Is the enemy of my ally also an ally? The mystery of “two sided alliances” of ancient Korean Peninsula countries

CAO Wei1 YANG Yuan2

(1.Department of International Politics, University of International Relations)
(2.Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Science)

【Abstract】Even it is not inconceivable that a state concurrently forms alliances with two states that are hostile towards one another; it is difficult to understand the conditions under which this might occur. However, such phenomenon can be found in ancient East Asia on the Korean Peninsula, where both Joseon and Goryeo both entered simultaneously into alliances with two antagonistic countries, which are also the first and second most powerful states of that time. In order to decipher the mystery, this article takes the principle of supply and demand as a starting point for identifying general mechanism whereby a small state might form alliances with two mutually competitive great powers. First, the small state should have at least two critical needs which cannot be satisfied on its own, and the two great powers (either subjectively or objectively) can each respectively satisfy only one of these needs. Second, there should be a stalemate between the two powers, such that neither feels confident to challenge the other. As the central members of the ancient East Asia tributary system, both Goryeo and Joseon relied on external security assurance from great powers, while at the same time the legitimacy of their regime also almost completely derived from recognition and honor conferred by the Han nationality’s Dynasties. With the rise of north nomadic regimes as great powers in the system, the security assurance and the political legitimacy were separately provided by different great powers. As strategic stalemate occurred between the great powers, the so-called “two sided alliances” began to emerge. The existence of such “two sided alliances” reflects the diversity of interstate dynamics and has provocative implications for possible modes of power competition between great powers.

【Keywords】 great power collective governance; alliance formation; two-side diplomatic policy; two sided alliances; hedging;

【DOI】

【Funds】 Youth Project of National Social Science Foundation (15CGJ028)

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    [83]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol.3. Under the fourth year of emperor Chengzong’s regime. [^Back]

    [84]. ② Ibid. [^Back]

    [85]. Liaoshi (辽史), Under the 1st year of emperor Shengzong’s regime. [^Back]

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    [91]. Xu Zizhitongjian Changbian (续资治通鉴长编), Vol.16. 6th of March in the lunar calendar under the 8th year of Emperor Taizu’s regime (975 AD) of the Northern Song Dynasty. [^Back]

    [92]. ⑩ In 975 AD Liao gave military assistance to the state of North Han and was defeated by Song in the end, which led to the severing of diplomatic ties between Song and Liao. Please refer to Jiang, F., et al. History of Relations between China and South Korea (Ancient Times) (中韩关系史(古代卷)), 157. [^Back]

    [93]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 3. Under the 5th year of emperor Chengzong’s regime. [^Back]

    [94]. ② Although it was not illustrated in Gaolishi (高丽史) and Liaoshi (辽史) that Liao made peace with Goryeo in the spring of 986 AD, it formed the alliances between Liao and Goryeo in reality. Firstly, Liao launched the first war against Goryeo at the excuse that Goguryeo and Silla used to be tributes of Liao and were finally conquered and unified by Goryeo, so Goryeo launched invasions first. Besides, after Goryeo entered into alliances with Liao, it still payed allegiance to Song that was on the other side of Yellow Sea. If Goryeo cedes territory to Liao for compensation, Liao and Goryeo could end the war and still be allies. In other words, alliance with the Northern Song Dynasty was the main reason for this invasion. And if both parties did not establish tributary relation based upon relative agreements in 986 AD, then Liao’s excuse for expedition against Goryeo could not make sense. And Goryeo’s delegate disproved that Liao’s provincial capital Dongjing was also located within Goryeo and how could that be considered as Liao’s invasion against Goryeo? And he tactically avoided mentioning the tributary relation between Goryeo and Song. What’s more, Goryeo respectively called Liao as suzerain, which indicates their affiliation relation and difference in status. Secondly, before Liao invaded Goryeo in AD 993, in May, Jurchens had told Goryeo about it, while Goryeo did not take it too seriously and made no preparation for wars, which suggested that an agreement of non-invasion was signed before. Finally, their alliance could also be proved by the fact that after both countries made peace in AD 986, and then the Northern Song Dynasty demanded Goryeo to give military assistance in the Northern Expedition of Emperor Taizong (Expedition of 986), while in fact Goryeo did not follow the order. Please refer to Gaolishi Jieyao (高丽史节要), Vol. 2. Under the 12th year of emperor Chengzong’s regime; Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 94, Xuxizhuan (徐熙传); Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 3; Jiang, F., et al. History of Relations between China and South Korea(Ancient Times) (中韩关系史 (古代卷)), 161. [^Back]

