Tang China in Multi-Polar Asia
A History of Diplomacy and War
Publication Year: 2013
To cope with external affairs in a tumultuous world, Tang China employed a dual management system that allowed both central and local officials to conduct foreign affairs. The court authorized Tang local administrators to receive foreign visitors, forward their diplomatic letters to the capital, and manage contact with outsiders whose territories bordered on China. Not limited to handling routine matters, local officials used their knowledge of border situations to influence the court’s foreign policy. Some even took the liberty of acting without the court’s authorization when an emergency occurred, thus adding another layer to multipolarity in the region’s geopolitics.
The book also sheds new light on the ideological foundation of Tang China’s foreign policy. Appropriateness, efficacy, expedience, and mutual self-interest guided the court’s actions abroad. Although officials often used “virtue” and “righteousness” in policy discussions and announcements, these terms were not abstract universal principles but justifications for the pursuit of self-interest by those involved. Detailed philological studies reveal that in the realm of international politics, “virtue” and “righteousness” were in fact viewed as pragmatic and utilitarian in nature.
Comprehensive and authoritative, Tang China in Multi-Polar Asia is a major work on Tang foreign relations that will reconceptualize our understanding of the complexities of diplomacy and war in imperial China.
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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...11 September 1994. In this message, he invited me to contribute a chap-ter on Tang Chinaâs external relations to The Cambridge History of China, volume 4: âIâd like you to give your views on reciprocity and the tribu-tary system; some ideas about what countries were important objects of foreign policy at different periods and how their treatment and relation-...
Map of Tang China
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Tang China (Patricia Ebrey, Anne Walthall, and James Palais, East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History [second edition, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, ...
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...907) and its major Asian neighbors. During its almost 290-year course, the Tang experienced often turbulent relations with KoguryÅ, Silla, Paekche, Parhae, the Turks, the Uighurs, the Tibetans, and the Nan-zhao Kingdom, running the gamut from peaceful coexistence to open warfare. Except for the Uighurs, these countries rose to power one after ...
1 Dancing with the Horse Riders: The Tang, the Turks, and the Uighurs
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A duo is a bird of pale yellow feather, with a forked tail and a claw that resembles the foot of a mouse without the hind toe. About the size of a pigeon, this fowl flies in big flocks, cries in a high-pitched tone, migrates south to seek refuge from harsh winters, and returns to its hab-itat in the northern deserts when spring comes.1 This plain-looking bird ...
2 Restoring Lost Glory in Korea: China, Koguryŏ, Silla, Paekche, and Parhae
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China in the early first millennium B.C.E. Later, when China achieved political unification under the Qin Empire in 221 B.C.E. by eliminating various local states, one of those eliminated was the northern State of Yan. Yan bordered on Korea, and, as a result, a large number of Yan refugees fled to Korea. More frequent contact between China and the ...
3 Rearing a Tiger in the Backyard: China and the Nanzhao Kingdom
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Yunnan province lived a large number of tribes.1 For centuries, tribes in the remote western and southern regions had been beyond the reach of Chinese power, but those in eastern Yunnan, whose borders neighbored China, came into contact with China as early as the Han dynasty. Chi-nese sources referred to these tribes as either âWhite Aboriginesâ ...
4 Contesting the Western Regions and the High Grasslands: China and Tibet
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...where they tilled the land and raised livestock for a living. The origins and the language of these people, however, remain unclear.1 The early history of Tibet itself is largely a mystery, though it is known that there had been thirty rulers before the seventh century who governed the pres-ent-day Zedang and Qiongjie region. When Qizong Nongzan (Khri sroá¹ ...
5 Driving a Wagon with Two Horses: Dual Management of External Relations under the Tang
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...neighbors and remote countries. For better management of Chinaâs ex-ternal relations, the Tang court adopted a dual management system that involved both central and local officials in information gathering, decision making, and policy implementation. This unique practice dif-fered sharply from the strict central control that characterizes modern ...
6 Seeking Policy Appropriate to a Changing World: Diplomatic and Foreign Policy Thought under the Tang
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In its nearly 290-year history, the Tang dynasty related to very different types of neighbors, ranging from the peaceful to the outright hostile. To create an international environment conducive to Tangâs ex-istence and development, Tang emperors often sought inspiration and substantiation for their actions from the rich legacy of antiquity. This ...
Conclusion: Multi-Polarity in Asia and Appropriateness in Tang Foreign Policy
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The history of Tang Chinaâs external relations provides ample evidence of Asiaâs shift toward a multi-polar world. In this world, Tang China remained a formidable but not the dominant power. The gaps between Tang China and the rest of Asia were shrinking, and power re-lations in Asia ceased to be zero-sum games. In the face of these pro-...
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Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: World of East Asia