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The number of soldiers who directly participated in the Pacific War grows smaller with each passing day, but the legacy of the war continues to affect the East Asian countries profoundly 75 years on. For many East Asian countries, the war has yet to end conclusively. Unrealized national reunification is after all not just a legacy of the Pacific War but a major problem remaining to be dealt with across the region.

In this report, Zheng Wang examines the Pacific War’s legacy and its impact on the future of East Asian geopolitics. As Dr. Wang argues, although the number of soldiers who directly participated in the Pacific War grows smaller with each passing day, the legacy of the war continues to affect the East Asian countries profoundly 75 years on. For many East Asian countries, the war has yet to end conclusively. As a result of the war, China, Korea, and Japan do not view themselves as “normal countries,” and instead strive for national reunification—a Pacific War legacy with powerful implications for East Asian geopolitics today.

This article is part of the Asia Program’s Legacy of the Pacific War series.

About the Author

Zheng Wang

Zheng Wang

Global Fellow;
Professor, School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University
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Asia Program

The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

Kissinger Institute on China and the United States

The mission of Kissinger Institute on China and the United States is to ensure that informed engagement remains the cornerstone of U.S.-China relations.  Read more