Wellington Koo, Mukden and Multilateralism

Will Peyton completed his undergraduate studies in history at the University of Melbourne and a Masters in Asia-Pacific studies at the Australian National University where he is now undertaking PhD research on the work of prize-winning science-fiction writer, Liu Cixin 刘慈欣. Will has also studied at the Renmin University of China, Peking University and the National Taiwan Normal University.  We thank Will for this timely reflective essay on multilateral diplomacy in 1930s China. As the anniversary date of the 1931 Mukden Incident approaches and as political tensions arising out of China’s present claims over the South China Sea remain unresolved, the story of Wellington Koo and the Lytton Commission offers a useful reminder of how China once benefited from a multilateral solution to a dire and pressing problem. — The Editors



Investigators from the Lytton Commission examine the aftermath of the railway explosion that came to be known as the Mukden Incident.

On 12 July 2016, an arbitration tribunal in The Hague deemed China’s historical claims to ninety percent of the South China Sea 南海 as having no legal basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Swiftly rejecting the ruling, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi王毅called it ‘a political farce staged under legal pretext’.[1] While international commentators are hardly wrong to question China’s increasingly heated rhetoric in the ongoing dispute, there is little clear discussion of what multilateralism actually means to Chinese political leaders. Several international media commentaries seem to imply that China is not only subverting multilateral institutions but rejecting the principle of multilateralism itself.

What the current dispute reveals is Beijing’s discontent with the dominant conception of multilateralism today, which is subject to the authority of the United Nations. China instead hopes to establish a consensus on the South China Sea on its own terms. In the long run, for better or worse, the present Chinese attitude may mark an historic shift in China’s role as a world power.

Indeed, we must remind ourselves that multilateral diplomacy has played a very important role in the history of modern China. In 1931, China sought the help of the international community to protect its sovereign interests against Japanese military aggression. Significantly, 2016 marks the eighty-fifth anniversary of the Mukden Incident, also known in China as the 9.18 Incident 九一八事件. On 18 September 1931 in Mukden (now Shenyang), Japan’s Kwantung Army used a staged explosion as a pretext to invade China’s north-eastern provinces, collectively called Manchuria 东北方. From the inception of the crisis, the Kuomintang (KMT) government, then based in Nanjing, sought to bring the attention of world leaders to the growing threat that Japan posed to China. China’s then head of state, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, appealed to the League of Nations, the UN’s predecessor organisation, to issue an international response in defence of China’s interests.

The League organised a group of its members to visit China, led by V. A. G. R. Bulwer-Lytton, the Second Earl of Lytton (1876-1947). The eminent Chinese diplomat Wellington Koo 顾维钧 (1898-1985) greeted the so-named Lytton Commission when it arrived in Shanghai in March 1932. Koo would accompany the members of the Commission around the major port cities of China and to investigate the new Japanese-led regime of Manchukuo which had been established in Northeast China on 18 February 1932.

For the next six months, the Commission’s members stayed in Beijing, visiting Manchuria and Tokyo, and wrote up their comprehensive survey of the events leading up to Japan’s seizure of Manchuria. It was in this work that Koo, as the KMT’s spokesperson on the crisis, hoped to persuade the League Assembly that Manchukuo hardly amounted to anything more than a puppet state.

mukden memorial

The Mukden Incident memorial in Shenyang, Liaoning province. (Reuters)

Tensions between China and Japan date back to the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895. The second Sino-Japanese War which took place from 1937 to 1945 is more familiar to people outside China. In China, however, the latter is regarded as the culmination of a more prolonged conflict known as the ‘War of Resistance against Japan’ 中国抗日战争 (1931-1945). The 1931 Mukden Incident is considered in China as marking the beginning of this war.

In 1931, world opinion was divided on Manchukuo. Japanese outlets portrayed the founding of Manchukuo as the liberation of the Manchurians from oppressive Chinese rule.  The Japanese-influenced South Manchuria Railway Company, in one Japanese government-sponsored publication, argued that Manchukuo state ‘came into existence as a result of the spontaneous opposition of the people to the outrageous misgovernment’ by the previous Chinese warlord regime of Zhang Zuolin 张作霖 (1916-1928) and his son Zhang Xueliang 張學良 (1928-1931).[2] Even foreign observers in China mockingly commented on China’s attempts to appeal to Geneva for help. The Japanese military presence in Manchuria was, according to an English-language piece in the Peking and Tientsin Times, a sign that Japan was ‘unutterably disgusted with Chinese corruption, incompetence, and dissension, and despair of any other method than force to bring China to her senses’.[3]

World leaders, however, decided not to recognise Manchukuo in 1933 in a League of Nations vote. We have no way of knowing precisely why international opinion swung so sharply to China’s side.  However, it is certainly hard to imagine such a thing occurring without Koo’s diplomatic campaign. The historical record shows that he worked hard to present Manchukuo as an unequivocal violation of China’s national sovereignty.

