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A Translation and Critical Review of Yu Kil-Chun's On Neutrality In Kwan Hwang I. The Translation* In general there are two kinds ofneutrality practiced in international relations: simple neutrality, in time of war, and perpetual (or permanent) neutrality. Simple neutrality is the condition of a state which, in time of war, takes no part in the hostilities. In time of war between two states, the neighboring states can declare a neutral zone beyond which the belligerents cannot cross, and let the two belligerents settle the war between themselves, within their own territorial boundaries. If a neutral state cannot maintain its neutrality, due to its weakness, its neighboring states may offer joint defense for its neutrality. This practice of offering joint defense under extraordinary circumstances is sanctioned by customary international law. Perpetual (or permanent) neutrality, on the other hand, is the status of institutionalized neutrality for a small, weak state whose strategicgeopolitical location may become a security threat to its neighboring states, ifit is not able to maintain its own independence, due to rivalries among the greater powers. Thus, perpetual neutrality is a special international status which is usually brought about by international agreements or conventions between the state-to-be neutralized and a group of other states, in order to collectively protect and guarantee the independence of the neutral state (permanently), both in time ofwar and in time ofpeace. Ifthe neutrality of a state is violated, it is expected that the guarantor states would apply a collective sanction against the violator, in order to preserve the neutrality. At present Belgium and Bulgaria, in Europe, are examples of such neutrality, and several islands in the Black Sea region are designated as neutral zones. As a rule international law recognizes only a sovereign, independent state as eligible to acquire the neutral status. For example, I HWANG Belgium is such a country. However, Bulgaria has established a status of neutrality (autonomy) under the suzerainty of Turkey (the Ottoman Empire), to which it still sends tribute. Several islands in the Black Sea region, which are under the control of other states, also enjoy the status of neutrality. Such practice of informal neutrality is protected by international law. Today, geopolitically speaking, our country (Korea) is situated in the most strategic area in Asia, as Belgium is in Europe. Politically Korea is much like Bulgaria, under Turkey's suzerainty, as it sends tribute to China. But unlike Bulgaria, Korea has established numerous diplomatic and trade relations with other countries as an independent and equal state. However, our country is not similar to Belgium in that it is still under suzerain-vassal relationship with China. In any case, the international political status of our country is similar to that of Belgium and Bulgaria put together. While the perpetual neutrality of Belgium was established by the greater European powers to create a state of equilibrium in Europe as a policy of mutual security, the Bulgarian neutrality (autonomy) came into being as a result ofthe European policy to halt the southward expansionism of the Russian Empire. Viewed in this context, the neutrality of our country of Asia would also serve as a deterrent to the Russian southward movement, and as an instrument for guaranteeing the security ofall the great powers involved in Asia. Russia has vast territory and a large army; she never ceases to expand her domain by swallowing up small countries in Central Asia and enslaving their people on the pretext ofprotecting them. Although it is a well-known fact that, in general, the great powers have a penchant for dominating and absorbing the lesser powers, Russia is most notorious for its flagrant violations of the international code of behavior, for its barbarism, and for its never-ending pursuit of territorial expansion and Russification. Using the religious conflicts among the believers as a pretext, Russia went to war with Turkey and occupied Moldavia and Walachia, expanding its territory into the European sphere of influence. At this juncture the major European powers, namely Great Britain and France, together with other countries, offered joint assistance to Turkey, in order to stop the Russian aggression. Unable to resist the European pressure, and realizing the difficulties of fighting in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1529
Print ISSN
0145-840X
Pages
pp. 1-13
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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