American Diplomacy and Strategy toward Korea and Northeast by Seung-young Kim (auth.)

By Seung-young Kim (auth.)

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Pavlov did this service because Korean telegraphic services, under Japan’s control, were interrupted from mid-January onward. 75 In this way, France and Russia assisted Korea’s declaration of neutrality, and Britain, among others, agreed to this declaration. But the United States did not show support, to the disappointment of the Korean government, despite the Korean government’s expectation based upon the good office clause of the US-Korean treaty of 1882. Still, until three days before the Japanese attack on the Chemulpo (Inchon) harbor, Yi Yong-ik, the Minister of Defense and a leading pro-Russian figure, showed a high expectation of US assistance to preserve Korean neutrality.

Second, if Japan was an ally of the United States, the US Navy would have access to Japanese ports, and a Korean site would be of little additional value. 71 During the Russo-Japanese War, the United States had three battleships in Asiatic waters in addition to a considerable number of cruisers and gunboats. But such force was not enough to be used for military intervention to support US diplomacy. When the General Board of the Navy considered a hypothetical war plan to attack the Russian port of Vladivostok in December 1901, success was predicated upon possession of a naval base halfway between the Philippines and the Russian outposts in Korea and Manchuria.

62 Kojong’s personality also played a part in weakening Korea. Enthroned in 1864, he lived through the most tumultuous era of the Yi dynasty, characterized by imperial encroachment and domestic factional rivalries. 67 But these efforts were exerted most actively after the fortune of the kingdom was sealed at the final stage of the Russo-Japanese War. In the eyes of Western observers before the war, Kojong was portrayed as an indecisive and weak monarch, not as a shrewd and Machiavellian despot.

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