United Kingdom–Korea Treaty of 1883

Treaty between Great Britain and Corea, signed at Hanyang (Seöul), on the 26th November, 1883
by the Korean Government and the British Government

Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, and His Majesty the King of Corea, being sincerely desirous of establishing permanent relations of Friendship and Commerce between their respective dominions, have resolved to conclude a Treaty for that purpose, and have therefore named as their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say:

Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, Sir Harry Smith Parkes, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of The Bath, Her Majesty’s Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to His Majesty the Emperor of China;

His Majesty the King of Corea, Min Yöng-mok, President of His Majesty’s Foreign Office, a Dignitary of the First Rank, Senior Vice-President of the Council of State, Member of His Majesty’s Privy Council, Junior Guardian of the Crown Prince;

Who, after having communicated to each other their respective full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed upon and concluded the following Articles:—

Article I.Edit

  • 1. There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, her heirs and successors, and His Majesty the King of Corea, his heirs and successors, and between their respective dominions and subjects, who shall enjoy full security and protection for their persons and property within the dominions of the other.
  • 2. In case of difference arising between of the High Contracting Parties and a third Power, the other High Contracting Party, if requested to do so, shall exert its good offices to bring about an amicable arrangement.

Article II.Edit

  • 1. The High Contracting Parties may each appoint a Diplomatic Representatives to reside permanently or temporarily at the Capital of the other, and may appoint a Consul-General, Consuls or Vice Consuls, to reside at any or all of the ports or places of the other which are open to foreign commerce. The Diplomatic Representatives and Consular functionaries of both countries shall freely enjoy the same facilities for communication personally or in writing with the authorities of the country where they respectively reside, together with all other privileges and immunities, as are enjoyed by Diplomatic or Consular functionaries in other countries.
  • 2. The Diplomatic Representative and the Consular functionaries of each Power and the members of their official establishments shall have the right to travel freely in any part of the dominions of the other, and the Corean authorities shall furnish passports to such British officers travelling in Corea, and shall provide such escort for their protection as may be necessary.
  • 3. The Consular officers of both countries shall exercise their functions on receipt of due authorisation from the Sovereign or Government of the country in which they respectively reside, and shall not be permitted to engage in trade.

Article III.Edit

  • 1. Jurisdiction over the persons and property of British subjects in Corea shall be vested exclusively in the duly authorised British Judicial authorities who shall hear and determine all cases brought against British subjects by any British or other foreign subject or citizen without the intervention of the Corean authorities.
  • 2. It the Corean authorities or a Corean subject make any charge or complaint against a British subject in Corea, the case shall be heard and decided by the British Judicial authorities.
  • 3. If the British authorities or a British subject make any charge or complaint against a Corean subject in Corea, the case shall be heard and decided by the Corean authorities.
  • 4. A British subject who commits any offence in Corea, shall be tried and punished by the British Judicial authorities according to the laws of Great Britain.
  • 5. A Corean subject who commits in Corea any offence against a British subject shall be tried and punished by the Corean authorities according to the laws of Corea.
  • 6. Any complaint against a British subject involving a penalty or confiscation, by reason of any breach either of this Treaty or of any Regulation annexed thereto, or of any Regulation that may hereafter be made in virtue of its provisions, shall be brought before the British Judicial authorities for decision, and any penalty imposed, and all property confiscated in such cases, shall belong to the Corean Government.
  • 7. British goods, when seized by the Corean authorities at an open port, shall be put under the seals of the Corean and the British Consular authorities and shall be detained by the former until the British Judicial authorities shall have given their decision. If this decision is in favour of the owner of the goods, they shall be immediately placed at the Consul's disposal. But the owner shall be allowed to receive them at once on depositing their value with the Corean Authorities pending the decision of the British Judicial authorities.
  • 8. In all cases, whether civil or criminal, tried either in Corean or British Courts in Corea, a properly authorised official of the nationality of the plaintiff or prosecutor shall be allowed to attend the hearing, and shall be treated with the courtesy due to his position. He shall be allowed, whenever he thinks it necessary, to call, examine, and cross examine witnesses, and to protest against the proceedings or decision.
  • 9. If a Corean subject who is charged with an offence against the laws of his country takes refuge on premises occupied by a British subject or on board a British merchant vessel, the British Consular authorities, on receiving an application from the Corean authorities, shall take steps to have such person arrested and handed over to the latter for trial. But, without the consent of the proper British Consular authority, no Corean officer shall enter the premises of any British subject without his consent, or go on board any British ship without the consent of the officer in charge.
  • 10. On the demand of any competent British Consular authority, the Corean authorities shall arrest and deliver to the former any British subject charged with a criminal offence, and any deserter from a British ship of war or merchant vessel.

