President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said that commemorating the 1945 recovery of Taiwan by the Republic of China (ROC) is an unshirkable responsibility of each and every ROC president.
Ma made the remarks at a celebration marking the 70th anniversary of “Retrocession Day” at the Zhongshan Hall in Taipei, where the then-ROC government accepted the surrender of Japan.
Retrocession Day, on Oct. 25 is the day the KMT say Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his Nationalist forces liberated Taiwan in 1945 after 50 years of Japanese occupation and Taiwan’s supposed return to Chinese rule.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
“On the 70th anniversary of Taiwan’s retrocession, we chose to expand the scale of the annual celebration, because today is also the day we celebrate the closely intertwined relationship between the ROC and Taiwan, which are as close as lips and teeth,” Ma said.
In light of Japan’s aggression against the ROC to annex territory in northeast China in the 1930s, Ma said that Chiang, then the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) army generalissimo started advocating for the recovery of Taiwan, before abrogating the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki — by which the Qing Dynasty ceded Taiwan to Japan — and declaring war against Japan in 1941.
In addition, the Cairo Declaration — signed by Chiang, then-US president Franklin Roosevelt and then-British prime minister Winston Churchill on Dec. 1, 1943, following a conference in Egypt’s capital — also set forth a consensus that Japan would have to restore Taiwan, the Pescadores Islands (Penghu) and Manchuria to the ROC, Ma said.
“Eventually, Taiwan returned to the embrace of the ROC following its 1945 victory in the eight-year anti-Japanese war,” Ma said.
The ROC is only able to enjoy freedom, democracy and prosperity because of its safeguard and efforts to build up Taiwan, Ma said.
“That is why it is the inescapable duty of each and every ROC president to commemorate this part of history,” he added.
Ma’s statement appeared to be directed at Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) who did not attend Retrocession Day celebrations.
Ma said the Cairo Declaration played a key role in the ROC’s recovery of Taiwan.
“On July 26, 1945, the ROC, the US and the UK jointly issued the Potsdam Declaration, which called for the surrender of all Japanese armed forces and stipulated that the terms of the Cairo Declaration be carried out,” Ma said.
On Aug. 15 of the same year, Japan accepted the Potsdam terms and agreed to unconditional surrender, Ma said, adding that two paragraphs in the official Instrument of Surrender, signed by Japanese representatives about a month later, also reiterated its pledge to abide by the Potsdam Declaration.
Moreover, Ma said the Peace Treaty signed between Japan and the KMT regime in Taipei on April 28, 1952, also included Japan’s renouncement of sovereignty over Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands, the nullification contents of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, and acknowledgment that the inhabitants of Taiwan at the time had ROC nationality.
“These documents served as confirmation that the ROC had recovered Taiwan,” Ma added.
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