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American and Korean Relations, Dr. Hong Beom Rhee 

 
American and Korean Relations, U.S. Foreign Policy and Diplomacy toward Korea in the Late Nineteenth Century  


American and Korean Relations, U.S. Foreign Policy and Diplomacy toward Korea in the Late Nineteenth Century
-The American Foreign Policy was humanistic-
    - Relations of American Commercial-Crusade Expansionism                  
      and Korean Isolationism in Conflict of Chinese
      Claim of Suzerainty, Russian Territorial
      Expansionism, and Japanese Samurai                            
      Expansionism -

Dr. Hong Beom Rhee

Preface

    In the late nineteenth century, the Korean peninsula became a theater of expansionism, imperialism, international rivalries. Korea attracted foreigners because of economic, strategic, and other reasons. Russia was penetrating toward the Korean peninsula to find unfreezing harbor in winter, Japan was exploiting Korea with territorial ambition, China was trying to maintain her suzerainty status in Korea. In the circumstances, Korea was trying to keep her door close to Westerners, and the United States was attempting to open door of Korea.  
   1882 was the opening year in diplomatic history between the United States and Korea because the first diplomatic treaty between two countries was concluded in that year. By the Treaty, the U.S.A. became the first Western country which signed and concluded a treaty with Korea. After the Treaty, Korea continued to conclude similar treaties with the other countries. The China-Korea Commerce and Trade Treaty was ratified in September, 1882, the Britain-Korea Treaty in April, 1883, the Germany-Korea Treaty in November 1883, the Russia-Korea Treaty in October 1885.    
   In 1882, the Imo Riot occurred in Seoul to protest and attack violent Japanese expansion into Korea. The Riot influenced the international community including the U.S., China and Japan. The Riot attacked the Japanese legation in Seoul. The Imo Riot became a international matter in East Asia. The U.S. tried to help Korea in its negotiation with Japan for compensation regarding the Imo Riot.
   There are few scholarly works on American expansionism and her foreign policy and diplomacy with respect to Korea in the late nineteenth century including the U.S. activities in connection with diplomatic negotiation relating the Imo Riot, in comparison with works on Japanese expansionism, although there are some good works on U.S. foreign policies and diplomacy towards Korea in the period. George M. McCune, and John A. Harrison's Korean-American Relations.(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951) The book well studied the American merchant ship General Sherman Incident in American and Korean relation. William Elliot Criffis's Corea, the Hermit Kingdom, (New York: Charles Scrifner's Son, 1882) which worked Korean history and international relations surrounding Korea.
   My major concern, in studying American expansion towards Korea in the late nineteenth century, is what her motive was and whether American expansion was peaceful or violent, in comparison with other powers, particularly as compared to Japanese expansionism in Korea.
    We may need a method on how to approach the study. The method is mainly to examine statements, writings and actions of each country's leaders including government officials, diplomats and intellectuals.
   The another method is based on the thesis, that it is helpful in understanding American and Korean relations, if we know Korea's political, economical, social, and historical background, which are the factors that composed her national power because there is interplay between national power and diplomacy.
    To attain the scholarly objective, it might be helpful to study the following: (1) the traditional political and economic situation of Korea prior to 1882, including the status of its own dynasty, its tributary relationship to China, and history of contacts with the outside world, (2) to mention whether Koreans themselves were happy with the traditional status of their country, or whether some wanted full independence from China, and whether some wanted s "Meiji style" revolution to open and develop Korea according to the Japanese model, (3) whether the economic advantages that Korea seemed to offer to U.S. and Japanese merchants actually existed, (4) if the Americans were only interested in peaceful trade, what sorts of products or raw materials did they expect to acquire in Korea, (5) was the Japanese drive for conquest of Korea based on economic considerations, security considerations, or both, (6) was there already a Russian presence in Korea at this early stage.
   The purpose of my paper is to examine with what ideology of diplomacy and how the Americans worked with Korea to establish diplomatic relationship with Korea in the late nineteenth century, and what policy and action the government pursued during, and after the Imo Riot in 1882. How different was American expansion from that of Japanese and other countries with respect to Korea.


Traditional Korea
-Political and Economic Situation-

Korea during the Yi dynasty(1392-1910) was a pre- modern agrarian, status-oriented society. It was similar to Tokugawa Japan. However, it was not a feudal society of the type in medieval Europe or Tokugawa Japan, which resembled the systems of feudal Europe in many ways. There was no feudal society in Korea, if we accept a socio-economic concept of feudalism, which was originally derived from the relationships between the submissive lords and king, while vessals and serfs constituted the broad base of the feudal pyramid. However, several similarities between this model and the Korean society can be found. In traditional Korea, the king was at the apex of the pyramid society. Beneath the king, the hierarchy was divided into four rigid groups. The first was the yangban, the privileged upper class. They and their families inherited from their forebears their status, land, economic wealth, and prestige. They held the rights to various privileges: the opportunity to take the public service examination to attain official positions, and exemptions not only from the orders of the court, but also from miscellaneous labor services and several taxes such as taxation for personal service and military cloth. In the late Yi dynasty, Min Yong-jun, the most powerful yangban of the Mins, already possessed more wealth than the royal family itself.  The second group was the chung'in (middlemen), who were the illegitimate sons of yangban. They were prevented from attaining public office, and hereditary class of individuals with special knowledge or understanding of particular techniques. They might have been medical doctors, astronomers, interpreters for the foreign mission, or government workers. The third was the sangmin (commoners). The people in these groups had all the burdens of taxation and no privileges. The majority of the Korean people were in these groups. Most of them were peasants who were poor and either owned small plots of land, farmed others' land as tenants, or worked for others mainly as agricultural laborers. A small part of them were engaged in commerce and worked as technicians. The last group was the ch'onmin (lowborn), made up of the rest of the population, including outcast groups.


The Korean Government

   The Korean government of the Yi dynasty provided, for the purposes of maintaining order and preventing the disruptive effects of social mobility, a personal tally system (hop'ae) that identified people in terms of their status. This status-oriented social order restricted divergent styles of everyday living. The particular characteristics of people's writings or dialogue often indicated their social status, just as was seen in the Tokugawa feudal society.
   Economically, the royal families and the ruling yangban group were supported mainly by their exploitive relationship with the peasantry. This exploitation is seen in the taxation system, of which the peasants were the mainstay. The importance of the peasants as a financial resource for the society was revealed in an adage of the time; "agriculture is the greatest capital under heaven."
   Ideologically, Confucianism provided theoretical doctrine to support the existing socio-political order. It emphasized subjects' loyalty to the king, the hierarchical obeisance of the lower to the upper classes, and of woman to man, which developed on the concept of a son's obedience to his father as the basic human relationship. It also strongly recommended personal virtues such as knowledge and tolerance in a ruler. The Korean ruling group protected and encouraged Confucianism broadly, in everything from politics to the conduct of everyday life. Confucianism functioned as an ideology for the ruling group just as it did in the Ch'ing dynasty. Even Tokugawa Japan protected and encouraged the Confucian doctrine as the highest ethic of man, and Confucian morality and way of thinking came to govern people's lives, even though the Tokugawa Bakufu gave Buddhism the prerogative of a de facto state religion.


