chapter  3
34 Pages

The Far Eastern Crisis of 1897–98

While Japan was turning inward and became absorbed in the vicissitudes of the postwar management, the Western powers continued their expansion into China and Korea. Until the end of 1897, Russia and France pursued an active policy of ‘peaceful penetration’ in China, aimed at securing railway and mining privileges in the areas they had chosen as their respective ‘spheres of influence,’ while Britain and Germany, although with the greatest commercial interests in China, played a merely secondary, defensive part.1

However, all this changed with the Far Eastern Crisis of 1897-98 when, in a chain reaction set off by Germany’s occupation of Jiaozhou Bay, the Western powers one by one secured territorial leases on the Chinese coast.2