China–Korea Treaty of 1882

The China–Korea Treaty of 1882 (Chinese: 中朝商民水陸貿易章程; Korean: 조청상민수륙무역장정) was unequal treaty between the Qing dynasty and the Joseon dynasty[1][failed verification][2] in October 1882.[3] This agreement has been described as the Joseon-Qing Communication and Commerce Rules;[2] and it has been called the Sino-Korean Regulations for Maritime and Overland Trade.[3] The treaty stipulated that Joseon is a tributary state of Qing, thereby the subjugative influence over Joseon by the Qing Dynasty was started.[4][5][failed verification][6][failed verification][7][failed verification][8][failed verification][9][excessive citations] After 1894, Qing lost its influence over Joseon because of the First Sino-Japanese War.[9]

In October, the two countries signed a treaty stipulating that Korea was dependent on China and granted Chinese merchants the right to conduct overland and maritime business freely within its borders. It also gave the Chinese advantages over the Japanese and Westerners and granted them unilateral extraterritoriality privileges in civil and criminal cases.[6] Under the treaty, the number of Chinese merchants and traders significantly increased, a severe blow to Korean merchants.[7] Although it allowed Koreans reciprocally to trade in Beijing, the agreement was not a treaty but was in effect issued as a regulation for a tributary.[8] Additionally, during the following year, the Chinese supervised the creation of a Korean Maritime Customs Service, headed by von Möllendorff.[8] Korea was became to a semi-colonial tributary state of China with King Gojong unable to appoint diplomats without Chinese approval,[7][failed verification] and with troops stationed in the country to protect Chinese interests. [nb 1]


In 1876, Korea established a trade treaty with Japan after Japanese ships approached Ganghwado. Treaty negotiations with several Western countries were made possible by the completion of this initial Japanese overture.[10]

In 1882, the Americans concluded a treaty and established diplomatic relations,[11] which served as a template for subsequent negotiations with other Western powers.

Two weeks after the United States–Korea Treaty of 1882, a military revolt called Imo Incident occurred in Seoul. The soldiers occupied Changdeok Palace, and the Korean government asked for military help from China. The revolt was suppressed by Chinese troops. After the incident, Chinese political influence over Korea started.[9]

Treaty provisionsEdit

The Chinese and Koreans negotiated and approved a multi-article treaty with provisions affecting Korean diplomatic relations with Western nations.[12]

The Joseon-Qing Communication and Commerce Rules sought to mitigate the effects of increased diplomatic intercourse and expanded commercial relations with Western powers. The negotiated agreement caused unintended consequences.[2]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ An American historian stated that " the Chinese government began to turn its former tributary state into a semi-colony and its policy toward Korea substantially changed to a new imperialistic one where the suzerain state demanded certain privileges in her vassal state."[6]


  1. ^ Seunghoon Han (2018-02-11). "The Endeavour to Revise Unequal Treaties in East Asia in the Early 1880s-". international journal of Korean history.
  2. ^ a b c Moon, Myungki. "Korea-China Treaty System in the 1880s and the Opening of Seoul: Review of the Joseon-Qing Communication and Commerce Rules," Archived 2011-10-05 at the Wayback Machine Journal of Northeast Asian History, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Dec 2008), pp. 85–120.
  3. ^ a b Chu, Samuel C. (1994). Li Hung-chang and China's Early Modernization, p. 183., p. 183, at Google Books
  4. ^ Mitani Hiroshi (三谷博) (2016-01-18). グローバル化への対応-中・日・韓三国の分岐- (PDF) (in Japanese). Statistical Research Society. Statistical Research Society Journal No. 1 (統計研究会『学際』第1号)
  5. ^ Harada Damaki (原田環) (2005-06-12). 東アジアの国際関係とその近代化-朝鮮と- (PDF) (in Japanese). The Japan-Korea cultural foundation. Joint Research Report on Japan-Korea History No. 1 (日韓歴史共同研究報告書 -第1期-)
  6. ^ a b c Duus 1998, p. 54.
  7. ^ a b c Kim 2012, p. 293.
  8. ^ a b c Seth 2011, p. 237.
  9. ^ a b c Lin 2014, pp. 69–71.
  10. ^ Kim, Chun-gil. (2005). The History of Korea, pp. 107–108., p. 107, at Google Books
  11. ^ Yŏng-ho Ch'oe et al. (2000). Sources of Korean Tradition, p. 235, p. 235, at Google Books; excerpt, "Korea signed a similar accord with the United States (the Treaty of Chelump'o, 1882) that was followed by similar agreements with other Western nations;" Korean Mission to the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, Washington, D.C., 1921–1922. (1922). Korea's Appeal to the Conference on Limitation of Armament, p. 29., p. 29, at Google Books; excerpt, "Treaty and Diplomatic Relations Between the United States and Korea. Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation dated May 22, 1882."
  12. ^ Korean Mission p. 32., p. 32, at Google Books; ; excerpt, "Treaty and Diplomatic Relations Between the United States and Korea. China's Claims Of Suzerainty Over Korea"; excerpt, "The position assumed by [China] toward Korea since contracting the treaty with it in 1882 has in no wise been affected by recent events. Korea's treaty independence since then has been for us an established and accepted fact."


  • Chu, Samuel C. (1994). Li Hung-chang and China's Early Modernization. Armonk, New York: Sharpe. ISBN 1-56324-242-7 (hc); ISBN 1-56324-458-6 (pb); OCLC 246962919
  • Kim, Chun-gil. (2005). The History of Korea. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-33296-7 (hc); ISBN 0-313-36053-7 (pb); OCLC 56481552
  • Duus, Peter (1998). The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-92090-3.
  • Kim, Jinwung (2012). A History of Korea: From "Land of the Morning Calm" to States in Conflict. New York: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-00024-8.
  • Seth, Michael J. (2011). A History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-742-56715-3.
  • Lin, Ming-te (8 December 2014), "Li Hung-chang's Suzerain Policy toward Korea, 1882-1894", Chinese Studies in History, 24 (4): 69–96, doi:10.2753/CSH0009-4633240469
  • Korean Mission to the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, Washington, D.C., 1921–1922. (1922). Korea's Appeal to the Conference on Limitation of Armament. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office. OCLC 12923609
  • Yŏng-ho Ch'oe; William Theodore De Bary; Martina Deuchler and Peter Hacksoo Lee. (2000). Sources of Korean Tradition: Volume Two: From the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Centuries. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12030-3 (hc); ISBN 0-231-12031-1 (pb); OCLC 490642365