Korea in East Asia  

   Until the late sixteenth century, Korea maintained her relationship with China, but was more isolated than it had been in any of the previous dynasties. Her relationship with China was limited mainly to a political arrangement, in the form of the Chinese tributary system. There was no real civilian trade or cultural exchange between Korea and China.
   Theoretically, although Korea's ultimate suzerainty was subordinated to the Chinese emperor in the imaginary cosmological hierarchy that formed the basis of the Chinese tributary system. China never interfered in internal politics.
During the Ch'ing period, all of the East Asian countries' international activities were tenuous. This is believed to be because the Ch'ing really did not want to spread Confucianism or Chinese culture and encourage foreigners to respect the Chinese because the Ch'ing dynasty was established by Manchu conquer. However, Korea was located in an important geopolitical position and could not avoid the Japanese and Manchurian invasions. The Japanese were to invade and occupy the country from 1592 to 1598, and the Manchus invaded in 1627 and 1636. The invasions weakened the foundations of the Yi dynasty, just as the Crusades had weakened feudal Europe. Both invasions invited strong resistance and stirred a stagnant Korean society, while also causing serious fiscal problems. The Korean government began to sell titles and ranks to the lower-status members of society for the purpose of overcoming the financial crises caused by the wars. Such a policy only served to worsen the financial crisis at a later point, because the members of the yangban rapidly increased to "almost half the Korean population in the mid-nineteenth century, from no more than one quarter of the population in the past."  The number of peasants, whose duty was to pay taxes, became perilously small. The yangban group came to include the poor yangban who lived no better than the peasants. On the other hand, the Korean government provided special privileges to certain individuals and institutions such as princes, princesses, and the private academies (Sowon) which were controlled by the powerful yangban.
   The yangban  group was enjoying their privilege and they did not want any social and political changes as the ruling class in the traditional Korean society.  


Western Impact and Crisis of Korea

   While Korea lived isolated within the perceptions of the Confucian socio-political and ethical system, there were tremendous changes occurring from the outside in the late nineteenth century.  In July 1832, the British ship Lord Amaster, sent by the East India Company, arrived in Kodaedo, Hongju-gun (county), Korea for the purpose of trading and doing missionary work. In 1860, Russia succeeded in expanding her territory in the North and Siberia, and faced her new frontier at the Tuman river, the Northern border of Korea. The Russians crossed the frontier and entered Kyongwon in 1864 and 1865 with the intent of trading. In 1876, Korea opened her door to Japan and an unequal treaty with Japan under the Japanese militant threat. Korea lost her rights to levy a duty on things which were exported from Japan. Japan exported their things without paying any tariff to Korea. Korea began to have financial difficulties.
   In this situation, the U.S. and Korea succeeded in establishing diplomatic relation between two countries in 1883. Here the U.S. and Korean relations will be examined for more details in the international relations surrounding the Korean peninsula.  


Japanese Ambition (The Seikan -To Conquer Korea Is To Conquer America) and American Desires for Commerce (Manifest Destiny)