Raised in Shanghai and educated in New York, Koo was a part of a generation of Chinese who were dubbed ‘American-returned students,’ who went to the United States on funds paid through the Chinese indemnities from the Boxer Rebellion. After graduating in 1912, Koo returned to China and, over the next sixteen years, served as a Minister to the United States (1915-1920), then as Chinese head delegate at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, and subsequently as president (1926-1927) in the Beiyang government.[4]

During these years he established a reputation for himself not only as an effective diplomat abroad but as a statesman who held a firm position about China’s potential role as a great power in the international community. Moreover, he was unsympathetic to the KMT’s campaign to rid China of warlord factionalism so as to unify the nation under a KMT-led central government in Nanjing. On 4 June 1928, Zhang Zuolin was killed by a bomb planted on a railway track outside of Shenyang by a Kwantung Army officer, after which he was succeeded by his son Zhang Xueliang.  When Chiang Kai-shek took control of Beijing from Zhang Xueliang in June 1928, Koo fled China and laid low in France and Canada.

In 1929, Koo would receive several letters from Zhang Xueliang, who had come to recognize the newly-installed KMT government under Chiang Kai-shek with its capital in Nanjing.  General Zhang invited and persuaded Koo to return to China as his personal guest in Mukden.  Owing to Zhang’s new alliance with the Generalissimo, political charges against Koo were dropped, allowing him to assume the role of the then twenty-eight-year-old general’s personal adviser.[5] Koo would consistently stress to Zhang that retaliation to Japan’s military aggression was unwise and, when the Mukden Incident took place, his opinion remained unchanged. Neither man was present when Shenyang was occupied in 1931, both having travelled to Beijing. Unable to return to the northeast, they remained in the former Chinese capital, conferring with military leaders about China’s response.[6] At this critical point, Koo made the case that China had little alternative than to seek the involvement of the League of Nations.[7]

Koo’s recommendation led Chiang Kai-shek to insist that he accept the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs.[8] Koo was understandably hesitant to accept a high-ranking position from an erstwhile political enemy but he knew why the position was being offered to him. As he later wrote in his memoir ‘I was not Kuomintang man and was a non-party man and was known in the diplomatic world’.[9] These were attributes that made Koo an ideal person to speak for China’s national interests in an international setting. He accepted the position and became ‘the shu-li [署理] foreign minister’ on 28 November 1931.[10]

Koo recalled in his memoir that he ‘knew that the League of Nations had no means at its disposal to [put] pressure upon Japan and upon the Japanese military group so as to force a withdrawal’.[11] In reality, ‘the purpose of this appeal to the League of Nations was merely to arouse world interest and general public opinion to bring indirectly some pressure on Japan not to extend their operations in Manchuria’.[12] The involvement of the community of foreign nations was ultimately designed to build consensus on China’s side and use the institutional tools of international cooperation to its favour.

In October 1931, when the Japanese air force bombed the north-eastern city of Jinzhou, crippling Chinese military resistance, US Secretary of State Henry Stimson  insisted that a commission be sent to investigate Japan’s and China’s conflicting claims about what had happened.[13] Koo himself was invited to be an assessor opposite Japan’s ambassador to Turkey, Isaburo Yoshida.[14] He accepted the invitation promptly, recognising that China desperately needed to move into multilateral negotiations, lest it appear less willing than Japan to reach a peace settlement.[15] On 10 December 1931, a League of Nations Council passed a resolution to send a commission to China.[16] The need for a workable settlement was further heightened when, on 28 January 1932, Japan responded to a Chinese boycott movement in Shanghai by sending an expeditionary force there. This new conflict dragged on until 3 March 1932 when a ceasefire was reached. The Lytton Commission reached China in the same month, arriving in Beijing in April.

