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.

  • A cityscape of Shanghai

    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

  • U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a working dinner after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 1, 2018

    Commentary

    The Trump-Xi Meeting at G-20: Kicking the Can Down the Road

    Much was expected of the discussion at the 2018 G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires between the United States and China on their ongoing trade war. However, nothing of significance emerged. With signs of a global economic slowdown surfacing earlier than expected, the failed outcomes of this meeting could come back to haunt world leaders.

    Dec 14, 2018

  • Chess pieces with U.S. and China flags superimposted on world map background

    Commentary

    Is This the Beginning of a New Cold War?

    It has become increasingly common for observers of world affairs to contend that the United States and China have either entered into or are poised to embark on a new Cold War. While the contours of a long-term contest between Washington and Beijing are undoubtedly forming, especially in the economic realm, the analogy is problematic.

    Dec 12, 2018

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing, China, October 26, 2018

    Commentary

    Sino-Japan Rapprochement Will Likely Fail

    Recent meetings and otherwise relative calm between China and Japan may give the impression that their ties are improving. But because of their strategic competition and fundamental differences, it is more likely than not that their current rapprochement will fail.

    Dec 7, 2018

  • Members of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force 1st Airborne Brigade descend from a CH-47 helicopter during an annual new year military exercise at Narashino exercise field in Funabashi, east of Tokyo, Japan, January 12, 2018

    Commentary

    Is Japan's New Defense Plan Ambitious Enough?

    Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan has significantly increased capabilities to meet increasing regional security challenges. But Tokyo may need to do more to manage the complex security environment surrounding Japan.

    Dec 6, 2018

  • Japan's Self-Defense Forces F-15 fighter jets (top and bottom) conduct an exercise with U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers above the East China Sea, Japan, September 9, 2017

    Report

    Standoff Over Senkaku Islands Carries Growing Risk of Miscalculation

    China has stepped up its vessel and air activities near the disputed Senkaku Islands. Japan has made posture changes and increased the quantity of aircraft and radar in the region, but it does not have the resources to match Chinese air activity. And since it's an issue of domestic air sovereignty, the U.S. is limited in what it can do to assist Japan.

    Dec 3, 2018

  • Senators Marco Rubio (left) and Jim Risch speak at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, June 13, 2017

    Commentary

    Congress Can Save Arms Control

    The Trump administration is seeking agreements with North Korea and Iran to eliminate their nuclear arms potential. Success may hinge on cooperation between the White House and Congress.

    Nov 27, 2018

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers take part in a combat training in the Gobi desert in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, May 18, 2018

    Commentary

    China's Military Has No Combat Experience: Does It Matter?

    China's military has an impressive high-tech arsenal, but its ability to use these weapons and equipment remains unclear. The one asset that the People's Liberation Army lacks is combat experience. But there is no consensus—either within Chinese military circles or among foreign analysts—on how much that matters.

    Nov 27, 2018

  • Senior military officials watch a parade at the main Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 9, 2018

    Commentary

    How America Can Test North Korea's True Intentions

    While North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has suggested he may be prepared to abandon his nuclear ambitions, there has been no proof that he is serious. The United States could take steps to discover Kim's true intentions.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leads the testing of a newly developed tactical weapon in this undated photo released on November 16, 2018

    Commentary

    Why North Korea Sanctions Relief Is Inappropriate at This Time

    In early 2018, Kim Jong Un signaled that he was ready to negotiate abandoning North Korea's nuclear weapons with the United States. But since then, Pyongyang hasn't taken steps to denuclearize. The DPRK's actions speak louder than its words.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • Russian nuclear ice breaker heading to the North pole through pack ice, aerial shot from helicopter

    Testimony

    Russia’s and China’s Evolving Roles in the Arctic

    Two changes have altered the geopolitical environment in the Arctic over the past five to ten years. Russia continues to increase its assertiveness in the region. And non-Arctic states, including China, have begun to play a larger role. What new challenges and opportunities do these developments pose to Canada and other Arctic states?

    Nov 26, 2018

  • A PLAAF J-20 stealth fighter performs during the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, China, November 6, 2018

    Report

    How the U.S. Air Force Shapes China's Military Aerospace Goals

    Aerospace power has been a core feature of the People's Liberation Army's rapid modernization. The main driver for its development is the PLA's view that it needs to be prepared to deter and, if necessary, defeat the United States in a high-end clash.

    Nov 21, 2018

  • Brochure

    RAND at a Glance (랜드 연구소 한눈에 보기): Korean Translation

    Korean translation of "RAND at a Glance."

    Nov 21, 2018

  • L-R Chinese Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe, Chinese Communist Party Office of Foreign Affairs Director Yang Jiechi, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hold a joint news conference at the U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., November 9, 2018

    Commentary

    U.S.-China Relations See Potential Thaw, but Risk of Military Crisis Remains

    Deep disagreements between China and the United States on an array of issues, exacerbated by political incentives to avoid compromise, raise a persistent risk of military crisis. Stepping up official communication, building mechanisms to manage crises, and dialing back antagonistic behavior could help cut the risk of miscalculation and help stabilize ties.

    Nov 20, 2018

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend a farewell ceremony at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone, South Korea, April 27, 2018

    Multimedia

    Potential Paths to Korean Unification

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, RAND senior international/defense researcher Bruce Bennett discusses several potential paths to Korean unification. Lisa Sodders and Khorshied Samad from the RAND Office of Media Relations moderate.

    Nov 14, 2018

  • A Xian H-6K bomber landing at Zhuhai Jinwan airport ahead of Airshow China 2018

    Report

    The Strategy of China's Bomber Flights

    Since March 2015, China's PLAAF has conducted a series of long-range bomber flights in the Asia-Pacific region, including over the South China Sea, near Japan, and around Taiwan. What's driving these flights? And what are the implications for U.S. interests in the region?

    Nov 14, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017

    Commentary

    What Does America's Political Polarization Mean for Competition with China?

    Political polarization in the United States potentially carries significant implications for America's strategic competition with China. Leaders in Washington will need to work to mitigate the effects of polarization and manage competition with China in a stable, effective manner.

    Nov 9, 2018

  • News Release

    A Study of Potential Paths to Korean Unification Recommends Avoiding Approaches Involving Armed Conflict

    An examination of nine potential paths to Korean unification recommends actions that the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea) and the United States can take to set the conditions for stable reunification, should the opportunity arise.

    Oct 31, 2018

  • People attend a march for peace, prosperity, and reunification of Korea near the Arch of Reunification in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released September 12, 2018 by the Korean Central News Agency

    Report

    Alternative Paths to Korean Unification

    There are many ways in which Korean unification could occur or be attempted, and each holds vast uncertainties. What actions could South Korea and the United States take to set the conditions for stable reunification?

    Oct 31, 2018

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 25, 2018

    Commentary

    Japan's Chance to Shine?

    Japan may never be a global leader in a way comparable to the United States. But Tokyo does have the power to provide leadership that will sustain key elements of the crumbling international order.

    Oct 30, 2018

  • China's Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea, December, 2016

    Commentary

    The Quad Needs Broadening to Balance China—And Now's the Time to Do It

    Even in its resurrected form, the Quad could be in danger of failing to achieve its mission. The Quad might consider getting its house in order by extending dialogue partnerships to ASEAN maritime counterclaimant states.

    Oct 22, 2018

  • Topic Synonyms:
  • Asia