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The China QuestionGreat Power Rivalry and British Isolation, 1894-1905$
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T. G. Otte

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199211098

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199211098.001.0001

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‘Cartographic Consolation’: The Powers and the China Question, 1895–8

‘Cartographic Consolation’: The Powers and the China Question, 1895–8

(p.74) 2 ‘Cartographic Consolation’: The Powers and the China Question, 1895–8
The China Question

T. G. Otte (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

After the 1894–5 war, China's financial weakness was a major source of regional instability. Above all, it fuelled international imperial rivalries. Rosebery and Kimberley, and, after 1895, Salisbury used loans as financial tools for political purposes, here principally to ward off Franco-Russian challenges to British strategic interests in China. By 1897–8, foreign concession hunting turned into a scramble for territory. The German and Russian seizures of naval bases in Northern China at Kiaochow and Port Arthur heightened a sense of British vulnerability. This was especially prevalent among an influential group of ministers critical of Salisbury's policy of aloofness. Using new archival evidence, this chapter reveals an attempt by Salisbury to negotiate a far-reaching Anglo-Russian settlement. When this failed, Britain sought a counterpoise to the German and Russian bases by acquiring the Weihaiwei naval station.

Keywords:   Anglo–Russian agreement, diplomacy, finance, imperial rivalries, Kiaochow, Port Arthur, Salisbury

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