    Both American and Japanese expansionism are matters of controversy. Both are same expansionists. However, the ways that they have applied were not same. Their expansionisms with respect to Korea might be said to be as follows. American expansionism in Korea was commercial and religious expansionism which was peaceful for commerce, trade, and  liberty based on a mission of religion. American expansionism was benevolent to Korea. (See this paper.) But Japanese expansionism was violent expansionism which was aggressive, forceful and based on ultra nationalism. Japanese expansionism in Korea weakened and destroyed foundation of the independence of Korea.    
    The Americans' ideology of her expansionism was different from the Japanese leaders'. "Secretary of State William Henry Seward (1861-1869) provided a connection between prewar and postwar expansionist thinking and behavior....Latin America, the Pacific islands, Asia, and Canada, Seward prophesied, would eventually gravitate toward the United States because of the contagion of American greatness and because of some immeasurable will of God.”   "American expansionism-the ideology of national growth-is forever associated in our minds with the peculiar doctrine of Manifest Destiny : "The American people having derived their origin from many other nations, and the Declaration of Independence being entirely based on the great principle of human equality, these facts demonstrate at once our disconnected position as regards any other nation; that we have, in reality, but little connection with the past history of any of them, and still less with all antiquity, its glories, or its crimes. On the contrary, our national birth was the beginning of a new history... and so far as regards the entire development of the natural rights of man, in moral, political, and national life, we may confidently assume that our country is destined to be the great nation of futurity....We are the nation of human progress, and who will, what can, set limits to our onward march?  We point to the everlasting truth on the first page of our national declaration, and we proclaim to the millions of other lands, that "the gates of hell"-the powers of aristocracy and monarchy-"shall not prevail against it."  The far-reaching, the boundless future will be an era of American greatness. In its magnificent domain of space and time, the nation of many nations is  destined to manifest to mankind the excellence of divine principles; to establish on earth the noblest temple ever dedicated to the worship of the Most High-the Sacred and the True.   In these brief passages of 1839 the editor of the Democratic Review, John O'Sullivan, recalled the principles of the Puritans, and temporal mission of mankind. What he did do, was to suggest to his countrymen that expansion was a natural consequence of what America was: a people dedicated to liberty based on faith, who had begun history over again in a New World and might "confidently assume" a future free of limits imposed by man.  "Statesmen like Seward as early as the 1850s, pronounced commerce the "god of boundaries" and chief agent of <America's> advancement in civilization and enlargement of empire." He called the Pacific Ocean "the great realm of futurity,"    McDougall argues that "The theory that U.S. diplomacy was driven by a capitalistic drive for new markets does not help us, however, because the government really did little to promote exports in the 1865-1900 period."  It was true in U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy toward Korea in the period. However, 'the transformation of world politics wrought by imperialism could not help but impress itself upon observant Americans. Captain A.T.Mahan argued for a fleet, bases, and coaling stations sufficient to secure American coasts, the Caribbean, and the Pacific as far out as Hawaii. In a world of fierce commercial and naval competitors, the United States could no longer take for granted its safety or access to markets." "I am an imperialist," Mahan said, "simply because I am not isolationist."  He advocated a non-isolation policy for commercial and market purposes and never advocated an invasion of Japan and the Asian continent. American expansionism mainly was peaceful and benevolent to the Koreans. Although there contained the seeds of imperialism within the concept of 'manifest destiny,' and Mahan's ideas, there were differences between American expansionism, imperialism and Japanese expansionism, imperialism in principles and practices.
    Compared with American expansionism, the main stream of Japanese expansionism was aggressive, violent, imperialistic and was based on the glory of the Japanese Emperor, economic exploitation and territorial ambition rather than peaceful commercial and economic competition. Japanese expansionists encouraged the samurai  spirit, which emphasizes sacrifice and suicide for royalty to Japanese emperor in fighting and war, and such mentality was applied to Japanese expansionism. Japanese expansionism became so aggressive. It might be said Japanese expansionism samurai  expansionism.
   Many Japanese nationalists even advocated the invasion of the American and European continents. Although there were some peaceful expansionists mainly in non-political circles, they had almost no influence on Japanese diplomacy in Korea. Yoshida Shonin, through his ultra-nationalistic education, who greatly influenced Ito Hirobumi, Yamagata Aritomo, and other Meiji leaders, suggested that the Tokugawa Bakufu occupy the Tokdo islands, the far Eastern islands off the Korean peninsula, in the Eastern Sea, or the Japanese Sea. He also urged the occupation of Korea, Taiwan, and Manchuria. It has not been known well that the spirit of Seikan Ron (Conquer Korea Arguments) in the 1870's involved the conquering of American and European continents by military invasion. Kirino Toshiaki, a Satsuma soldier, who was Saigo's subordinate and had a close relationship with Saigo Takamori said: "In the present world, every country struggles with each other, the great annexes the small, the strong annexes the weak. Country A rises and Country B falls. Each country rises and falls. Our Japan is isolated in the Oriental sea, and has kept more than 2500 years of the nation's customs, but still doesn't understand the situation (imperialistic struggle) of five continents. Our national power is weak and our military armament is deficient, our public sentiment is weak, and there is no spirit of independence of an Imperial country. If this situation continues, our country will be at risk of collapsing, and our nation will be subordinate to another country. If we want Japan to rise up to be an independent country and expand abroad in competition with the other powers, the only way is to fight and attack the other countries. We have to stand in the same rank with Europe and America. Our Japan must conquer China, Manchuria, Korea, and we have to establish a base to invade both the European and American continents.  The spirit of Seikan  was not only the spirit of Seia (Conquer Asia) and Seiro (Conquer Russia), but also the spirit of Seibei  (Conquer America) and Seio (Conquer Europe). Uchida Ryohei, the Japanese ultra nationalist, who admired the spirit of Seikan  said: " The argument and principle of Seikan Ron is the nation's spirit and power. It is the spirit of Seikan that Japan punished China. It is the spirit of Seikan that Japan took Taiwan and the Pescadores, and has given to them the holy brightness of the Japanese Emperor.  
Two different ideologies of foreign policy between two different countries, the U.S.A. and Japan started to take different paths toward Korean matters in the late nineteenth century.
   Whatever a school of opinion may say, it can not be denied that in result, the Japanese foreign policies were led not by the Japanese government, but by the ultra Japanese nationalists’ vision, and the Japanese government lately and finally followed the ultra Japanese nationalists' imperialistic direction toward the invasion of Korea, Manchuria, China, the Asian continent and toward the invasion of the U.S.A., regardless of whether or not the Japanese government leaders also hided the same motives, in their heart, as the ultra nationalists.
    The United States foreign policy makers did not realize the Japanese foreign policy making which was based on an ultra nationalistic and imperialistic motive, and the U.S. had to fight Japan, which attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941. At that time, the United States which had no thought that her prosperity and way of life could be in any way threatened by the outside world began to be facing with  Japanese samurai expansionism whose final object was to invade the American and European continents after Japan ruled over Korea and Asia, while the United States even did not imagine it.
     According to Walter A. McDougall, the U.S. foreign policy was clearly influenced by religious idea-true religion and virtue. U.S. foreign policy makers never succumbed to the crusader's call...until 1898.  American expansionism in Korea in the 1870's and 1880's was a crusader expansionism.  
   On contrary, the Japanese foreign policy was clearly influenced by the samurai  spirit- defeating and killing enemy for royalty and revenge in favor of secular (man) god, Japanese Emperor and their own nation, without universal religious virtue. Japanese foreign policy makers never succumbed to the samurai's call until 1945 when Japan was defeated in World War II.  


U.S. Foreign Policy toward the Pacific Ocean

   Americans never considered the Pacific basin to lie outside their natural purview. Not only did merchants, whalers, and missionaries ply that ocean from the South Seas to the Arctic Circle before the Civil War, but the government took a keen interest. In the 1850s the U.S. opened Japan, and when the Meiji revolutionaries declared their intention to modernize, hundreds of private Americans crossed the ocean to teach science and engineering, law and medicine, business and agriculture, government and Christianity to the Japanese. Seward was equally hopeful of influencing China, and his Burlingame Treaty of 1868 endorsed the free movement of goods and people between the two countries. Although the U.S. Commander, Commodore Robert Shufeldt, tried to open Korea, the "hermit kingdom," in 1871,  18 years after Commodore Perry came to Japan in 1853, he was faced with the Korea's strong resistance. Korea remained as the only country which did not open the door in the East Asia and did not have diplomatic relations with the U.S. "Commodor Robert Shufeldt, was zealous for trade" with Korea. He cried; "The Pacific is the ocean bride of America..., let us determine while yet in our power, that no commercial rival or hostile flag can float with impunity over the long swell of the Pacific sea."   The United States seemed to be busy to take an expansionist policy in the Pacific Ocean or to pay serious attention to opening Korea, while, in 1867, she annexed Midway in the Pacific Ocean, and also purchased Alaska from tsarist Russia. The U.S. had more interested in China than Korea. "With its vast territory, huge population, and tributary states, China attracted foreigners eager to sell, buy, invest, convert, and dominate."  The U.S. was more interested in Japan than Korea, although she was less interested in Japan than China.
"Commodore Perry, on his way to open Japan, urged the U.S. to colonize the Lew Chew (Ryukyu) Islands. But Secretary of War William L. Marcy replied, "It is considered sounder policy not to seize the island as suggested in your dispatch."  Although the U.S. did not colonize the Islands, she showed expansionist ambitions. However, the U.S. never showed any territorial ambition toward Korea and allowed Japan to force open Korea rather than taking the initiative, and Japan opened Korea in 1876.


