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Sino-Korean Conflict over the Opening of Seoul in the 1880s and Its Historical Connotations

  • 중앙사론
  • 2011, (33), pp.179-213
  • Publisher : Institute for Historical Studies at Chung-Ang University
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Moon, Myungki 1

1한양대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article tries to explain the meaning of the change of Sino-Korean relations in the 1880s, especially focusing on the connotation of the opening of Seoul. Western powers like Great Britain, Germany and Japan, who successively established treaty with korea, also insisted that they have the equal right for the opening of Seoul, based on the most privileged clause. As a result, Seoul was opened to every country for communications and commerce, which was very unusual in terms of international law only to bear various problems for Seoul. First, the Korean merchants in Seoul had to suffer from the loss in their profit, which resulted in reduction of revenues for the Choseon government. Second, the opening of Seoul and Incheon at the same time offended the status of Han River and resulted in the conclusion of Mapo Regulation. Due to the influx of foreign goods and merchants, Seoul's stability was incresingly threatened and it resulted in serial arsons (presumably) by Korean merchants. Finally, the problems that the regulation on the opening of Seoul induced anti-Chinese sentiment among Seoul citizens, and this led to everyday attacks on Chinese merchants in Seoul. In this sense, opening of Seoul was one of the worst byproduct of the rules which was forced on Korea by the Chinese government, which had claimed suzerainty without capacity to protect Korea.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.