Fri, Nov 09, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Letters: A nation with no government

By Roger C.S. Lin , Taipei

Alfred Tsai offered a good summary of Taiwan's situation (Letters, Nov. 6, page 8) when he said: "Both the pan-blue and pan-green camps are misleading people when they declare that Taiwan is part of China or that Taiwan is an independent, sovereign nation."

In the book The Creation of States in International Law (2nd edition), author James Crawford, speaking of the Cairo and Potsdam Declarations and the San Francisco Peace Treaty, wrote: "The cession of territory at the end of a war must await the peace treaty ... the problem was that, in 1951, there was no agreement between the signatories as to which government represented that State (`China'). Until 1952, the position of the Republic of China [ROC] in Taiwan was that of a belligerent occupant and, after 1949, government-in-exile of China."

The analysis underlines the fact that there was no transfer of the sovereignty of Taiwan to the ROC upon the Oct. 25, 1945, surrender of Japanese troops on the island.

Furthermore, since international law does not recognize any methods or procedures by which a "government-in-exile" can become the lawfully recognized government of its current locality of residence, it is clear that all actions aimed at gaining more international diplomatic recognition for the ROC in the international community are doomed to fail.

In summary, Taiwan is a "country without a government" that is being occupied and run by a "government without a country." As such, it does not fulfill the Montevideo Convention's criteria for statehood. Until the ROC is dissolved and Taiwanese create a new and proper Taiwanese civil government, "Taiwan" can neither be a normal country nor can join the UN.

Taiwan's efforts at "self-determination" should begin with the recognition that US military government jurisdiction over Taiwan is still active. If a consensus on this point (clearly stipulated in Article 4b of the San Francisco Peace Treaty) can be reached, then the members of the US Congress can assume jurisdiction over Taiwan based on the territorial clause of the US Constitution.

Certainly one of the Congress' first acts will be to rectify the name of Taiwan to "Taiwan," and to discard, once and for all, the inappropriate label of "Republic of China" into the dustbin of history.

Roger C.S. Lin

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