    [95]. ③ Songshi (宋史), Vol. 487, Gaolizhuan (高丽传). [^Back]

    [96]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 3. Under the 9th year of emperor Chengzong’s regime. [^Back]

    [97]. ⑤ Yang, Z. & He, T. China----Relations with the Korean Peninsula (中国——朝鲜·韩国关系史) (Volume One), pp.224. [^Back]

    [98]. ⑥ Wars and Peace Negotiation with Khitan. Songshi Jishi Benmo (宋史纪事本末), Vol.13. [^Back]

    [99]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 3. Under the 13th year of emperor Chengzong’s regime. [^Back]

    [100]. ② Songshi (宋史), Vol. 487, Gaolizhuan (高丽传). [^Back]

    [101]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 9. Under the 32th year of Wengzong ‘s regime. [^Back]

    [102]. ④ Songshi (宋史), Vol. 487, Gaolizhuan (高丽传). [^Back]

    [103]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 9. Under the 33th year of Wengzong’s regime. [^Back]

    [104]. ⑥ Ibid. [^Back]

    [105]. ① Songshi (宋史), Vol. 487, Gaolizhuan (高丽传). [^Back]

    [106]. Xu Zizhitongjian Changbian (续资治通鉴长编), Vol. 150, 25th of June in the 4th year under the reign of emperor Qingli (1044 AD). [^Back]

    [107]. ③ Yang, Z. & He, T. China----Relations with the Korean Peninsula (中国——朝鲜·韩国关系史) (Volume One), pp.352. [^Back]

    [108]. ① Li, C., et al. (eds.) History of Joseon (朝鲜通史), Vol. 2., 96. [^Back]

    [109]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 8. The 8th year under the reign of emperor Munjong of Goryeo. [^Back]

    [110]. ③ Songshi (宋史), Vol. 487, Gaolizhuan (高丽传). [^Back]

    [111]. ④ Ibid. [^Back]

    [112]. ⑤ Ibid. [^Back]

    [113]. ⑥ Ibid. [^Back]

    [114]. ⑦ Yang, Z. & He, T. China----Relations with the Korean Peninsula (中国——朝鲜·韩国关系史) (Volume One), 229. [^Back]

    [115]. ⑧ Jiang, F., et al. History of Relations between China and South Korea (Ancient Times) (中韩关系史 (古代卷)), 178. [^Back]

    [116]. ⑨ Some scholars maintain that Liao did not interfere with Song and Goryeo resuming diplomatic relations for the following two reasons. Firstly, Goryeo still derived its regime from the recognition and honor conferred by Liao; secondly, Song’s foreign policy towards Goryeo was flexible and pragmatic, namely, the Northern Song admitted the legitimacy of Liao’s conferment on Goryeo. Please refer to Wei, Z. in Chen, S. (ed). Confucianism and Traditional Sino-Korean Relations (儒家文明与中韩传统关系). Shandong University Press. 77–78 (2008). However, Song admitted Liao’s conferment as early as AD 994 when Liao conferred the regime legitimacy on Goryeo for the first time. In AD 1071, when Song and Goryeo recovered their tributary relation, such flexible foreign policies of the Northern Song are actually a constant instead of a variable. [^Back]

    [117]. ⑩ Wei, Z. in Chen, S. (ed.). Confucianism and Traditional Sino-Korean Relations (儒家文明与中韩传统关系),78. [^Back]

    [118]. ① The tribal leader of Jianzhou Jurchens, Nurhaci, established the regime of Jin in 1616, which is called the state of late Jin in history. In 1636, Nurhaci’s son Hong Taiji changed the title Jin into Qing. In this case, its time span covers both Jin and Qing. For an easy illustration, unless specifically mentioned, the author will use the state of Late Jin to refer to both Jin and Qing. [^Back]

    [119]. ② Yang, Z. & He, T. China----Relations with the Korean Peninsula (中国——朝鲜·韩国关系史) (Volume two). Tianjin People’s Publishing House. 2001,pp.352. [^Back]

    [120]. ③ Chen, S. in Collection of Thesis on the Third International Seminar of Korean Traditional Culture. Shandong University Press. 924 (1999). [^Back]

    [121]. ④ Sun, W. The Great Ming Dynasty and the Concept of Small Chinese Nation (大明旗号与小中华意识), 61. [^Back]

