Korean Emperor’s Attempts to Maintain the Independence of Korea after the Forcible Establishment of a Protectorate by Japan

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of Oriental Studies RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameISTORIYA

This article discusses the attempts of Korean Emperor Kojong, who was captured by the Japanese after the forced abdication and the forcible establishment of a protectorate over Korea, to draw the attention of great powers and international public opinion to the fate of the Korean state. The initial principles of historical science are applied, namely: the principle of historicism, an objective view of historical phenomena and a comparative historical analysis of events and facts. The article describes in detail the attempts of the Korean emperor to emphasize the independent status of Korea, the struggle against the protectorate forcibly imposed on Korea, the agreement on the establishment of which he never signed, his search for an opportunity to show his personal independence. Kojong’s attempts to bring forward the issue of the Japanese’s actions to Korea and the decision of the future fate of the state entrusted to him for consideration by the international court, in particular, the Hague Conference, are highlighted. Appeals of people close to the emperor to the Russian representative. The position of Russian diplomats on the timeliness of raising the issue of Korean independence at a conference in The Hague is shown. For the first time, the history of the trip to The Hague in April 1907 to the 2nd Peace Conference of the Plenipotentiaries of the Korean Emperor, to speak out exposing the actions of Japanese imperialism in defense of the sovereignty of Korea, announcing to representatives of the powers that the treaty on November 17, 1905 was imposed on Korea and that the Korean government wants to restore direct diplomatic relations with foreign states. The reasons for not allowing Korean delegates to participate in the conference are analyzed. The article shows their exposure to Japanese aggression in Korea at a meeting of the international pacifist club. The author highlights the reaction of the Japanese authorities to the arrival and appearance of Korean delegates in The Hague and the use by the Japanese government of the Hague incident as an pretext to overthrow Kojong. The main steps of Japan on the path to the final annexation of Korea have been recreated: the imposition on July 24, 1907 of Korea of the “Treaty of Seven Articles”, the text of which was signed by Ito Hirobumi, and Li Wangyong, transferring control of the entire Korean legislative and executive power to the Japanese general and the destruction of the Korean army, the last bastion of Korean independence.

KeywordsV. N. Lamsdorf, G. A. Planson, Korean emperor Kojon, Ito Hirobumi, treaty of protectorate November 17, 1905, treaty of seven articles, sovereignty of Korea, Korean delegation at the Hague Peace Conference in 1905, annexation
AcknowledgmentThe research was carried out at the expense of a grant from the Russian science Foundation (grant no.19-18-00017 “Problems of the historical past in Japan's relations with East Asian countries and Russia. Lesson for Russia”).
Publication date14.12.2020
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