East Asia

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East Asia, comprising China, Taiwan, Japan, Mongolia, and North and South Korea, is a region that has historically been of critical interest to the United States. In particular, China's growing economic, military, and diplomatic power in the region and North Korea's nuclear ambitions have long been a focus of U.S. foreign policy and of RAND research.

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    Content

    The RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy

    Mar 14, 2018

    The RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy improves policy by providing decisionmakers and the public with rigorous, objective, cutting-edge research on critical policy challenges facing Asia and U.S.-Asia relations.

Explore East Asia

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a working lunch at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Osaka, Japan, on Friday, June 28, 2019, photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japan's Hormuz Dilemma

    With rising tensions between the United States and Iran, the United States wants to create a coalition to ensure freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab, and wants Japan to join. While Japan is one of America's staunchest allies in the Indo-Pacific, any decision to support coalition efforts is likely to put Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a difficult position.

    Aug 16, 2019

  • A typical communist style statue in the capital city of North Korea, photo by alexkuehni/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Searching for Signs of Doi Moi in North Korea

    President Trump's second summit with Kim Jong Un prompted voluminous commentary about whether Pyongyang might adopt the “Vietnam model” of economic reform and opening up, known as doi moi. Some version of doi moi is not impossible in North Korea, but it will likely be more difficult than it was in Vietnam and made all the more so by Kim's reluctance to risk losing absolute control.

    Aug 12, 2019

  • Soldiers sit on an M60A3 tank for a group photograph after an anti-invasion drill to test readiness ahead of Lunar New Year, simulating enemy invasion and the safeguarding of the weapon systems in case of air raid, in Taichung, Taiwan, January 17, 2019, Photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Commentary

    Making Sense of U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

    Why does the U.S. sell arms to Taiwan? And what is the impact on the cross-Strait military balance? Taiwan's arms purchase reflects a continuing concern over Beijing's military intentions; a balancing of operational and political considerations; a commitment by the United States to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself; and an American refusal to “stand down” in the face of China's aggressive behavior and coercion of Indo-Pacific democracies.

    Aug 9, 2019

  • Sailors stand guard near petrol boats at the Cambodian Ream Naval Base in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, July 26, 2019, photo by Pring Samrang/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Ramifications of China's Reported Naval Base in Cambodia

    China and Cambodia have reportedly signed a secret agreement allowing the Chinese navy to use a military facility near Ream, along Cambodia's southern coast, though both countries deny the reports. The installation of a Chinese military facility in Cambodia, if realized, would further complicate an already sensitive and tense situation in the region.

    Aug 7, 2019

  • Aerial view of islands in Palau, photo by Lightning Strike Pro/Adobe Stock

    Report

    America's Pacific Island Allies

    Located north and northeast of Australia and east of the Philippines, the Freely Associated States of the Pacific are subject to growing Chinese influence. U.S. funding and engagement with these states is key to America's defense and foreign policy goals.

    Aug 6, 2019

  • A Chinese military health worker, part of a delegation sent by China to help in the fight against Ebola, has her temperature taken as she arrives at Roberts airport outside Monrovia, November 15, 2014, photo by James Giahyue/Reuters

    Testimony

    Implications of U.S.-China Collaborations on Global Health Issues

    Past U.S.-China collaborations on pandemic surveillance, public health system building, and biomedical research have benefited both countries and the world. But rising tensions over trade, technology sharing, and security concerns may threaten joint efforts on health.

    Jul 31, 2019

  • Bryce Pardo gives an overview of testimony presented before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism and Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations, on July 25, 2019.

    Multimedia

    Illicit Supply of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids

    An overview of testimony by Bryce Pardo presented before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism and Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations, on July 25, 2019.

    Jul 25, 2019

  • A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer opens a plastic bottle to test the pills inside at the International Mail Facility at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, November 29, 2017, photo by Joshua Lott/Reuters

    Testimony

    Illicit Supply of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids

    The drivers behind U.S. overdose deaths have changed in the last ten years. Today's problem largely comes from illicitly manufactured synthetic opioid powders, particularly fentanyl, much of which comes from China. Congress and executive agencies will need to look beyond available drug policy tools when considering responses.

    Jul 25, 2019

  • Two king chess pieces with United States and China flags, photo by MicroStockHub/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Yes, Sam Huntington Has Insights to Guide U.S. Competition with China

    Many U.S. observers believe that the United States is declining relative to China. The United States' long-term competitiveness will be served neither by assuming that China is fated to collapse on account of its internal contradictions nor by presuming that it is destined to preside over a world order with Chinese characteristics. Sustainable strategy requires a measured disposition.

