The Armies of East Asia: China, Taiwan, Japan, and the Koreas

By Dennis Van Vranken Hickey | Go to book overview

7
Conclusion

The preceding chapters gave an overview of the armed forces of five East Asian states—Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and North Korea. They examined the composition and structure of each country's military and discussed some of the major security issues relating to their defense. From the foregoing analysis, it is clear that these nations' militaries share some common characteristics.


Common Trends and Characteristics

All of the militaries discussed in this study play a positive—and often overlooked—role in their respective societies. They help harvest crops, build roads, and combat natural disasters. Perhaps China's PLA has been most active in this area. It played a major role in the country's reconstruction following the Chinese Civil War and continues to contribute in meaningful ways to its modernization. But each of the other East Asian militaries also does more than simply safeguard the territorial integrity of a state.

In most of the states examined, there has been substantial movement toward the establishment of a more professional, nonpoliticized military. In some instances the armed forces have been removed almost entirely from politics. This is certainly the case in Japan and, to a lesser extent, in Taiwan and South Korea. Civilian rule is now well established in each of these countries. In China and North Korea, however, the armed forces continue to exercise varying degrees of influence in policymaking at the highest levels of government.

Some militaries discussed appear to share common problems. Recruitment and retention of qualified personnel represent a serious challenge to all East Asian militaries (and many elsewhere in the world). Low morale is an especially serious issue confronting China,

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The Armies of East Asia: China, Taiwan, Japan, and the Koreas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes *
  • 1 - U. S. Interests and Flashpoints of East Asia 5
  • Notes *
  • 2 - The Japanese Military 35
  • Notes 63
  • 3 - The Chinese Military 69
  • Notes *
  • 4 - The Taiwanese Military 119
  • Notes *
  • 5 - The South Korean Military 169
  • Notes *
  • 6 - The North Korean Military 195
  • Notes *
  • 7 - Conclusion 225
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography 243
  • Index 265
  • About the Book 273
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