yuǎn jiāo jìn gōng (yuan jiao jin gong)
befriend a distant enemy to attack a nearby one

It is known that nations that border each other become enemies while nations separated by distance and obstacles make better allies. When you are the strongest in one field, your greatest threat is from the second strongest in your field, not the strongest from another field.

Han Dynasty China

In 110 AD the province of Honan had suffered through droughts and floods, the harvests were poor and the people starving. The corrupt government only made matters worse and soon the whole province was in chaos. The numerous bands of bandits and robbers that roamed the countryside pillaging and terrorizing the population thwarted any hope of bringing in outside relief. A provincial official by the name of Yu-Hu was appointed full powers to try to restore some order to the province. When he arrived at the district capital he issued a notice that he was going to organized a military force and that he was looking for recruits. First he promised a pardon for past crimes and immunity for anyone who joined up. Then he announced that he was looking for men for three classes of troops. The first class of troops were to consist of men who had committed robbery and murder. They would be the commanders and receive the highest salaries. The second class would consist of men who had committed mere thievery. They would receive the next highest salaries. The third class would consist of men who had joined the robber bands simply because they were lazy and wished to avoid real labor. They would be paid the lowest salaries. Within a couple of weeks Yu-Hu had over three hundred new recruits. When they had been issued uniforms and weapons he had them paraded before him and addressed them as follows: "Your past deeds are now forgiven and you are free from prosecution. But you must still atone for the crimes you have committed against society. To do this you must now go out and hunt down all your past colleagues who have not answered my call." This they did and within a year the fraternity of bandits was extinct and the countryside made safe.

Warring States

During the Warring States period, Zhao Xiang was the king of Qin. His prime minister Duke Rang wanted to boost his stature and suggested to the king that they attack the distant state of Qi to expand their influence.

When Fan Sui heard about this, he quickly remonstrated with the king, "For a large and powerful state like ours to conquer the territories of dukes and princes is as easy a task as using the famed black hounds of Han to catch rabbits. But Qin has been inward-looking and without major accomplishments for 15 years. This is partly due to the incompetance off Duke Rang and your majesty's oversight."

When asked what his oversight was, Fan Sui told the emperor, "To attack the distant Qi instead of the nearby Han and Wei is an error. We should befriend distant states and attack nearby ones so that whatever territory seized is immediately incorprated into our state. Han and Wei are both central states and located in pivotal positions. Your majesty's conquest over them would intimidate Chu and Zhao. Once Chu and Zhao lose their protective screen, they'll have to submit to us. Then what can Qi on its own do against us?"

The king was pleased and in the year 266 BC, Fan Sui was made the prime minister. Qin acted according to his plan and made peace with the distant Qi and Chu while attacking Han.

Within 10 years, Qin swallowed Han, followed by Zhao, Wei, Chu Yan and finally Qi. China was unified for the first time in its history under the Qin banner.

Meaning: 联络距离远的国家,进攻邻近的国家。这时战国时秦国采取的一种外资策略。后也指待人处世的一种手段。

Context: 《战国策·秦策三》:“王不如远交而近攻,得寸则王之寸,得尺亦王之尺也。”

Example: 莫若以纳辽之币归之于金,坐复燕云故土,正合~之计。 ◎清·陈忱《水浒后传》第七回

Grammar: 联合式;作主语、定语、宾语;用于战争等













战国末期,七雄争霸。秦国经商鞅变法之后,势力发展最快。秦昭王开始图谋吞并六国,独霸中原。公元前270年,秦昭王准备兴兵伐齐。范睢此时向秦昭王献上 “远交近攻”之策,阻秦国攻齐。他说:齐国势力强大,离秦国又很远,攻打齐国,部队要经过韩、魏两国。军队派少了,难以取胜;多派军队,打胜了也无法占有齐国土地。不如先攻打邻国韩、魏,逐步推进。为了防止齐国与韩、魏结盟,秦昭王派使者主动与齐国结盟。其后四十余年,秦始皇继续坚持“远交近攻”之策,远交齐楚,首先攻下郭、魏,然后又从两翼进兵,攻破赵、燕,统一北方;攻破楚国,平定南方;最后把齐国也收拾了。秦始皇征战十年.终于实现了统一中国的愿望。






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