East Asia

Featured

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.

  • Commentary

    North Korea, Russia and China: The Developing Trilateral Imperialist Partnership

    There are no easy ways for the United States and its allies to counter the developing Russia-China–North Korea partnership. But there are options to consider and steps to take. There are also fissures in their relationships to exploit.

    Sep 13, 2023

  • 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

Explore East Asia

  • Jim Chow introduces the first panel of the 7th Annual West Coast Aerospace Forum, photo by RAND Corporation

    Multimedia

    The 7th Annual West Coast Aerospace Forum

    U.S. Air Force leaders and top national security experts gathered at the seventh annual West Coast Aerospace Forum in December 2022. This year's event focused on lessons learned from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and how those experiences will apply to security challenges in the Pacific theater and beyond. These videos include the proceedings from the event's five sessions.

    Feb 1, 2023

  • Sailors on the USS Wasp observe as the Japanese destroyer JS Yuugiri moors alongside in Okinawa, Japan, April 23, 2018, photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Japan's Strategic Shift: Significant, but Implementation Hurdles May Await

    Japan's new strategic documents appear to demonstrate a recognition in Tokyo that it must do more for its own defense in the face of unprecedented security challenges. The dedication of resources, pursuit of new capabilities, and overarching commitment to a more robust defense are all significant moves that represent landmark change by one of America's key allies.

    Jan 27, 2023

  • Soldiers of China's PLA take part in a joint multinational U.N. peacekeeping military exercise with troops from Pakistan, Mongolia, and Thailand, in Henan province, China, September 15, 2021, photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    Testimony

    China's Overseas Military Diplomacy and Implications for U.S. Interests

    As the U.S.-China competition intensifies, military diplomacy is one of the tools that China could potentially use to gain advantage. What are some ways that China’s military diplomacy activities could challenge U.S. interests? And what are some recommendations for U.S. policymakers?

    Jan 26, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    How Can the Mobility Air Forces Better Support Adaptive Basing? Appendixes A–C, Supporting Analyses of Adaptive Basing, Soft Power, and Historical Case Studies

    The U.S. Air Force is exploring adaptive basing to reduce vulnerability and preserve critical combat capabilities in highly contested environments. These appendixes present supporting analyses, including political challenges and case studies.

    Jan 24, 2023

  • Soldiers release gasoline canisters on the Tamsui river simulating countering a Chinese invasion during asymmetric warfare drills in Taipei, Taiwan, July 19, 2022, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters

    Commentary

    'Strategic Ambiguity' May Have U.S. and Taiwan Trapped in a Prisoner's Dilemma

    For its proponents, the idea of strategic ambiguity seems to have become an end in itself that has not adapted, and logically cannot adapt to the disruptive growth in Beijing's military power. The conditions under which the policy worked seem to have evaporated with China's rise. Strategic clarity may offer a way out of this dilemma.

    Jan 18, 2023

  • U.S. Air Force aircraft in a capabilities demonstration in honor of the U.S. Air Force's 75th Anniversary at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, August 12, 2022, photo by Tech. Sgt. Timothy Moore/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Bolstering U.S. Air Bases Against Chinese and Russian Attacks

    There's a growing consensus that China and Russia represent major threats to U.S. interests, and there are calls to counter the threats cost-effectively. Air base resilience requires close familiarity with the threat, a systematic approach for addressing it, and sustained efforts to build on investments in protection.

    Jan 17, 2023

  • A U.S. Air Force and a Republic of Korea air force F-35A Lighting II aircraft soar in a tight formation over Korea

    Research Brief

    Managing the Escalation Risks of U.S. Military Activities in the Indo-Pacific

    This brief describes how the United States can select and shape its military activities in the Indo-Pacific region to deter Chinese aggression against U.S. allies and partners while also limiting the risks of escalatory Chinese reactions.

    Jan 12, 2023

  • Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol, and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at the ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 11, 2022, photo by Cindy Liu/Reuters

    Commentary

    What's Korean About South Korea's Indo-Pacific Strategy?

    The Korean Indo-Pacific Strategy may not be a sign of South Korea pivoting or leaning toward the United States over China. That conclusion could present a false dichotomy.

    Jan 11, 2023

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken attend the ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 12, 2022, photo by Cindy Liu/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden's Southeast Asia Policy Improves in Second Year, but Still Much to Do

    In 2022, the Biden administration stepped up its game in Southeast Asia by showing up in person, clarifying its approach in key strategy documents, and boosting cooperation. But one obvious problem that remains is that it still has no real economic strategy to counter China in the region.

