Beijing has used the 70th anniversary of the Cairo Declaration to reiterate its territorial claims over the Diaoyu Islands – and Taiwan.
The Cairo Declaration – jointly made on December 1, 1943 by wartime allies Churchill, Roosevelt, and Nationalist China’s Chiang Kai-shek – stated, in part:
“The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan. They covet no gain for themselves and have no thought of territorial expansion. It is their purpose that Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and The Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China. Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed.”
China’s ambassador to Egypt has stressed that the document assures Beijing’s sovereignty over all territories seized by Japan before and during World War Two. Furthermore, a symposium has held in Beijing’s Anti-Japanese War Memorial to discuss the Cairo Declaration and its implications.
The front page of People’s Daily carried an article entitled, simply enough, “Cairo Declaration proves the Diaoyu Islands belong to China”.
Also of note, the leader of the “Other China” – the Republic of China in Taiwan – mirrored Beijing by hosting the “Cairo Declaration 70th Anniversary Exhibition and International Symposium” yesterday in Taipei. President Ma called the defeat of Japan the most important historical event for the Chinese people.
The twin symposiums demonstrate an interesting parallel in both Taiwan and Mainland China. While Taipei and Beijing remain rivals in many respects, they can be united over nationalistic feelings – especially against Japan.
Beijing has long used arguments based on international law to advance its claims over Taiwan and the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands. See, for example, Li makes his Potsdam Declaration. These legal arguments are important, especially since they are now coupled with strategic and military moves. China’s recently-announced Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) covers the Diaoyu Islands, which are currently controlled by Japan.