    [122]. ① Some scholars hold that Joseon’s adjacency to the county Liaodong drove its rulers to attach great importance to changes in Liaodong. Under the restriction of Ming’s tributary system and Joseon’s gratitude towards Ming’s favor in the War of 1592 against Japanese troops, Joseon still served Ming with great honor and courtesy although Ming’s troops were defeated for many times in the wars against Late Jin. And that indicates the diplomatic ideas of Joseon’s emperors and officials were greatly influenced by the concept of righteousness between the monarch and his ministers in Neo-Confucianism, which was spread to Joseon since the Yuan Dynasty. Please refer to Wei, Z. Social Science Front (社会科学战线), (5): 136 (2007). [^Back]

    [123]. ② Li, S. Songliao Journal (松辽学刊) 76–78; Wang, Y. in Chen, S. (ed.). Confucianism and Traditional Sino-Korean Relations (儒家文明与中韩传统关系), 209–219. [^Back]

    [124]. Mingyingzong Shilu (明英宗实录), Vol. 302. 17th of April in the third year under the emperor Yingzong’s reign (1459). [^Back]

    [125]. Lichao Renzu Shilu (李朝仁祖实录). In the first year under Injo’s reign (1623). [^Back]

    [126]. Mingxizong Shilu (明熹宗实录), Vol. 42. 30th of December in the 3rd year under the emperor Xizong’s reign (1623). [^Back]

    [127]. Lichao Renzu Shilu (李朝仁祖实录). 11th of March and 4th of April under the first year of Injo’s regime (1623). [^Back]

    [128]. Lichao Renzu Shilu (李朝仁祖实录). 28th of April under the first year of Injo’s regime (1623); please refer to Shi, S. in Chen, S. (ed.). Confucianism and Traditional Sino-Korean Relations (儒家文明与中韩传统关系), 230. [^Back]

    [129]. ③ In recent years, historians have a positive opinion of Gwanghaegun. Most of them contend that two sided alliances played a significant role in delaying Late Jin’s invasion in the situation of that time and effectively protected Joseon’s national interests. However, this ruler protected his country though, he could not defend his throne, which further testifies the particularity and importance of the source where Joseon’s regime legitimacy comes. [^Back]

    [130]. Lichao Renzu Shilu (李朝仁祖实录). 12th of February in the fifth year under the Injo’s regime (1627). [^Back]

    [131]. Lichao Renzu Shilu (李朝仁祖实录). 12th of February in the fifth year under the Injo’s regime (1627). [^Back]

    [132]. ⑥ In 1636, Emperor Hong Taiji changed the title of reigning dynasty from Late Jin to Qing. [^Back]

    [133]. ⑦ Hwang Gyeongwon in Institution of Korean Traditional Culture (ed.) Series of Korean Collected Works. Traditional Culture Press. Vol. 225, 81 (1999). [^Back]

    [134]. Qingtaizong Shilu (清太宗实录). 2nd year under the reign of emperor Tazong (1637). [^Back]

    [135]. Lichao Yingzu Shilu (李朝英祖实录). 22nd of February in the 25th year under the emperor Yieongjo’s regime (1748). [^Back]

    [136]. ② For instance, in 1643, Joseon Injo gave a secret order to the state council, the reign title of Qing could not be used in religious eulogies and invitations because we should be honest with gods. And in the next year, we should directly inform Qing that we could not betray the Ming Dynasty and the reign title of Ming’s emperor Chongzhen will be used in all the religious eulogies and government documents of Joseon, which complies with the neo-Confucianism. Please refer to Lichao Renzu Shilu (李朝仁祖实录). 16th of January in the 16th year under the emperor Yieongjo’s regime (1739). [^Back]

    [137]. ③ In 1638 AD when Qing led troops to invade Ming, all the navy force of Joseon that Qing deployed arrived late. In 1640 AD, troops of Qing besieged county Jinzhou and ordered Joseon to deploy 5,000 navy troops and transport more than 10,000 dan of food to the front-line; however, most of the ships sent by Joseon sank and did not arrived at the frontline. Please refer to Yang, Z. & He, T. China----Relations with the Korean Peninsula (中国——朝鲜·韩国关系史) (Volume Two), pp.585-592; Li, S(ed). History of Northeast China in Qing Dynasty (Volume Two). Jilin Literature and History Press. 1990, pp.205, 343; Jiang, F., et al. History of Relations between China and South Korea (Ancient Times) (中韩关系史 (古代卷)), 307–308. [^Back]

    [138]. ④ Shi, S. in Chen, S. (ed.). Confucianism and Traditional Sino-South Korean Relations (儒家文明与中韩传统关系), 230. [^Back]

    [139]. ⑤ Jiang, L. History of Relations among China, Korea and Japan in Qing Dynasty (清朝中朝日关系史). Jilin Literature and History Press, 12–13 (2006). [^Back]

