East Asia


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

  • A loitering munition UAV on display as Taiwan's Defence Ministry showcases its domestically developed drones to the media in Taichung, Taiwan, March 14, 2023, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters


    Chinese Strategists Evaluate the Use of 'Kamikaze' Drones in the Russia-Ukraine War

    Both Russia and Ukraine have used loitering munitions successfully in the current war, and China is watching closely. Chinese strategists are likely already considering how to refine offensive tactics and improve defensive countermeasures in the context of a Taiwan scenario.

    Nov 7, 2023

  • U.S. Marines run into the ocean during Marine Aviation Support Activity 23 in Palawan, Philippines, July 16, 2023, photo by Lance Cpl. Keegan Jones/U.S. Marine Corps


    China's Gray-Zone Tactics Show the U.S.-Philippine Alliance Is Working

    The United States should continue to offer military assistance and training to the Philippines so that Manila can increasingly counter China on its own while Washington continues to remind and warn Beijing that Article V must not be violated. This is the least risky option that also holds the greatest chance of success.

    Nov 7, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Disinformation Amid the Israel-Hamas War, U.S. Gun Policy, Cannabis: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how the information war may play out between Israel and Hamas, what the evidence says (and doesn't say) about U.S. gun policy, supply models for recreational cannabis, and more.

    Nov 3, 2023

  • News Release

    News Release

    U.S. Armed Forces Capabilities in Arctic Region Pose National Security Risks, Need Strengthening

    The United States needs to strengthen its ability to protect its Arctic interests as the region becomes a more active security environment. Key areas for improvement include communications, infrastructure, training, equipment, tactics and the ability to scale presence.

    Nov 1, 2023

  • U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Willow drifts by an iceberg, August 23, 2011, photo by PO3 Luke Clayton/U.S. Coast Guard


    Arctic Capabilities of the U.S. Armed Forces

    The United States has considerable interests in the Arctic and is one of just eight countries with territory in the region. How do U.S. armed forces' capabilities differ from those of other countries operating there, including Russia, China, and allies?

    Nov 1, 2023

  • Two Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15s fly alongside a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, Kadena Air Base, during air refueling training July 30, 2009, photo ny Tech. Sgt. Angelique Perez/U.S. Air Force


    Japan's Play for Today: Too Much? Just Right? Or Never Enough?

    Japan is pushing ahead on a broad array of initiatives meant to strengthen the Self-Defense Forces' deterrent power across multiple domains. But there are bound to be limits in manpower, resources, capacity, or capabilities that will place limits on what the end point of Japan's buildup ultimately looks like.

    Oct 31, 2023

  • American and Chinese flags with a digital overlay, images by Anson_iStock and Norcoon/Getty Images


    U.S.-China Competition for Digital Infrastructure

    Digital infrastructure (DI) appears significant for future military operations and long-term strategic competition. How might global DI evolve by 2050? And what could the military implications be for the United States and China?

    Oct 30, 2023

  • The South Korean and American flags fly next to each other in Yongin, South Korea, August 23, 2016, photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar/U.S. Army


    South Korea Needs Greater Nuclear Assurance

    With growing nuclear threats from North Korea and China, there has been considerable interest in South Korea in developing its own nuclear weapons. But doing so could become a major disaster. The United States should bring greater strategic clarity to its nuclear umbrella commitment to South Korea.

    Oct 29, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Israel-Hamas War, AI and Gene Editing, Social Media Regulation: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the Israel-Hamas war, the convergence of machine learning and gene editing, regulating social media while protecting free speech, and more.

    Oct 27, 2023

  • Map of East Asia with China filled with the flag of China and Taiwan filled with the blue background and white sun from the flag of Taiwan, image by Olga Dubrovina/Getty Images


    Lessons from the Chinese Conquest of Taiwan

    As Chinese political and military leaders envision conquering Taiwan, their predecessors' earlier seizure of the island is likely to inform their thoughts. Deriving lessons from the prior conquest of Taiwan can contribute to anticipation of possible threats and effective responses to them.

