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The Korea Now Podcast

Apr 12, 2020

This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Nianshen Song. They speak about the history of the border region between Choson Korea and Qing China, how migrant flows into Manchuria began to raise concerns for these states, the issue of finding the Tumen river and accurately demarcating it, the challenges of cartography at this time, the importance that Imperial Japan saw in this issue, how questions of international law and historical territory played into the decision making, the nature of the relationship between Qing China and Choson Korea, the demarcation and growing importance of Mount Paektu, how these historical debates played out, how they were resolved, and their impact on the modern boundaries of China and (North) Korea.

Nianshen Song is an Assistant Professor of History and an affiliated faculty in the Asian Studies Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His research and teaching focus on late imperial and modern China, with special interest in China’s ethnic frontiers, East Asian trans-regional networks, and international relations. He is the author of Making Borders in Modern East Asia: The Tumen River Demarcation, 1881–1919 (Cambridge University Press, 2018), which explores the making of the China-Korean boundary and the Korean diaspora society in Northeast China. His articles appeared in The Journal of Asian Studies, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Chinese Journal of International Politics, Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes, among others. His next book project, The West Pagoda:  Three and Half Centuries of a Chinese Neighborhood, aims to examine the rise and fall of Northeast China from the nearly 400 years’ evolution of a small urban space. You can follow Nianshen’s work at ‘’ and ‘’.

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