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Title: Korean neutralisation attempts (1882-1907) : retracing the struggle for survival and imperial intrigues
Author: Jin, Sang Pil
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 0660
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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The late nineteenth and early twentieth century was a turbulent period in East Asia. Aggressive imperial powers challenged the traditional regional order, changing the relationships between the nations in the region and ushering in a period of imperialism and intense international rivalry. The subject of this study is Korean neutralisation attempts in this period, initiated by Koreans as well as by international actors, in an effort to fully understand how Korea endeavoured to preserve its sovereignty and how major powers pursued their interests in the Far East. Arguing that previous scholarship has dealt with Korean neutralisation in a too piecemeal fashion, this study utilises previously overlooked diplomatic documents, examines influencing factors previously disregarded, and covers a longer time period (1882-1907) than prior scholarship to provide a comprehensive and multilateral analysis of Korean neutralisation. Whereas previous scholarship has downplayed the historical significance of these attempts, based on such comprehensive analysis, this study argues that Korean neutralisation was possible on at least one discrete occasion. To facilitate a better understanding of the factors that influenced these neutralisation attempts, the study introduces examples of successful neutralisation in Europe and compares these with the Korean case. The structure of the study is chronological, describing attempts within the context of domestic and regional historical developments, focusing on the time periods surrounding major domestic and international events such as the Imo Mutiny, 1882, the Gapsin Coup, 1884, the British occupation of Port Hamilton (Geomundo), 1885-87, the Sino-Japanese War, 1894-95, and the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905. Although comparisons with successful European cases show that a lack of essential requirements made all Korean neutralisation attempts discussed in this study infeasible, this study re-evaluates their historical significance and illustrates that neutralisation can only be realised through the candidate's own will and strength combined with international respect and support.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral