The government is planning to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Cairo Declaration, issued on Dec. 1, 1943, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said over the weekend. Describing the declaration as “amazing,” Ma said it had been tailor-made to meet the Republic of China’s (ROC) demands.
The declaration was the outcome of the Cairo Conference held in Cairo, Egypt, from Nov. 23 to Nov. 27, 1943, which was attended by then-US president Franklin Roosevelt, then-British prime minister Winston Churchill and ROC leader Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).
One of the main points of the declaration states that all the territories that Japan had “stolen,” such as Manchuria (Dongbei), Formosa (Taiwan) and the Pescadores (Penghu), should be restored to the Republic of China.
“The Cairo Declaration clearly states that Taiwan was to be returned to the embrace of our nation,” Ma said.
Ma recalled how he once disputed former minister of education Tu Cheng-sheng’s (杜正勝) claim that the Cairo Declaration was nothing more than a non-binding joint press communique.
“I told him that he was wrong because the US treats all wartime documents as treaties,” Ma said. “The Cairo Declaration has the legal status of a treaty because it is a commitment made by three heads of state in their official capacities.”
The president cited as a proof a collection of treaties published by the US government in 1969 that includes the Cairo Declaration.
Referring to a recent dispute between China and Japan over World War II history, Ma said that “the Chinese mainland should not deny the validity of the 1952 Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty [also known as the Treaty of Taipei],” which affirmed the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty.
The treaty, signed at Taipei’s Zhongshan Hall, stated that the Japanese government would renounce all claims to Taiwan, Penghu, the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) and the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島). Ma said the 1952 treaty asserted that the legal successor government of the territories was the ROC.
He added that it was the only legal basis for abolishing the 1895 Treaty of Maguan (also known as the Treaty of Shimonoseki), which Chinese intellectuals have seen as a national shame for more than a century. Under the treaty, Qing Dynasty China ceded full sovereignty over the Penghu island group, Taiwan and Manchuria to Japan.
Separately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday confirmed that it is planning celebration activities to mark the 70th anniversary later this year.
Ministry spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) said that the Cairo Declaration highlights the ROC’s sovereign status.
She said the ministry plans to collaborate with National Chengchi University and Academia Historica to organize an exhibition of historical documents and items related to the declaration, including the original version and a high-definition video reproduction of the document.
The exhibition is to be held at Zhongshan Hall, where the ROC government accepted Japan’s surrender of Taiwan in 1945, Kao said.