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- Following the Sino-Japanese War, the governments of China and Japan signed a peace treaty known as the Treaty of Shimonoseki on April 17, 1895. The Treaty of Shimonoseki entered into force on May 8, 1895.
- Pursuant to the Treaty of Shimonoseki, China ceded Taiwan (Formosa) to Japan. Article 2 of the Treaty of Shimonoseki provided, "China ceded to Japan in perpetuity and full sovereignty . . . the island of Formosa, together with all islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa." Following the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Japan exercised sovereignty over Taiwan and held title to its territory.
- After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the United States Congress declared war against Japan on December 8, 1941.
- The Allied Powers (led by the United States) defeated Japan, and it surrendered on September 2, 1945. The Japanese representatives signed the Instrument of Surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri anchored with other United States and British ships in Tokyo Bay.
- Shortly after the signing of the Instrument of Surrender, General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, and Commander in Chief of US Armed Forces in the Far East, issued General Order No. 1 ordering the "senior Japanese commanders and all ground, sea, air and auxiliary forces within . . . Formosa" to "surrender to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek." Pursuant to the General Order No. 1, Chiang Kai-shek, a military and political leader of the ROC, was a "representative of the Allied Powers empowered to accept surrender " of the Japanese forces, himself or through a representative.
- On October 25, 1945, Chiang Kai-shek's representative in Taipei, Taiwan (Formosa), accepted the surrender of the Japanese forces there.
- The surrender and repatriation of the Japanese forces in Taiwan (Formosa) was carried out with substantial assistance of the United States armed forces.
- Following the surrender and pending a peace settlement, Taiwan (Formosa) remained de jure Japanese territory. General Douglas MacArthur stated at a congressional hearing in May 1951, "legalistically Formosa is still a part of the Empire of Japan."
- The Allied Powers (led by the United States as principal), allowed Chiang Kai-shek's ROC government, as agent, to continue with the post-surrender military occupation of Taiwan (Formosa). The ROC government occupied Taiwan (Formosa) on behalf of the principal occupying power (the United States) pending a peace treaty with Japan, which would change the legal status of Taiwan (Formosa).
- On September 8, 1951, the Allied Powers and Japan signed the SFPT. The SFPT entered into force on April 28, 1952, and it remains in force as of the present day.
- Pursuant to the SFPT, Japan renounced its sovereignty over Taiwan (Formosa) and title to its territory. Article 2(b) of the SFPT provided, "Japan renounces all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores."
- The SFPT did not designate the recipient of the "right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores." Thus, no state received any right, title, or claim to Taiwan (Formosa) under the SFPT according to its terms.
- China never became a party to the SFPT. Neither the ROC government, which occupied the island of Taiwan (Formosa) as agent for the "principal occupying power," nor the government of the People's Republic of China ("PRC"), which controlled mainland China, signed, ratified, or adhered to the SFPT.
- Article 25 of the SFPT specifically provided that the Treaty did "not confer any rights, titles or benefits on any State which [was] not an Allied Power [as defined in Article 23(a),]" subject to certain narrow exceptions set forth in Article 21. Accordingly, China, a non-party, did not receive "any right, titles or benefits" under the SFPT except as specifically provided in Article 21.
- Specifically, China, a non-party, was not entitled to any benefits under Article 2(b) dealing with the territory of Taiwan (Formosa). The parties to the SFPT chose not to give any "right, title [or] claim to Formosa and the Pescadores" to China.
- While Article 2(b) of the SFPT did not designate a recipient of "all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores," Article 23 of the SFPT designated the United States as "the principal occupying power" with respect to the territories covered by the SFPT, including "Formosa and the Pescadores."
- Military occupation is conducted under military government, and Article 4(b) of the SFPT confirms the jurisdiction of the United States Military Government (USMG) over Taiwan. It is important to realize that territory under military government has not reached a final political status, and is often said to be undetermined.
- Following the entry into force of the SFPT, the government of the ROC continued to occupy Taiwan (Formosa) as agent for the United States, "the principal occupying power."
- The Treaty of Peace between the ROC and Japan, which was signed on April 28, 1952, and entered into force on August 5, 1952 (the "Treaty of Taipei"), did not transfer sovereignty over Taiwan (Formosa) from Japan to China either. Article 2 of the Treaty of Taipei merely acknowledged Article 2(b) of the SFPT, "[it] is recognized that under Article 2" of the SFPT "Japan has renounced all right, title and claim to Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores)." The Treaty of Taipei did not designate China as a recipient of "all right, title and claim" to Taiwan.