Article IV.Edit

  • 1. The Port of Chemulpo (Jenchuan), Wönsan (Gensan), and Pusan (Fusan), or, if the latter port should not be approved, then such other port as may be selected in its neighbourhood, together with the city of Hanyang and the town of Yanghwa Chin, or such other place in that neighbourhood as may be deemed desirable, shall, from the day on which this Treaty comes into operation, be opened to British commerce.
  • 2. At the above named places, British subjects shall have the right to rent or to purchase land or houses, and to erect dwellings, warehouses and factories. They shall be allowed the free exercise of their religion. All arrangements for the selection, determination of the limits, and laying out of the sites of the Foreign settlements, and for the sale of land at the various ports and places in Corea open to foreign trade shall be made by the Corean authorities in conjunction with the competent Foreign authorities.
  • 3. These sites shall be purchased from the owners and prepared for occupation by the Corean Government, and the expenses thus incurred shall be a first charge on the proceeds of the sale of the land. The yearly rental agreed upon by the Corean authorities in conjunction with the Foreign authorities shall be paid to the former, who shall retain a fixed amount thereof as a fair equivalent for the land tax, and the remainder, together with any balance left from the proceeds of land sales, shall belong to a Municipal fund to be administered by a Council, the constitution of which shall be determined hereafter by the Corean authorities in conjunction with the competent Foreign authorities.
  • 4. British subjects may rent or purchase land or houses beyond the limits of the foreign settlements, and within a distance of ten Corean li from the same. But all land so occupied shall be subject to such conditions as to the observance of Corean local regulations and payment of land tax as the Corean authorities may see fit to impose.
  • 5. The Corean authorities will set apart, free of cost, at each of the places open to trade, a suitable piece of ground as a foreign cemetery, upon which no rent, land tax, or other charges shall be payable, and the management of which shall be left to the Municipal Council above mentioned.
  • 6. British subjects shall be allowed to go where they please without passports within a distance of one hundred Corean li from any of the ports and places open to trade, or within such limits as may be agreed upon between the competent authorities of both countries. British subjects are also authorised to travel in Corea for pleasure or for purposes of trade, to transport and sell goods of all kinds except books and other printed matter disapproved of by the Corean Government, and to purchase native produce in all parts of the country, under passports which will be issued by their Consuls and countersigned or sealed by the Corean local authorities. These passports, if demanded, must be produced for examination in the districts passed through. If the passport be not irregular, the bearer will be allowed to proceed, and he shall be at liberty to procure such means of transport as he may require. Any British subject travelling beyond the limits above named without a passport, or committing when in the interior any offence, shall be arrested and handed over to the nearest British Consul for punishment. Travelling without a passport beyond the said limits will lender the offender liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred Mexican Dollars, with or without imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month.
  • 7. British subjects in Corea shall be amenable to such municipal, police, and other regulations for the maintenance of peace, order, and good government as may be agreed upon by the competent authorities of the two countries.

