Citing an essay written by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairmanship candidate Ma Ying-jeou (
Tsai made the comments at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan, a week after Ma called on the government to take a tough stand against Japan to protect the rights of Taiwanese fishermen in waters near the Diaoyutais, and his opponent in the KMT chairmanship race, Wang Jin-pyng (
Tsai said the two KMT chairman candidates were using the Diaoyutais issue in opportunistic bids to boost their campaigns, when in fact their own party had been complicit in settling the issue of the Diaoyutais' sovereignty decades ago.
Displaying an essay written by Ma and released at a symposium on the Diaoyutais problem held on Sept. 27, 2003, Tsai said that in it, Ma touched on the key to the Diaoyutais dispute. The essay showed that former presidents Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), former premier Yen Chia-kan (嚴家淦) and former minister of national defense Huang Chieh (黃杰) effectively gave up Taiwan's claim to the islands when the US occupied them after World War II and later handed them over to Japan, Tsai said.
Tsai said that Ma pointed out in the essay that after World War II, the government of the Republic of China (ROC) did not protest the trusteeship of the islands delimited by the US, which stated that the Diaoyutais were part of the Ryukyu Islands.
"At the time, China's action effectively meant relinquishing sovereignty over the Ryukyu Islands. China's silence led to the result that the US Military became the trustee of the Ryukyu Islands and related issues [of sovereignty] remained to be solved later," Tsai said. "All the high-ranking officials of the time share responsibility for giving up the Diaoyutais; the Chiangs, Yen and Huang were to blame."
The US signed a pact with Japan in 1969 confirming that the Diaoyutais belong to Japan, and the pact became effective in 1972, Tsai said.
"If anyone has a problem with the island's sovereignty, then they should ask the US," Tsai said. "The conduct of the US and Japan was based on international law, while the ROC government was mute -- which was tantamount to giving up our territory," Tsai said.
Responding to Tsai's comments yesterday, Ma acknow-ledged that he wrote the article, but stressed that the KMT government at that time had been forced to accept the US decision.
"We cannot say officials were wrong then," Ma said. "It was a problem with the overall situation."