From then until September 1932, Koo oversaw the drafting of a set of memoranda which explained the situation from an implicitly Chinese perspective by highlighting the dubious conditions under which Manchukuo was established. Koo primarily sought to stress the essential legality of China’s claim, the founding of Manchukuo only being possible through the military occupation of Manchuria. In this line of reasoning, Japan’s claims over the territory could only amount to a violation of international law. Apart from trips to Manchuria in April and June, as well as Tokyo in early July, Lytton and his team spent much of their investigation in Beijing. For most of April and June, and the remainder of July, the Lytton Report was written up and completed in the capital.[17] In accommodating the team to this degree, Koo undoubtedly wanted to influence the context in which its investigation was conducted, noting that he would give them access to whatever information they needed, that China would produce memoranda on the questions it required and would give them access to leaders at every level for discussion.[18] One of these leaders was his confidant Zhang Xueliang who was asked to shed light on the military situation in the region. Zhang provided information on Japanese troop locations and numbers, the treatment of the Korean minority population, as well as complications surrounding Japan’s South Manchuria Railway Company. He was also questioned on the anti-Japanese resistance movement in Manchuria, and what relationship he had with it.[19]

The Earl of Lytton (left) with Wellington Koo (right) in Hangzhou (League of Nations Photo Archive)

The Earl of Lytton (left) with Wellington Koo (right) in Hangzhou (League of Nations Photo Archive)

The two most immediate problems for the investigators and the Nanjing government was the crisis in Shanghai and continued fighting in Liaoning province since the Mukden Incident. While Lytton argued that these were two separate crises involving Japan needing separate resolutions, Koo asked that they be discussed together as both were the result of Japanese military aggression.[20] Koo’s accusation against Japan would itself be weak if he did not concurrently discredit Manchukuo’s claim to nationhood status. The memoranda of the Commission, publicly released in November 1932, located Manchuria’s history within the longer troubled history of Sino-Japanese relations in the half-century prior to the seizure of Manchuria in 1931. This history, the Commission argued, ‘consists of a series of almost uninterrupted attacks and encroachments by the Government of Japan on Chinese sovereignty’.[21]

Koo accused Japan of aggression against China on four counts: ‘(1) The encouragement of revolution and of rebellious movements; (2) the financing and perpetuation of civil warfare; (3) the blocking of national unification; and (4) the direct occupation of territory with a view to eventual annexation’.[22]

Koo also questioned the unfair economic advantages Japan had given to itself in northeast China and its subsequent monopoly over commercial development in the region. He challenged the claims made by the Japanese-owned South Manchuria Railway Company (SMRC) that it was merely assisting the development of north-eastern China. The company essentially alleged that under the leadership of Zhang Zuolin, Manchuria’s economy had stagnated. Indeed the SMRC would publicise its business operations internationally, characterising its activities as ‘inseparably tied up with the industrial, commercial, social, intellectual, and general economic life of ‘north-eastern China’. [23] But China, Koo argued, was ‘as anxious as Japan to develop the wealth of Manchuria in order to be of benefit to all who need it’. Whatever development was undertaken in Manchuria, he suggested, could occur ‘in conformity with laws, by the collaboration of business men of the two nations’ without the exclusive interference and privileges used by Japan.[24]

The English-language publication of Koo’s memoranda

The English-language publication of Koo’s memoranda

His memoranda made explicit demands for ‘the re-institution of Chinese authority in Manchuria…in conformity with law’ and ‘to secure the protection of Japanese subjects and their property’.[25] He was hesitant to economically exclude Japan from China’s northeast as it would only alienate the European investigators who sought to find common ground for both sides. Koo argued that if Japan’s claims about its role in Manchuria were viewed as just, then any nation-state lacking in certain resources would have ‘the right to resort to arms and install herself on the territory…of other States….to seize, control, and monopolise the exploitation of those materials for its own profit’.[26] Japan, he continued, would receive what she required, if a balanced system of relations was re-established in the region, and China was permitted open economic relations while maintaining sovereign control within its borders.[27] The memoranda’s implicit argument was that, regardless of whatever has been done in Manchuria, the fundamental ideal of national sovereignty, enshrined in the tenth article of the League of Nations Covenant, must be upheld.[28]

Consequently, the Commission recognised that Japan had legitimate commercial interests in Manchuria, amounting to something of a ‘special position’.[29] There was strong Japanese sentiment about Manchuria because it was where Japan had fought Russia in 1904-5.[30]  The Commission therefore concluded that neither China nor Japan could legally claim to have rightful sovereignty over Manchuria. Lytton and his fellow-observers, while not wanting to prolong the status quo of increasing Japanese entrenchment, also recognised that it was impossible to return to the era of a Manchuria under Chinese sovereignty alone. ‘To restore these conditions would merely be to invite a repetition of trouble,’ they argued, so it was better to approach a solution in accordance with ‘the realities of the situation’.[31]

