Mon, Jan 25, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Show set to spark debate on status

REVISIONIST HISTORY?A critic said that the planned exhibitions, which will bring historical treaties to the public for the first time, was a plot to rewrite history

By Fan Cheng-hsiang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A renewed debate on Taiwan’s status is expected as the government plans to put historical documents concerning Taiwan on exhibition next year to mark the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China (ROC), a source from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Among international treaties to be displayed are those signed by the Qing imperial government and the ROC with other countries, such as the Treaty of Shimonoseki.

The exhibition will travel across the country to show that Taiwan’s sovereignty undoubtedly belongs to the ROC, the source said.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) made a visit to the National Palace Museum on Friday to inspect documents owned by the ministry and stored at the museum, including the Treaty of Nanking, the Treaty of Shimonoseki, the Boxer Protocol, the Treaty of Taipei and the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, as the ministry plans to organize the exhibitions next year, the ministry source said.

In the Treaty of Shimonoseki signed in 1895, the Qing Empire ceded Taiwan and Penghu Islands to Japan.

In the Treaty of Taipei — signed between the ROC and Japan in 1952 — Japan renounced all its rights, title and claims to Taiwan, Penghu Islands, the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands, while also nullifying all treaties, conventions and agreements between China and Japan signed before Aug. 9, 1941.

However, Japan in turn unilaterally nullified the Treaty of Taipei in 1972 when it established formal diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.

The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty signed in 1954 between the ROC and the US, on the other hand, drew the framework for military cooperation between Taiwan and the US during the Cold War.

Sources said the documents would be exhibited at Taipei Guest House at the beginning of next year before the exhibition heads to other parts of the country.

The exhibitions would be the first time these documents were available for public view.

Honorary professor at National Taipei University and historian Chen Ching-jen (鄭欽仁) criticized the planned exhibition as move by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government to “Sinicize Taiwan.”

Cheng said the occupation of Taiwan by KMT troops at the end of World War II did not mean that Taiwan’s sovereignty was transferred to the ROC.

He said that in both the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1952 and the Treaty of Taipei, Japan only agreed to cede its rights and claim over Taiwan, but did not mention to whom.

The true spirit of the San Francisco Peace Treaty then, Cheng said, was to return the sovereignty of Taiwan to Taiwanese.

He also said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) stressed during the presidential campaign that the sovereignty of Taiwan belongs to the public, and that the public would have the final say about the future of Taiwan.

“Ma should remember his promise,” Cheng said, adding that the government’s plan to prove that Taiwan belongs to the ROC only shows that the KMT still has the mentality of a foreign regime, despite the fact that it had lost power once and only returned to power through elections.

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