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

    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.

    Mar 14, 2018

  • South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden arrive for a state dinner at the National Museum of Korea, in Seoul, South Korea, May 21, 2022, photo by Lee Jin-man/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Yoon Suk-yeol Is Biden's Perfect South Korea Partner

    Yoon Suk-yeol, South Korea's conservative new president, has shown that he is in lockstep with U.S. President Joe Biden on foreign policy. During Biden's Indo-Pacific trip in May, their conversations in the security domain suggest Yoon's overlapping tenure with Biden heralds a golden era in the U.S.-South Korea alliance.

    Jul 5, 2022

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  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    China's Ambitions, Origins of the Coronavirus, Income Inequality: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on China’s quest for global primacy, understanding the coronavirus origin story, how parents feel about sending their children back to school, and more.

    Jun 11, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Bomber Strike Packages with Chinese Characteristics

    This book chapter traces the development of China's bomber strike packages and assesses how these flights support operational training for Chinese air force wartime missions.

    Jun 10, 2021

  • China outlined in red on a NASA image of Earth, photo by NASA and RomoloTavani/Getty Images

    Report

    China's Quest for Global Primacy

    U.S.-China relations have entered a new phase characterized by sharpening competition. Beijing's international and defense strategies aim to outcompete the United States and establish primacy in the Asia-Pacific region and leadership of the world order. What does this mean for U.S. policy?

    Jun 7, 2021

  • President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in attend the Medal of Honor Ceremony for Ret. U.S. Army Col. Ralph Puckett, Jr. at the White House in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2021, photo by Carlos Fyfe/Official White House photo

    Commentary

    Takeaways from the Biden-Moon Summit: Three Observations on China

    North Korea was not the only elephant in the room during the recent U.S.–South Korea summit. In the broader context of U.S. foreign policy priorities and South Korea's geopolitical concerns, China was probably the larger presence.

    Jun 7, 2021

  • Indonesia's President Joko Widodo speaks to China's President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit, in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019, photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    Indonesia Is Quietly Warming Up to China

    Improving China-Indonesia relations could have profound geostrategic significance for the United States. Washington may want to focus on assistance that would benefit Indonesia itself, not just the United States in its competition with China.

    Jun 7, 2021

  • President Joe Biden participates in a restricted bilateral meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2021, photo by Adam Schultz/Official White House Photo

    Commentary

    The Biden-Moon Meetings: Much Ado About Something?

    The May summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in elicited a wide range of opinion about its value. With diplomacy-first progressives in power simultaneously in both nations for the first time in two decades, even subtle gains may be significant.

    Jun 4, 2021

  • People take part in the celebrations for the National Liberation Day near the Arch of Reunification in the city of Pyongyang, North Korea, August 14, 2005, photo by Yuri Maltsev/Reuters

    Commentary

    An Economic Blueprint for North Korea

    It would be simplistic to think that developing detailed blueprints for economic development in North Korea could on its own cut through decades of conflict and mistrust, triggering political and economic reform. But by expanding the terms of the debate it might move the needle on peace.

    Jun 4, 2021

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Joe Biden hold a joint news conference at the White House, in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2021, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S.-ROK Summit: Assessing Moon's Vaccine and Peace Promises

    U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held their first in-person summit in Washington in May. But beyond the formalities, how fruitful was this first sit-down, face-to-face, no-mask meeting for Moon?

    Jun 3, 2021

  • War, military threat, military power concept. China. Tanks toy near chinese flag on black background top view, photo by 9dreamstudio/AdobeStock

    Report

    Deciphering Chinese Deterrence Signalling in the New Era

    China is changing its approach to deterrence signalling in Xi Jinping's 'new era' as it leverages growing military capabilities and the availability of new communication channels. How can Australia, the United States, and other countries better decipher Chinese deterrence signalling in this new era?

    May 27, 2021

  • People take part in the celebrations for the National Liberation Day near the Arch of Reunification in the city of Pyongyang, North Korea, August 14, 2005, photo by Yuri Maltsev/Reuters

    Report

    From Hermit Kingdom to Open for Business

    When the situation in North Korea becomes conducive to foreign investment and development, what might it take to kick-start the country's economy?

    May 25, 2021

  • An Indian Air Force Dassault Rafale fighter

    Report

    Regional Responses to U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific: India

    One of the United States' key partners in long-term strategic competition with China is India, which has the world's second-largest active-duty armed forces and is already a peer or near-peer competitor of China across a range of military capabilities. However, U.S. planners must be keenly aware of the constraints on both India's willingness and capacity to forge a partnership based on strategic competition with China.

    May 24, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Exploring Chinese Military Thinking on Social Media Manipulation Against Taiwan

    This article addresses a gap in the current policy discussion, provides evidence of Chinese military planning for covert manipulation of Taiwanese social media, and explores how its interest in and tactics for social media manipulation have evolved over time.

    May 19, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Chinese Bomber Flights Around Taiwan: For What Purpose?

    After conducting two strategic bomber flights around Taiwan in late 2016, Beijing significantly stepped up its operational tempo with at least another five flights circumnavigating the island in mid-2017.

    May 18, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Flag Lags but Follows: The PLA and China's Great Leap Outward

    This chapter explores how China may protect its overseas interests, analyzes PLA thinking about the security dimensions of the Belt and Road Initiative, and considers three case studies on what securing China's overseas interests involves in concrete terms.

    May 18, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Netizen Opinion and China's Foreign Policy: Interpreting Narratives About North Korea on Chinese Social Media

    This article collects a novel dataset of thousands of Chinese-language social media posts on the leading microblog, Sina Weibo, in 2015. Analysis of this dataset reveals four multilayered popular Chinese narratives on North Korea.

    May 18, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    China Signals Resolve with Bomber Flights Over the South China Sea

    An unprecedented display of Chinese strategic systems over disputed territories in the South China Sea reflects China's efforts to signal its resolve following a diplomatic defeat.

    May 18, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Dare to Face the "Strong Enemy 强敌": How Xi Jinping Has Made the PLA Talk About the United States

    The PLA's focus on the U.S. as its benchmark for military modernization and as a potential future adversary is well known. But what is new is how the PLA talks about these efforts: under Xi, this focus on the U.S. is increasingly obvious.

    May 18, 2021

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III during a virtual meeting at the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C., May 5, 2021, photo by Chad McNeeley/U.S. Department of Defense

    Commentary

    It's Time to Drop 'Competition' in the National Defense Strategy

    What should the U.S. Defense Department do during peacetime if the United States is not competing with China and Russia? Simply put, it should prepare to win the next war, while defeating any military aggression below the threshold of conflict.

    May 18, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Through the Looking Glass: Chinese Open Source Assessments of North Korea's Ballistic Missile Capabilities

    This report examines Chinese assessments of North Korean ballistic missile capabilities between 1998 and 2017. Chinese analyses mirror Western conclusions that North Korea has a functional ICBM that can reach the U.S. with a nuclear weapon.

    May 14, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Deciphering PLA Media Commentaries on North Korea: All Show or Real Talk?

    Does Chinese military commentary represent accurate and authoritative views on policy toward North Korea? Are there certain military officials or publications that we should watch closely?

    May 14, 2021

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  • Asia