While the international community recognized Japan as a dominant foreign power in Korea following Japan’s victory in the Russo-Japanese War, it was not an easy task, in terms of international law, for Japan to annex Korea, which was already a member of the international community bound by international treaties. Japan was eventually able to annex Korea because it coordinated and negotiated with the foreign powers invested in Korea. Considering its sovereign rights over Korea, however, the Japanese government could not continue indefinitely to recognize the foreign claims to administrative rights in Korea. After a consultation between the Government-General of Korea and the Japanese government in Tokyo, a plan for the liquidation of foreign settlements was created. The Japanese government obtained approval for settlement abolition by accepting demands to safeguard Western economic interests to the extent that they would not violate the principles of national sovereignty. The Government-General of Korea eliminated the final obstacle to implementing provincial administrative reform through the “Protocol on the Abolition of Foreign Settlements in Korea” on April 1, 1914. By recognizing Western privileges in Korea, Japan was able to maintain its cooperative relationship with the Western powers. As can be seen, the Western powers played a role in stabilizing Japanese colonial rule over Korea. The Western powers tolerated Korean suffering under Japanese colonial rule as long as their privileges were safeguarded. By recognizing Japanese hegemony over Korea, the Western powers maintained a system of “cooperative imperialism” in Korea.
THE ANNEXATION OF KOREA AND THE FOREIGN SETTLEMENTS
(1) The Immediate Abolition of Extraterritorial Rights and the Post-ponementof the Abolition of Foreign Settlements
(2) Material Conditions of Foreign Settlements and Cooperation between Japan and the Western Nations
DISCUSSIONS AND RESULTS ON THE ABOLITION OF FOREIGN SETTLEMENTS
(1) The Japanese Decision to Abolish and the Western Reaction
(2) The Opening of Preliminary Negotiations for the Abolition of Foreign Settlements and the Process of Agreement