    Oct 26, 2023

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held the Fifth Enlarged Plenary Meeting of the Eighth Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang, North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 11, 2022, photo by KCNA via Reuters


    What North Korea Is Learning from the Hamas-Israel War

    South Korea and the United States should rein in North Korean nuclear weapon production and prepare to respond to escalated North Korean coercion. While Kim Jong-un probably won't resort to a Hamas-style attack, he certainly shares Hamas' goal of cultivating U.S. reluctance to get involved militarily in the region.

    Oct 24, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Written Evidence Submitted by RAND Europe: UAU0007 Prepared for the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee

    This document provides RAND Europe's submission of evidence in relation to the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee's Call for Evidence on UK Universities' Engagement with Autocracies.

    Oct 23, 2023

  • A Belt and Road Forum (BRF) logo is seen outside the China National Convention Center in Beijing, China, April 25, 2019, photo by Jason Lee/Reuters


    Development as a Tool of Economic Statecraft: A Net Assessment of U.S. and Chinese Approaches

    The authors conduct a net assessment of U.S. and Chinese approaches to development assistance and cooperation, using a data-driven comparison to reveal opportunities for the United States to better compete with China in the developing world.

    Oct 23, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Risks of AI, Israel Faces Hard Choices, China 'Doesn't Get It': RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the risks of artificial intelligence, tough choices facing the Israeli government, China's blunders on the international stage, and more.

    Oct 20, 2023

  • Mixed ethnicity female science research students discuss procedure in a laboratory, photo by SolStock/Getty Images


    Educating Academics Will Ease UK Universities' Foreign Influence Crisis

    Tackling China's quest for foreign technologies is tough. China exploits the very principles—openness, freedom, collaboration—that have fostered scientific breakthroughs to acquire foreign technologies. This makes it difficult to intervene without damaging these values in the process.

    Oct 19, 2023

  • Highlighted map showing China's influence beyond its borders, image by filo/Getty Images


    Dismantling the Disinformation Business of China's Influence Operations

    Some commercial actors benefit from involvement in China's influence operations. What steps could the U.S. government take to address this?

    Oct 17, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Israel-Hamas War, Overdose Deaths, Striking Health Care Workers: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on historical context for the Israel-Hamas war, the link between education and fatal overdoses, why U.S. health care workers are striking, and more.

    Oct 13, 2023

  • Kim Jong-un attends the ninth session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly and calls for exponentially increasing the production of nuclear weapons at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 28, 2023, photo by KCNA/Pool/Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect


    Nuclear Weapons in the North Korean World View

    As Kim Jong-un's actions become more threatening, the risks of a catastrophic accidental nuclear war become more likely. The United States needs to make North Korean denuclearization a long-term objective but focus in the immediate future on limiting the size and danger of the North Korean nuclear weapon force.

    Oct 11, 2023

  • The latest self-declared map released by China showing almost the entire South China Sea as its territorial waters, September 1, 2023, photo by Ichiro Ohara/The Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters


    China Doesn't Get It

    Beijing likely believes it is in its interest to signal strength and show no intention of conceding on its claims or positions. But that does not mean that will work to further China's interests. In fact, the opposite is true, given that China's behavior is backfiring in spectacular fashion.

    Oct 10, 2023

  • General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong chairs an official welcome ceremony for U.S. President Joe Biden in Hanoi, Vietnam, September 10, 2023, photo by Nguy?n Quang H?i/VNA/Pool/Latin America News Agency/Reuters


    Can Vietnam Help America Counter China?

    The United States should not count on Vietnam to help counter China. But the fact that Hanoi chose to elevate the U.S.-Vietnam partnership is a strong indication of its growing concerns about Beijing's rising assertiveness. If China becomes more aggressive, it could create new opportunities for Hanoi to strengthen the U.S. relationship.

    Oct 6, 2023