The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) repeated citing of the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Declaration as proof that Taiwan’s sovereignty belongs to the Republic of China (ROC) ignores the historical context of those documents and the development of international status, pro-independence advocates said yesterday.
“Taiwan’s status under international law should be based on the Treaty of San Francisco, in which Japan renounced its sovereignty over Formosa (Taiwan) and the Pescadores (Penghu), but never said which country Taiwan belonged to,” former Academia Historica president Chang Yen-hsien (張炎憲) told a seminar held to revisit the treaty signed in 1951.
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) was invited to join then-US president Franklin Roosevelt and then-British prime minister Winston Churchill in Cairo, where the clause that proposed to return Taiwan and the Pescadores to the ROC was added to the declaration to force Chiang Kai-shek to “stay in the battle” because he was said to be considering signing a peace treaty with Japan at the time, Chang Yen-hsien said.
If Chiang Kai-shek had done so, it would have created pressure on the Allied forces which were fighting Germany in Europe because Japanese troops could have joined the European battlegrounds, he added.
While the Potsdam Declaration used the same rhetoric of the Cairo Declaration in terms of Taiwan’s future, they were wartime documents and when the Korean War broke out, then-US president Harry Truman was forced to reconsider Taiwan’s status, which he later said remained undetermined, Chang added.
Ma’s citing of those documents fails to address the changing international political dynamics and the fact that Japan has never transferred Taiwan’s sovereignty to any country, Chang added.
Historian Lee Hsiao-feng (李筱峰) said that the US and UK expressed opposition in 1946 to the KMT regime’s unilateral decision to “restore ROC nationality in Taiwan” because the Chiang Kai-shek administration was only performing a UN order for a temporary military occupation of Taiwan.
Lee added that, regardless of how the Treaty of San Francisco and the Treaty of Taipei — which was signed in 1952 between Japan and the ROC government — were interpreted, one thing is sure: Taiwan has never been part of the People’s Republic of China’s territory.
“That is why Taiwanese should be very concerned about Ma’s political identity, which has always been a ‘one China’ identity,” Lee said.
Many policies and advocacies of Ma’s political career are solid evidence of his ‘one China’ belief, such as his insistence on the implementation of Hanyu Pinyin for Mandarin, diplomatic truce, his refusal of US military assistance during Typhoon Morakot in 2009 and Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly as a province of China, among others.
“Ma had those policies and positions because of one reason — his China-centric historical view. He always interpreted international politics and domestic affairs as a Chinese rather than a Taiwanese,” Lee said.
“I would say that is the biggest threat for Taiwanese right now,” he said.