Who Owns Taiwan: A Dissection of International Title
75 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2008
Date Written: March 8, 2008
United States policy toward the Republic of China (ROC), after its founding in 1912, has been handled as a matter of foreign affairs, under the authority of the President and the Executive Branch. Unfortunately, there was no thorough review of the appropriateness of this policy in the in the early 1950's, when the ROC had already moved house and taken up new residence in the Japanese colony of Taiwan - and when Japan had not yet renounced sovereignty over the island group in the post-war San Francisco Peace Treaty. Although the United States recognized the ROC as the sole legitimate government of China up through late 1978, the status of the ROC in Taiwan has always been a matter of contention. In the present era, the debate over Taiwan's ownership, its role in the international community, and the rights of the Taiwanese people to determine their own future has continued unabated since the publication of a major article in the Yale Law Journal in 1972. However, recent research into the military and legal history of WWII in the Pacific strongly suggests that Taiwan actually has a much closer legal relationship to the United States than any members of the Taiwan public, the US Congress, or Chinese/Taiwanese communities around the world have previously realized. Most significantly, it can be argued that the native Taiwanese people should be enjoying certain fundamental rights under the US Constitution.
Keywords: Taiwan, San Francisco Peace Treaty, territorial cession, military government, Formosa, Constitution, status, legal history, SFPT, China, Executive Branch, ROC, war powers, USMG, sovereignty, insular, occupation, territory
JEL Classification: K19, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation