Monday, May 04, 2009

Japan: Taiwan's status is unresolved

This week the de facto Ambassador to Taiwan from Japan had the unforgivable ill grace to reveal that, oh yeah, Japan doesn't consider Taiwan to be part of China.....
A former foreign minister-turned-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker charged yesterday that Japan should recall its representative to Taipei over the latter’s comment that Taiwan’s status is unclear. Taiwan’s former representative to Japan, on the other hand, supported the Japanese representative, saying that he did not say anything wrong.

The fuss stemmed from remarks made by Masaki Saito, head of the Taipei office of Japan’s Interchange Association — Japan’s de facto embassy in Taiwan — on Friday that Taiwan’s status is “still unresolved.” Saito made the comments at an annual meeting of the Republic of China (ROC) ­International Relations Association at National Chung Cheng University in Chiayi County.

The Japanese representative later apologized for his remarks after Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) lodged a protest and demanded an explanation.

A news release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Hsia summoned Saito, who said that it was purely his personal view that Taiwan’s status was unresolved and that his comment did not reflect the position of the Japanese government.
Neither the US government nor the Japanese government considers Taiwan to be part of China; the island's status is unresolved and has been for the last sixty years. In recent weeks President Ma has been claiming that the Treaty of Taipei gave Taiwan to the ROC. Not so fast, as John Tkacik noted in a letter to the Taipei Times the other day: the Allies refused to designate a recipient of Taiwan's sovereignty, and ROC officials knew full well they did not own Taiwan:
Although the ROC was not a party to the San Francisco Treaty, the ROC signed a separate “Treaty of Peace” with Japan in Taipei on April 28, 1952, which simply “recognized” that “Japan has renounced all right, title and claim to Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores).” ROC foreign minister Yeh explained this provision in Legislative Yuan interpellations, noting that the Taipei treaty made “no provision ... for the return [of Taiwan and the Penghus] to China.” He asserted, instead, that the ROC had “de facto” control of the islands, and therefore, “Inasmuch as these territories were originally owned by us and as they are now under our control … they are, therefore, in fact restored to us.” Still, he had to admit that “no provision has been made either in the San Francisco Treaty of Peace as to the future of Taiwan and Penghu.”

This raised anxieties among the legislators during the Legislative Yuan interpellations on the Taipei Treaty who bluntly demanded to know: “What is the status of Formosa and the Pescadores?” He replied: “The delicate international situation makes it that they do not belong to us. Under present circumstances, Japan has no right to transfer Formosa and the Pescadores to us; nor can we accept such a transfer from Japan even if she so wishes.”
The last time the US actually went to bat for this idea, readers may remember, is when Chen Shui-bian sent a letter to the UN that was rejected by Sec-Gen Ban, who claimed Taiwan is part of China. The US corrected him. Ma was also taken to task by local academics.

The KMT newsite had a short report of the Affair of the Truthful Japanese Foreign Representative:
When Saito said that “Taiwan’s status is undetermined” was the Japanese government’s permanent position, Lin Man-houng, Director of the Academia Historica, began a heated argument with Saito. Moreover, Philip Yang, advisory member of the National Security Council (NSC), immediately expressed his disagreement upon hearing Saito’s remarks, and asked for President Ma Ying-jeou’s instructions, following which the Foreign Ministry proceeded to deal with the incident.
KMT legislator John Chiang said that Japan should recall its representative. Recall that name, Philip Yang? That's the same guy who was quoted as a "nuetral" source by the foreign media in several reports in the run-up to the election last year.
Daily Links
  • What is the influence of Asia on world cuisine?
  • Taiwan Human Rights Map on Google.
  • David has an excellent list of links for today. Go get 'em.
  • China's rise is peaceful and China is benevolent. China wants to get along with its neighbors like India. In other news, Berlin is reporting that Hitler wants peace.
  • "Christina MacFarquhar of the Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association will be talking about the Taiwan Humpback Dolphin on ICRT's Morning Show tomorrow morning (Tuesday, May 5, at about 8:45 am Taiwan time - that's Monday, May 4, 2009 at 5:45 pm in Los Angeles). Listeners outside of Taiwan can tune in via Internet at"
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Anonymous said...

This interrupts the Chinese nationalist narrative of succession of states.

Tommy said...

This whole thing about the Japanese representative is laughable.

If Taiwan's status were not undetermined, would the current confusion over Taiwan's status exist? Duh!

This, combined with the AP story that says that the WHO observership was allowed by Beijing both count as sand in the KMT swim trunks. Just when you start to get comfortable on the warm and inviting beach, some sand gets right up in that spot that you thought was secure and supported...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, who made up this idea of succession of states? Is there any international law remotely like "if I conquer 95% of the land the guys in control of the remaining 5% are illegal"? It would not make sense if there was and no one follows that anyways...

Anonymous said...

My meaning was that the Chinese nationalists predicate their claim to Taiwan on the succession of states theory and in their application of this theory the treaties following WWII were all important to establishing which territory they were granted. The CCP claims as the successor to the ROC they get all the ROC territory (including Taiwan). If the Japanese claim they never gave Taiwan to the ROC...

get it?