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A Treatise on Peace in the East

A Treatise on Peace in the East is composed of five parts: “The Preface (序文),” “The Reviews of the Past (前鑑),” “The Current State of Affairs (現狀),” “The Contexts (伏線),” and “Questions and 
Answers (問答).” Ahn had written The Preface and part of The 
Reviews of the Past but died a martyr without finishing his work as the Japanese hurriedly executed him.

In “The Preface,” Ahn explained that the old saying “United, we can succeed, divided, we are defeated” is the everlasting truth, and went on to criticize both the circumstances that the Western powers 
victimize small and weak nations under “the strong-eat-the weak” law of the jungle and the “survival of the fittest” logic and the Japanese aggression aimed at holding hegemony of the world by engaging in war against the same Asian people.

“The Reviews of the Past” breaks down into five sections: 

1) Definition of the characteristics of the Sino-Japanese War; 
2) The Far East policies of the (Czarist) Imperial Russia and the crimes of Japan; 

3) The cause of the Russo-Japan War and the attitude of Western powers as well as the position of Korea during that period;

4) the reason why the peace settlement of ending the Russo-Japan War was made in the U.S. territory of Portsmouth; and 

5) the warning against Japan’s infiltration of the continent.

It is hard to comprehensively understand the contents of A Treatise on Peace in the East just by explaining the outline of “The Preface” and “The Reviews of the Past.” We, however, can figure out why Ahn intended to write A Treatise on Peace in the East when we read “a written police record” – Ahn’s interview with Hiraishi, president of a high court at the Guandong Commandery on Feb. 17, 1910. 
According to the record, the three nations of Korea, China, and Japan should:
Ahn’s idea of “On Peace in the East” some 100 years ago sought to pursue the universal value and happiness of the whole mankind and still sheds much light on the idea of building “the East Asian community” that is actively discussed among those nations concerned as well as on European Union (EU) in Europe and Asia-Pacific 
Economic Cooperation (APEC) in the Pacific Rim countries. 
With uneasiness still remaining in Korea over the military build-up among the neighboring powers and the North Korean nuclear issues still unsolved, Ahn’s idea of peace offers a valuable lesson to us living in the present times.

Ahn Jung Geun Memorial Museum

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