1894, Korean Appeal - Japan

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Foreign Office, Seoul, Korea,
June 24, 1894.


Your Excellency:

            I have the honor to state that I am directed by His Majesty to bring to the notice of the foreign representatives a certain condition of things now existent in this Kingdom, with a view to its being communicated to the several Governments having treaty relations with Korea.

            At this moment the troops of two nations, namely China and Japan, are in occupation of Korean soil. The first, by invitation, to aid in quelling a rebellion; the other, without invitation and against the protest of the Korean Government, but, as represented to me, on account of solicitude for the safety of her own subjects resident here.

            The necessity for the presence of both of these has now ceased. The Chinese authorities, under these circumstances, are now willing to remove their troops from Korean soil, provided Japan will remove hers. But Japan refuses to remove her troops until the Chinese have been removed, and neglects to entertain any proposition for the simultaneous removal of both.

            The presence of a large army in time of peace, the landing of cavalry and artillery, the placing of batteries, and keeping a guard at strategic points after internal quiet is assured is a dangerous precedent for other nations and a menace to the peace and integrity of His Majesty’s realm.

            I respectfully submit to the foreign representatives and their Governments that at a time when Japan and Korea are at peace the presence and holding of Japanese armed troops in Korean territory in extraordinary numbers is not in accordance with the law of nations.

            I am directed by His Majesty to ask that the foreign representatives, being fully acquainted with the facts of the situation, will use their friendly offices, as proffered by treaty, in effecting an amicable solution of the present situation.

            I have, etc.,

Cho Piong-Chik,         
President of the Korean Foreign Office.

[from MacNair, Modern Chinese History: Selected Readings, Vol. 2, p. 523]