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 Taiwan army fighter takes part in urban operation drill at an unspecified location in Taiwan, January 12, 2023, photo by EyePress News/Reuters


    Making Every Defense Dollar Count in Taiwan

    The surging security relationship between the United States and Taiwan is exposing some long-simmering differences, with questions about Taiwan's defense investments atop Washington's list of concerns.

    Jul 24, 2023

  • Flags of Indo-Pacific allies surround the flag-draped shape of Taiwan


    How Would U.S. Allies View Changes in Washington's Relationship with Taiwan?

    The debate in Washington over Taiwan often overlooks a crucial question: How would America's regional allies respond to possible changes in U.S. policy toward the island? Researchers explored the perspectives of Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

    Jul 20, 2023

  • Report


    Great-Power Competition and Conflict in Africa

    This report explores the potential for competition and conflict among the United States, China, and Russia in Africa; where and why competition might turn into conflict; what form that conflict might take; and the implications for the United States.

    Jul 13, 2023

  • Chinese honour guards practice before a welcoming ceremony for Nepal's Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli held by China's Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 21, 2016, photo by Jason Lee/Reuters


    Preparing for Great-Power Conflict

    The U.S. and Chinese militaries have each been shaped by a distinct set of experiences. How have these experiences affected the way both forces prepare for a potential major-power conflict?

    Jul 12, 2023

  • Chinese-built Thai Navy frigate HTMS Taksin moored at Sattahip Naval Base, Thailand, October 8, 2019, <a href=


    Russia's War in Ukraine Could Reshape the Global Arms Market in Favor of China

    The war in Ukraine is straining Russia's defense production, which is having downstream effects on Moscow's ability to export arms. China has the opportunity, the incentive, and the capacity to gain from Russia's losses. As Russia relinquishes more of its share of the global arms market, there is not much standing in the way of China's success.

    Jul 10, 2023

  • India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (L) and Vietnam's Defence Minister General Phan Van Giang (R) shake hands during a ceremonial reception in New Delhi, India, June 19, 2023, photo by Kabir Jhangiani via Reuters Connect


    India Is Becoming a Power in Southeast Asia

    The moment has been long in coming, but India is turning into a strategic actor in Southeast Asia. Even though the United States and its Asian treaty allies are not involved, India's moves raise the tantalizing possibility that it will increasingly complement the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy to counter China in the coming years.

    Jul 10, 2023

  • An XQ-58A Valkyrie low-cost unmanned aerial vehicle launches at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, December 9, 2020, photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua King/U.S. Air Force


    Is the Warning Clock on Our National Defense Running Out?

    The United States has never invoked a ten-year rule regarding preparations for long-term military competition with China, as Great Britain did after World War I. But there have been times when the United States has behaved as if such a rule were in place.

    Jul 10, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Taiwan, Gun Violence, Fishing in the Arctic: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the potential for a Chinese attack on Taiwan, America's persistent gun violence problem, managing Arctic fisheries, and more.

    Jul 7, 2023

  • A solider launches a U.S-made TOW 2A missile during a live fire drill in Pingtung, Taiwan, July 3, 2023, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters


    How Taiwan Can Build 'Digital Resilience'

    If China were to attack Taiwan, it is very likely to attempt to control all communications on the island and block contact with the rest of the world. What actions can Taiwan take to maintain contact with allies, supporters, and its own people in the event of such an invasion?

    Jul 6, 2023

  • South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol delivers a speech in Seoul, South Korea, June 6, 2023, photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Pool/Reuters


    China's Bullying Proves South Korea's Yoon Is on the Right Track

    An escalating war of words between Beijing and Seoul is raising pressure on South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol to take a softer line with China. Instead, the Yoon administration should see Beijing's threats of punishment as vindication for further strengthening and expanding Seoul's alliance with the United States.

