|During the end of the 19th century, tensions between China and Japan were increasing over the control of Korea. China, though large in terms of land
and population, lacked a strong central government and in actuality was controlled by powerful provincial leaders. Their military had a similar structure
which made coordination next to impossible and diminished its capabilities and effectiveness. By contrast, Japan had a strong central government and
military structure. Japan’s military was also more modern, which gave them a clear edge.
A peasant rebellion proved difficult to quell so the Korean government asked China to send troops to help stabilize the situation. Japan saw an
opportunity to gain a foothold in Korea and sent troops to help establish a puppet government in Seoul. China’s objections to Japan’s meddling lead to the
Sino-Japanese War of 1894 and 1895. The superior Imperial Japanese forces were too much for the Chinese. The Japanese army routed Chinese ground
troops on the Liaodong Peninsula. The Japanese Navy enjoyed a similar success by nearly destroying the Chinese Navy in the Battle of the Yalu River.
China capitulated and according to the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, the Liaodong Peninsula and the island of Taiwan was ceded to Japan. The
terms of the treaty were not good for the colonial ambitions of Russia, Germany, and France. Their influence forced Japan to withdraw from the
Liaodong Peninsula. Germany built the Tsingtao fortress on Jiaozhou Bay and based the German East Asia Squadron there. The Russians followed suit
by occupying the Liaodong Peninsula, building the Port Arthur fortress and using it as the base for their Pacific Fleet. This move by the Russians started
the chain of events that lead to the Russo-Japanese War the following decade.