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Relationship with Distance: Korea, East Asia and the Anglo-Japanese Relationship, 1876-1894

Suzuki, Yu (2015) Relationship with Distance: Korea, East Asia and the Anglo-Japanese Relationship, 1876-1894. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Despite the fact that there is considerable literature in the English-language on East Asian history in the nineteenth century, there are very few works that focus on the international politics of the region in the thirty-five years or so between the end of the Arrow War and the outbreak of the First Sino-Japanese War in July 1894. As a result, the history of East Asia in this period is often understood as a period of brief moratorium for the Qing dynasty of China before it finally fell prey to Western and Japanese imperialism at the turn of the century. In reality, the Qing was neither as passive nor as powerless as is often believed. On the contrary, the Chinese were successful in re-emerging as the most influential regional power in East Asia by the 1880s by making a conscious effort to reassert their influence in East Asia not only through domestic self-strengthening, but also by drawing on the traditional network between the Qing Empire and its neighbouring vassal kingdoms. This point has already been raised by some historians who have focused on Chinese policy towards Korea – a country which became the focus of imperial competition not only between Qing China and Japan but also Britain and Russia from the 1880s. However, little attention has been paid to how other states reacted to China’s revival. Much light can be shed on this process by looking at how two of the most significant players, Japan and Britain, related to the reassertion of Qing power and to each other over the future of Korea in the period from 1876 to 1894. This dissertation will demonstrate that it was difficult for the Anglo-Japanese relationship to become closer when the international environment in the region required them to prioritise their respective ties with the Qing Empire.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2015 Yu Suzuki
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Sets: Departments > International History
Supervisor: Best, Antony

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