British Policy in China and Russo-Japanese Rivalry in the Far East
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By the end of the 19th century Great Britain had to deal with new serious problems in the Far East. The position of its international rivals – especially Russia – rose considerably during the 90s. This was quite apparent in the northern part of Qing Empire – Manchuria where the Russians gained important concessions and a naval base of Port Arthur. Britain therefore tried to utilize the deepening of the Russo-Japanese rivalry, which was apparent since the second half of the 19th century. After new Russian pressure ensuing the Boxer revolution, London started direct negotiations with Tokyo. Their result was the signing of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, which ended the era of British “Splendid Isolation”. Thanks to this development and naval and economic cooperation of both countries, Japan was able to soundly defeat Russia in the Russo-Japanese war. This was a considerable success of the British diplomacy, which was able to stop its main opponent without going to war itself. On the other hand, the rise of Japan as a Great Power meant, that the Land of the Rising Sun became a key factor in the British position in China. Britain started to be increasingly dependent on its support in next years.
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