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The creation of the East Asia Summit (EAS) was once seen as a significant step forward in building a regional community in East Asia. Contrary to popular perception, however, the EAS has not contributed to forming the much-heralded regional community in the region. The EAS has not been able to reach its potential of becoming the key architecture for community building in East Asia due to disagreement and competition among regional countries that were triggered by China’s withdrawal of support. This article explores the diplomatic dynamics that have shaped the evolution of the EAS, which has ended up simply coexisting and competing with the architecture it was originally planned to replace, the ASEAN Plus Three.