Asia has a long and rich history and it has seen its share of wars for territory and dominance in the region. China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan have signed several treaties after World War II, which specifically outline the circumstances between the countries. The unique relationship that each nation has with the other can be seen by the conditions that are set out in each individual and unique agreement.
When the Second World War finished, Japan and Allied Powers signed “A Treaty of San Francisco”. This took place in 1951 when the war was officially over but there were two more treaties that were signed in the later years. Because the end of Second World War was made official, the nations felt that they must acknowledge the unified goal towards better relations and as such have included points that were same for all nations.
Even though these were peace treaties, the content was affected by the historical relationship among nations. The reason for treaties was in answer to Japan’s damaging treatment of China and its people. The treaty that was signed by Japan and Taiwan and the one between Japan and Korea had the same specificity.
Article II of “Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea” states that “it is confirmed that all treaties or agreements concluded between the Empire of Japan and the Empire of Korea on or before August 22, 1910 are already null and void” (Radtke, 1990). A unique fact is that the third treaty did not have the same point of nullification which makes a distinct statement about the relationship of the two nations.
The date is of importance as this was the time when Japan overtook Korea and did it in a forceful way. It was necessary for the peace treaty to contain this acknowledgement of Japanese aggression in the past, so that such matter would not repeat itself in the future. There was much animosity between the two nations because a number of trade agreements were unfair and damaging to the whole country (Wang, 2000).
After the first Sino-Japanese War, Taiwan, Penghu and some territory of the islands went under Japan’s rule, ending in 1895 (Radtke, 1990). In relation to the matter, Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty between Japan and the Republic of China was signed in 1952 which put an end to the Second Sino-Japanese War. It has been known that Japan has treated Korea and Taiwan in an abusive way, using residents harshly and aggressively.
The peace treaty emphasized the fact to prevent any future occurrences. One of the most important differences in the treaties was the territorial ownership and domination (Oros, 2010). Those agreements signed between Japan and Korea, and Japan and Taiwan did not have any mention of regional dominance, whereas the treaty between Japan and the People’s Republic of China stated that neither had plans or goals to become dominant in the region.
This happened because in the late 19th century Japanese military had more advancement over China and has taken possession of parts of Chinese land and some islands in the area. The two Sino-Japanese wars were proof that Japan was actively seeking domination and so, this was an important factor to include in the peace treaty (Hook, 2013).
The way Japanese behaved towards Korean and Taiwanese people was extremely detrimental and was qualified as many years of oppression and abuse. Historically, the relationship Japan had with the surrounding nations has been very violent and torn by wars, so the treaty between Japan and People’s Republic of China had to definitely mention the past treatment.
At the same time, a later treaty was signed on August 12th, 1978 and had a linkage to the “San Francisco Peace Treaty” in relation to the Senkaku Islands. The problem was that there was no mention thereof and so, it was unclear how the matter will be resolved. Taiwan has made a claim regarding the islands with the reference to the previous peace treaty but Japanese response was that Taiwan was not in possession of the islands prior to the signage of any treaties and so, no references could be made to any previous agreements.
A common principle that was binding towards all nations was that “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered” (Lee, 2002). Because many conflicts between Asian nations were enrooted in the past, the evidence that was brought forth had such unique character.
Even though the treaties were signed in good nature and reassurance of peace, some territory has stayed under questionable possession, leaving out details that were crucial in making a fair decision. Treaties signed between Japan, Korea, Taiwan and People’s Republic of China each have unique characteristics that are specific to the historical relationship amongst nations. The agreements have ended a part of the conflict but further actions were needed to completely resolve all problems.
Hook, G. (2013). Japan’s International Relations: Politics, Economics and Security. New York, United States: Routledge.
Lee, S. (2002). Territorial Disputes among Japan, China and Taiwan concerning the Senkaku Islands. Durham, United Kingdom: IBRU.
Oros, A. (2010). Global Security Watch—Japan. Santa Barbara, United States: ABC-CLIO.
Radtke, K. (1990). China’s Relations With Japan 1945-83. New York, United States: Manchester University Press.
Wang, Q. (2000). Hegemonic Cooperation and Conflict. Westport, United States: Greenwood Publishing Group.