Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Scholar's fantasy of a treaty

By Gong Yingchun (China Daily) Updated: 2013-12-21 07:53

Another staggering opinion the author introduces is that "Japan did not recognize Taiwan as a part of China, on the grounds that doing so would infringe on its obligations under the San Francisco Peace Treaty". The question is: Is there any article in the treaty denying Taiwan being a part of China? There is of course no such imaginary article in the treaty. Furthermore, according to the generally accepted principle of Pacta tertiis nec nocent nec prosunt, a treaty does not create either obligations or rights for a third state without its consent, let alone the disposition of the territories belonging to a third state.

Matsumura also twists around the wording of the 1972 Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, saying that Japan only fully "understood" and "respected" the People's Republic of China's position that Taiwan is an "inalienable" part of its territory, but did not "recognize" the claim. Besides the fact that Taiwan islands have been back as part of China both legally and factually since 1945, Matsumura, as a scholar in international studies, should have been aware that Taiwan as an inalienable part of China is a basis of the 1972 Sino-Japanese Joint Statement shared between the two sides during the talks on, and conclusion of, the document and has binding legitimacy in international treaty law. This kind of word game by the professor of politics can only lead Japan to diplomatic paradoxes.

The author's third point is the most entangled and self-contradictory. On the one hand, Matsumura cites Article 2 of the 1972 Sino-Japanese Joint Statement under which the Japanese government ceased to recognize China's previous regime - the Government of the Republic of China (ROC) and instead recognized the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of China. Matsumura thus claims that the new government should inherit its predecessor's rights and obligations under the 1952 Japan-ROC Peace Treaty. On the other hand, he denies that Taiwan is a part of China, even though it was the seat of the ROC government. Matsumura is really puzzling his readers by all this muddling logic.

Matsumura of course cannot explain why Japan needed to reconfirm in the 1952 Japan-ROC Peace Treaty that it specifically "has renounced all rights, titles and claims to Taiwan, Penghu, the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands", if those had not been territories of China. Nor does he mention whether and why "the Kurile Islands, Sakhalin and the islands adjacent to it" should also remain in the collective custody of the 48 state parties to the San Francisco Peace Treaty according to his contention.

Matsumura's claims about China's islands are obviously unjustifiable and even a joke in today's world. In fact, state parties to the San Francisco Peace Treaty need to review whether or not the enforcement of Article 3 of the treaty goes against the provisions in the treaty itself, and whether or not the treaty's provisions related to territory disposition and their enforcement are in conformity with the Japanese surrender terms specified in the Potsdam Proclamation.

The author is an associate professor at China Foreign Affairs University.

(China Daily 12/21/2013 page5)

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