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Diplomatic Legacy

After defeat by the joint British and French forces in 1860, the Ch'ing imperial court set up the Tsung-li yamen (Office of Foreign Affairs) on March 11, 1861, the first such institution in China's modern history.

 

As dictated by the foreign powers, the Ch'ing dynasty renamed this office the Waiwu pu (Ministry of External Affairs) on July 24, 1901, which took precedence over the other six ministries. This change was clearly recorded in the Boxer Protocol signed on September 7 that year.

 

When the Republic of China was established in 1912, Provisional President Sun Yat-sen designated Wang Chung-hui as its first foreign minister. When the government relocated to Peking in March that year, Lou Tseng-Tsiang then took over the office. On April 8, 1913, Brazil and Peru became the first countries to formally recognise the Republic of China.

 

Before the government of the Republic of China relocated to Taipei in 1949, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs carefully shipped most of its archives and documents, including those from the Tsung-li ya-men and the Waiwu pu, to Taiwan. The number of files in the archives has increased exponentially over the years, making it a treasure trove for the study of modern diplomatic history.


Imperial Decree to Establish the Tsung-li ya-men (Office of Foreign Affairs)(New window)

Imperial Decree to Establish the Tsung-li ya-men (Office of Foreign Affairs)
Court Diary Volumes
Date: 1861/1/20
33.5 × 18.8 cm

 

The first government agency established by the Ch'ing Court to deal with foreign countries on an equal basis.

Appointment Document for Minister Wang Chunghui, the 1st Foreign Minister of the Republic of China(New window)

Appointment Document for Minister Wang Chung-hui, the First Foreign Minister of the Republic of China
Date of appointment: 1912/1/5
Location: Nanking
32 × 41.4 cm

Appointment Document for Minister Timothy Chin-tien Yang, the current Foreign Minister of the Republic of China(New window)

Appointment Document for Minister Timothy Chin-tien Yang, the Current Foreign Minister of the Republic of China
Date of appointment: 2009/9/10
Location: Taipei
35.3 × 26.3 cm