|A large-scale assault against the Tanguts launched by Emperor Shenzong 神宗 in 1081 led to a dramatic change in relations between the Northern Song and Tangut Xixia西夏. Despite capturing territory along the border, the attack failed to eliminate the Xixia regime. The following year, the Tanguts retaliated by commencing attacks along the frontier. For most Song officials who opposed Shenzong's expansionist policy, rapprochement with the Xixia seemed the only way to ease border tensions, and after Shenzong's death in 1085, a group of officials led by Sima Guang 司馬光 advocated ceding the newly occupied territory. They claimed that the occupation of Tangut lands lacked moral legitimacy, and that following moral principle is what primarily distinguished the Chinese from the barbarian Tanguts. After discussing the matter for a year, the Song court finally decided to relinquish four stockades to the Tanguts. However, this concession failed to satisfy the Tangut ruler, who after taking the four stockades demanded more territory. The Song court refused to make any further concessions, ending negotiations in 1091. The attempt to resolve the border conflict ultimately ended in a new military confrontation. By analyzing the background to this concessionist policy, this article attempts to explain why the Song court's concessions failed to accomplish their aim. The main reason, I argue, is that the Song officials believed they were morally superior, and considered their unsolicited concessions as a benevolent act that would be warmly received by the Tanguts. When the Tangut response failed to match expectations, most Song officials who had advocated the concessions considered them ungrateful and the two sides returned to military conflict.