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The Quest for StatehoodKorean Immigrant Nationalism and U.S. Sovereignty, 1905-1945$
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Richard S. Kim

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195369991

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369991.001.0001

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Contesting Issues of State Power in the Diaspora

Contesting Issues of State Power in the Diaspora

(p.66) Chapter 4 Contesting Issues of State Power in the Diaspora
The Quest for Statehood

Richard S. Kim

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the challenges and dilemmas in centralizing the national authority of the Korean Provisional Government (KPG) in Shanghai and developing focused policies toward the homeland. Shortly after the formation of the KPG, a highly contentious power struggle arose between the Korean Commission in Washington D.C., under the authority of KPG President Syngman Rhee, and Korean immigrant organizations in America under the leadership of the Korean National Association. Though the conflict would be resolved by the end of 1919, the dispute exacerbated factional tensions within the KPG in Shanghai. In creating the KPG, nationalist leaders had sought to unify scattered Korean communities in exile into a single central administrative body and establish the KPG as the authentic sovereign of the Korean people. However, these efforts to create a national state within the diaspora presented serious challenges for coherent political action as a multitude of groups competed over determining who had the legitimate right to govern and lead the new nation. Ultimately, the KPG failed to develop a working consensus that could implement effective policies that addressed the multiple and diverse ideological and strategic perspectives on the liberation of Korea that arose from the diaspora.

Keywords:   Korean Commission, Kiusic Kimm, civil society/state relationship, Yi Tong-whi, Syngman Rhee, Manchuria, Korean communists, Russian Far East, national sovereignty, Conference of Limitation on Armament

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