Friday, December 14, 2007

Tiao Yu Tai Movement Open Letter to Nixon

An open letter to President Nixon and members of the Congress

Full Page Ad. The New York Times, Sunday, May 23 1971

We write to call your attention to the violation of Chinese sovereignty over the Tiao Yu Tai islands by the Japanese and Liu Chiu (Ryukyu) governments. This took place after a 1968 United Nations geological survey had revealed that the continental shelf in the East China Sea might hold rich oil reserves. We urge you to respect and to take appropriate measures to ensure Chinese sovereignty over these islands. Such action by you will remove a source of conflict in East Asia and will further the friendship between the American and Chinese peoples.

The Tiao Yu Tai islands (called "Senkaku" in Japanese) are a group of eight uninhabited islands located about 120 miles northeast of Taiwan on the continental shelf and separated from the Liu Chiu islands by a deep underwater trench. Chinese historical records detailing the discovery and geographical feature of these islands date back to the year 1403. For several centuries they have been administered as part of Taiwan and have always been used exclusively by Chinese fishermen as an operational base, both before and after World War II.

The Province of Taiwan, including these islands, was ceded to Japan in 1895 after the first Sino-Japanese war. These territories were returned to China at the end of World War II according to the 1943 Cairo Declaration which stipulated that Taiwan be returned to China. This was later reaffirmed by the Potsdam Agreement.

Despite China's undeniable sovereignty over the Tiao Yu Islands, the Japanese and the Liu Chiu Governments have tried repeatedly to assert claims to these islands since the 1968 oil survey. These governments have committed series of extremely unfriendly acts against China, including the forcible ejection of the Chinese fishermen from the area and the mutilation of the Nationalist Chinese flag on the islands. These provocations have enraged all Chinese, who until the end of World War II were the victims of prolonged Japanese aggression. Equally important, this conflict is regarded by the Chinese as just one aspect of the overall effort t to revive Japanese militarism.

The extent and depth of their feelings can be illustrated by the actions taken by the Chinese people in the United States. On January 29 and 30, 1971, some three thousand students participated in protest marches held in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Honolulu. On April 10, 2,500 people, representing a wide cross section of the Chinese community, gathered in Washington, D.C. to protest the support of Japan's claims by the United States, which had stated its neutrality on the issue. At about the same time, another 1S00 Chinese also demonstrated to show their great concern over this issue in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, ant Montreal. These events have been widely reported in the press, for example, most recently in the Washington Sunday Star on April 11 and the New York Times on April I1 and the New York Times on April 12.

We therefore ask you to reconsider the United States' policy on this issue. State Department spokesman Robert McCloskey stated on September 10, 1970, that the United States would remain neutral. Any attempt to turn the Tiao Yu Tai islands over to Japan in the forthcoming "Okinawa Reversion Agreement" will contradict the principle of neutrality. Specifically, we ask that you

1. Disavow any claims that the Tiao Yu Tai islands are part of the American administered Liu Chiu islands or Nansei Shoto.

2. Recognize Chinese sovereignty over these islands.

3. Censure actions by the Japanese and the Liu Chiu governments which violate Chinese sovereignty and condemn attempts by these governments to resolve the issue through the use of force.

We appeal to you to use your initiative and moral authority to assure that the legitimate rights of the Chinese People will not be sacrificed as an expedient to international politics. Your just action in this matter will improve the prospects for peace in the Pacific area.

Coordinators for the Tiao Yu Tai Open Letters

[Ed note.: Ad was signed by hundreds of faculty members, professionals, and students from U.S. colleges.]

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