Unequal treaty

Date: 10/01/2019 | Source: Pyongyang Times | Read original version at source

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On January 9 1885, Japan coercively forced the government of the feudal Joson dynasty to conclude the Hansong treaty.

The treaty was also an unequal one like other treaties the Japanese aggressors imposed on Korea before and in the 20th century.

In the latter half of the 19th century, world powers competitively buckled down to gaining control over Korea, which is in an advantageous geopolitical position and rich in natural resources. The Japanese imperialists, in particular, were hell-bent on making a breakthrough in invading the country before others with a wild ambition to conquer and annex Korea.

Just at that time, in 1844, the Korean enlightenment group led by Kim Ok Gyun staged a coup for a bourgeois reform.

The Japanese calculated that if the Koreans succeeded in the reform, their scheme for aggression would fail, so they used nasty tricks to frustrate it, while making overtures to the Korean reformists outwardly as if they supported the reform. No sooner had the coup been launched than the Japanese broke the promise they had made to the enlightenment group, withdrawing their troops who were “mobilized in guarding” the royal palace. As a result, the coup fizzled out in three days.

As the Japanese minister fled from his legation at the time of coup, he burnt it down. But claiming that the “Koreans assaulted and set fire to the legation” and “its residents were killed”, Japan dispatched two battalions and seven warships to Inchon port in January 1885 and demanded the Korean feudal government sign the treaty which stipulated that it should compensate Japan for the “damage” the latter suffered during the coup.

This is how the Hansong treaty was enforced.

The treaty compelled Korea to pay huge “indemnities” and the country got much weaker.

Afterwards, Japan illegally concocted unequal documents one after another that way and finally reduced Korea to its colony.

Out of Japan’s past crimes, the imposition of the treaty is the tip of the iceberg.

The insular country, however, tries to distort and justify its past wrongs, far from making an apology for them.

The history of Japanese aggression against Korea teaches a bitter lesson that weak nations cannot defend their sovereignty and dignity.

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