President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said the Republic of China (ROC) has had sovereignty of Taiwan since 1943, when Japan “agreed” to give the ROC government claim to Taiwan proper and the Penghu Islands.
While some argue that the Cairo Declaration of 1943 was little more than a press release, Ma said, in his view, the communique signed by the three leaders — ROC president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), US president Franklin Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill — in Cairo should be treated as a “treaty” in international law.
Ma said it was a statement of intent by the Allied powers in World War II that, after the Japanese surrender, territory that Japan had “stolen” from China — including three provinces in northeast China, as well Taiwan and the Penghu Islands — would be “returned” to China.
The subsequent Potsdam Declaration of 1945 and Japan’s surrender document confirmed that the ROC had the right to resume sovereignty over Taiwan and the Penghu Islands, Ma said.
Ma made the remarks at the inauguration of the President and Vice President Records Museum in Taipei.
With the passage of time, Ma said, history becomes vague and some people deliberately change it to satisfy the needs of various agendas.
Citing a recent cross-strait controversy over which camp had led the eight-year war of resistance against the Japanese, Ma said evidence showed that it was the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) — not the Chinese Communist Party — that led the way.
Quoting former US president Theodore Roosevelt, Ma said it was important to preserve history so that the next generation would know what happened in their parents’ and grandparents’ time.
“To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women, a nation must believe in three things,” Ma quoted Roosevelt as saying. “It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people to learn from the past so that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future.”
Located behind the Presidential Office, the museum is housed in an 86-year-old Baroque-style historic building. Academia Historica, which took ownership in 2006, spent three years renovating the four-story building. Although the museum was opened yesterday to coincide with Double Ten National Day celebrations, the final remodeling on the fourth floor is not expected to be completed until March.