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Distancing All Around: Post-Ming China Realpolitik in Seventeenth-Century Korea


During the Ming-Qing transition period, Chosŏn Korea (1392–1910) tried to articulate geopolitical change on its own terms by prioritizing state security. The way the Chosŏn court and ruling elites responded to the Revolt of Wu Sangui (1673–1681) and its aftereffects offers a snapshot of their accommodationist strategy for survival. This article explores how the court and elites maintained a policy of noninvolvement in association with domestic stability for social integration and self-strengthening for border defense. The author reveals the way the Chosŏn court and ruling elites handled the ongoing unexpected situations caused by Qing China, the anti-Qing force, and the Mongols. This approach helps contextualize the links between the realpolitik of Chosŏn and the longue durée of Pax Manjurica, Pax Mongolica, and Pax Sinica and promotes further inquiry into the international relations of East Asia from a transhistorical perspective. Keywords: Chosŏn-Ming alliance, Ming loyalism, Mongols, realpolitik, Revolt of Wu Sangui, state security, Qing dynasty

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