SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

The May 26, 1971 Note: A Basis for Taiwan’s Sovereignty Claim over the Diaoyutai Islets

Lin Man-Houng
Professor Lin Man-houng (Academia Sinica)

Date: 19 June 2014Time: 1:30 PM

Finishes: 19 June 2014Time: 3:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Special Lecture

This Event is part of Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School Progarmme.


The May 26, 1971 Note, issued by Secretary of State William Rogers of the United States of America on May 26, 1971 in response to a Note by the Republic of China (Taiwan) Ambassador in the US, Chou Shu-kai on March 15 of the same year, emphasized that the US was preparing to return in 1972 to Japan only the administrative rights over the Diaoyutai Islets, which would in no way prejudice the underlying claims to sovereignty by the ROC. This lecture, by using the diplomatic archives of the ROC and of the US and other materials, will analyze: 1) the full text of the note and its impact on the US stance toward the Diaoyutai Islets; 2) the US process of creating, and its diplomatic background, for the May 16 note; 3) the ROC background for the March 15 note; 4) the current relevance of the May 26 Note. In the conclusion, it will point out that the present Diaoyutai controversy arises from the common lack of understanding of the international laws, which cover: 1) the peace treaty which finalized the war supersedes the war declarations, including that of Shimonoseki Peace Treaty over Japan’s cabinet decision on January 14, 1895 and that of San Francisco Peace treaty and the Peace Treaty between the Republic of China and Japan over the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Declaration; 2) the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which came into effect in 1994 will enable  the ROC, the PRC, and Japan share the continental shelf resources in the area 200 nautical miles starting from the Diaoyutai Islets; 3) Article 1 of the United Nations Charter provides that the purpose of the UN is “to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.”

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A Basis for Taiwan's Sovereignty Claim over the Diaoyutai Islets

Speaker's Profile

Lin Man-houng was born in Taiwan in 1951. She was mostly educated in Taiwan and received her Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University in 1989. Lin has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica since 1990 and Professor at the Department of History, National Taiwan Normal University since 1991. Lin’s main area of research focuses on Treaty ports and Modern China, Native opium of late Qing China, Currency crisis and early nineteenth-century China, Various empires and Taiwanese merchants’ Great East Asian overseas economic networks, 1860-1961. She has published 5 books and about 80 papers in Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean in these areas, which are listed at Her book, China Upside Down: Currency, Society and Ideologies, 1808-1856 (Harvard East Asian Series, 2006) links China’s topsy-turvy change from the center of the East Asian order to its modern tragedy with the Latin American Independence Movement.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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