Tue, Aug 22, 2017 - Page 8 News List

The Achilles’ heel of PRC and ROC

By Peter Chen 陳正義

Attlee and Truman issued a joint statement, saying: “On the question of Formosa, we have noted that both Chinese claimants [Nationalist and Communist] have insisted upon the validity of the Cairo Declaration, and have expressed their reluctance to have the matter considered by the United Nations. We agree that the issues should be settled by peaceful means and in such a way as to safeguard the interests of the people of Formosa ... and that consideration of this question will contribute to these ends.”

At the conclusion of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, the British delegate summarized the treaty’s disposition of Taiwan: “The treaty also provides for Japan to renounce its sovereignty over Formosa and the Pescadores Islands. The treaty itself does not determine the future of these islands.”

The two major signatories of the Cairo Declaration, the US and Britain, did not regard the declaration as the final word on Taiwan’s future.

In October 1971, then-Chinese premier Zhou Enlai (周恩來) vented his anger at the Cairo declarants to US envoy Henry Kissinger.

He criticized the treaty for failing to resolve the matter, saying: “Japan renounces its claim to the southern side of Sakhalin and the Kuriles, and the position of the Ryukyus, including Okinawa, remained open and also Taiwan and the Spratly Islands [Nansha Islands, 南沙群島], but it was not specified in the San Francisco Treaty to whom they belong. It was left to the countries. I don’t know who drew that up.”

Zhou lashed out at Chiang’s acquiescence to the ROC-Japan peace treaty of 1952,

“[Chiang] himself sits on Taiwan, but in the treaty with Japan it does not specify who Taiwan reverts to, only saying Japan gives up all claim. If I call him a traitor, I have every reason to do that,” Zhou said.

The declaration was intended only as a statement of war aims, the territorial reassignments of which had to be honored in a formal peace treaty after Japan’s surrender. As such, the declaration has negligible status in international law as a treaty.

We at the Formosan Association for Public Affairs confirmed the status of the declaration with the US National Archives on June 5, 2007.

They wrote back, saying: “The declaration was a communique and it does not have a treaty series or executive agreement series number.”

Peter Chen is president of the Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs.

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