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Goryeo’s Foreign Relations with Northern People and the Transformation of the Northwestern Contact Zone

  • 중앙사론
  • 2019, (50), pp.283-325
  • Publisher : Institute for Historical Studies at Chung-Ang University
  • Research Area : Humanities > History
  • Received : November 25, 2019
  • Accepted : December 20, 2019
  • Published : December 31, 2019

KWON YONGCHUL 1

1고려대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Since its founding, Goryeo has gradually expanded its territory to the north. Thus, the perception of the boundary was extended to the Amnok River, when the Khitan-Liao empire began its campaign against the northeastern region, leading to the formation of a confrontation between Goryeo and the Liao over the area around the Amnok River. In the end, the conflict led to Khitan’s the first intrusion to Goryeo, and the two countries ended the war by accepting the outcome of the negotiations at 994. As a result of the negotiations, the Amnok River has become the boundary between the two countries. During the 11th century, tension has always been created between Goryeo and Khitan. As a result, it could be said that the contact zone between Goryeo and Khitan was in a state of “peace in high tension,” as was the case with the relationship between the two countries. In the early 12th century, Goryeo accepted tribute relationship to Jurchen-Jin at a fairly rapid pace, and the Jin empire did not bother to wage war with Goryeo. Finally, when Goryeo sent a sworn document (誓表) to Jin to meet the demands of Jin empire, the Jin approved to own the area around the Amnok River. That is to say, the relatively stable relationship between Goryeo and Jin allowed the handling of the contact zone to take place without such fierce clashes as war. The international situation in East Asia has changed rapidly again in the 13th century with the rise of the Mongols in the north. The Goryeo Dynasty fought for a long time against Mongol, but it was forced to accept the Mongols’ control. In addition, Goryeo’s King Wonjong was helped by Khubilai Khan in restoring the royal authority, so the situation was developed dependent on Mongol-Yuan. Thus, even when the northwestern region was annexed by Mongol-Yuan, Goryeo failed to strongly oppose Khubilai Khan. Rather, Khubilai Khan sought to use the Dongnyeongbu(東寧府) to further strengthen his dominance in the relationship with Goryeo. The Dongnyeongbu, which was made in the early stage of the formation of the Goryeo-Mongol relationship, was also a sign that Mongol did not believe in Goryeo until 1270. As King Chungnyeol, who married Khubilai’s daughter, ascended to the throne in 1274, and Goryeo contributed greatly to the Mongol’s expedition to Japan, so Khubilai’s view on Goryeo changed. King Chungnyeol also had to pay attention to his relations with Mongol all the time because he needed a background of Mongol to keep his royal authority stable. Thus, Khubilai gradually turned to Goryeo, and eventually abolished Dongnyeongbu in 1290 and returned the northwestern area to Goryeo. This also meant that the nature of the Goryeo-Mongol relationship in the early 1270s and the 1290s changed. From this time on, the contact zone between Goryeo and Mongol-Yuan was again formed around the Amnok River. This article has reviewed what happened in the northwestern contact zone of Goryeo amid changes in relations with Khitan, Jurchen, Mongol, and how the border itself has changed. The contact zone was a sensitive place that reflected not only the direct relationship between two or more countries bordering on the border, but also the factors such as the international situation at the time and the change in the internal politics of each country, so the pattern of border changes was a phenomenon that allowed us to gauge the trends of international relations and affairs at that time.

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