The American Foreign Policy Toward East Asia

   The first advocate of the United States establishing diplomatic relation with Korea was Lodoc Pratt, U.S. Congressman. In February 1845, he proposed that the U.S. establish diplomatic relations with Japan and Korea. He told that the time has come for investment and crews to act in the region, although his proposal did not succeed immediately.  In 1852, William H. Seward, the U.S. Senator, who became Secretary of State in 1861, also asserted that the Pacific Ocean would be the most important theater of  worldly events from now on and the U.S. go forward for commerce and trade as an Sea power.  The U.S. "government is (was) desirous to draw into lasting friendly relations with the United States all the countries of the East."  In this context, the U.S.A. was desirous initiating developing diplomatic relations with Korea.
    The U.S.A's main concern in the Korean matter was peaceful commercial and economic expansion and basically  the stability and peace of East Asia.  The U.S.A was concerned not only with the commerce and trade relationship between the U.S. and Korea, but also with Korean relations with her neighboring countries such as China, Japan, and Russia. Mr. Holcombe emphasized the U.S. mission of moral influence, in emphasizing differences with the other powers: "Our convention with Corea is, commercially, a step in the path of progress, and made, as was our first convention with Japan, with the view of extending into Asia the advantages of our civilization. With the other powers it is political, and is bound up with the aims and schemes of western nations for aggrandizement in Asia. As we have no interest in these enterprises, as we have at heart the independence of these Asiatic nations, I am anxious to see our country in a position where her moral influence can aid in maintaining the existing autonomy of China, Japan, Corea and Siam.  He thought also that the disposition of the Asiatic nations to enter into treaty relations with each other should be encouraged.


U.S. Concern with respect to Korea

   The first American who suggested that the U.S. should have diplomatic relations with Korea was Lodoc Pratt, U.S. Congressman from New York. In February 1845, he formally proposed taking necessary action for trade with Korea. He had a relationship in a  jinseng  business. He said that the time has come for our commercial investment and crews would come to the harbors and markets of the hermit kingdom (Korea).  His plan was not carried out in the increasing possibility of the American war with Mexico.
   The American's first contact with the Koreans was in 1855 and 1865. In the years the Americans lost their way and arrived at T'ongch'on and Young'il, on the Eastern coasts of Korea, and they could not communicate because of language problems, and all of them were safely sent to China. The numbers of American commercial ships to the Far East were rapidly increasing after American Civil War ended in 1865.  In 1866, an American ship the Schooner Surprise was wrecked on a rock at Sonch'onnp'o coast and its crew was courteously sent to China. In August 20, 1866, the famous General Sherman Incident occurred, the Sherman entered the Taedong river, P'yongyang. According to the records by both Korea and U.S. investigations of the Incident and the studies of  Korean American and Japanese scholars, it might be said to have happened as follows:  Interpreter Thomas, the Sherman asked the Korean official to have business. The Korean authority thought the Sherman was British because Thomas told the Koreans that he was British and the Korean authority demanded the Sherman crews withdraw and they rejected such a withdrawal.  Its crew asked the Korean official to lend food. The Koreans gave a plenty of food, rice, and meats for three times. The Sherman changed her direction for Hwangju harbor to ask for food again. The Hwangju military base also gave food. However, the Sherman did not leave the Korean coast, and she again entered the Taedong river, P'yongyang. Six crews tried to land on the Korean coast and three Korean national guards attempted to stop them. At that time, two of three Korean guards were killed and one Korean guard was kept in the Sherman by the Sherman crews. Both the Koreans and the Sherman crews fought. Twenty crewmen of the Sherman were killed. The Chinese crews lost thirteen, Westerners were five, and two were unidentified. It is a brief story of the Sherman Incident.   This Sherman Incident was peacefully and friendly resolved between the U.S. and Korea later, after the America's investigations, without the requirement of any compensation. The way of the resolution clearly tells that the U.S. motive was peaceful and moralistic without any motive of violence and invasion. It is more clear when we compare it with the case of the Japanese ship Unyogo Incident in 1876, which entered the western Korean coast with intention of concluding an unequal treaty under military threat. The Sherman Incident provided a good opportunity for both countries to understand a little more about diplomatic relations between them, although there was an unexpected incident in which some Westerners, including Americans, destroyed the King's great father's tomb and stole some gold and precious treasures from it. The incident prevented the development of the relationship between the U.S. and Korea. In April 24, 1868, George F. Seward wrote to William H. Seward: "It is also satisfactory, if true, that the Corean Government is anxious to enter into treaties with the western powers. The empire is independent , although it sends complimentary tribute to Peking. The population is said to be about six millions, or one-third that of Japan. The climate is mild for the latitude. The people are described as peaceful and industrious. In my opinion there is no sufficient object attainable to render it advisable to use force, or even the show of force, to procure a commercial treaty with the Coreans. It may be considered, however, that the interests of our shipping require that at least a treaty providing for the kind treatment of shipwrecked people should be entered into. But if the Coreans are prepared to go to the extent of opening up their country to our merchants, this opportunity is not one that should be lost.  George F. Seward again wrote William H. Seward on October 14, 1868: "whether a general treaty is desirable or not there can, in my opinion, be no question of the need of one that shall provide for the safety of seamen and others wrecked or driven on the Corean Coast. Indeed we can hardly consent that it shall remain peculiarly dangerous to our navigation.  
    After the Sherman Incident, U.S. foreign policy toward Korea was basically to avoid military action unless Korea's action debase American dignity and to conclude a trade treaty with Korea for the purpose of securing American ship and wrecked ship and the other reasons. The policy is clear on new Secretary Fish's letter (in Ulyesses Simpson Grant Administration) to Low, dated on April 20, 1869.  