    Jan 10, 2023

  • U.S. Navy vessels participate in an exercise with uncrewed surface vessels off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia, October 12, 2022, photo by Warren Duffie/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Could Taiwan Defend with Uncrewed Surface Vessels?

    Ukraine has demonstrated the ability of explosive uncrewed surface vessels to target ships. These weapons could play a role in preventing Chinese forces from successfully invading Taiwan in potential future scenarios.

    Jan 9, 2023

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: January-February 2023

    This issue explores the inadequacies of the current system of space governance; China's presence in the Arctic; abortion in the U.S. post-Dobbs; and the security and technology challenges related to Taiwan's domination of the microchip industry.

    Jan 6, 2023

  • A man takes a COVID test at a nucleic acid testing site in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China, December 8, 2022, photo by Costfoto/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Lost Opportunities to Contain COVID-19 in China

    Three years after the SARS-COV-2 virus emerged in Wuhan, China is now facing a tsunami of COVID-19 infections. The unprecedented spread of the disease appears to have been fueled by an ill-timed change in COVID-19 policy and a lack of vaccination and boosting. A rethinking of national strategy could still help.

    Jan 6, 2023

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un conducts a ground test of a high-thrust, solid-fuel engine at the Sohae Satellite Launch Station in Cholsan in North Pyongan Province, North Korea, December 15, 2922, photo by KCNA/Pool/Latin America News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    Standing Up to Kim Jong-un's Divide-and-Conquer Strategy

    Kim Jong-un is frightened by even the current modest flow of information into the North. He may be prepared to reduce his provocations if those threats lead to the further spread of outside information in the North. At the very least, the ROK and the United States could try such efforts.

    Jan 6, 2023

  • Drift ice camp in the middle of the Arctic Ocean as seen from the deck of icebreaker Xue Long, July 2010, photo by Timo Palo/Wikimedia Commons

    Essay

    What Does China's Arctic Presence Mean to the United States?

    China has declared itself a “near-Arctic state,” a designation it invented to push for a greater role in Arctic governance. Although the U.S. sees China as a potentially destabilizing force, engaging with China in the Arctic does not have to be a win-or-lose proposition. There are opportunities to cooperate—on climate change, for example, or pollution control.

    Dec 29, 2022

  • Kim Jong-un conducts a ground test of a high-thrust, solid-fuel engine at the Sohae Satellite Launch Station in Cholsan, North Korea, December 16, 2022, photo by KCNA/Pool/Latin America News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    Japanese 'Counterstrike' May Be Good for ROK Security

    Fully coordinated, the South Korean Kill Chain and Japanese counterstrike capability could be more effective in stopping North Korea from causing damage. And they could be more likely to deter Kim Jong-un, as Pyongyang recognizes that its efforts to militarily dominate the ROK are unlikely to succeed.

    Dec 28, 2022

  • Members of China's research team setting up an ocean profiling float near the icebreaker Xuelong in the Arctic Ocean, August 18, 2016, photo by Wu Yue/Xinhua/Alamy

    Report

    China's Growing Role in the Arctic

    China has become a player in the Arctic region, engaging in economic, scientific, cultural, diplomatic, and military activities. What security risks do China's investments pose, and what could the United States and its partners do to mitigate undesirable Chinese involvement in the region?

    Dec 23, 2022

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shake hands before the meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 1, 2019, photo by Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    New Zealand Is Done with Speaking Softly to China

    In three short years, New Zealand has gone from saying next to nothing about China to saying quite a lot. What has prompted New Zealand to suddenly take a firmer stand on China?

    Dec 21, 2022

  • Report

    New Directions for Projecting Land Power in the Indo-Pacific: Contexts, Constraints, and Concepts

    This report seeks to address how the U.S. Army can most effectively project and employ land power in the Indo-Pacific, during competition and conflict, with a focus on scenarios involving China.

    Dec 20, 2022

  • Multimedia

    RAND Experts Discuss the Implications of China Easing Zero-COVID Rules

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, RAND researchers discuss the risk of a rapid spread of COVID-19 Omicron variant cases in China following its easing of COVID rules, as well as potential domestic and global implications.

    Dec 15, 2022

  • Korean national flags fluttering in the wind, photo by 상학 이/AdobeStock

    Report

    South Korea's Policy Options in Asia: Summary of a Webinar Hosted by the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy

    South Korea faces uncertainty over the roles it might play in Asia, especially South and Southeast Asia. An October 2022 webinar examined the strategies and policies available to South Korea.

    Dec 15, 2022