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Defense Transparency in Northeast Asia

In Northeast Asia, one of the most strategically important but politically volatile regions of the world, mutual trust and confidence is critical. Growing arms competition and security anxiety is increasing the demand for defense information, not only from governments and militaries but also from the public and economic sectors. 

The Defense Transparency Index (DTI), launched in 2011, ranks six countries on their dedication to policies that ensure transparency in defense and national security: China, Japan, North Korea, and the Republic of Korea, along with the superpowers most involved in the region—the United States and Russia. 

Results are presented at the annual Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), a multilateral forum for track-two diplomacy. NEACD seeks to reduce the risk of military conflict in the region and to lay the groundwork for an official multilateral process in Northeast Asia by providing a regular channel of informal communication among the six governments.

Defense Transparency Improves Modestly in the 2020-21 Defense Transparency Index

Japan ranked first in the 2020-21 Northeast Asia Defense Transparency Index, a project of the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, with the United States and South Korea coming in second and third place. Amidst growing distrust in East Asia, especially in the security arena, a modest average increase in defense transparency among ranked countries—China, Japan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, the United States and Russia—is cause for cautious optimism. 


2020 Defense Transparency Index

2019 Defense Transparency Index

2014 Defense Transparency Index

2012 Defense Transparency Index

2011 Defense Transparency Index

Resources for Researchers

Think Tanks and Research Repositories

Center for East Asia Policy Studies (Brookings Institution)
China Data Center (University of Michigan)
Chinese Military Power web page
Congressional-Executive Commission on China
Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Pacific Forum
Global Taiwan Crisis information
Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Military Policy Awareness Links (MiPAL): China
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (in Chinese)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (in English)
National Security Archive, China and the Bomb project
National Security Archive, Sino-U.S. relations project
National Security Archive, Kissinger’s Secret Trip to Beijing, 1971
National Bureau of Asian Research, Strategic Asia Program
National Bureau of Statistics of China (in English)
Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (has China-related conference reports)
State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China (white papers) (in Chinese)
State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China (in English)
Taiwan Security Research
U.S.-China Business Council
U.S.-China Security and Economics Review Commission
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs
U.S. Department of Defense, Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies
Wilson Center Cold War International History Project

Interstate Relations Data

Correlates of War project (including Militarized Interstate Disputes data set)
International Crisis Behavior Project
Paul Hensel's International Relations data site
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (arms sales, military spending data)