The Tributary Custom to China and Korea

   U.S. Minister Low expected that Chinese Tsugriyamen (the Foreign Affairs Office) would help the U.S. to establish diplomatic relationship with Korea. On February 11, 1871, Low requested the Chinese Tsungriyamen to send his letter, which desired the diplomatic relations with Korea, to the Korean tributary minister when he came to China. However, the Chinese Tsungriyamen  rejected in the reason of that the Tsungriyamen can not interfere the Korean affairs. Therefore it is difficult to transfer the letter to the Korean minister. On February 15, he again requested the Tsungriyamen to send the letter to the Korean minister. The Chinese rejected the request and grounds this.  On March 8, Low requested the Tsungriyamen to send another letter to indicate that Low will go Korea to relate the U.S. government intention to establish diplomatic relation with Korea. On March 28, the Chinese Tsungriyamen replied Low that China has not interfered in the politics, religion, and laws, regulations of Korea. Korea is a perfectly independent country in internal and foreign affairs and we cannot intervene, although Korea is a Chinese vassal. I am doubtful that the Korean government would reply you. It is extraordinary for our government to send your letter to the Korean government. But we can not send your letter anymore.  Regarding the tributary custom, according to Low's report to the Department of State, Low said that his understanding was that Korea's tribute to China was a compensation to the Chinese for the Korean privilege of trading with the Chinese rather than the relationship between two governments. The tribute was carried out through private trade and they were papers and jinseng  etc. Korea does not have any special relationship with China except the tributary relation. Korea is an independent country.  There may have been flexibilities in interpreting the tributary custom, depending on the situations. The Chinese government did rather not want that the U.S. to have diplomatic relations with Korea at that time and did not cooperate with the U.S. China wanted to continue to keep traditional relations with Korea without any outside intervention. American scholar Tyler Dennett called the Chinese policy "a dog in the manger-policy."  
    It is helpful in understanding the U.S. and Korea relations and the international relations surrounding American Korean relations to understand Korea's tributary status with China. As was hinted in the Chinese response to Low, that the tributary custom was not a legal system, not based on treaty between China and Korea and the tributary custom is unclear and controversial to interpret, Korea actually has enjoyed her independence from China. However, it is clear that the tributary custom has been interpreted and used as a means, by each country, to express her national interests. The Chinese emphasized that Korea was a perfectly independent country and tried indirectly to prevent the U.S. from establishing diplomatic relations with Korea, when she did not like to help the U.S. The Koreans also told that Korea was a Chinese vassal, when Korea did not open her door to the U.S. or any powers. Japan also emphasized that Korea was not a Chinese vassal but an independent country, although the Japanese real motive was for Korean subjugation, not independence. Low later got angry with the Chinese government for intentionally destroying a formal letter of the Korean government to him, that Korea was a Chinese vassal and Korea explained the reason why Korea did not need commercial treaty because Korea did not have a good amount of things to trade. On November 2, Low visited the Chinese Tsungriyamen and complained to it.  The U.S. failed not only to get support from China but also faced strong opposition from Korea in opening her door.  China worried that if the U.S. establish diplomatic relation with Korea, it would weaken her influence there.


U.S. Minister Low's Efforts to Open Korea

   Low thought that Korea was an independent country and tried to open it by both talks and military actions for sixty days in Korea until July 3, 1871.  Both sides, the U.S. and Korea did not have opportunities to have a formal conference. However, through the exchanges of their letters and other information, each could understand the other's motives and differences. Low told the Korean government that the main purpose of the commerce treaty with Korea was to protect American crews and ships, and was not an instrument of American ambition. He also wrote Fish that commercial benefit also should be important through the American Korean trade.   The Korean government's reply to Low was sent to the U.S. deputy Minister Williams on July 23, when Low was in the Korean expedition. The reply was that the Korean government received the American letter and she did not need to establish commercial treaty with the U.S. because Korea has provided foods and helps to foreign crews and they were safely taken care of.  According to another Korean government's opinion in August, the Korean government did not need trade because Korea did not produce plenty things such as foods, cotton, gold, silver and gem which are needed for trade.


