Illegal and invalid ‘Ulsa five-point treaty’

Date: 14/11/2017 | Source: Pyongyang Times | Read original version at source

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Well over a century has passed since Japan fabricated a treaty, better known as “Ulsa five-point treaty”, to seek its right to colonize Korea in 1905.
Japan still refuses to admit the forcible and illegal nature of the treaty, talking about its validity as a legal agreement.
Historical facts, however, testify to the illegality of the pact.
In 1905 Ito Hirobumi came to Korea with many Japanese troops in his capacity as “ambassador extraordinary”.
At the meeting with Korean Emperor Kojong, he conveyed to him an autograph letter of the Japanese king, which said: “As I specially dispatch an ambassador for the maintenance of peace in the East, I hope you will deal with matters under his direction.”
Later, Ito went to the royal palace again to hand a draft of the treaty over to the Korean sovereign. The draft obliged Korea to appoint a Japanese as resident-general under the emperor to govern the whole country, to name Japanese administrators as managers of all ports, to transfer diplomatic rights to Tokyo, and to refrain from signing agreements with other countries without the consent of Japan. And he forced Kojong to accept the draft without condition.
As he was flatly rejected by the emperor, Ito tried in vain to persuade the ministers of the Korean feudal government at the Japanese legation.
Japanese troops thronged into the royal palace in Seoul on November 17 1905 and encircled it ring upon ring to create a gruesome atmosphere. By doing so, the Japanese brought the opposing ministers under their control before cooking up the treaty.
International law views duress as a main factor in defining the illegality of treaties. The modern international law and the Vienna treaty on treaty law stipulate that all treaties made up as a result of blackmail and duress against a state or its representative do not have any legal force.
Accordingly, the controversial treaty carries no legal binding force.
Moreover, as it failed to have the approval and signature of Emperor Kojong and the impress of the state seal, it could not take due form as a legitimate agreement.
For a treaty to have them was an inviolable principle in view of the laws of the feudal Joson dynasty and international customary laws.
The law on official document enacted by the Korean feudal government in 1894 specifies that for the ratification of the emperor’s message or treaty the state seal is to be affixed on it after he signs it. International law also states that a treaty can come into effect subject to the consent of the sovereign and it will be a scrap of paper without his ratification.
The Japanese, however, despicably stole the seal of the foreign minister and affixed it on the document as they could not have the emperor’s signature and state seal.
The treaty has no formal name either.
Conventionally, a treaty without name can neither be presented to a deliberation with other party nor be signed. That was why it was called the “Korea-Japan convention” by Japan and “Ulsa treaty” or “Ulsa five-point treaty” by feudal Joson.
Japanese jurist Matsubara Kazuo, in his essay on international law published in 1904, said that an international treaty can be effectuated only when it satisfies the five conditions—the capacity of signatories, delegation of full power, freedom of agreement, purpose and legality of conclusion, and ratification—and if even one of them is not met it is regarded as invalid.
As seen above, the “Ulsa five-point treaty” is a waste paper as it fulfils none of the conditions.
By Choe Yong Nam PT

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