Indian Journal of International Law

, Volume 56, Issue 3–4, pp 307–323 | Cite as

Wellington Koo, International law and Modern China

  • Pasha L. Hsieh


Wellington Koo (1888–1985) is a prominent jurist and diplomat in the Republic of China. The article examines his contribution to international legal order and Chinese diplomacy. It argues that Koo’s involvement in international jurisprudence and Chinese foreign policy validated the universality of international law and reinforced the normative foundation of global governance. First, the article sheds light on the historical background of Republican China and assesses Koo’s decisions as a judge in the International Court of Justice, including high-profile disputes over South West Africa and the Temple of Preah Vihear. Second, it examines Koo’s impact on Chinese diplomacy based on assertive legalism. In particular, it focuses on Koo’s efforts to deal with the Japanese aggression to Shandong and Manchuria, to end China’s unequal treaties and to contribute to the forming of the United Nations. Hence, Koo left a rich legacy in the evolution of modern Asia’s approach to international law.


Rebus sic stantibus Republic of China The ICJ Manchuria Unequal treaties 

Copyright information

© The Indian Society of International Law 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Associate ProfessorSingapore Management University School of lawSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Member of the Executive Committee Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International LawTaipeiTaiwan

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