The Korean-Japanese Treaty and the New U.S. Approach

   After the U.S. diplomat failed to get help from China and to have even a diplomatic talk with the Korean government due to Korea's strongly isolationist policy, the international situation surrounding Korea began to change. In 1876, Japan successfully concluded the Korean-Japan Treaty and established the diplomatic relations with Korea by military force and threat. The main reason why Japan succeeded in establishing diplomatic relations with Korea by military means, but that the U.S. did not, was that there was a difference between Japanese aggressive military action and the U.S. humanistic military action.  The U.S. soldiers did not invade Seoul, the capital of Korea in consideration of protecting both American soldiers and Korean civilians, but the Japanese did not particularly care about them too much. It might be said that the Japanese aggressive military diplomacy is the samurai diplomacy.  The reason why we call it  sumurai diplomacy is the samurai’s ethics are no to be concerned with their lives or others but sacrifice of themselves in fighting and war, and they were so aggressive. U.S. diplomacy toward Korea was based on the principle of the combining morality and private commercialism, however, Japanese policy was based on the principle of the combing military and economic nationalism. The Japanese nationalistic expansionism was to be a semi-religion.
   Despite the cry of U.S. Commodore Robert Shufeldt "let us determine while yet in our power, that no commercial rival or hostile flag can float with impunity over the long swell of the Pacific sea,"  the Korean peninsula was becoming a target for expansion by the Japanese.
The Japanese drive for conquest was for both economic and security considerations. The Japanese security principle in her foreign policy was changed over time. In the early Meiji period, Korea was a target for her security. After Japan annexed Korea, Japanese security lines were changed to Manchuria, China, Philipine, and Hawaii.
   Akira Iriye defended Japanese expansionism as following American expansion as a model, and Japanese expansionism before the Sino-Japanese War (1894-5) was peaceful. "In the context of the expansion of Japan, however, it is necessary to recall that the war and the subsequent territorial acquisitions never completely replaced the earlier emphasis on peaceful economic expansion."  But we would know it was wrong, when the Japanese motive and her expansion in Korea was examined as they are in the previous pages.   Akira also said that "In the history of Japanese expansion, the value of Korea was never highly estimated." It was also not true. The Meiji leaders never forgot Korean matters because they thought Korea was a bridge to expand into the Asian continent and a base to become a continental country of which many Japanese leaders had dreamed. They also thought that the Korean peninsula was a security line and a life line for Japan. Therefore, when the Japanese negotiated with China for the first modern Sino-Japanese treaty during 1870 and 1871, the Japanese main motive was to make treaty at the same level as any Western power did or, as the second priority, to make a  treaty with China at least in order to avoid Chinese intervention when Japan invaded Korea.  The Japanese motive for her expansion into Korea was so much different from the U.S.'s peaceful and moralistic motive towards Korea, but the Japanese were as aggressive and imperialistic even before the Sino-Japanese War in 1894. When compared with the U.S., the Japanese motive was violent and antagonistic toward Korea as we already mentioned.  In Meiji Japan, one of the Meiji government's national policies was to make her country rich and to have a strong army by developing modern industry. In order to do, the financial sources of the Japanese government were the taxation to the Japanese people, particularly by levying high taxes on the farmers and peasants, issuing inconvertible notes, exploiting from Taiwan and Korea, and exporting to the U.S. particularly exporting raw silk.
   The Japanese government did not borrow money from foreign countries for her industry except &930,000 from Britain to install the railroad between Tokyo and Yokohama, and &240,000, in 1873, which she borrowed from Britain to purchase the lands from the feudal lords, and did not present foreign investment in Japan.  Therefore, Japan was eager to exploit Korea to get capital from Korea in the process of formation of Japanese capitalism.
   Japan's economic motive for capital combined with her territorial expansionism. Yoshida Shonin, wrote: "Japan has to be compensated by conquering and acquiring Korea, Manchuria and China, while we are losing the U.S., and Russia in trade."   Japan was so eager to rule over Korea economically, by the military means. In March 1870, a Japanese Foreign official, Sada, told the Japanese Foreign Minister that Korea was a sworn foe that must be conquered and Japanese imperial dignity could not stand unless Japan conquered Korea. He submitted a realistic and well planned  military scheme to invade Korea.  Kido Koin,  strongly supported Sada's idea with the support from Deputy Army Minieter Omura.  In July, one of the highest Foreign Affairs Official Ryugan also submitted his petition to Okubo Toshimichi, the third highest prime minister for conquering Korea. The petition noted that Korea was fronted with Manchuria in north, and bordered by China on the west. If we make it our territory, it would be a foundation for the expansion and advance of our imperial state in the world.  On December, 1870, one of the highest Japanese Foreign Officials, Maruyama said that Korea was a very important land. If we don't conquer it, some other country should surely conquer Korea. If Japan now does not lose chance to conquer Korea, it would make a great contribution to Japan. But as time passes, if Korea became civilized, it would be difficult to conquer her.   No other country spoke of Korea like the Japanese. It is not difficult to find that kind of violent expansionism in the Japanese society at that time. When one considers what the Koreans has  contributed to the development of the Japanese culture and civilization through the long time of history, the Japanese violent expansionists' mentality is hardly comprehendible. The mentality was close to semi-religion. Such violent mentality finally caused imperialistic invasions to China, Asia, and the attempt even to make war the U.S.A.
   In 1874, in Korea, the Mins group took power against the Taewongun group who opposed to opening the door, and started to negotiate with Japan to opening door. However, the Japanese who knew of Korea's policy change towards Japan, started to change her policy towards Korea. The Korean government formally notified the Japanese official, Moriyama Shigeru, who was in Pusan, Korea, that Korea had intention to talk with Japan concerning diplomatic relations. However, the Japanese government that received the notice from Moriyama Shigeru began to change its policy to take a harder line with military action in order to attain the maximum result.   Moriyama came to have the higher post of the Japanese Foreign Office, and he was sent to Korea again.
   After Japan concluded an unequal treaty with Korea for economic expansion in Korea, the Japanese had tried to persuade the other countries that Korea was not valuable for trade or other interests. Kuroda Kiyotaka, soon after he established the Japanese Korean treaty in 1876 and returned Japan, told Bingham, the U.S. Minister to Japan, "the population of Korea was less than 10 million and she is so poor. Kuroda told him that the Koreans were antagonistic to foreigners and Korea didn't have economic value, without mentioning the Japanese Korean treaty itself.   Koroda's statement about Korea's antagonism to foreigners was simply not true. Korean law proclaimed that foreigners and foreign ships would be sent to safety. Actually the Korean government have sent foreign crews to China safely. Mr. Evarts, U.S. Secretary of State, was concerned with Korea's humanistic action whom, in 1878, Korea kindly sent a wrecked British ship, The Barbara Taylor and the crews from Korea to Nagasaki, Japan, and Korea declined even British compensation.  The U.S. Minister Bingham did not believe Kuroda's slander against the Koreans. He continued to communicate with Fish, Secretary of State regarding the Korean matter, although they did not establish diplomatic relation with Korea, while they worked in their posts.        
   In 1876, Japan and Korea concluded the Korean and Japanese Treaty. Under Japanese military threat and deceit, the Korean government lost her rights to levy tariff by the Treaty. Japan almost monopolize a Korean market and made it difficult for Korea to charge tariffs to other countries lately. Japan had tried to avoid revising the Treaty relating tariffs until July 25, 1883.
   The U.S.-Korea Treaty on May 22, 1822, decisively helped Japan to come to the table to revise the Korean-Japanese Treaty. The U.S. and Korean Treaty reached the agreement on a tariff that was 10% for ordinary consumer products, and 30% for luxury products. Although Japan made her every efforts to prevent the U.S. and Korea reaching  agreement, Both countries finally concluded the Treaty. When Korea and the U.S. signed the Treaty, Japan could hardly avoid negotiating with Korea to revise the Korean and Japanese Treaty. On June 14, 1882, the lunar calendar, the Korean government again asked Japan to negotiate for the revision of the Treaty, however, the Imo Riot occurred and rather than, negotiate, Japan asked the Korean government to compensate her for the loss of Japanese lives and damage to the Japanese Legation by the Riot.  
    On the other hand, on June 6, 1882, Korea and Britain signed the British and Korean Treaty. In the Treaty, the tariff rate was as the same as the rate in the U.S. and Korea Treaty. The tariff rate was higher rate than 5% which was agreed by the Chinese and British Commercial Treaty in 1858. However, the Japanese government intervened with the Westerners to make the tariff lower. Finally Korea had to change the tariff rate to 5% for consumer products and lower it to the others. These Japanese activities terribly exploited Korea economically and added to her difficulties financially in carrying out her modernization plans and maintaining her independent.
   The principle of the Japanese national policy and to ambition to compete with Western power in glorifying the imperial dignity in the world, was making Korea a sacrifice. Korea was meanwhile striving to survive and make a rich and strong country. The Japanese ceaselessly tried to prevent Korea from developing diplomatic relationships with Western countries and the independence of the Korean economy. On the contrary, American crusader expansion was benevolent toward Korea and the United States did her best to practice justice between Korea and Japan.
    On the other hand, Japan's caution toward the United States in East Asia continued even after the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. As in 1873 and 1875, Russia was pushed forward to justify the Japanese advance. Thus it should be noted that the Montono-Iswalsky Agreement of 1907 had secret clauses designed to protect Japanese and Russian special interests in Manchuria, Korea, and Mongolia against US encroachments. Three more treaties were follow, the last having a secret clause pledging to wage war against any power 'trespassing on their vital interests'. The contents of these four treaties were not known to the world until revealed by the 1917 Revolutionary Government.
The Formal Negotiation of the U.S- Korea Treaty