Article V.Edit

  • 1. At each of the ports or places open to Foreign trade, British subjects shall be at full liberty to import from any Foreign port or from any Corean open port, to sell or to buy from any Corean subjects or others, and to export to any Foreign or Corean open port, all kinds of merchandise not prohibited by the Treaty, on paying the duties of the Tariff annexed thereto. They may freely transact their business with Corean subjects or others without the intervention of Corean officials or other persons, and they may freely engage in any industrial occupation.
  • 2. The owners or consignees of all goods imported from any Foreign port upon which the duty of the aforesaid Tariff shall have been paid shall be entitled on re-exporting the same to any foreign port at any time within thirteen Corean months from the date of importation, to receive a drawback certificate for the amount of such import duty, provided that the original packages containing such goods remain intact. These drawback certificates shall either be redeemed by the Corean Customs on demand, or they shall be received in payment of duty at any Corean open port.
  • 3. The duty paid on Corean goods, when carried from one Corean open port to another, shall be refunded at the port of shipment on production of a Customs certificate shewing that the goods have arrived a the port of destination, or on satisfactory proof being produced of the loss of the goods by shipwreck.
  • 4. All goods imported into Corea by British subjects, and on which the duty of the Tariff annexed to this Treaty shall have been paid, may be conveyed to any Corean open port free of duty, and, when transported into the interior, shall not be subject to any additional tax, excise, or transit duty whatsoever in any part of the country. In like manner, freedom shall be allowed for the transport to the open ports of all Corean commodities intended for exportation, and such commodities shall not, either at the place of production, or when being conveyed from any part of Corea to any of the open ports, be subject to the payment of any tax, excise, or transit duty whatsoever.
  • 5. The Corean Government may charter British merchant vessels for the conveyance of goods or passengers to unopened ports in Corea, and Corean subjects shall have the same right, subject to the approval of their own authorities.
  • 6. Whenever the Government of Corea shall have reason to apprehend a scarcity of food within the kingdom, His Majesty the King of Corea may, by Decree, temporarily prohibit the export of grain to foreign countries from any or all of the Corean open ports, and such prohibition shall become binding on British subjects in Corea on the expiration of one month from the date on which it shall have been officially communicated by the Corean Authorities to the British Consul at the port concerned, but shall not remain longer in force than is absolutely necessary.
  • 7. All British ships shall pay tonnage dues at the rate of thirty cents (Mexican) per register ton. One such payment will entitle a vessel to visit any or all of the open ports in Corea during a period of four months without further charge. All tonnage dues shall be appropriated for the purposes of erecting lighthouses and beacons and placing buoys on the Corean coast, more especially at the approaches to the open ports, and in deepening or otherwise improving the anchorages. No tonnage dues shall be charged on boats employed at the open ports in landing or shipping cargo.
  • 8. In order to carry into effect and secure the observance of the provisions of this Treaty, it is hereby agreed that the Tariff and Trade Regulations hereto annexed shall come into operation simultaneously with this Treaty. The competent authorities of the two countries may, from time to time, revise the said Regulations with a view to the insertion therein, by mutual consent, of such modifications or additions as experience shall prove to be expedient.

Article VI.Edit

  • Any British subject who smuggles, or attempts to smuggle, goods into any Corean port or place not open to foreign trade shall forfeit twice the value of such goods, and the goods shall be confiscated. The Corean local authorities may seize such goods, and may arrest any British subject concerned in such smuggling or attempt to smuggle. They shall immediately forward any person so arrested to the nearest British Consul for trial by the proper British Judicial authority, and may detain such goods until the case shall have been finally adjudicated.

