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Countering claims that Cairo Declaration was illegitimate

This year marked the 70th anniversary of the Cairo Declaration, the outcome of a meeting attended by Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Chiang Kai-shek. The communique declared that the Empire of Japan should restore control of Taiwan and other territories to the Republic of China upon its surrender.

Taiwan National Alliance convener Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文) said recently that the Ma administration and Beijing share the same stance on the Cairo Declaration, arguing that President Ma Ying-jeou is pursuing ultimate reunification between Taiwan and mainland China, and that the president's actions are tantamount to treason.

Yao said that the Cairo Declaration is essentially a “press release” and is not a legally binding document in any way, implying that the R.O.C. government had illegally seized Taiwan following Japan's defeat in World War II.

What Yao failed to mention is that the Japanese Instrument of Surrender signed by Mamoru Shigemitsu on behalf of the emperor of Japan and the Japanese government clearly stipulates that the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration are to be carried out. The Potsdam Declaration, released in 1945, in turn states that the terms of the Cairo Declaration, released in 1943, are to be enforced, and, as was mentioned before, the Cairo Declaration clearly states that Taiwan was to be restored to the R.O.C.

Are we to infer that the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was not a legally binding document either?

Yao argued that, with the document seen as a non-legally binding “press release” along with mainland Chinese authorities, the Ma administration is clearly aiming for reunification. What Yao again failed to mention is that the so-called press release was issued in 1943, six years before the “People's Republic of China” was proclaimed by Mao Zedong, let alone that the document clearly and in no uncertain terms refers to the Republic of China. The Cairo Declaration no more binds Taiwan to the Chinese Communist Party than the Japanese Instrument of Surrender.

December 5, 2013    wangjexi@
Excellent article. Those who claim that Taiwan is not legitimately part of the Republic of China really have no understanding of history.
December 5, 2013    cloggedwithguts@
wangjexi@ wrote:
Excellent article. Those who claim that Taiwan is not legitimately part of the Republic of China really have no understanding of history.
Tell it to those pan-Green rednecks...
December 8, 2013    ludahai_twn@
None of this changes the fact that a ratified treaty is the only means under international law in which territory can be transferred from one state to another state. On many occasions, I have asked people to cite an example where this is not the case. Silence every time. A war-ending armistice has NEVER, EVER been sufficient to transfer territory. It requires a treaty. This is a BASIC PREMISE of public international law.
December 10, 2013    wangjexi@
ludahai_twn@ wrote:
None of this changes the fact that a ratified treaty is the only means under international law in which territory can be transferred from one state to another state. On many occasions, I have asked people to cite an example where this is not the case. Silence every time. A war-ending armistice has NEVER, EVER been sufficient to transfer territory. It requires a treaty. This is a BASIC PREMISE of public international law.
The Treaty of Taipei in 1952 did this. The Republic of China had de facto control of Taiwan starting in 1945 and de jure control of Taiwan after the ratification of the Treaty of Taipei in 1952. This treaty also stated ..."that all treaties, conventions, and agreements concluded before 9 December 1941 between Japan and China have become null and void as a consequence of the war." This includes the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which is the document that transferred Taiwan from China to Japan in 1895. Notice that the quote above does not say Qing Dynasty, it says China.

I wonder what is the point of disputing the fact that Taiwan is legitimately part of the ROC? Do you think that once Japan removed its forces from the island in 1945 that Taiwan would become independent? That would never have happened. Taiwan was never independent before, and there was no governing structure on the island that could have taken power. The reality is that after Japan lost in WW2 Taiwan was going to either be part of the PRC or the ROC. We can thank the heavens that it wasn't transferred to Mao's China.
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