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.

  • 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

  • The deep sea mining vessel Hidden Gem returns to port after test mining in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, in Manzanillo, Mexico, November 16, 2022, photo by Gustavo Graf Maldonado/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is Seabed Mining an Opportunity to Break China's Stranglehold on Critical Minerals Supply Chains?

    China dominates global supply chains for nearly all critical mineral resources, including the rare earths that power decarbonization technologies. Seabed mining may be a way to diversify critical minerals supply chains and break China's stranglehold on supplies of some of the world's most important natural resources.

    Nov 21, 2022

  • Taiwan Navy Marines conducted a scenario-based drill near Penghu, Taiwan, October 24, 2022, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    Xi Likely Won't Be Attacking Taiwan Anytime Soon

    Rather than start a war, Xi Jinping is more likely to intensify China's use of coercive measures against Taiwan, including diplomatic, economic, and military pressure coupled with cyber and psychological operations. If coercion fails, Beijing might turn to force as a last resort, but this still seems unlikely given the many complicating factors.

    Nov 15, 2022

  • Mining facilities at the MP Materials rare earth mine in Mountain Pass, California, January 30, 2020, photo by Steve Marcus/Reuters

    Commentary

    Emerging Domestic Battery Supply Chain Should Be Wary of China's Information Ops

    China has a huge stake in producing lithium-ion batteries, and is not above waging disinformation campaigns against U.S. firms involved in the battery supply chain. Extraction sector companies could work with cybersecurity experts and the U.S. intelligence community to educate their executives and local governments about any foreign disinformation risks.

    Nov 15, 2022

  • Protesters attend a rally against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Tokyo, Japan, February 24, 2022, photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

    Multimedia

    The Impact of the War in Ukraine on the Indo-Pacific Region

    Policymakers and scholars discuss the impact of the war in Ukraine on the Indo-Pacific. Presenters examined the conflict from the perspective of Japan and the United States as well as the possible impact it may have on the international order.

    Nov 10, 2022

  • Illustration of a world map, photos by Kanok-orn/Adobe Stock and j-mel/Adobe Stock

    Commentary

    Competing for the International System

    The United States should view emerging strategic rivalries with China and Russia in systemic terms. That means maintaining predominant influence over the international system and also taking actions designed to shape system outcomes rather than to achieve case-specific wins.

    Nov 10, 2022

  • Dissertation

    Dissertation

    Thinking About the Unthinkable: Examining North Korea's Military Threat to China

    Examines North Korea's military threat to China.

    Nov 8, 2022

  • Excavators are seen at a nickel ore mining area at Kolonedalle village near Morowali, Indonesia's Sulawesi island, January 14, 2014, photo by Yusuf Ahmad/Reuters

    Report

    China's Role in the Global Development of Critical Resources

    China's extensive foreign investments in energy infrastructure and critical minerals have raised concerns. Case studies in coal power, electricity transmission, and seabed mining examine China's behaviors and suggest ways to build capacity among host nations to minimize the potential effects of an overreliance on China.

    Nov 7, 2022

  • Old map showing South China Sea, with land of China, Philippines and other countries, photo by Yongyuan Dai/Getty Images

    Dissertation

    Facing the Ravenous Sea Dragon: How Weaker Nations Confront Chinese Coercion in the South China Sea

    Explores the policies of weaker nations to counter Chinese coercion in the South China Sea disputes.

    Nov 1, 2022

  • CM-11 tanks fire artillery during a live-fire drill, in Pingtung county, Taiwan, September 7, 2022, photo by Ceng Shou Yi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ukraine's Dream Could Be Taiwan's Nightmare

    Defenders of territorial sovereignty and a peaceful world order may be cheered by Ukraine's success, but there is danger that success could decrease the urgency of efforts to strengthen Taiwan. China will seek to learn from the problems Russia has had in Ukraine. Will the U.S. and other supporters of Taiwan do the same?