One might say that the Commission was attempting to create a balance of sovereignty in Manchuria, more than a balance of power; that the easier solution was to ensure that both China and Japan had a stake in the territory. Lytton himself insisted ‘the fact that we [the Commission] suggested that China should make the declaration which was to define the future Constitution of Manchuria in itself proves our recognition of the fact that the territory was owned by China’.[32] The Commission had nonetheless encountered a discernible level of trepidation among the Chinese population toward the new government. Lytton suggested an approach he called the ‘World’s way’ in resolving the problem. He asked the League of Nations not to focus on either Japan or China’s claims, but instead to ‘secure the consent of both to the principles which should govern any discussion between them’ and thereby ‘define the indispensable conditions of a settlement on the broadest possible lines’.[33]

Ultimately the Commission did not accept Japan’s claim that Manchukuo was a legitimate nation-state. On the one hand, the Commission argued that the region was unable to be absorbed into the political territory of China as doing so would impinge on the legitimate interests of the Japanese. On the other hand, it saw a need to curb evident Japan’s political influence on Manchuria’s government. The question of sovereignty in Manchuria was thus displaced by considerations of Manchuria’s political, cultural and economic situation vis-à-vis China and Japan. Moreover, the Lytton Report argued for ‘international co-operation in Chinese reconstruction,’ stating that ‘whatever Japan does in Manchuria must take into account the interests of China’.[34] ‘The government in Manchuria,’ the Report advised, ‘should be modified in such a way as to secure, consistently with the sovereignty and administrative integrity of China, a large measure of autonomy designed to meet the local conditions and special characteristics of the Three Provinces’.[35]

Koo wrote that in early October 1932, as China’s newly-appointed Minister to France, he set off to Geneva to present China’s case and to discuss the Commission’s findings before the League.[36] The Report, signed and published in Beijing in September 1932, had been passed on to the Council of the League of Nations in the same month. Koo was worried that the League might not be able to resolve the situation in Manchuria. In the event of a diplomatic deadlock between China and Japan, then direct negotiations between Nanjing and Tokyo without outside mediation would be the only way forward and one that would be deeply unfavourable to China.[37] He also recognised the importance for China of the support of the US (which was not a member of the League). This was because Washington was in the strongest position to put pressure on Tokyo.[38] Fundamentally, Koo knew that apart from the League, the negotiations needed as much multilateral oversight as could be secured.

Special Session of the League of Nations Assembly in Geneva, 1932 (League of Nations Photo Archive)

Special Session of the League of Nations Assembly in Geneva, 1932 (League of Nations Photo Archive)

The consensus of the League in Geneva provided China with at least a rhetorical basis for resisting Japanese expansion. In fact, Koo mentioned in one telegram to Nanjing that, despite Tokyo’s urging, the Soviet Union was hesitant to recognize Manchukuo. Moscow, he wrote, was ‘really satisfied with report (sic) and wishes League success in checking Japan’.[39] In February 1933, a special committee of the League of Nations ‘decided unanimously on non-recognition of Manchukuo’  and demanded that the incumbent Japanese-led regime in Manchukuo be dismantled.[40]

One commentator wrote of the League’s decision that it was contrary to what many observers outside Manchukuo had assumed. There were many foreigners who thought they ‘could make profit out of official recognition of the puppet regime of Manchuria – a fact they have been led to expect by the “promises” of Japanese diplomats and other propagandists’.[41] Under Koo’s expert guidance, the KMT government sought and received the support of international law in its response to the founding of Manchukuo. Unlike Japan, which had pursued a pro-Manchukuo propaganda campaign overseas, Koo had, from the outset, insisted on multilateral involvement in the crisis and had successfully presented China as the victim of Japanese aggression

The League of Nations’ decision to not recognise Manchukuo reflected China’s success in lobbying the European powers to recognise China’s sovereign interests. While there were obvious limitations to the League’s ruling, and there was little the outside world could do to militarily intervene in Manchukuo’s affairs, the League nonetheless saw China, from the perspective of international law, as having a far stronger claim to Manchuria than Japan.