Article VII.Edit

  • 1. If a British ship be wrecked or stranded on the coast of Corea, the local authorities shall immediately take such steps to protect the ship and her cargo from plunder and all the persons belonging to her from ill treatment, and to render such other assistance as may be required. They shall at once inform the nearest British Consul of the occurrence, and shall furnish the shipwrecked persons, if necessary, with means of conveyance to the nearest open port.
  • 2. All expenses incurred by the Government of Corea for the rescue, clothing, maintenance and travelling of shipwrecked British subjects, for the recovery of the bodies of the drowned for the medical treatment of the sick and injured and for the burial of the dead, shall be repaid by the British Government to that of Corea.
  • 3. The British Government shall not be responsible for the repayment of the expenses incurred in recovery or preservation of a wrecked vessel or the property belonging to her. All such expenses shall be a charge upon the property saved, and shall be paid by the parties interested therein upon receiving delivery of the same.
  • 4. No charge shall be made by the Government of Corea for the expenses the Government officers, local functionaries or police who shall proceed to the for the travelling expenses of officers escorting the shipwrecked men, nor for expenses of official correspondence. Such expenses shall be borne by the Corean Government.
  • 5. Any British merchant ship compelled by stress of weather or by want of or provisions to enter an unopened port in Corea shall be allowed to execute repairs, and to obtain necessary supplies. All such expenses shall be defrayed by the master of the vessel.

Article VIII.Edit

  • 1. The ships of war of each country shall be at liberty to visit all ports of the other. They shall enjoy every facility for procuring supplies of all or for making repairs, and shall not be subject to trade or harbour regulations, nor be liable to the payment of duties or port charges of any kind.
  • 2. When British ships of war visit unopened ports in Corea, the officers men may land, but shall not proceed into the interior unless they are provided with passports.
  • 3. Supplies of all kinds for the use of the British Navy may be landed at open ports of Corea, and stored in the custody of a British officer, without the payment of any duty. But if any such supplies are sold, the purchaser shall pay proper duty to the Corean authorities.
  • 4. The Corean Government will afford all the facilities in their power to ships belonging to the British Government which may be engaged in making surveys in Corean waters.

Article IX.Edit

  • 1. The British authorities and British subjects in Corea shall be allowed to employ Corean subjects as teachers, interpreters, servants, or in any other lawful capacity, without any restriction on the part of the Corean Authorities; and, in like manner, no restrictions shall be placed upon the employment of British subjects by Corean Authorities and subjects in any lawful capacity.
  • 2. Subjects of either nationality who may proceed to the country of the other to study its language, literature, laws, arts, or industries, or for the purpose of scientific research, shall be afforded every reasonable facility for doing so.

Article X.Edit

  • It is hereby stipulated that the Government, public officers, and subjects of Her Britannic Majesty shall, from the day on which this Treaty comes into operation, participate in all privileges, immunities, and advantages, especially in relation to import or export duties on goods and manufactures, which shall then have been granted or may thereafter be granted by His Majesty the King of Corea to the Government, public officers, or subjects of any other power.

Article XI.Edit

  • Ten years from the date on which this Treaty shall come into operation, either of the High Contracting Parties may, on giving one year's previous notice to the other, demand a revision of the Treaty or of the Tariff annexed thereto, with a view to the insertion therein, by mutual consent, of such modifications as experience shall prove to be desirable

Article XII.Edit

  • 1. This Treaty is drawn up in the English and Chinese languages, both of which versions have the same meaning, but it is hereby agreed that any difference which may arise as to interpretation shall be determined by reference to the English text.
  • 2. For the present all official communications addressed by the British Authorities to those of Corea shall be accompanied by a translation into Chinese.

Article XIII.Edit

The present Treaty shall be ratified by Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, and by His Majesty the King of Corea, under their hands and seals; the ratifications shall be exchanged at Hanyang (Seöul) as soon as possible, or at latest within one year from the date of signature, and the Treaty, which shall be published by both Governments, shall come into operation on the day on which the ratifications are exchanged.

In witness whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries above named have signed the present Treaty, and have thereto affixed their seals.

Done in triplicate at Hanyang, this twenty-sixth day of November, in the year eighteen hundred and eighty-three, corresponding to the twenty-seventh day of the tenth month of the four hundred and ninety-second year of the Corean era, being the ninth year of the Chinese reign Kuang Hsü.

[L.S.] Harry S. Parkes

[L.S.] (Signature of Min)


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