War chosen by the weak -the War between the T"ang(唐) and the Silla(新羅)-
The war between the T"ang(唐) and the Silla(新羅) during 670 and 676 was intertwined with the war situation of Silk Road. After the Tibetans(吐藩) made a sudden attack on the southern part of T"ien-shan(天山) route in the September of 669, Kokonor(靑海) became a flash point in July, 670. In March, 670, Silla armies made it to the north of the Yalu river(鴨綠江). As T"ang armies led by General Hsueh Jen-kuei(薛仁貴) were completely wiped out in Kokonor in July, 670, the Silla came to rein most of the territory formerly occupied by the Paekche(百濟). At the time the Tibetan envoys arrived in Xi"an(長安) in a bid to cut a deal with the Tang"s emperor Kao-tsung(唐 高宗) and the empress Wu(武后), Tang"s selected troops of cavalry led by General Kao K"an(高侃) defeated Silla"s central army troops(中央軍團) in a battle that took place on the peninsula in August, 672. In December, Tang armies attacked Baeksu mountain(白水山) which Koguryo(高句麗) migrants were holding, mowing down Shilla"s troops that came to back up its northern neighbor. In May, 673, Tang armies dealt a final blow to the Koguryo at the western part of the Im-jin river(薛仁貴). Its assault went on until the winter of 673. In December that year, the Tibetans instigated West Turk tribes(西突闕) around T"ien-shan area to block the passage on the northern T"ien-shan route. Since T"ang had to make all-out effort to defend Silk Road, the Silla take advantage of it during the 674. It eventually led the Tang to cease attack on the Silla in 674, leaving the Silla with invaluable time to reorganize its armed forces. However, in 675 the situation turned about. As the Tibetan envoys initiated peace talks in Xi"an in January, Tang armies led by General Liu Jen-kuei(劉仁軌) moved southward to the southern area of the Imjin river the following month, devastating Chiljung(七重城) area and advancing to Meso(買肖城). It was when the Malgal armies(靺鞨軍) took a seaway to take on the southern area, impairing Silla forces. As the Tang emperor Kao-tsung in 676 prepared for a full frontal assault against Tibet that suffered internal friction, the T"ang-Silla war were in effect put off indefinitely. That year, the Malgal armies advanced to the west to fight the Tibetan in Kokonor. At the time, the Silla had every reason to believe there might be another vigorous attack from the Tang, especially if Tibet normalized ties with the Tang. In case a hostile neighboring state is up and coming, there has always been uncertainty even after an end of a war. When competing states differ substantially in national strength, it is the weak one that feels the burden of another possible conflict. In hindsight, there was no such attack. Some understandably describe the post-war era between the Silla and the Tang as peace time. Yet the view is biased which took only the result into account. The Silla royal court had to be on constant alert and was fearful of the situation where the then-superpower Tang put various pressure on it. The historical fact that there was no second war between the two does not imply immediate peace settled in. It is tempting to conclude the implication of a historical event as it seems today when all that causes and effects are out. Besides, it is convenient to backtrack the events. However, 25-year-old psychological warfare between the Silla court and its Tang counterpart must have been a critical and risky time for the Silla. The Tang Kao-tsung never stopped wanting to conquer the Korean peninsula. In September, 678, when he was trying to fulfil his ambition, there was more urgent necessity to send its armies to the Tibet area. So to speak, the Tang was too busy with the Tibetans to attack the Silla. In 679, when the Tibetan envoys initiated peace talks in Xi"an, Sa-chun temple(四天王寺) was rebuilt in Sil..
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