The origin of Japan's interests in Manchuria may be regarded as the base-point from which during the past half century a variety of economic, political and territorial ambitions has radiated, enveloping today virtually all of Eastern Asia and leading directly to war with the United States and Great Britain. In the historical development of this vast program of overseas expansion, paramount attention is usually centered on the vigorous activity which characterized Japanese relations with the ancient kingdom of Korea during the second half of the nineteenth century. This movement played a vital part in shaping Japanese imperialism, but it is significant to recall that Japan's first bid for an actual territorial position on the continent was not concerned with Korea. The fiction of Korean independence was supported by Japanese statesmen until 1910, when Korea was finally annexed to Japan. On the other hand, Japanese territorial ambitions on the mainland were positively revealed fifteen years earlier by the Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1895 by which Japan appropriated the Liaotung Peninsula of Manchuria as one of the spoils of the Sino-Japanese War. Economic and political factors determined this demand for territory, and were in turn the progenitor of the vast program of continental expansion which has since been the basis of Japanese policy.

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