Pacific Asia

The history of relations between the United States and the states of Northeast Asia has been the principal focus of the Pacific Asia field. Most courses in the field emphasize diplomatic, cultural, and political history. The field deals most directly with developments in China, Japan, and Korea from the nineteenth century to the present, relations among those states, and between them and the United States. Courses are intended to offer students a foundation on which to build an understanding of the contemporary interstate problems in the region, as well as the bonds and tensions that currently exist in relations between the U.S. and the states of the region.

Students should refer to the Registrar's Field of Study Guide for definitive field requirements in a given academic year.

Current Students and Alumni

D'Juan Sampson

D'Juan Sampson

Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD)

Class Year: 2020

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Outside the Classroom


  • The Chinese City: Book Talk by Prof. Weiping Wu
  • Japanese Foreign Policy and Life in the Foreign Service: A Conversation with the Consul General of Japan
  • Thailand-US Strategic Partnership
  • Yukio Okamoto: Japan and its Neighbors: Is Reconciliation Possible?
  • NK Information Highway: Driving Change in North Korea
  • The Sanctions Regime and North Korea
  • Symposium on New Dynamics in Japanese Security Policy
  • Can China Innovate? Policy, Competition, and Upgrading in Chinese Industry
  • Bill Hayton: China's Claims in the South China Sea
  • U.S.-Korea Relations, Political/Security, & Economic/Trade Issues
  • China, Asia and America: A Dangerous Confusion
  • China's Economic Statecraft toward Southeast Asia
  • Enforcement and the U.S.-China Dispute


  • China Foundation Center - Beijing, China
  • U.S. Department of State - Beijing, China
  • Allison+Partners, Global China Practice - San Francisco, CA
  • The Asia Foundation - Dili, Timor-Leste
  • AIT Kaohsiung - Taipei, Taiwan
  • U.S. Department of State, American Institute in Taiwan - Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation - Manila, Philippines
  • UN-ACT - Bangkok, Thailand
  • Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy - Beijing, China
  • U.S. Embassy - Tokyo, Japan
  • Global Green Growth Institute - Seoul, Republic of Korea


  • "The "Unfreedom" of Abundant Freedoms: Re-defections to North Korea Due to the "Unclaimability" of Rights in the South"
  • "The Policy of Attraction: U.S. Civil Governance during the Philippine American War"
  • "The Youth in Taiwan: Taiwanese Culture and Implications for U.S. Policy"
  • "A Three-Image Analysis of China's Rebellion Against the U.S.-Led International Political System"
  • "Regime Change in Nuclear States: Political Transition and its Impact on How States View the Bomb"
  • "Reformation of Japan’s Crisis Management System Based on the Experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station Disaster"
  • "Evolution of the U.S.-ROK Alliance"
  • "American Security vs. Chinese Economic Stimulus: Long Term and Short Term Projections for the Effect of the US Rebalance to the Indo-Pacific on Australian Foreign Policy"
  • "The Role of Derivatives in the Bankruptcy of Detroit"
  • "Needs Must: Success, Failures, and Lessons of the Messy U.S. Occupation of West Germany after WWII"
  • "Evolution of the U.S.-ROK Alliance"
  • "U.S. Naval Strategy and Technology: Past, Present, and Future"
  • "Mongolia's Third Neighbor Policy: A Historical Case Study"
  • "Tweeting to Universal Suffrage? Assessing the Significance of Twitter Networks in the 2014 Hong Kong Protests"
  • "JFK, LBJ, and Two Ambassadors - United States Policy Toward Japan in the 1960s"

Student Groups

  • Asia Club
  • ASEAN Society
  • Fletcher China Studies Society
  • Fletcher Diplomacy Club
  • Fletcher Political Risk Group
  • North Korea Working Group

Annotated Curriculum

A Fletcher education is highly customizable, and each student may decide on a different academic trajectory to suit his or her own professional and academic goals. To get a better sense of how these individual curricular decisions can play out, we asked recent students in their final semester to talk about their goals, their classes, and the decisions made during their Fletcher career. Meet Seth:

Pre-Fletcher Experience

I spent four years as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Fields of Study

Pacific Asia
International Communications

Capstone Topic

An academic thesis on youth culture in Taiwan, and its political implications for China and the U.S.

Post-Fletcher Professional Goals

I am applying for a PhD in either history or politics, with the hope of studying East Asian international relations.

Faculty with expertise in the field:

Sulmaan Khan

Sulmaan Khan

The Fletcher School attracts a great number of people from Asia, so our classes on matters pertaining to the region are often populated by students from Korea, Japan, Russia, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and South Asia -- to say nothing of the many non-Asians with interest in the region.

Sung-Yoon Lee