Gyorin (lit. "neighborly relations") was a neo-Confucian term developed in Joseon Korea. The term was intended to identify and characterize a diplomatic policy which establishes and maintains amicable relations with neighboring states. It was construed and understood in tandem with a corollary term, which was the sadae or "serving the great" policy towards Imperial China.[1]

교린 정책
Revised Romanizationkyorin chŏngch'aek
McCune–Reischauergyorin jeongchaek

Confucian learning contributed in the formation of gyorin and sadae as ritual, conceptual and normative frameworks for construing interactions and political decision-making.[2]

Multi-national foreign policyEdit

The rationale expressed by gyorin was applied to a multi-national foreign policy.[3] Scholarly writing about the Joseon dynasty has tended to focus on diplomatic relations with China and Japan, but the intermediary nature of gyorin contacts—for example, Joseon-Ryukyuan diplomatic and trading contacts—were important as well.[4] Envoys from the Ryūkyū Kingdom were received by Taejo of Joseon in 1392, 1394 and 1397. Siam sent an envoy to Taejo's court in 1393.[5]

The long-term, strategic gyorin policy played out in bilateral diplomacy and trade dealings with Jurchen, Japan, Ryūkyū Kingdom, Siam and others.[6] Over time, diplomatic and trade policies were perceived by Joseon's partners as the traditional door through which trends in neo-Confucian philosophical principles were recognized.[7]

The Joseon kingdom made every effort to maintain a friendly bilateral relationship with China for reasons having to do with both realpolitik and a more idealist Confucian worldview wherein China was seen as the center of a Confucian moral universe.[8] Joseon diplomacy was no less aware and sensitive to realpolitik in the implementation of gyorin policy.

The unique nature of gyorin bilateral diplomatic exchanges evolved from a conceptual framework developed by the Chinese. Gradually, the theoretical models would be modified, mirroring the evolution of a unique relationship.[9]

See alsoEdit