of global ties. The Asia-Pacific continent is one of vast diversity in all forms; however, there is a general belief within nations that the community comes first. A major impetus for this is Confucianism and its impact on the region in terms of communal gains. While these beliefs may be centuries old, the ideas on regionalisation as a response to globalisation are new ones in the Asian world. It is for this reason that economic development in the East has been achieved through collective means and in a way that is different and non-reliant on the West. .
Fundamentally, economic forces drive Pacific integration. Subregional influences such as Confucianism, Buddhism, Chinese language, invasions, migrations, and international commerce were divisive or unifying, depending on circumstances, but each contribute to historic linkages that give the terms "East Asia" and Southeast Asia" their larger meanings. Stubbs further notes that: "As political barriers to direct cooperation have diminished in recent years, this fact, combined with economic interdependence and the de facto integration being imposed on Pacific Asia by Japan, have encouraged the growth of "regionalist" thinking." (1992, p.522).
Yao Souchou describes this by noting how "Asia-Pacific is no longer a purely geographical entity. It is a global space in which nations and political leaders have invested their dreams and wishes. In these imaginings, "Asia-Pacific" becomes an object which would rescue the West from its current economic woes, on the one hand; and affirm (East) Asian states" emerging political and cultural confidence in the world, on the other." (1997, p.221). Souchou further illustrates the importance of regionalism over globalisation as he bluntly refers to the Asia-Pacific as a "global space".