    [140]. ⑥ Jiang, F., et al. History of Relations between China and South Korea (Ancient Times) (中韩关系史 (古代卷)), 299. [^Back]

    [141]. Lichao Renzu Shilu (李朝仁祖实录). 30th and 13th of 2nd month. [^Back]

    [142]. ① Jiang, F., et al. History of Relations between China and South Korea (Ancient Times) (中韩关系史 (古代卷)), 305–306. [^Back]

    [143]. ② Jeon Hae-jong. in Jeon Hae-jong (ed). Collection of Sino-Korean Historical Relations, 73. [^Back]

    [144]. Lichao Xuanzu Shilu (李朝宣祖实录). 4th of September in the 37th year and 13th of August in the 38th year under the emperor Seonjo’s reign. [^Back]

    [145]. ④ Wang, Y. In Chen, S. (ed.) Confucianism and Traditional Sino-Korean Relations (儒家文明与中韩传统关系), 209–219. [^Back]

    [146]. Lichao Xuanzu Shilu (李朝宣祖实录). 6th of February in the 42th year under the emperor Seonjo’s regime. [^Back]

    [147]. Guanghaijun Riji (光海君日记). 17th of October in the 2nd year under the emperor Gwanghaegun’s reign. [^Back]

    [148]. Guanghaijun Riji (光海君日记). 12th of April in the 10th year under the emperor Gwanghaegun’s regime. [^Back]

    [149]. Guanghaijun Riji (光海君日记). 10th of April and 25th of May in the 10th year under the emperor Gwanghaegun’s regime. [^Back]

    [150]. Qingtaizong Shilu (清太宗实录). 13th of January in the first year under the emperor Taizong’s regime. [^Back]

    [151]. ② Yang, Z. & He, T. China----Relations with the Korean Peninsula (中国——朝鲜·韩国关系史) (Volume Two), pp.500. [^Back]

    [152]. Lichao Xuanzu Shilu (李朝宣祖实录). October in the 34th year under emperor Seonjo’s reign. [^Back]

    [153]. ④ Jiang, L. et al. History of Relations among China, Korea and Japan in Qing Dynasty (清代中朝日关系史), 19–21; Jiang, F. et al. History of Relations between China and South Korea (Ancient Times) (中韩关系史 (古代卷)), 300. [^Back]

    [154]. ⑤ Yang, Z. & He, T. China----Relations with the Korean Peninsula (中国——朝鲜·韩国关系史) (Volume II), 500. [^Back]

    [155]. Guanghaijun Riji (光海君日记). April 2nd in the 11th year under the emperor Gwanghaegun’s reign. [^Back]

    [156]. ⑦ Gwanghaegun was the second son of emperor Seonjo, who intended to crown Gwanghaegun instead of the first-born Imhaegun. However, the Ming Dynasty insisted to the principle of Crowning the first-born prince and did not approve of Seonjo’s decision. After emperor Seonjo passed away and Gwanghaegun informed Ming of the death of Seonjo as Joseon’s de facto ruler. Then Ming was reluctant to announce that they permit Gwanghaegun to ascend the throne in consideration of Joseon’s benefits and convenience. Please refer to Mingshi (明史), 320, Chaoxian Zhuan (朝鲜传); Mingshenzong Shilu (明神宗实录), Vol. 451. 17th of October in the 36th year under the emperor Shenzong’s regime. [^Back]

    [157]. Qingtaizu Shilu (清太祖实录). 17th of October in the 4th year under the emperor Taizu’s reign. [^Back]

    [158]. Qingtaizu Shilu (清太祖实录). 11th of March in the 4th year under the emperor Taizu’s reign. [^Back]

    [159]. ② Zhu, Y. & Wang, Y. in Chen, S. (ed.) Confucianism and Traditional Sino-Korean Relations (儒家文明与中韩传统关系), 204. [^Back]

    [160]. ③ Yang, Z. & He, T. China----Relations with the Korean Peninsula (中国——朝鲜·韩国关系史) (Volume Two), pp.501. [^Back]

    [161]. ④ Wei, Z. Social Science Front (社会科学战线), (5): 132 (2007). [^Back]

    [162]. ⑤ Jiang, L. et al. History of Relations among China, Korea and Japan in Qing Dynasty (清代中朝日关系史), 33. [^Back]

    [163]. Guanghaijun Riji (光海君日记). 18th of April in the 11th year under the emperor Gwanghaegun’s reign. [^Back]

    [164]. Lichao Renzu Shilu (李朝仁祖实录). 6th of February in the fifth year under the reign of Injo (1627). [^Back]

    [165]. Lichao Renzu Shilu (李朝仁祖实录). 8th of February in the fifth year under the reign of Injo (1627). [^Back]