Today, the Chinese government’s claim of historic rights emphasises China’s entitlement, both politically and historically, to contested zones such as the Paracel and Spratly islands. China’s claims in the South China Sea, accompanied by its construction of artificial islands, have alarmed its South-East Asian neighbours and worried the United States. This prompted the Philippines to submit a plea to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea at The Hague in 2013, which ruled in their favour in July 2016. Leading up to the ruling, the United States, which has not ratified the UNCLOS, enlarged its naval presence in the western Pacific region in an attempt to deter China, a move which the Chinese government has strongly criticised.[42]

In both the South China Sea dispute today and the dispute over Manchuria in the early 1930s, China based its claims on historic rights. In the 1930s, China accepted shared sovereignty with Japan over Manchuria under the terms of the League. Lacking the means to oust Japan, China sought a multilateral solution. Today, however, some observers might be tempted to argue that the Chinese government’s behaviour looks troublingly similar to that of Japan’s in the 1930s. On 25 February 1933, Tokyo refused to accept the Lytton Commission’s recommendation of shared sovereignty over Manchuria. On that day, the Japanese delegation walked out of the League of Nations.

Koo himself remains a popular historical figure in mainland China today because of the 1999 film My 1919 (我的1919) by Huang Jianzhong 黄健中, in which Koo is portrayed as a staunch nationalist, fiercely opposing the extraterritorial demands imposed by the Western powers and Japan upon China. But the historical Koo was very different. He understood the complexities of international politics and was acutely aware of the image created by official Chinese rhetoric on the international stage. Following the end of the Sino-Japanese War, he would become the first signatory on the United Nations Charter in 1945, which acknowledged the fact that China was the first country to be attacked during the Second World War. In this successor to the League, Koo, speaking before the General Assembly, did not forget to mention ‘the failure of this first attempt’ at establishing ‘a system of collective peace,’ but expressed optimism at the ‘chance to make a fresh start’.[43]

Chen Daoming 陈道明 portraying Wellington Koo in My 1919

Chen Daoming 陈道明 portraying Wellington Koo in My 1919

Koo supported neither the KMT nor the CCP. His last appointment was as a judge in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, a position he assumed in 1956, having spent a decade as the Republic of China’s ambassador to the United States. He died in New York in November 1985.

It is difficult to imagine what Koo would have thought of the South China Sea dispute today. In July 1938, he wrote a letter of protest to the French government over its seizure of the Paracel Islands 西沙群岛 that same month.[44] In December 1947, China’s KMT government would publicly declare the U-shaped line, delineating its claim over the majority of the South China Sea. It is from this declaration that the CCP government today makes its claim on the territory. China’s present foreign minister Wang Yi must be aware that in rejecting the authority of a multilateral institution like The Hague, China could all too easily drift toward unilateral diplomacy. It is perhaps for this reason that Wang has stressed that ‘China’s non-acceptance of and non-participation in the arbitration is solidly based on international law’, arguing that as China seeks its own path to a resolution, it is nonetheless abiding by international rules.[45]

While Koo’s experience often tested his faith in multilateral diplomacy, it was always his first recourse as a diplomat. Today, as political rhetoric on the South China Sea grows more and more heated, it is important to remind ourselves that China formerly depended on the support of multilateral institutions. That China can now confidently reject the ruling of The Hague is a sign of its new global power.


* The author would like to thank Gloria Davies for her editorial guidance and suggestions.

[1] ‘Chinese foreign minister says South China Sea arbitration a political farce’, Xinhua, 13 July 2016, online at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-07/13/c_135508275.htm

[2] Manchukuo: the Founding of the New State in Manchuria, New York: Japanese Chamber of Commerce, 1933, p.1.

[3]The Peking and Tientsin Times, was founded by the British Municipal Council in Tianjin, printing in both Chinese and English. It circulated as a weekly newspaper from 1894 until 1902, then as a daily newspaper until 1941, when it ceased printing. ‘China and the Crisis’ August 1 1932, Peking and Tientsin Times article, in 020-010102-0266, ‘Collection of materials on Japan’s illegal activities supplied to the League of Nations investigation’ 搜集日本違法行為材料供給國聯調查團, Taipei: Foreign Office Collection, Academia Historica.

[4] The Beiyang government was seated in Beijing from 1912 to 1928. It was acknowledged abroad as the legitimate government of the Republic of China, a claim which was challenged by the KMT government based in Nanjing. From 1928, when Beijing was occupied by the KMT military, the Beiyang regime ceased to exist.

