As the world is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Cairo Declaration Sunday, it is high time that Japan observed the terms dictated by the historic document.
Chinese embassy marks 70th anniversary of Cairo Declaration
On Dec. 1, 1943, the Cairo Declaration was broadcast in a communique on radio in Chongqing, Washington and London, setting the tone for an imminent end to the most destructive war in human history.
The landmark document, issued by China, the United States and Britain, voiced the determination of the Allies of World War II to continue military actions until Japan’s unconditional surrender.
It also set goals for the post-war order, in which Japan shall restore all the territories it has stolen from China, including Taiwan. The Diaoyu Islands, which for recent years Japan has claimed as its own territory, was then affiliated islands of Taiwan.
The Cairo Declaration serves as a cornerstone of the post-war order in East Asia. By incorporating history, international law and bilateral treaties, the document laid the foundation for regional peace.
On July 26, 1945, the Potsdam Declaration, issued by the United States,Britain and China, reaffirmed that the terms of the Cairo Declaration would be carried out, and stipulated that “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.”
By signing the Instrument of Surrender a month later, Japan specifically accepted the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration, which incorporated the terms of the Cairo Declaration.
The normalization of Sino-Japanese relations was also achieved within the framework of the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Declaration. In the Sino-Japanese Joint Communique inked in 1972, Japan agreed that “it firmly maintains its stand under Article 8 of the Potsdam Declaration.”
Six years later, in the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1978, the two countries pledged to strictly observe the principles in the joint communique, and vowed that “they will use peaceful means to settle all disputes and will refrain from the use of force or the threats of the use thereof.”
The post-war order in East Asia, which has weathered the vicissitudes of time, remains steadfast in its commitment to the restoration of territories seized or occupied by invaders, as well as the international status of those countries that fell victim to Japan’s aggressive war.
On such basis, East Asia has quickly emerged from the ashes of war to become enviable economic powerhouses of the world. Amid overall peace, Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore as well as many Southeast Asian countries and regions have witnessed spectacular growth in past decades.
The Cairo Declaration, as well as other related documents, have served as legal guardians for economic prosperity in East Asia.
To ignore these documents and allow the then militarist invaders maintain their stolen land would defy the post-war East Asian order, risk a resurgence of the once rampant Japanese militarism, and breed historical resentment in countries, on which Japan’s war of aggression had wreaked havoc.
China loves peace and needs a peaceful environment for its domestic development. It is Japan that has provoked the dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, and heightened regional tension to challenge the post-war order.
Despite the strong opposition from China, Japan, on Sept. 10th last year, unilaterally announced its “nationalization” of the Diaoyu Islands, riding roughshod over the declaration.
Over the past year, Abe’s government has turned a blind eye to the evidence presented by the Chinese government and the testimony given by Japanese witnesses, and refused to recognize the agreement to “shelve the disputes” over the islands issue, which was struck by the two sides in 1970s.
If Japan would not even admit the dispute, how could dialogues and negotiations be launched to seek a settlement?
To amend Japan’s current pacifist peaceful constitution and beef up its military muscle is the major factor behind the Abe administration’s hell-bentness on having its own way.
As stipulated in its post-war pacifist constitution, Japan has no right to wage war. The so-called “China threat” is a lame excuse Japan has invented to break the restraints imposed by the constitution.
What’s more, the Abe administration takes an apathetic stand on war crimes Japan committed some 70 years ago.
Provocative remarks and actions, such as quibbling with the definition of “aggression”, sparing no efforts to revise the country’s war-renouncing constitution and visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, have been repeatedly brought up by the prime minister.
The dispute over Diaoyu Islands has thus borne heavily on Japan’s understanding on its aggressive and militarist past, its intention to amend the pacifist constitution and the post-war order in East Asia dictated by the Cairo Declaration.
The post-war order in East Asia and in the Asia-Pacific at large, as prescribed by the Cairo Declaration, serves not only as an warning and caution against the catastrophe of war and a penalty on war crime perpetrators, but also an important gateway toward the hard-won regional peace, all of which entails a regular and in-depth review of the historic document.- Xinhu
Experts say Cairo Declaration establishes post-war world order
The Cairo Declaration, issued by Britain, China and the United States in 1943, is of great significance in rebuilding the international order after the end of World War II, experts said.
On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the signing of the declaration, which stated that all the territories Japan had stolen from the Chinese should be restored to China, experts at home and abroad called on the international community to jointly safeguard the established international order.
The most important significance of the Cairo Declaration is that major territories seized by Japan since 1895 should be restored, said Michael Schaller, a regents professor of the University of Arizona.
He said the declaration included a determination that Japan should “give up virtually all the territory it had acquired by force since 1895 and 1914, including northeast China, the island of Taiwan and nearby islands … and Pescadores.”
“When Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration … as part of its agreement to surrender, it acknowledged that in doing so it was also accepting the terms of the Cairo Declaration …” added Schaller, who is also a member of the Society for the Historians of American Foreign Relations.
“I don’t think there was any ambiguity or confusion about the fact that Japan would need to surrender all territories it had seized on the Asian mainland and Taiwan. I don’t think that even today’s strident Japanese nationalists question that,” he said.
Dan Plesch, director of the Center for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS University of London, said the Cairo Declaration was the culmination of a success for China during World War II.
“This in turn was only made possible because of the heroic resistance of the Chinese people to Japanese aggression,” he said.
In regard to the role played by the declaration in post-war reconstruction and today’s world order, Plesch said the document was an important agreement that led to the end of World War II.
“Its content, particularly with respect to Japan, was part of the settlement which enabled the war to come to an end with the Japanese surrender,” he said.
Plesch said that as the declaration stipulated the solution to territorial and border issues, any defiant moves are “potentially highly destabilizing with respect to international order.”
Huang Dahui, director of the Center for East Asian Studies at Renmin University in Beijing, said that in face of Japan’s flagrant defiance of the post-war order set up by the Cairo Declaration and other documents of international law, the international community should have a better understanding of the declaration to ensure obedience to relevant terms.
The Cairo Declaration stated in explicit terms that “all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa (Taiwan), and Pescadores” shall be restored to the Chinese, he said, adding that the Diaoyu Islands, then administrated by Taiwan, should be included in the returned territories.
The Japanese government, however, took a unilateral action to “nationalize” the Diaoyu Islands in a move not only to severely infringe upon China’s territorial sovereignty, but also to publicly challenge the outcome of the world anti-fascist war and the post-war international order, Huang said.
The three signatories of the Cairo Declaration — Britain, China and the United States — should work together to ensure the implementation of the document and safeguard the fruits of the victory, he said. – Xinhua