Examination Yuan President Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文) yesterday aimed to set the historical record straight while introducing his new book, which examines treaties that had a "strong influence" on Taiwan.
"Due to political factors, Taiwan's history has constantly been twisted. Last week, many ridiculous comments about Taiwan were made during former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and Chinese President Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) conversations. As a result, I had to do something," Yao said.
Yao made the remarks during a presentation to introduce his book. The book, published in Chinese, with its title loosely translated as Record of Treaties concerning Taiwan, introduced four treaties that influenced Taiwan: the Treaty of Shimonoseki, the Treaty of San Francisco, the Japanese Peace Treaty and the US-Taiwan Mutual Defense Treaty.
The date for yesterday's presentation was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki in Japan on April 17, 1895. In the treaty, the Qing Dynasty ceded Taiwan to Japan.
The Treaty of San Francisco was signed by 48 countries in San Francisco on Sept. 8, 1951. Neither the Republic of China (ROC) or the People's Republic of China were invited to that conference, hence neither signed that treaty.
The Japanese Peace Treaty was signed in Taipei on April 28, 1952. It was a "sub-treaty" of the Treaty of San Francisco, and its intent was to ask Japan to recognize the ROC as the only legal Chinese government in the world.
The US-Taiwan Mutual Defense Treaty was signed on Dec. 2, 1954 and committed the US to helping defend Taiwan.
Yao said many politicians have twisted history by using "weird political language to deceive the public."
"However, facts are facts and history shall not be changed," Yao said, adding that the illustration of these four treaties affirmed the fact that Taiwan is an independent, sovereign country.