“The relationship between China and Korea is one of the most important, and least understood, in Asia. With the wisdom and clarity we have come to expect from Westad, this book illuminates the long history of these two neighbors.”
—Rana Mitter, author of China’s Good War
“A timely must-read primer on the China–Korea relationship…and its impact on and implications for our world today.”
—Carter J. Eckert, author of Park Chung Hee and Modern Korea
“Valuable and wide-ranging…As two thousand years of history have shown, China’s role in Korea is a complex one. Westad’s short and stimulating study provides many clues to understanding that relationship.”
—J. E. Hoare, Literary Review
“An insightful and entertaining primer on Korean history over the last 600 years.”
—Popular History Books
Koreans long saw China as a mentor and protector. Chinese culture heavily influenced Korea, whose first written language used Chinese characters, while Confucianism shaped the structure of Korean government. This deep, sometimes fraught, relationship has done more to shape the politics of the region than many realize.
During the Ming Dynasty, Korea agreed to become a vassal of China, in hopes of escaping ruin at the hands of the Mongols. The connection frayed in the nineteenth century, when the Qing, beset by domestic problems, did little to protect Korea from encroaching Western powers or the imperial designs of Meiji Japan. The relationship shifted again in the twentieth century as nationalism, revolution, and war refashioned Asia. Odd Arne Westad lays bare the disastrous impact of the Korean War on the region and offers a keen assessment of Sino–Korean interactions today, including the thorny question of reunification.
The relationship between China and Korea is one of the most important, and least understood, in Asia. With the wisdom and clarity we have come to expect from Westad, this book illuminates the long history of these two neighbors. He tells a story both of closeness brought about by Confucianism and Communism and of prickliness that comes from two fierce and rival nationalisms, providing compelling insights on the future of this volatile partnership.
In this incisive and engaging overview, Westad offers a new framework for understanding China and Korea that weaves their interconnected histories together in a concise, thoughtful way. The themes of ‘empire’ and ‘righteous nation’ offer some excellent insights into both the differences between the two countries and their long, complex relationship.
Westad offers a sweeping historical overview of what is arguably the most important relationship in Asia today, that between China and the Korean Peninsula. How that relationship is managed and plays out in the coming years is central to questions of national and regional interests as well as to global issues of war and peace. Unique in its broad perspective and engagingly written, this is a timely must-read primer on the China–Korea relationship in its longue durée and its impact on and implications for our world today.
A smart and engaging work, with a provocative, sweeping narrative that is a pleasure to read. Anyone interested in Sino–Korean relations and the current standoff on the peninsula would be well advised to start with this book.
Valuable and wide-ranging…As two thousand years of history have shown, China’s role in Korea is a complex one. Westad’s short and stimulating study provides many clues to understanding that relationship.
- 216 pages
- 5-3/8 x 8-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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