Foreword by Dr Jongwoo Han

Dr Jongwoo Han, President, Korean War Legacy Foundation; World History Digital Education Foundation

As we approach the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War this year, the history of the United Kingdom’s involvement in the Korean Peninsula can be understood in relation to its traditional role as balancer. In the early twentieth century, the United Kingdom’s policy in Korea involved allying with the United States and Japan to deter Russian expansion southward, while also establishing inroads into the power of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910) by securing harbours between China and Japan. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance from 1902 to 1903 aimed to secure the UK and Japan’s interests in China and Korea, respectively; however, the UK’s strategic interest in this alliance was to deter Russian expansionism, culminating in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905). Great Britain was keenly aware of the geostrategic importance of the Korean Peninsula, mainly in the context of the rivalries among China, Japan and Russia in their tug-of-war over the declining Joseon dynasty...

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