[5] Hui-lan Koo, Hui-lan Koo [Madame Wellington Koo]: an autobiography as told to Mary van Rensselaer Thayer, New York: Dial Press, 1943, p.283.

[6]Ibid., pp.314-15.

[7] V.K. Wellington Koo, The Wellington Koo memoir, New York: Chinese Oral History Project, Columbia University, vol.3, p. 312.

[8] Koo, Hui-lan Koo, p.316.

[9] Koo, The Wellington Koo memoir, vol.3, p.333.

[10] The term ‘“shu-li” 署理 foreign minister’ means the ‘acting foreign minister’. Ibid., p.322.

[11] Ibid., p.320.

[12] Ibid., p.313.

[13] Chu, V.K. Wellington Koo: a case study of China’s diplomat and diplomacy of nationalism, 1912-1966, Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1981, pp.123-24.

[14] Ibid., p.128.

[15] Koo, The Wellington Koo memoir, vol.3, pp.317-318.

[16] Wunsz King, China and League of Nations: the Sino-Japanese Controversy, New York: St. John’s University Press, 1965, p.24.

[17] Lytton, ‘Appeal by the Chinese Government,’ pp.10-12.

[18] Wellington Koo to Foreign Office, Nanjing, Incoming Telegram No. 32053, Shanghai, sent 1932/3/16, 020-010102-0262, p.2.

[19] Wellington Koo to Foreign Office, Nanjing, Incoming Telegram No. 32806, 32827 and 32849, Beiping, sent 1932/4/13, 020-010102-0263.

[20] Wellington Koo to Foreign Office, Nanjing, Incoming Telegram No. 32053, Shanghai, sent 1932/3/16, 020-010102-0262, p.1.

[21] V.K. Wellington Koo, Memoranda Presented to the Lytton Commission by V.K. Wellington Koo, Assessor, New York: The Chinese Cultural Society, 1932, p.8.

[22] Ibid., p.339.

[23] South Manchuria Railway Company, Answering Questions on Manchuria 1936, Tokyo: The Herald Press, 1936, p.39.

[24] Koo, Memoranda Presented to the Lytton Commission, p.48.

[25] Ibid., 67.

[26] Ibid., 48.

[27] Ibid., 49.

[28] The tenth article of the Covenant stipulates that ‘Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League’. Ibid., p.55.

[29] Lytton, ‘Appeal by the Chinese Government,’ p.39.

[30] Ibid., p.39.

[31] Ibid., p.127.

[32] Earl of Lytton, ‘The Problem of Manchuria,’ International Affairs, vol.11, no.6 (1932): p.743.

[33] Ibid., p.747.

[34] Lytton, ‘Appeal by the Chinese Government,’ p. 131.

[35] Manchuria is sometimes referred to as ‘The Three Provinces’东北三省meaning the Three North-eastern provinces of China, Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang. Ibid., 130.

[36] Koo, The Wellington Koo memoir, vol.4, p. 15.

[37] Wellington Koo to Foreign Office, Nanjing, Incoming Telegram No. 37365, Port Said, sent 1932/9/26, 020-010102-0267, pp.1-3.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Wellington Koo to Foreign Office, Nanjing, Incoming Telegram No. 38599, Paris, sent 1932/10/17, 020-990600-0454, ‘Puppet state of Manchukuo’ 偽滿洲國, Taipei: Foreign Office Collection, Academia Historica, p.1.

[40] ‘Non-Recognition of Manchukuo. League Committee’s Recommendations’, The Irish Times, 7 February, 1933.

[41] ‘The Puppet State of ‘Manchukuo’, China Today Series, no.4, Shanghai: China United Press, 1935, p.27.

[42] Ben Blanchard, ‘U.S. says its forces will keep operating in South China Sea’, Reuters, 20 July 2016, online at: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-ruling-usa-idUSKCN1000PD

[43] Wellington Koo, ‘XIX. Speech before the General Assembly of United Nations’, in Jin Guangyao and Ma Jianbiao eds, ‘Wellington Koo’s Diplomatic Speeches’ 顧維鈞外交演講集, Shanghai: Shanghai Dictionary Publishing House, 2006, p.340.

[44] Jianming Shen, ‘International Law Rules and Historical Evidences Supporting China’s Title to the South China Sea Islands’, Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, vol.21, no.1 (1997-1998): 43.

[45] ‘Remarks by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the Award of the So-called Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration’, Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, 12 July 2016, online at: http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/nanhai/eng/wjbxw_1/t1380003.htm