    Jul 25, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone on the border of North and South Korea, June 30, 2019, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why U.S. Negotiators Face a Tough Task After the Trump-Kim DMZ Meeting

    Denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea may be under time constraints tied to America's next presidential election. This further complicates the task facing U.S. negotiators, who seek to reach a deal that endures beyond 2020.

    Jul 15, 2019

  • Protesters break the windows of the Legislative Council building on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, July 1, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Beijing Won't Allow Its Hong Kong Integration Experiment to Fail

    Recent events in Hong Kong have posed the stiffest challenge yet to Beijing's sovereignty. If sustained, they could push China to react to protect its national interests.

    Jul 3, 2019

  • The Chinese Navy's nuclear-powered submarine Long March 11 takes part in a naval parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy, China, April 23, 2019, photo by Jason Lee/Reuters

    Testimony

    Implications of a World-Class Chinese Military

    President Xi Jinping's pursuit of a world-class People's Liberation Army, if realized by 2050, will represent perhaps the most destabilizing geostrategic development of the 21st century. In what areas is the PLA modernizing? What are the implications for the United States and the Indo-Pacific region?

    Jul 2, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas, Panmunjom, South Korea, June 30, 2019, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Trump Reset U.S.–North Korea Relations

    The meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the DMZ may lead to follow-on talks. But the success of future negotiations depends on Kim actually taking action to denuclearize.

    Jul 2, 2019

  • Ji-Young Lee, the inaugural holder of the Korea Policy Chair at RAND

    Announcement

    RAND Corporation Announces Korea Policy Chair

    Political scientist Ji-Young Lee will be the inaugural holder of the Korea Policy Chair at RAND in September. She will manage a research agenda on Korea's international security relations, mentor Korea studies scholars, and build partnerships with Korean research institutes.

    Jun 27, 2019

  • Fishing boats departing from Shenjiawan port in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province towards the East China Sea fishing grounds, September 17, 2012, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Report

    How the United States Can Compete in the Gray Zone

    America is entering a period of intensifying strategic competition with Russia and China. U.S. officials expect this to play out below the threshold of armed conflict, in the gray zone between peace and war. What policy options does the United States have to respond to gray zone threats?

    Jun 27, 2019

  • Report

    A U.S. Option Playbook for Contingency Planning to Reclaim Scarborough Shoal

    In this paper, the author proposes a graduated menu of response options for the United States to consider in the event that China undertakes irreversible actions to alter the status quo of Scarborough Shoal.

    Jun 27, 2019

  • Protesters outside police headquarters demand Hong Kong's leaders to step down and withdraw the extradition bill, in Hong Kong, June 21, 2019, photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Commentary

    One Country, Two Systems, Lots of Problems

    The enormous protests in Hong Kong since spring have led to fresh fears about the viability of China's "one country, two systems" policy. It's an idea that Macau and Hong Kong officially subscribe to and Taiwan fiercely resists—but one increasingly questioned from all sides.

    Jun 21, 2019

  • Testimony

    Anticipating Policy Options for Addressing U.S. Arctic Hurdles: Addendum

    Document submitted on June 19, 2019, as an addendum to testimony before the House Transportation and InfrastructureCommittee, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on May 8, 2019.

    Jun 20, 2019

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervises a strike drill during a military drill in North Korea, May 4, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    One Year After Singapore: The North Korea Problem Is Bigger Than Nukes

    After two summits between the United States and North Korea, and little to show in the way of deliverables on dismantlement, hopes that a third summit may yield a denuclearization deal seem a bit unrealistic. Essentially, there has been no indication of intent on Kim's part to denuclearize. But the North Korea problem is much greater than nukes.

    Jun 17, 2019

  • A researcher plants a semiconductor on an interface board during a research work to design and develop a semiconductor product at Tsinghua Unigroup research centre in Beijing, China, February 29, 2016, photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

    Testimony

    Comparing U.S. and Chinese New and Critical Materials Capabilities

    China is by far the most dominant producer of critical materials in the world. As China’s export restrictions and WTO disputes illustrate, a dominant producer can strongly affect the manufacturing sector. What actions can policymakers consider to increase U.S. resilience to supply disruptions or market distortions?

    Jun 7, 2019

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  • Asia