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전근대 베트남의 對中國認識 - 조공과 대등의식의 양면성 -The Vietnamese Perception of China in the Premodern Period

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The Vietnamese Perception of China in the Premodern Period
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Bac Thuoc Ky; tributary system; Trieu Da; Dinh Bo Linh; equalfooting with China; Dai Nam.
동북아역사논총, no.23, pp.389 - 436
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Vietnam had close political relationships with China for two thousand years from the year of 207 B.C. when Nam Viet was founded up until to the 1880s A.D. when Vietnam fell into a French colony by a treaty made with the latter. The two thousand years of relationships between the two countries could be divided into the two terms:The first term of a thousand year is the so-called Bac Thuoc Ky, which literally means the period of Vietnam’s belonging to China, and the next thousand years after Vietnam’s independence in the 10th century can be referred to the period of tributary relations during which Vietnam maintained the friendship with China. The purpose of this paper is to find out how Vietnam perceived China, and how it dealt with her threats in the pre-modern period, when it was politically ruled by China or when it was exposed to her military threat. Based upon the tributary system, the Chinese dynasties traditionally called themselves as a suzerain state and regarded their surrounding nations as subordinate states. And if these states did not acknowledge China’s authority, it often threatened them with military power or even invaded them. Thereupon, Vietnam has flattered itself as a dependent state willing to keep its dynasty safe by avoiding conflicts and cultivating friendship with China. It was thus customary practice that the Vietnamese dynasties sent an envoy even after defeating China’s invasion. The reason was that, even if they would repulse the invasion, they had difficulty to keep their safety due to consumption of national resources. It is necessary to remember, however, that they were internally on an equal footing, not having taken a subordinate attitude, even though they officially had the tributary relation with China. On the other hand, all of the Vietnamese dynasties had never yielded to China’s force and fought against it to the last. Two of the typical examples are the drastic resistance against the invasion of the Yuan dynasty and the twenty-year fight against the rule of the Ming dynasty. The reason that Vietnam could gain independence after the thousand-year Chinese rule is an outcome of firm resistance. In premodern time, Vietnam’s consciousness of an equal footing with China was naturally conceived from such a spirit of resistance against colonization or against military invasion. To sum up, Vietnam’s burning concern was how it could avoid the threat from a huge nation like China which it was bordering throughout the premodern period. The measures that they had taken to meet the situation was the two ways:Vietnam did its best to keep the friendly relationship through the tributary system with China and it also did its best to fight against the Chinese invasion when the tributary relation did not work out. Nonetheless, Vietnam was never deprived of its spirit of equality with China in any case. This kind of consciousness is certainly different from what China regarded Vietnam as its subordinate state and wanted to reign over it. In short, Vietnam had the two contrasting aspects in the foreign and domestic policies, that is, pursing utility on the one hand and conserving an equal footing on the other.
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