On the morning of December 1, President Ma Ying-jeou went to the Academia Historica to attend an exhibit on the Cairo Declaration and the International Conference on the 70th Anniversary of the Cairo Declaration, which is being held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Chengchi University. In addition to elaborating on the process that led to the signing of the Cairo Declaration and its important historical significance, the president also reiterated a four-point statement by the ROC government on mainland China's recent announcement of a new East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone. President Ma called on all parties involved to engage in dialogue as soon as possible in order to reduce tension in the East China Sea.
After arriving at the Academia Historica, the president first toured the facility and viewed the items in the special exhibition, including a documentary film about the Cairo Conference, an original copy of the Cairo Declaration, and a log of the signatories at the ceremony for accepting Japan's surrender in Taiwan Province of the China War Theater, along with news reports on the Cairo Conference. In remarks, the president noted that December 1 marks the 70th anniversary of the Cairo Declaration, and is also the 70th anniversary of the ROC government's demand that after World War II Japan must return to the Republic of China all the territories it had stolen from the Chinese, such as Taiwan and the Penghu Islands. President Ma said that he is deeply honored to have been invited to appear at this event.
The president stated that the eight-year War of Resistance against Japan was the most important period in modern Chinese history. Victory in the war was a brilliant feat for the Chinese people, he said, adding that it was due not just to the joint efforts of the ROC army and the general public, but also to critical international assistance. President Ma remarked that the United States provided the most important assistance, while at the same time the ROC's diplomatic efforts also played a crucial role.
The president mentioned that the Cairo Conference was convened in November 1943 and was one of 14 summits held during World War II. It was also the only international summit in which Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正), the chairman of the ROC's Nationalist Government, took part. He pointed out that the participants at the Cairo Conference discussed the strategy of the Allied forces in Europe and Asia. Also, the heads of state of the Republic of China, the United States, and the United Kingdom exchanged opinions on the re-establishment of a post-war international order in East Asia, and issued the Cairo Declaration. The declaration included the following very important provision relating to the ROC: "All the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa (Taiwan), and the Pescadores (Penghu) shall be restored to the Republic of China." This established the basis for the return of Taiwan and the Penghu Islands to the ROC, he said. At the same time, Generalissimo Chiang during the conference supported the independence of Korea and Vietnam after the conclusion of the war, and opposed abolishing Japan's imperial system, thus demonstrating the far-sighted vision befitting the leader of a major East-Asian nation and one of the world's four major powers, the president remarked.
President Ma emphasized that the Cairo Conference was the first time that the ROC had participated in an international conference as one of four major powers, and that Generalissimo Chiang showed a willingness to "help the weak and small, forgive enemies, and do what is right rather than grab for spoils." The president said that Generalissimo Chiang together with the United States and Great Britain settled the post-war blueprint for East Asia, whereby the ROC would recover Manchuria, Taiwan, and the Penghu Islands, and would help Korea and Vietnam pursue independence. At the same time, Japan's territory would be restricted to its four major islands. "This was an epochal event at that time, and it also had a decisive impact on the subsequent state of East Asia," President Ma commented.
The president also praised the efforts of Wang Chung-hui (王寵惠), the secretary general of the ROC's Supreme National Defense Council, who during World War II represented the government in non-military negotiations with the Allied forces.
In response to some who have described the Cairo Declaration as a simple press release and not a treaty, the president stated that the declaration was always treated during the war as part of the body of wartime documents. Pointing to the Potsdam Proclamation of July 1945 as an example, President Ma noted that Article 8 of that document clearly states: "The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine." In addition, the Imperial Rescript of the Termination of the War issued by the Japanese emperor on August 14, 1945 and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender signed in September 1945 both indicated that Japan was willing to accept the Potsdam Proclamation issued by the ROC, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union, he said. Moreover, the United States and Japan both include in their official treaty collections the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation, and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender. For instance, he noted, they are included in "Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America 1776-1949" and "United States Statutes At Large," as well as a collection of treaties by Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the "United Nations Treaty Series," which indicates that the Cairo Declaration has the binding force of international law. In accordance with international law, therefore, any substantive pledge made by a head of state while in office and within his or her authority is legally binding, said the president.
President Ma also mentioned that according to international precedent, after the conclusion of a war, the parties involved typically sign a treaty that serves as a basis for the cessation of hostilities. The ROC was not present at the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, he said, but both the San Francisco Peace Treaty and the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty provide that "Japan has renounced all right, title, and claim to Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores)," and 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." Article 10 of the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty states: "nationals of the Republic of China shall be deemed to include all the inhabitants and former inhabitants of Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) and their descendants." At the same time, he pointed out, in the Exchange of Notes accompanying the treaty, Note No. 1 confirmed the understanding that the treaty would be applicable to all the territories which were then, or which might thereafter be, under the control of the ROC. This, he said, proves that Taiwan is a part of the Republic of China.
Turning his remarks to mainland China's announcement on November 23 of an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), the president stated that this action has triggered deep concern in the United States, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, and that regional tensions have begun to rise. In response, he said, the ROC government on that day and again on November 29 issued the following four-point statement: 1) the ROC reiterates its sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islets; 2) the ROC's Air Force will continue to carry out exercises and training activities as normal in the ROC's air defense identification zone, but the ROC will go through channels to express to mainland Chinese authorities its serious concern about this situation, which stems mainly from the fact that mainland China did not consult Taiwan before announcing its ADIZ in the East China Sea; 3) Taiwan urges other nations to refer to the ROC's East China Sea Peace Initiative that was unveiled last year, and to use peaceful means to resolve disputes; and 4) the ROC Civil Aeronautics Administration of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications will relay the filing of flight plans for civil aircraft in accordance with relevant regulations and practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regarding FIR notification, based on requests from airline companies in Taiwan and abroad, to ensure the safety of passengers.
In the interest of maintaining peace in the East China Sea and reducing tensions in the region, the president called once again upon all parties involved to avoid any action that would exacerbate tensions. He also expressed hope that Taiwan and mainland China will engage in a bilateral dialogue and at the same time carry out negotiations on overlapping areas in the ADIZ so as to restore the East China Sea to a state of peace and cooperation.