Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions. Yu Hyongwon and the Late Choson Dynasty - James B. Palais

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On the other side, the Elder Westerner field commanders concerned about
forces on the northem frontier were led by Kim Yu, supreme commander
(Toch'ech'alsa) of the Office of the Supreme Commander (Toch'ech'alsabu, or
Toch'ebu for short), and Supreme Field Commander (Towonsu) Kim Chajom,
Kim Yu at times blocked the plans of the Younger Westerners under his com-
mand, and the power of the Elder Westerners increased when Yi Kwi ofthe Young
Westemers died in 1633 and Yi So, commander of the Royal Division, fell ill, 16
Yi Kwi's son, Yi Sibaek, the head of the Defense Command, was left isolated
as the only Young Westemer with an important military position. 17
lnjo and his advisers, however, were united on a pro-Ming, anti-Manchu pol-
icy within the limits of their power, which meant in practice an attempt to avoid
assisting the Manchus in hostilities against Ming China. When in 163 I the Later
Chin (Manchus) sent a 12,000-man expedition to take over Linden Island (Tando)
from Liu Hsing-cha, the successor to Mao Wen-lung, they asked the Koreans
for ships and troops, but the issue was made moot when the Manchu expedition
was defeated by Ming forces.
King Injo then defied two demands from the Later Chin in 1632 and 1636 for
a conversion of Manchu-Korean ties from an elder-younger brother alliance that
tolerated the coexistence of Ming-Koryo ties to a full-blown suzerain-subject
relationship that would have required the Korean king to end his formal tribu-
tary tie to the Ming emperor. The king now decided to reject any future Manchu
envoys or communications and promulgated a decree to all provinces to pre-
pare for war. Unfortunately, the order fell into the hands of a Later Chin envoy
just when the self-confidence of the Manchus was growing. In May 1636 the
Manchus adopted the new dynastic title of Ch'ing, and the Ch'ing emperor
demanded that a member of the Chason royal family be sent to the Ch'ing court
as a hostage along with Korean officials responsible for advocating a hostile
policy toward the Manchus.
The Korean government realized that another invasion was pending but,
because of the losses suffered in 1627, the area north of the Ch'ungch'ong River
was so short of troops that some proposed abandoning it altogether. Kim Yu and
Kim Chajom, however, insisted on establishing the first line of defense at Anju,
on the south bank of the river, but it was not until 1632 that a commander was
sent north to Uiju on the lower reaches of the Yalu River to organize the region's
defense, and five months before the second Manchu invasion in 1637 the defense
force at Uiju still consisted of only about 7,000 troops.
Neverthelesss, defense policy changed as a consequence of the decline of the
Young Westerners at court. Kim Yu took over as supreme commander from Chang
Man in 1629, and after 1632 he and Supreme Field Commander Kim Chajom
began to build up the defenses of the northwest, reinforcing garrisons at five
bases: Uiju, Anju, Pyongyang, Hwangju, and P'yongsan. This strategy, however,
entailed the concentration of all troops in those areas at walled forts on hills or
mountains llearby rather than at the district towns themselves, stripping the low-
lands and the towns of defensive forces. As Yi Kung'ik described the situation

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