    Oct 28, 2022

  • Commanding General of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force awards U.S. Marines and Soldiers a challenge coin during an award ceremony in Okinawa, Japan, February 2019, photo by Joshua Sechser/U.S. Department of Defense, Commanding General of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force awards

    Report

    How China Might React to Shifting U.S. Posture in the Indo-Pacific

    As the U.S. military weighs posture enhancements in the Indo-Pacific to counter China's military development and influence, understanding how China is likely to react to these changes is critical. A new framework offers key factors that U.S. policymakers and military planners should consider.

    Oct 25, 2022

  • Map of the Spratly Islands, 2015, image by U.S. Department of State

    Commentary

    The Political Geography of the South China Sea Disputes

    Until the early 20th century, the South China Sea was seen as a vital communications and trade passage that was not under the jurisdiction of any country or empire. How did littoral states' claims on its maritime zones and features develop? And what is the likely future of the disputes?

    Oct 19, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    "Killing Rats in a Porcelain Shop": PLA Urban Warfare in a Taiwan Campaign

    This chapter considers the dedicated efforts the PLA has focused on since the late 2000s to develop an urban warfare capacity that appears to be directed at the capture of Taipei in a Cross-straits contingency.

    Oct 19, 2022

  • China's President Xi Jinping speaks ahead of the 25th anniversary of the former British colony's handover to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China, June 30, 2022, photo by Selim Chtayti/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Xi Jinping Is Weaker Than You Think

    Although Xi wields significant influence over Chinese domestic politics—certainly more than his most recent predecessors—he still needs support from the Party elite. And on that front, some cracks are showing.

    Oct 14, 2022

  • BTS perform during the 64th Annual Grammy Awards show in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. April 3, 2022, photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Commentary

    Could K-Pop Help Deter Kim Jong-un's Provocations?

    The United States and Republic of Korea could be more specific and creative in seeking to deter Kim Jong-un. The global popularity of K-Pop could be part of the strategy.

    Oct 11, 2022

  • An artist's rendering of WGS-11+, a U.S. military communications satellite to be operated by the U.S. Space Force in 2024, image by Boeing via U.S. Space Force

    Report

    How Do China and Russia Perceive U.S. Military Activities in Space?

    Chinese and Russian primary sources reflect a perception that U.S. space activities are threatening and demonstrate hostile intent. At the same time, they characterize their own, similar actions as nonthreatening. Washington, Beijing, and Moscow appear to be caught in an action-reaction cycle that perpetuates justifications for continued military action in space.

    Oct 11, 2022

  • Microchips on a production line, photo by venuestock/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The U.S. Has a Microchip Problem. Safeguarding Taiwan Is the Solution

    Taiwan manufactures about 92 percent of the world's advanced microchips, which are used in almost all electronics, from cars to coffeemakers to combine harvesters. A Chinese attack on the island would imperil the world's supply of microchips. Here's how to offset that threat.

    Oct 3, 2022

  • Global communication, photo by Von polygraphus/Getty Images

    Report

    Digital Infrastructure and Digital Presence: A Framework for Assessing the Impact on Future Military Competition and Conflict

    Digital infrastructure has emerged as an area of competition between the United States and China. This report examines this competition and describes the implications for long-term military competition and conflict.

    Sep 27, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden talks with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1, 2021, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    Indonesia Is Looking for More Than Security Support from the United States

    Rather than remain aloof from the new great power competition between the United States and China, Indonesia has quietly, albeit determinedly, favored relations with Washington, though in reality, it does not have much of a choice.

    Sep 14, 2022

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: September-October 2022

    The cover story is a profile of RAND's new president and CEO. Other features explore how teachers and principals have been faring in the COVID era and how to improve media literacy among middle schoolers.

    Sep 8, 2022

  • Medical staff conducting COVID-19 tests for drivers in their vehicles at a clinic in Gwangju, near Seoul, South Korea, March 2, 2020, photo by Yonhap News Agency via Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Can South Korea Help the World Beat the Next Pandemic?

    As the world emerges from the long and devastating COVID-19 pandemic, nations around the world, including the United States, could look to South Korea's near-perfect response as a model for dealing with future public health crises.

    Sep 7, 2022