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President Ma attends special exhibit commemorating 70th anniversary of ROC's victory in War of Resistance and Taiwan's retrocession

President Ma Ying-jeou on the morning of September 9 visited the Armed Forces Museum to view a special exhibit entitled "From War to Peace," which commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Republic of China's (ROC) victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan and Taiwan's retrocession. The president explained the historical significance of the 70th anniversary of the victory in the war and Taiwan's retrocession. He also reiterated his appeal to mainland China to treat aging veterans from the War of Resistance well.

In remarks, the president stated that 70 years ago today, a ceremony was held at the auditorium of the former site of the Central Military Academy in Nanjing in which Ho Ying-chin (何應欽), Chief Commander of the ROC army, accepted the Japanese Instrument of Surrender from Yasuji Okamura (岡村寧次), Commander-in-chief of the Japanese army. During that period, not including Manchuria, the China theater was divided into 15 surrender zones to accept the Japanese surrender, which took about two weeks. While that was a short period of time, it was extremely significant, as the surrender not only represented the ROC’s victory in the War of Resistance, but also brought about a final resolution to situations created by Taiwan’s cession to Japan and Japan’s invasion of Chinese territory in 1895.

President Ma mentioned that over 20 years ago he visited the Armed Forces Museum to view historical documents about China's resistance against Japanese aggression, and was moved by the comparison of two swords that he saw. One was a rusty sword used by a Chinese farmer, while the other was a shiny samurai sword used by the Japanese military. The contrast between those two swords symbolized the gap between China’s agrarian society and Japan’s well-trained fighters and advanced weaponry. The considerable disparity in the military capabilities of the two countries and the ROC's tribulations in the eight-year War of Resistance were a foregone conclusion.

President Ma cited the example of Chinese and Japanese naval forces to explain that disparity. During the War of Resistance, the total tonnage of Japanese warships was about 1.14 million, while the ROC's was only 70,000. The ROC naval forces were also compelled to scuttle ships to block Japanese military advances. Without mine-laying ships, the ROC sent soldiers to lay mines by hand to fight Japan. The president noted that when the war began ROC forces were facing almost certain defeat, but fought on with great determination. Otherwise, China could not have possibly survived, and the ROC would have had no hope.

President Ma displayed two documents--the Japanese Instrument of Surrender and the Cairo Declaration. He pointed out that the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki with Japan in 1895, ceding to Japan the Liaodong Peninsula, the Penghu Islands, and Taiwan, together with all islands appertaining or belonging to Taiwan. The Japanese Instrument of Surrender, especially important for Taiwan, was signed by Japan and the Allied forces in 1945. The Cairo Declaration was issued in 1943, stipulating 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 Japan’s unconditional surrender. In 1945 the ROC, the 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. 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 1 and 6 of the Instrument of Surrender also stipulate that Japan accept the provisions of the Potsdam Proclamation.

President Ma stated that the Cairo Declaration was cited in Article 8 of the Potsdam Proclamation, and that Paragraphs 1 and 6 of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender also stipulate Japan's willingness to accept the provisions of the Potsdam Proclamation. Consequently, these three legal documents have already become international treaties, and the signatory nations are legally bound by their provisions. The Japanese military also surrendered to the ROC military, following which the ROC exercised its sovereignty over Taiwan, based not only on the General Order No. 1 issued by Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers Douglas MacArthur, but even more importantly on the wartime international legal documents including the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, the Potsdam Proclamation, and the Cairo Declaration.

As for Taiwan's retrocession, the president explained to those in attendance that in 1946, the year after General Chen Yi (陳儀) , the chief of the Taiwan Provincial Administrative Office, accepted the surrender of Ando Rikichi(安藤利吉), the Japanese Governor-General of Taiwan, at the Taipei City Public Auditorium (now known as Zhongshan Hall), Chiu Nien-tai (丘念台), Lin Hsien-tang (林獻堂) and others from Taiwan went to mainland China to affirm the Nationalist government's achievement in the retrocession of Taiwan. Subsequently, people living in Taiwan became ROC nationals again, the ROC exercised sovereignty over Taiwan, and held elections in Taiwan. All of these events took place on a solid legal basis, the president said.

President Ma emphasized that he has always placed great importance on the historical facts about the War of Resistance. When he was mayor of Taipei City he attended over 40 events commemorating the war, while this year he has already attended over 30 activities in a series of commemorative events. The president hopes that through these events, young people will come to a better understanding of the history of the War of Resistance. In fact, the government held a National Forces Combat Capability Display on July 4, during which it also commended veterans who participated in the war while commemorating the history of the War of Resistance. In July of this year the government began presenting commemorative medals marking the ROC's victory in the war to domestic and foreign veterans who fought in that conflict. To date, over 6,600 medals have been awarded, with 402 medals having already been distributed to mainland Chinese nationals. The issuance of these medals has been extremely welcomed, which proves that the issuance commemorates the truth of what transpired, irrespective of geographic location or party affiliation. The government issues these medals to those who took part in the War of Resistance, even though some of them were part of the Chinese Communist army.

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