Journal article Open Access

'Tributary' from a Multilateral and Multilayered Perspective

Song, N.

In this article, I propose an alternative way to examine the interstate relationship in pre-modern East Asia—a perspective that switches from a China-centred, bilateral-oriented focus to allow a multilateral and multilayered view. From this perspective, a specific state-to-state relationship is woven into a complex, multi-level power nexus composed of interconnections among multiple political, economic, ideological, and science and technological cores and peripheries. To understand this relationship, we need to consider its position within the larger nexus, keeping in mind that it was concurrently affected by different powers organically linked with one another. More importantly, we need to examine actions, reactions, counteractions, and mutual transformations that transcend local, state, and regional boundaries and see relation-making as a process in constant motion.

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