What was the relationship between Balhae and Tang?

Nov 2013
Without nationalism, did Tang have political power over Balhae or were they completely independent?


Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
United States
You pretty much can't discuss Asian history without being flooded in a sea of nationalism.
Jun 2014
Balhae was a vassal that paid tribute to the Tang Dynasty. In terms of politics it shows the pecking order of nations at the very least.


Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
during 696AD, khitan in Yingzhou营州(in liaoxi) rebelled to the Zhou(Wu Zetian's reformed Tang). daejoyoung's(daejoyoung is the founder of Balhae) father had been within the rebellion. this rebellion failed and the rebelled army ran away through liaodong. before this moment, liaodong was under Tang rule since the destory of Goguryeo. to avoid the old path of the Goguryeo, the rebel army ran away from liaoxi and not even took fully control of liaodong. they collected various people scattered everywhere from previous wars, and extended to places far beyond Tang's reach. this is the begining of the Balhae.
713AD, Balhae was granted as the governor of liaodong(Dudu of Huhan) by tang. they paid tribute to tang, but they were not always peaceful with tang, especially when tang expanded to the heilongjiang river area, they thought tang would attack it from the back. though the relationship was restored soon.

due to the fact of tang lost effective control of liaodong after anlushan rebellion, it is considered Balhae effectively controlled liaodong in its late times.

infact, the whole thing is simple. in the acient times, there were no clear borders among eastern asian countries, but only buffer areas followed by traditions. mohe rebelled tang, and later rejoined the tang centered political circle. to maintain their existence, they exteneded their relationship with khitan, proto-mongolians, silla and later goryeo, and even with japan.
Balhae is certainly not one of the tang provinces, but its political life is no doubtly tang centered. however, the modern conflict sometimes is about whether Chinese should study this charpter and write it in the history books. this kind of argument is ridiculous to me: the whole liaodong is Chinese now, after all, when people try to study the ancient history of liaodong, you can't make a beeeee..... and say "tang China lost effective control of liaodong for some time, thus we are not going to study it, let's turn to next page".... (let along it can be comfirmed that Balhae didn't get liaodong in its early times.)
Last edited:
Feb 2011
Without nationalism, did Tang have political power over Balhae or were they completely independent?
Debatable for early Balhae, but it is certain that during and after the An Lushan rebellion, the Tang lost the bulk of its political leverage on Balhae, and indeed control over Manchuria.
Aug 2015
wish it was Constantinople
early on, there was much conflicting and fighting but it got better later. sort of. ish