- In the aftermath of the SFPT, the governments of the leading allies interpreted the SFPT to mean that no state acquired sovereignty over Taiwan (Formosa) and title to its territory. For example, United States Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told the Senate in December 1954, "[the] technical sovereignty over Formosa and the Pescadores has never been settled. That is because the Japanese peace treaty merely involves a renunciation by Japan of its right and title to these islands. But the future title is not determined by the Japanese peace treaty, nor is it determined by the peace treaty which was concluded between the [ROC] and Japan." Likewise, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden told the British House of Commons, "under the Peace Treaty of April, 1952, Japan formally renounced all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores; but again this did not operate as a transfer to Chinese sovereignty, whether to the [PRC] or to the [ROC]. Formosa and the Pescadores are therefore, in the view of Her Majesty's Government, territory the de jure sovereignty over which is uncertain or undermined." Similarly, in 1964, French President Georges Pompidou (then premier) stated that "Formosa (Taiwan) was detached from Japan, but it was not attached to anyone" under the SFPT. Thus the leading allies were in consensus that China did not acquire sovereignty over Taiwan or title to its territory pursuant to the SFPT.
- The SFPT did not terminate the agency relationship between the United States, the principal, and the ROC, the agent, with regard to the military occupation and administration of Taiwan (Formosa). In 1955, United States Secretary of State John Foster Dulles confirmed that the basis for ROC's presence in Taiwan was that "in 1945, the [ROC] was entrusted with authority over [Formosa and the Pescadores]" and "General Chiang [Kai-shek] was merely asked to administer [Formosa and the Pescadores] for the Allied . . . [P]owers pending a final decision as to their ownership." In the words of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, "Chiang Kai-shek . . . took refuge upon Formosa, where he still remains [in 1954]" after he "was driven out of [mainland China] by a Communist revolution."
- Following the entry into force of the SFPT on April 28, 1952, the ROC did not exercise sovereignty over Taiwan and did not have title to its territory.
- From 1945 to the present, Taiwan has been an occupied territory of the United States, "the principal occupying power." Currently, Taiwan is an occupied territory of the United States, and Taiwan's statehood status is disputed and uncertain. Neither the SFPT nor the Treaty of Taipei nor any other subsequent legal instruments changed the status of Taiwan.
- The agency relationship between the United States, the principal, and the ROC, its agent in Taiwan, never terminated. General Douglas MacArthur's General Order No. 1 empowering the government of ROC to accept the surrender of the Japanese troops in Taiwan and to occupy Taiwan on behalf of the Allied Powers (led by the United States) following the Pacific War is still valid. Neither the San Francisco Peace Treaty nor the Taiwan Relations Act nor any other legal instrument terminated the agency relationship between the United States and the ROC for the purpose of the occupation and administration of Taiwan.
- The United States as the principal occupying power never issued a formal statement or declaration that the occupation of Taiwan has ended.
- The United States as the principal occupying power is still holding the sovereignty over Taiwan and title to its territory in trust for the benefit of the Taiwanese people. The principal occupying power never transferred the sovereignty over Taiwan or title to its territory to any other government.
- The international community does not recognize Taiwan as a state.
- The United Nations never recognized Taiwan as a state and has never granted Taiwan's (ROC's) application for membership.
- Most importantly, the United States does not recognize Taiwan as a state. Pursuant to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which embodies the United States congressional policy towards Taiwan, the United States does not maintain inter-state relations with Taiwan. Instead, "the people of the United States" maintain "commercial, cultural, and other relations" with "the people of Taiwan." Section 3301 of the Taiwan Relations Act reflects the United States' position that "the future of Taiwan" is still not "determined."
- On October 25, 2004, United States Secretary of State Colin Powell confirmed the United States' continuing policy towards Taiwan. He stated, "Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation, and that remains our policy, our firm policy."
- On August 30, 2007, Mr. Dennis Wilder, National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs, said: "Taiwan, or the Republic of China, is not at this point a state in the international community. The position of the United States government is that the ROC -- Republic of China -- is an issue undecided, and it has been left undecided, as you know, for many, many years."