Historians of the modern Far East have usually assumed that in spite of the founding of the Tsungli-yamen and the launching of the self-strengthening movement of the 1860's, Chinese foreign policy remained weak, inept, and uninformed. Typically, China's handling of the Korean problem is contrasted with the swift and sure diplomacy of the new Japan to show how little Chinese statesmen understood of changing world conditions or of the altered character of the threat from Japan. China's failure to prevent Korea from slipping out of the tributary system is held to offer such obvious proof of the inadaptability of Ch'ing diplomacy as to make the issue scarcely worth discussing.

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