    Jul 5, 2023

  • Taiwanese Army service members control a drone during a drill in Taiwan, January 12, 2023, photo by Taiwan Ministry of National Defense handout via EYEPRESS/Reuters


    Can Cheap Drones Be the Answer to Tensions in the Taiwan Strait?

    The more we learn about the war in Ukraine, the more we come to know that drones will play an increasingly important role on the modern battlefield. But how is the U.S. military thinking about what role these aircraft might play in future wars? When paired with modern sensors, could they offer an asymmetric advantage in future competitions?

    Jun 29, 2023

  • Taiwanese Army troops during an inspection by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, March 12, 2022, <a href=


    Taiwan's Will to Fight May Be Stronger Than You Think

    Should China mount an invasion, Taiwan's political leadership and degree of social cohesion will be the most important factors in its defense.

    Jun 27, 2023

  • International Congress, many flags of different countries on flagpoles, photo by Aleksandr Koltyrin/Getty Images


    Big Themes and Geopolitics with Robert B. Zoellick

    Robert B. Zoellick shares two complementary perspectives on risks to global democracy, identifying transnational trends and pointing out geopolitical shifts in Eurasia. His message concludes with implications for the future.

    Jun 27, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Six Lessons from Ukraine for Japanese Defense Planners

    Japanese leaders have already begun internalizing key lessons from Ukraine. Researcher Jeffrey Hornung considers the war in Ukraine from the perspective of a Japanese decisionmaker.

    Jun 27, 2023

  • Soldiers in Taiwan, July 6, 2020, photo by Wang Yu Ching/Office of the President, Taiwan/CC BY 2.0


    Could Taiwan Fend Off a Chinese Attack?

    China's growing military advantage suggests that, even with major improvements to Taiwan's defenses, U.S. intervention will be necessary to deter or defeat an attack by China. Changes in aspects of Taiwan's political leadership and social cohesion offer the surest path for developing the island's capacity to resist a large-scale attack.

    Jun 27, 2023

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023, photo by Leah Millis/Reuters


    Understanding America's Technological Tit for Tat with China

    China and the United States appear to be barreling towards a path that risks further ratcheting up the ongoing economic war. More-evolved strategies are needed beyond simple retaliatory spirals, to find peaceful equilibria and ensure technoeconomic competition does not spill over into military conflict.

    Jun 26, 2023

  • Japanese soldiers stand at attention for an honors ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, October 3, 2013, photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/U.S. Department of Defense


    Six Different Ways: Ukraine Lessons for Japanese Defense Planners

    Japanese leaders have already begun internalizing key lessons from Ukraine. But Japanese officials are silent on whether they are preparing for a short conflict or a long one. This matters because, as the Ukrainian war demonstrates, a protracted struggle could require different plans from the ones Japan is possibly making.

    Jun 23, 2023

  • A Navy Research Laboratory unmanned surface vehicle near Panama Beach, Florida, November 9, 2020, photo by U.S. Naval Research Laboratory


    Revive the Ram

    In the face of aggressive maneuvers by Chinese vessels, the U.S. Navy can brandish ramming unmanned surface vessels as a capability to inhibit threats while limiting the risk of escalation. These relatively simple, inexpensive vehicles could be used alongside a variety of nonlethal weapons to manage confrontations, giving commanders more options.

    Jun 22, 2023

  • Report


    Simulating Chinese Gray Zone Coercion of Taiwan: Identifying Redlines and Escalation Pathways

    This paper shares the results of an exercise hosted by the RAND Corporation to explore the risk of escalation from Chinese activities in the gray zone to conventional war. The results showed an overall low risk of Taiwanese escalation.

    Jun 22, 2023

  • Concrete wall with painted united states, China and Russia flags


    Great-Power Competition and Conflict in Latin America

    This report explores the potential for competition and conflict among the United States, China, and Russia in Latin America; where competition might turn into conflict; what form that conflict might take; and the implications for the United States.

    Jun 20, 2023