Apr 27th 2015

Lips and Teeth: Korea and China in Modern Times (FutureLearn)

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Explore the historical evolution of China and the Korean Peninsula and discover the implications for today.

As countries across Asia - and the globe - wrestle with the impact of China’s rise, nowhere are the opportunities and threats of a wealthy and powerful China felt more keenly than next door, on the Korean Peninsula.

Understanding the history and current reality behind Sino-Korean relations - countries long-described as being as close yet as different as “lips and teeth” - opens up a window onto perhaps the key geopolitical transformation of the present age.

This free online course from Yonsei University in Seoul will cover lot of ground chronologically, focussing on watershed moments that include: the Imjin War (1592-1598); the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895); the Korean War (1950-1953); and the end of the Cold War (1991).

We will then turn our historical gaze to the present, focusing on the current leaders of China, and North and South Korea. We will look at the ways in which the extraordinary family histories of Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un and Park Geun-hye embody the complex relationship between lips and teeth.

Painting on a broad historical canvas, we will learn why Chinese and Koreans have insisted on remaining as close as “lips and teeth,” and yet how difficult that ideal is to achieve in reality.

The educator for this course is John Delury, Professor of Chinese history and Sino-Korean relations at Yonsei University, and co-author of the acclaimed book, “Wealth & Power: China’s Long March to the 21st Century.”