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By Seung-young Kim

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Extra resources for American Diplomacy and Strategy toward Korea and Northeast Asia, 1882 - 1950 and After: Perception of Polarity and US Commitment to a Periphery

Sample text

It looked for strategic partners that could share its defense burdens in such regions as the Far East, the Western Hemisphere, and the Persian Gulf. In the Far East, Britain concluded the alliance with Japan in January 1902 so that the combined fleet of Britain and Japan could remain superior to the Russian and French fleet. 2 Faced with the conclusion of the Anglo-Japanese alliance in 1902, France and Russia also announced that their alliance in Europe extended to the Far East. France, however, remained reluctant to become embroiled in the conflict in the Far East when the German threat was rising in Europe and collaboration with Britain became more important than ever.

Thus, from August to December of 1903, a series of diplomatic notes were exchanged to designate the spheres of influence over Korea and Manchuria. But the demands of both sides ran in parallel. 12 Russian replies were frequently delayed due to the tsar’s holiday keeping and the illness of the empress. But such delays were perceived in Japan as a show of condescension toward the negotiation and as a tactic to secure more time to prepare for war. While such delays continued, the prowar voices became consolidated among Japanese army officers, senior statesmen, and the public opinion.

33 In fact, the US stance during the war was as good as pro-Japan neutrality, though Washington announced strict neutrality throughout the war. In the early stages of the war, Japan could launch an attack on Chinese forces after being assured that the United States would not join a joint intervention by Western powers. Later, during the Shimonoseki negotiation to settle the terms of peace, Japan was again encouraged by the benevolent neutrality of the United States. 35 Such a policy of the United States reflected its tradition of nonintervention in Asian affairs and its efforts to strengthen a friendly Asian power, that is, Japan.

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