China's claim invalid
\nCharles 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.
\nThe 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.
\nIn 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."
\nUnder 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.
\nUnquestionably, 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.
\nWho 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.
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