   As the Korea Japan treaty was concluded, the international community such as China and Britain, including the Chinese leader, Li Hung-chang, who was busy handling internal and international problems and was afraid of the Japanese military invasion of Korea rapidly advised Korea to establish diplomatic relations with other countries particularly the U.S.   The Korean authority began to change its attitude from the isolation policy to the open door policy. In Korea, in 1874 before the Japan-Korea Treaty was concluded in 1876, the internal political power had already changed from the isolation policy group, the Taewongun, to the open door policy group, the Mins., who wanted to negotiate with the U.S.
   In the other hand, the Koreans complained of the Japanese economic invasion and exploitation because Korea could not charge any tariffs on the Japanese goods by the unequal treaty. Therefore, the Koreans felt a need to establish diplomatic relations with the U.S. in order to check the violent Japanese expansion into Korea. The Korean motive was summarized mainly on two results. One was that Korea hoped to prevent aggressive Japanese economic expansion, exploitation and deceit by inviting other countries' merchants in, and letting them sell  their products in Korea. It was the immediate economic advantage that the Koreans expected by establishing diplomatic relations with the U.S.. The other was that the Koreans were afraid of Russia which was expanding her territory into China and toward  East Asia, and expected to prevent a Russian threat to infiltrate into Korea in cooperation with other countries such as the U.S.
    It is worthy noting tell that Li Hung-chang took an important role, as a mediator, in establishing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Korea. In the late 1881, the Korean King Kojong, seems to have dispatched his confidential mission to Li Hung-chang, T'ienchin, to send the Korean government's intention to establish diplomatic relations with the U.S.. The reason why King Kojong confidentially sent his mission in T'ienchin was because he wanted to avoid opposition from within the Korea, who had opposed to the open door, until the treaty was successfully concluded. The Korean King's confidential message was sent to Shufeldt through Li Hung-chang, and Shufeldt was very happy to receive it. Shufeldt told that it will be a surprise to the world, if U.S. and Korea establish diplomatic relations. It will be honor not only to him but also to Lee Hung-chang.  In 1881, James G. Blaine, Secretary of State wrote to R.W. Shufeldt in his instruction of the principles in negotiating with Korea: "Your most important task is to propose the treaty relating to the protection of U.S. ships and crews wrecked on Korean coasts." "It is not to encourage a treaty with Korea for political benefit and commercial profit but because we want Korea to open her door for U.S. naval ships and trade with China and Japan."  Shufeldt confirmed the official letter, dated on January 23, 1882, from the U.S. government, that he was invested with full power in negotiating with Korea. The negotiation was confidentially held in T'ientchin, China. In the negotiation with the Koreans in Tientchin, in 1882, Shufeldt was interested in importing rice from Korea.
    At that time, the U.S.A. did not seem to expect to sell U.S. products to Korea and to buy raw materials from Korea except rice, however, her immediate concern was to save the wrecked American ships including her naval ships at Korean coasts, although the U.S.A. was interested in to develop commerce with Korea in the future. In the U.S.-Korea Treaty, Korea was authorized to have the right to charge a tariff. It was very different from the Korea-Japan Treaty which was concluded under Japanese threat and deceit, and Korea lost her rights to charge a tariff. On May 22, 1882 the Treaty was signed by Shufeldt and Sin Hon, Kim Hong-jip, the Korean representatives, in Chemup'o, Korea. This treaty testified that American expansion into Korea was not violent but peaceful one. It was also helpful to the independence of Korea in the international society.  
  
Approval of the U.S.-Korea Treaty and U.S. View on Japan and China  

    The US-Korea Treaty signed on May 22, was transmitted to the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate on July 29, 1882, only a few days after the outbreak of the Imo Riot and there was evidently considerable doubt as to whether it would be approved and ratified due to the crisis resulting from the anti-foreign riot in Seoul.  Being anxious to have the U.S.-Korea Treaty ratified by the U.S. Government, King Kojong dispatched two special envoys, Minister Cho Yong-hwa and Governor Kim Yun-sik, to China to have them appeal to the U.S. Minister Young in Peking.  On September 18, 1882, the Korean envoys submitted the following letter to the American Minister: "The affair of July 23rd in our country was purely an internal difficulty which has already been completely adjusted. The Treaty which has been signed and sealed will be carried into effect in all the particulars of its several stipulations in accordance with the provisions of international law. If your Government ratifies this Treaty and appoints an Envoy, it is requested that he come to Inch'on and exchange certificates of ratification, to the end that the two Governments with their respective citizens and subjects may mutually enjoy the benefits arising from its observance. The undersigned having come to Tientsin upon official business, and fearing that exaggerated reports may have reached your Government and created a feeling of distrust have felt bound to make this communication to which they beg your attention."  
   In response to the letter from Korean envoys, Minister Young wrote to them as followings:
   "Your Excellencies, I am in receipt of your communication of September 18th written from Tientsin. In this you give me the welcome news that the said affair of July 23rd has been arranged: and that the convention between your government and Japan will be carried into effect in accordance with the provisions of international law. You also request my government, in the event of the ratification of the treaty signed with Commodore Shufeldt, to send an envoy to Corea to exchange ratifications. I shall be happy to lay before my government the communications with which your Excellencies have honored  me. At the same time I am gratified to know that the unfortunate disturbance in your country has been suppressed, and that relations have been established with Japan. The United States having been the first great power to give her hand to Corea and ask your sovereign to come within the circle of civilized treaty-observing nationalities, to the end that commerce, trade, manufactures and the advantages of civilization may be enjoyed by your people, cannot fail to view with deep and friendly interest all that concerns the welfare of your sovereign and his kingdom. I am happy to have occasion to express these sentiments to your Excellencies. For your communication accept my thanks; and the assurance of my high consideration I am, etc."  
    When Minister Young informed Secretary of State Frelinghuysen of the correspondence with the Korean envoys, he expressed his view on Japan who was not happy  that the U.S wanted to be a close friend, and American foreign policy to be employed toward Korea relating China, who claimed that Korea was her vessel. Minister Young stressed that Japan would have no fair ground of complaint about the United States attempt to establish treaty relations with Korea. Refuting the existing objections that Korea is the dependency of China; that she stands towards the outside nations like Bavaria as a part of the German Empire, and Pennsylvania as a state of the American Union; and that a treaty to be valid should have the consent of the Chinese Emperor, Minister Young made the following statement:
   "The question whether a treaty with Corea would hold good without imperial approval will find an answer in Siam. We look upon the King of Siam as a Sovereign. We have just sent a minister to his court. And yet Siam is as much a dependency of China as Corea. The Siamese sovereigns took their freedom from tribute for granted, and the world regards them as independent .There is no reason why we should not have treaty relations with Korea and the presence of an American envoy at the Korean court would lend to the preservation of peace among China, Korea, and Japan. Minister Young's efforts to convince foreign policy makers in Washington, D.C. became fruitful when the U.S.-Korea treaty was approved on January 9, 1883.  


