Sat, Sep 08, 2001 - Page 8 News List

Letters:

China's claim invalid

Charles Snyder's report in which he discusses the San Francisco Peace Treaty ("Mem-bers of US Congress mull backing Taiwan," Sep 6, page 3) is a highly informative article on the legal instrument frequently referred to as the title deed to Taiwan under international law.

The legal status of Taiwan is very complex, but the Treaty of Taipei is an important international document related to the San Francisco pact. Under this peace treaty which Japan signed on April 28, 1952, the ROC established a sovereign claim to Taiwan territory as the only officially acknowledged administering authorities of that territory under Article 21 of the San Francisco treaty.

In 1978, however, Japan replaced the Treaty of Taipei with a new pact with Beijing called the "Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between Japan and the PRC." Regrettably, in the new pact Japan officially acknowledged that Taiwan is an inalienable part of Beijing's "one China."

Under Article 26 of the multilateral San Francisco treaty, Japan has arguably violated the original terms of its surrender by negotiating the new pact, which is far more favorable to Beijing.

Unquestionably, the Japan-PRC treaty does not confer to the PRC a valid title to Taiwan since, under Article 26 of the treaty, the San Francisco pact automatically supersedes the more favorable terms extended in any bilateral treaty made by Japan.

Who really owns Taiwan may still be in dispute, but Japan had no treaty authority to "cede" Taiwan to Beijing in 1978. China has no currently recognizable claim to Taiwan under the San Francisco treaty nor any other de jure means of territorial acquisition as recognized under international law. The PRC has never even exercised "effective territorial control" of Taiwan, unlike the ROC.

Jeff Geer

Les Vegas, Nevada

Protecting our heritage

Your report on Taipei City culture chief Lung Ying-tai's (龍應台) fury over the demolition of the Nankang Octagon Kiln ("Officials fail to save historic kiln," Sep 3, page 2) provides a stark contrast to Chu Mei-feng (璩美鳳), Lung's counterpart in Hsinchu City who, along with Hsinchu Mayor Tsai Jen-chien (蔡仁堅), has refused to acknowledge the status of a cultural heritage site.

The site in question is the dormitory of Hsin Chih-ping (辛志平), the late principal of Hsinchu High School, which has been examined and designated as a heritage site by a review committee convened by Hsinchu City Government last November.

Lung tried her best to save the kiln but failed. Chu appears to be trying her best, along with Tsai, to dismantle the dormitory and build a parking lot on the site.

As local cultural chiefs, Lung and Chu took very different stances on the heritage issue, but alas, the results have been far from satisfactory in both cases. In the former, the government wanted to protect a heritage site which was eventually destroyed by its owner. In the latter, the government is still pretending that a designated heritage site doesn't exist.

This makes me wonder what has gone wrong with our cultural heritage site laws and what has gone wrong with the Taiwanese people's appreciation of their heritage.

Ni Kuo-jung

Hsinchu City

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