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By David Curtis Wright

This research of kinfolk among Sung China (960-1279) and Kitan Liao (916-1125), a nation on Sung's northern border, is either an army and diplomatic background and a heritage of international relations. Its first chapters traditionally contextualise the equality of Sung-Liao international relations and narrate how, in the course of the past due 10th and early 11th centuries, the 2 states fought one another to a standstill ahead of concluding peace at Shan-y?an in 1005. Later chapters hide the kinds and textures of peaceable diplomatic touch among Sung and Liao that continued for the remainder of the century. will probably be precious for students and common readers who desire to probe past generalisations and discover in additional aspect mid-imperial China's conflict and international relations with its northern neighbours.

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Extra info for From War to Diplomatic Parity in Eleventh-Century China: Sung's Foreign Relations with Kitan Liao (History of Warfare)

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Conversely, when culturally and ecologically similar societies are contiguous with one another, defined borders and concerns about their violations arise. This was the situation in China during Sung times. “China Among Equals”? Before proceeding any further with the theme of “equality” among states during Sung times, it is important to discuss the implications of the concept and trace its historical origins. Our modern ideas of equality among nations had their origins in a cultural and political world unlike that of East Asia during the time of the Sung dynasty in China, as the following brief excursus into the political history of Renaissance Europe will show.

As warfare between various Italian city-states intensified and became both the “health and disease” of the state, larger citystates began devouring smaller ones and expanding their boundaries. 72 In this dog-eat-dog political and military world, one way of being constantly on the alert was to create a new concept of the state and of diplomacy. Italian city-states began allowing their leading citizen merchants, rather than unreliable mercenary armies, to pursue national goals through diplomatic means.

60 The text of the Covenant of Shan-yüan, which is really an exchange of religiously sanctioned oath-letters, indicates a clear understanding of what an international border was. I quote from it in part here: 58 Nonetheless, according to Tsang Shui-lung, “In actuality, the Sung-Liao border was a natural strategic barrier between the two empires despite the commonly accepted but inaccurate description. On the eastern front in Hopei, the Sung and Liao were separated by numerous swamps in the lower reaches of the Pai-kou River” (Tsang 1997, 97).

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