The controversy surrounding the Olympic flame relay highlights a lack of understanding of Taiwan history, Vice President Annette Lu (
The government on Thursday rejected Beijing's announcement that the Olympic torch would arrive in Taiwan from Vietnam before traveling to Hong Kong on the grounds that the route belittled Taiwan's status.
While Taipei insisted that the torch must go in and out of Taipei through a third country, Beijing accused Taiwan of breaching trust by reneging on an agreement to host a stop on the torch route.
Lu said that the administration's position before April 20 had been that the torch must go in "or" out of Taipei through a third party but later changed it to in "and" out a third country.
She said she was curious to know why the country's Olympic Committee had accepted Beijing's plans in the first place.
"I want to know who made the decision and who carried it out. It think they owe the public an explanation," Lu said, stopping short of asking Premier Su Tseng-chang (
Lu made the remarks during a question-and-answer session at a press conference at the Taipei Guest House yesterday morning to commemorate the 55th anniversary of a peace treaty singed by the Republic of China and Japan on April 28, 1952.
Lu asked former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
"Do not think that sports transcend politics, because the Olympics are political," she said.
Since the Chinese Communist Party won the civil war and founded the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, Lu said Beijing has cited the 1943 Cairo Declaration to argue that it had "overthrown" the Republic of China (ROC) and therefore inherited its sovereignty.
Neither the KMT nor the Democratic Progressive Party administration has mapped out a more convincing counterargument to China's, Lu said, which has caused the public to be divided over the issue and the international community to ignore Taiwan.
"How can we expect our leader to lead the country in a right direction if that person has a half-baked knowledge of history?" she said.
Lu, who published a book on Taiwan's sovereignty in January, dismissed the claim that the ROC has been the legitimate ruler of Taiwan since the Japanese surrendered in 1945.
Although it is true that the Cairo Declaration of 1943 proclaimed that Taiwan and Penghu would be returned to the jurisdiction of the ROC, Lu said the declaration was little more than a press release and therefore did not constitute a legal document. There was also no signatory and the declaration was not announced after the meeting, she said.
The declaration followed a meeting between dictator Chiang Kai-shek (
The statement said the Allies intended that after Japan's surrender, territory that Japan had "stolen" from China -- including Taiwan and Penghu -- would be returned to China.
Lu said that Taiwan's international status remains undefined and should be decided by the Taiwanese in accordance with the UN Charter.