Sun, May 10, 2009 - Page 8 News List

Promoting a ‘two China’ policy

By Annette Lu 呂秀蓮

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) presided over an unveiling ceremony at the Taipei Guest House of a bronze sculpture depicting the signing of the 1952 Sino-­Japanese Peace Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Taipei, on April 28. At the ceremony, Ma asserted that the treaty affirmed the transfer of Taiwan’s sovereignty from Japan to the Republic of China (ROC). This move has several political implications.

First, by affirming the Treaty of Taipei, Ma rejected the 1943 Cairo Declaration and accepted the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, admitting that the Japanese government renounced any claim to Taiwan and Penghu and that sovereignty over Taiwan and Penghu should be determined by their inhabitants.

The Qing government and Japan signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, which stated that “China cedes to Japan in perpetuity and full sovereignty the following territories ... (b) The island of Formosa, together with all islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa. (c) The Pescadores Group...” This treaty became void when the San Francisco Peace Treaty was signed in 1951.

The San Francisco Peace Treaty stated that Japan renounced its claim to Taiwan and Penghu, but did not specify the legal successor government of the territories. The charter of the UN, which was established six years before the San Francisco Conference, ensures the fundamental right of self-­determination of peoples living on islands that had been occupied as a result of war. How could the representatives from the countries at the San Francisco Conference have possibly violated this principle and allowed Japan to wilfully decide the legal successor government of Taiwan and Penghu?

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has always based the legal status of Taiwan on the Cairo Declaration, which was merely a consensus reached by Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), then-US president Franklin D. Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill at the Cairo Conference in 1943. The trio did not sign the declaration, but instead released it as a press communique in the three countries.

The Cairo Declaration stated that Japan should abandon all the territories it had conquered and restore Taiwan and Penghu to the ROC — the People’s Republic of China (PRC) did not exist at the time. The précis of the declaration was reiterated in the Potsdam Declaration, which was promulgated on July 26, 1945, and emphasized that “the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out.” About a month later, Japan released the Japanese Instrument of Surrender and accepted the terms and conditions set out in the Potsdam Declaration. Based on this, the KMT made the Cairo Declaration the legal basis for its claim to sovereignty over Taiwan and Penghu, without mentioning the San Francisco Peace Treaty or the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty.

Article 2 of the Treaty of Taipei accepts the San Francisco Peace Treaty by stipulating that “Japan has renounced all right, title, and claim to Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) as well as the Spratley Islands and the Paracel Islands.” Since Japan renounced its claim to Taiwan and Penghu at the San Francisco Conference in 1951, it no longer had the right to transfer sovereignty of Taiwan and Penghu to the ROC in 1952. It also means that the People’s Republic of China could not “inherit” sovereignty over the territories from Japan.

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