China’s derecognition of the Sino-Japanese Treaty has left no basis for the Republic of China (ROC) to team up with Beijing in defense of sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
Given that the treaty is the main basis for the ROC’s declaration of sovereignty over the Diaoyutais and that China does not recognize it as valid, “there is no basis for cross-strait cooperation” on the matter, ministry spokesperson Steve Hsia (夏季昌) said during a regular news briefing.
Hsia was asked by reporters to elaborate on comments President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) reportedly made at a closed-door meeting with China-based Taiwanese businesspeople on Monday giving three reasons why it was unlikely that Taiwan and China would join hands to guard the islands.
The Sino-Japanese Treaty, also known as Treaty of Taipei, was signed on April 25, 1952, by the ROC and Japan and took effect on Aug. 5 that year.
Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have said that under the treaty Japan agreed to return Taiwan, the Penghu Islands, as well as the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) and the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) to the ROC.
The treaty also nullified all agreements with Japan concluded before the ROC declared war on Japan, including the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, under which Ma claims the Diaoyutais were ceded to Japan.
The Diaoyutais are administered by Japan, which calls them the Senkaku Islands. China also claims sovereignty over what it calls the Diaoyu Archipelago (釣魚群島).
Ma reportedly told the businesspeople that the Diaoyutais came under the administration of China in the 15th century, which held them until they were taken by Japan after 1895, the Central News Agency (CNA) reported.
CNA cited Ma as saying the government has not received a response from China to the peace initiative he proposed in August last year that called on the concerned countries to set aside the territorial row and jointly explore resources in the region.
Ma said China has hoped that his administration would refrain from touching upon the issue of sovereignty over the Diaoyutais with Japan after Taipei and Tokyo resume talks on fishing rights in the area, but he did not think it would be possible to avoid the issue, the CNA report said.
“How can we have the right to fish if we do not have sovereignty over the region?” CNA quoted Ma as saying.