Asia Times had a thought provoking commentary on the possibilities of political union in Asia.

And the continuing polycentricism of Europe helps to make a continent-wide bloc possible. Four or five major European countries are more or less equal in size and economic potential: for example, there are 60 million French, 82 million Germans, 58 million Italians and 60 million British. The economic potential of major European countries is roughly similar as well. In the case of Germany, the largest country and most powerful economy of the EU, its population forms only 18% of the EU total, and its gross domestic product (GDP) (purchasing power adjusted) is 21% of the EU total. This ratio means that in spite of German, French or British prominence, the EU could not be merely an appendage to Germany, France or Great Britain.

In East Asia, the picture is very different. Currently, in this “Confucian region” there are six independent states - the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Japan, North and South Korea and Vietnam - with a population of some 1.6 billion. This has long been the case. Since the rise of the Tang dynasty, the number of independent states in the Confucian world could normally be expressed in one-digit figures.