Exchange of the Ratification of the Treaty

   Mr. Lucius H. Foote arrived at the open port of Chemulp'o, Korea on June 13, as the first representative of the Legation of the United States in Korea, leaving Yokohama, Japan, on June 6. He met with Mr. Hong Yew- sik, a vice president of the foreign office, and secretary of the same board, who went off to the Monocacy, bringing to Mr. Foote a dispatch from Min, Yong mok, president of the foreign office, inviting him to come to Seoul with the view of exchanging the ratifications at that place. Through the Korean officials, Mr. Foote received the invitation of the Korean minister of foreign relations to proceed at once to the capital. As the result of a long conference, conversing with them through the medium of his interpreters, Mr. Foote expressed his opinion, in his telegram to Mr. Frelinghuyse, that "I found them intelligent and well versed in matters pertaining to other countries. They said that a decided change had taken place within a few months in the disposition of their own people, and they hoped for happy results from these new and friendly relations with the United States. They seemed to understand and appreciate our policy in the East."   He did not say what our policy meant. However, we could guess that it meant stability, peace in East Asia, and commerce and trade activities. On June 17th, accompanied by Mr. Scudder, his secretary, his interpreters, Captain Cotton, and eight officers of the Monocacy, Mr. Foote left Chemulp'o, the port, for Seoul. In their way to Seoul, his image of Korea was: "The women fled at our approach, but the men and children remained to gaze at us, manifesting much curiosity but no animosity. They were clothed in robes of white cotton cloth, differing in shape from either the Chinese or Japanese modes, and wore upon their heads conical shaped hats made of horse-hair." Of the Koreans' characteristics, he said: "They seem to be of marked Mongolian characteristics, but unless I am deceived by their methods of dress, they are a more stalwart race than the Chinese."  
   The Korean people welcomed Mr. Foote and delegates came to Seoul for the new era of the United States-Korean relations. Mr Foote himself told that thousands were congregated upon the hillsides to watch their approach. The Korean treated the American with the utmost civility.  After Mr. Foote arrived at Seoul, in the evening of the 17th, Min, Yon mok, the secretary of foreign affairs, with other officials, called upon Mr. Foote and expressed gratification that the Government of the United States had sent its representative to exchange the ratifications of the treaty. Mr. Foote said of the Korean officials that "these gentlemen were polite and intelligent, deprecating their own condition, and seemingly well versed as to the condition of other countries."  At 2 o'clock P.M. on June 18, with his secretary and interpreters, and accompanied by Captain Cotton and officers of the Monocacy in full dress, Mr. Foote went to the Korean foreign office, where Mr. Foote met Min, Yong-mok, minister of foreign affairs and the presidents, as they are designated, of the four departments, political, postal, industrial, and revenue, with their secretaries. Minister Min informed the group that Mr. Foote had been appointed commissioner plenipotentiary to exchange the ratifications. After an exhibition of the American's respective powers, Mr. Foote called attention to the modification made to Article VI of the treaty by the resolution of the Senate. The commissioner assenting to this, Mr. Foote prepared an addendum that was formally made.


Mr. Foote Met With The Korean King

   After the exchange of ratifications, Mr. Foote called upon the Korean minister of Korean foreign affairs and asked him at what time the Korean king would be pleased to receive him. The minister replied that he would learn the pleasure of the Korean king and inform Mr. Foote. Mr. Foote then gave the Minister a copy of the letter of the President of the United States to the Korean King, and also a copy of the remarks which Mr. Foote proposed to make upon the occasion of my presentation. On the following day, June 19th, Mr. Foote was notified that the Korean King would grant Mr. Foote an audience at 12 noon. At the appointed hour, Mr. Foote was conducted to the palace and formally presented, where Mr. Foote gave the King the letter of the President of the United States, Mr. Foote's letter of credence, and delivered the customary address. The Korean King replied in fitting terms, and Mr. Foote a transmit a translation of the same. Mr. Foote described the scene of that time: "The presence of the King was pleasing, and his manner most gracious, and I am informed that he manifests special interest in the treaty made with the United States, and he awaited its ratification with much anxiety.  Thus official diplomatic relations between two countries, the United States and Korea started in this friendly mode and circumstance.
   We might see the American motivation and philosophy of the United States toward Korea in the address of Mr. Foote to the Korean King. He emphasized the importance of moral value in international relations rather than the military power. He said "In the progressive age there is a moral power more potent than standing armies, and the weakness of a nation is sometimes its strength. "However, he gave good advice that "by thus departing from your past traditions you indicate your belief that national prosperity and perpetuity are not secured by seclusion, and suggested choosing of the open door policy.  He also spoke the true fact that time has proven that the highest civilization is only attained by a free intercourse between friendly nations. It is thus that knowledge is disseminated and the production and inventions of different countries become universal. Through formal diplomatic relation with Korea, the U.S.A. had the opportunity in East Asia, to help Korea take the role of keeping the balance of power, so that no single country be allowed to rule over East Asia or the Asian Continent, and finally to invade the American Continent, as the Saigo's subordinate who was a Japanese ultra-nationalist advocated, a dream that was actually realized with attack on Pearl Harbor.  Through diplomatic relation with the U.S.A., Korea also had  a good friend, who could help Korea to maintain its independence from foreign rule and also help her modernization, prosperity in the severe competition among the powers surrounding the Korean peninsula.
   In 1883, after the U.S.- Korean treaty was ratified, President Arthur addressed to the representative of Korea, he expressed his concern for commerce with Korea: "....The United States from their geographical positions, are, of all others, the nation with which the Orientals should cultivate friendship and a commerce which will prove to them and to us alike beneficial and profitable, and which must constantly increase.... We know you can be of benefit to us, and we think that when you become familiar with the improvement we have made in agricultural implements and processes, and in the mechanical arts generally, you will be satisfied that we can give you a fair return for the benefit you may confer on us; and it may be that in our system of education and in our laws you will discover some things that you will be glad to adopt. It was fit and becoming that you should have made with us your first treaty of intercourse, amity and commerce."   The Korean mission to the U.S. visits lately to see  American civilization and tried to learn and absorb he


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