Taiwan's Legal Status: An Overview of the San Francisco Peace Treaty


Article VI of the U.S. Constitution provides that:


This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land . . . . .

SFPT: Article 21 and Annotations


Article 21
Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 25 of the present Treaty, China shall be entitled to the benefits of Articles 10 and 14(a)2; and Korea to the benefits of Articles 2, 4, 9 and 12 of the present Treaty.

ANNOTATIONS to Article 21
The Republic of China was not a signatory to the SFPT, and therefore cannot claim any rights, benefits, interest, etc. from the treaty (unless specifically stated therein).

Under the terms of Article 2(b) it is clear that Japan has renounced all rights over Taiwan, but no "receiving country" was specified. Article 21 specifies the benefits that China is to receive from the treaty, which are primarily in regard to the geographic delineation of certain territory in mainland China, and war reparations. Significantly, Article 21 makes no mention of Taiwan.

Accordingly, it is important to read Articles 2(b) and 21 together, in order to understand the full import of the treaty's specifications, and to clearly understand that Taiwan was not awarded to China (either the PRC or the ROC).

It is also important to recognize that as non-signatories to the SFPT, neither the ROC nor the PRC are included in the meaning of the term "Allied Powers." Such a determination arises directly from SFPT Article 25.

Return to SFPT

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