Skip to main content

Korea and Imperialism

  • 57 Accesses


Korea; East Asia; Strategic location; Japanese colonialism; US Imperialism; South Korea; North Korea; Client state; History; Trump; Moon Jae-in; Kim Jong Un; US-China rivalry


The Korean peninsula is where Russia, China, Japan and the United States meet and contest. It is the most strategically valuable location in the world and inevitably has been of consuming interest to imperialism, either to use as a strategic base for onward expansion or to deprive competitors of control. The actors have changed over the course of history – the Mongol and Japanese empires are no longer and the hegemony of the recently arrived US empire is under challenge especially from China. Korea, divided by the US into North and South in 1945 as part of its strategy against the Soviet Union, is still struggling to find a way to reunification and independence. Current US policy on Korea can only be understood within the framework of imperialism and resistance to it.



This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tim Beal .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this entry

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Beal, T. (2020). Korea and Imperialism. In: Ness, I., Cope, Z. (eds) The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-91206-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-91206-6

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference HistoryReference Module Humanities and Social Sciences

Chapter History

  1. Latest

    Korea and Imperialism
    15 July 2020


  2. Original

    Korea and Imperialism
    14 May 2019