President Ma Ying-jeou visited the Taipei Hero House on the morning of August 20 to attend events to mark the 27th anniversary of the Veterans Association of the Republic of China (VAROC) and an organization congress, held in conjunction with celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the ROC's victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan and the retrocession of Taiwan. In addition to personally presenting certificates of honor to 12 ROC heroes who fought in the War of Resistance, the president also expressed his gratitude for their dedication in defending the nation, reiterating that the history of the ROC military in leading the nation to victory in the War of Resistance cannot be twisted or questioned.
In remarks, President Ma stated that this year is the 70th anniversary of the ROC's victory in the War of Resistance and Taiwan's retrocession. The ROC's war of resistance against Japan was instrumental in shaping the post-war global order, and to this day, that period in history still deeply impacts the Chinese people. That Taiwan and the Penghu Islands were returned to the ROC and that the ROC was able to reclaim sovereignty over the Pratas Islands, Paracel Islands, and Spratly Islands was in large part due to the ROC's victory in the War of Resistance, he explained.
The president mentioned that the government, starting in March of this year, has specially held a series of commemorative activities to mark this important period in history, and that these events will run through November. A variety of seminars, addresses, and a range of exhibitions have been or will be held, including a display of the nation's defense capabilities at the "Han Guang Military Exercise No. 31" on July 4, which allowed the public to see the high morale and impressive capabilities of the nation's military. The documentary film Song of the Reed (蘆葦之歌), which addresses the topic of Taiwanese "comfort women," was also screened at the Presidential Office Building on August 16. Meanwhile, the General Association of Chinese Culture produced the documentary film The Rocking Sky (冲天), which depicts the bravery of the ROC Air Force during the War of Resistance. The film premiered on August 17. These were all extremely meaningful commemorative activities, the president said.
President Ma stated that many international friends assisted the ROC during the War of Resistance. They championed the underdog, regardless of their own safety, and their magnanimous efforts to help the ROC are truly commendable. In light of those efforts, the government has specially invited the descendants of international friends who provided assistance to the ROC during the War of Resistance to participate in related commemorative activities here. Among those taking part in events are David B. Roosevelt, the grandson of former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt; Mary Jean Eisenhower, the granddaughter of former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower; Clifton Truman Daniel, the grandson of former US President Harry S. Truman; Cynthia Louise Chennault, the daughter of Flying Tigers General Claire Lee Chennault; William Wedemeyer, the grandson of Chief of Staff of the Allied Forces in the China Theatre Albert Coady Wedemeyer; Shannon Schaupp, the daughter of Flying Tigers Brigadier General David "Tex" Hill ; and family members of the Soviet Volunteer Group and the Chinese-American Composite Wing.
The president then mentioned that on August 14 of this year he awarded citations to honor German businessman John Rabe and American missionary Minnie Vautrin, which were accepted by their descendants Thomas Rabe and Cindy Vautrin. When Japanese forces occupied Nanjing, the two foreign friends, John Rabe and Minnie Vautrin, jointly established a safety zone covering 3.8 square kilometers, thus saving the lives of over 200,000 Chinese people. The president said everyone should recognize and praise their selfless spirit. He also hopes that these special activities will let the world know that the ROC represents "an ethnic group that values history, and a nation that values gratitude."
Discussing the heroic achievements of the Nationalist Government in leading the combat effort during the War of Resistance, President Ma said that over 3.21 million soldiers and over 20 million civilians unfortunately lost their lives during the war, with 268 high-ranking military officers also sacrificing their lives for the nation. Property losses were inestimable. The War of Resistance was the most geographically extensive, most protracted, involved the largest number of participants and most tragic sacrifices, and had the most far-reaching impact of any war by the Chinese ethnic group against foreign aggression, he said.
President Ma emphasized that there is only one truth when facing history, and that one must be truthful in facing history. The eight-year War of Resistance was led by the ROC government, he said, adding that this is not an attempt to try to take credit, but a fact. The victory in the War of Resistance is the result of the Nationalist Government in leading the nation's military in a heroic struggle, and this fact cannot be tampered with or distorted, the president remarked. On November 23, 1943, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, as supreme commander in the China theatre, also met with US President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at what came to be known as the Cairo Conference, which further verifies the Nationalist Government's victory in the War of Resistance, President Ma said.
Commenting on the influence of the ROC's victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan on Taiwan's retrocession, President Ma stated that the Cairo Declaration of December 1, 1943 stipulates that "all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores (Penghu), shall be restored to the Republic of China." It also required the unconditional surrender of Japan. Following the ROC's victory in the War of Resistance, that statement forms the basis for the restoration of Taiwan to ROC sovereignty.
The president noted that in 1945 the ROC, US, and Great Britain jointly issued the Potsdam Proclamation, again calling for the Japanese to surrender. Article 8 of that Proclamation stipulates that "the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out." Later that year, on August 15, the Japanese emperor issued an imperial edict accepting the provisions of the Potsdam Proclamation and surrendering unconditionally. So the ROC finally won the eight-year long War of Resistance. Japan formally completed unconditional surrender procedures to the Allies on September 2, signing the formal instrument aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Paragraphs one and six of the Instrument of Surrender also stipulate that Japan accept the provisions of the Potsdam Proclamation. Japanese forces in China then surrendered to the ROC in Nanjing on September 9, 1945 and in Taipei on October 25, 1945. Immediately thereafter, the ROC began to exercise sovereignty over Taiwan. All of these historical facts provide incontrovertible proof of the link between victory in the War of Resistance and Taiwan's retrocession.
Lastly, President Ma also specially expressed his gratitude to the ROC's military heroes for their contributions in "the retrocession of Taiwan, the protection of Taiwan, the development of Taiwan, and the defending of Taiwan." The military has played a vital role in the various stages of Taiwan's development, he said, adding that without the military, the Taiwan of today would not exist.