    [166]. ⑨ Jiang, F. et al. History of Relations between China and South Korea (Ancient Times) (中韩关系史 (古代卷)), 304. [^Back]

    [167]. ⑩ Zhu, Y. & Wang, Y. in Chen, S. (ed.) Confucianism and Traditional Sino-Korean Relations (儒家文明与中韩传统关系),, 205. [^Back]

    [168]. Chongzhen Changbian (崇祯长编). 6th of September in the 7th year under the emperor Chongzhen’s reign. [^Back]

    [169]. Qingtaizong Shilu (清太宗实录). 5th of March in the first year under emperor Taizong’s reign. [^Back]

    [170]. Lichao Renzu Shilu (李朝仁祖实录). 27th of June under the 1st year of Injo’s regime (1623). [^Back]

    [171]. Qingtaizong Shilu (清太宗实录). 5th of January in the 2nd year under the emperor Taizong’s reign. [^Back]

    [172]. ① Jiang, F. et al. History of Relations between China and South Korea (Ancient Times) (中韩关系史 (古代卷)), 183. [^Back]

    [173]. ② Li, C., et al. (ed.) History of Joseon (朝鲜通史), Vol. 2, 89–91. [^Back]

    [174]. ③ Some scholars maintain that Goryeo did not take any action long after Liao requested Goryeo to send its military force mainly because: Goryeo submitted to Liao, but their tributary relation was built under the military deterrence and suppression, so Goryeo had grievance towards Liao. Please refer to Jiang, F. et al. History of Relations between China and South Korea (Ancient Times) (中韩关系史 (古代卷)), 184. [^Back]

    [175]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol.14, Shijia (世家). In the 11th year under the emperor Ruizong’s reign (1115). [^Back]

    [176]. Songshi (宋史), Vol. 487, Gaoli Zhuan (高丽传) . [^Back]

    [177]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 14. Shijia (世家), in the 11th year under the emperor Ruizong’s reign (1115). [^Back]

    [178]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 15, Shijia (世家), In the 4th year under the emperor Renzong’s reign (1547).. [^Back]

    [179]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 15, Shijia (世家), In the 4th year under the emperor Renzong’s reign (1547). [^Back]

    [180]. ② Ibid. [^Back]

    [181]. ③ The strategy wait and see is the so-called hedging in modern theories on international relations. [^Back]

    [182]. ④ Jiang, F. et al. History of Relations between China and South Korea (Ancient Times) (中韩关系史 (古代卷)), 200. [^Back]

    [183]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 15, Shijia (世家), in the 9th year under the emperor Renzong’s reign (1552). [^Back]

    [184]. Gaolishi (高丽史), Vol. 17, Shijia (世家), in the 20th year under the emperor Renzong’s reign (1563). [^Back]

    [185]. ⑦ Yang, Z. & He, T. China—Relations with the Korean Peninsula (中国——朝鲜·韩国关系史) Vol. 1, pp.219. [^Back]

    [186]. ① With regard to the differences of ontology and epistemology between the social science and the natural science, please refer to Xie, Y. Sociological Methodology and Quantitative Research (社会学方法与定量研究). Social Sciences Academic Press, 29–39 (2006). [^Back]

    [187]. ② Please refer to Paul R. Hensel, “Territory: Theory and Evidence on Geography and Conflict”, in John A. Vasquez, ed., What Do We Know About War? Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield, 2000, pp. 57–84; Paul K. Huth, “Territory: Why are Territorial Disputes between States a Central Cause of International Conflict?” in John A. Vasquez, ed., What Do We Know About War? pp. 85–110; Dominic D. P. Johnson & Monica Duffy Toft, “Grounds for War: The Evolution of Territorial Conflict”, International Security, Vol. 38, No. 3, 2013/2014, pp.7–38. [^Back]

    [188]. ③ The author has a preliminary discussion about the generating mechanism and main features of powers’ co-governing mode under the bi-polar system. Please refer to Yang, Y. & Cao, W. World Economics and Politics (世界经济与政治). (8): 29–65 (2015). [^Back]

This Article

ISSN:1007-161X

CN: 11-3706/C

Vol , No. 05, Pages 49-87+157-158

October 2015

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Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Literature review
  • 3 Generation mechanism of two sided alliances
  • 4 Two sided alliances of Goryeo with the Northern Song and the Liao State
  • 5 Joseon’s two sided alliances with the Ming Dynasty and the state of Late Jin
  • 6 Reverse cases of the two sided alliances mechanism
  • 7 Conclusion
  • Footnote