Chiang Kai-shek gave this speech on December 26, 1938 as an answer to Japan's Premier, Prince Konoye.
The year and a half’s war has laid for us a solid foundation for national regeneration. We fear no problems, nor are we concerned over impending dangers. We merely lament the fate of Japan, the present status of which was brought about by the hard efforts and sacrifices of her reformist patriots. Today, her people are powerless, her throne without prerogative, and her politicians without integrity and knowledge, thus allowing a few hot-headed young militarists to do as they please. They are sapping Japan’s national strength, shaking her national foundations and advancing savagely on the infamous road of self-seeking at the expense of others. In the eyes of these young Japanese militarists, China does not exist, nor do the other countries of the world. They have regard neither for discipline, nor for law, nor yet for their own government. Guided by their greed, cruelty, and violence, they do as they please. If such conduct be allowed to continue, the future of Japan is indeed full of danger. Although we are sworn enemies of the Japanese militarists, yet we are still neighbours to the Japanese people, who share with us a language of a common origin. Reviewing Japan’s history and looking forward to her future, we not only see danger in her path but lament her lot.
Comrades, you should realize that the Japanese militarists are now heading blindly into a maze. They have forgotten their own history, their own position, and can neither see the outsideworld and their own crisis, nor recognize their neighbour, a revolutionary China. There are but two aspects to their thought. On the one hand they are so blind to facts as vainly to hope that China might accept their outrageous terms, and on the other hand they rely on their cunning to achieve some tour-de-force and to benefit by hoodwinking the world. Because they themselves are stupid, they believe the peoples of the world are to be befooled. Because they themselves are violent, they believe that force can dominate this world.
As borne out by the terms embodied in his statement, Konoye wants to close China’s Open Door and break the Nine-Power Treaty by establishing a so-called "new order in East Asia," and to expel European and American influence from China by creating a so-called "unity of East Asia" and "economic bloc," and to revive the Twenty-one Demands presented to Yuan Shih-kai by "stationing troops in China" and setting aside "Inner Mongolia as a Special Area." Summing up, Japan intends to force China to destroy by her own hand the principles of Open Door and Equal Opportunity, the League of Nations Covenant, the Nine-Power Treaty, the Sino-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact and other international treaties, by resorting to such terms as "creating a new order in East Asia." They wish to bind our hands, squeeze our arteries, yet they expect us to follow in their footsteps by breaking faith and despising loyalty to hasten the realization of their domination in East Asia, after which they might direct the world. Throughout five thousand years, China has always been guided by good faith and sincerity, in her statecraft. How can we be made to yield by threats and abandon our stand?
China as a state is founded on the principles not to oppress the undefended, nor fear the aggressive. More particularly, she is not willing to violate pacts or break faith and thus destroy the righteous principles governing the relations of mankind. I remember the meeting of Tanaka and our late Tsungli (Dr. Sun Yat-sen) in Shanghai in the third year of the Republic which coincided with the outbreak of the Great War in Europe. Tanaka proposed that East Asiatics should at that time denounce all ratified relations with foreign countries and erect a new order in East Asia. Dr. Sun queried: "Would it not involve the breaking of international treaties?" To which Tanaka answered: "Is not the denunciation of treaties and termination of unequal obligations advantageous to China?" "Unequal treaties should be terminated by straightforward and legitimate procedure," solemnly declared Dr. Sun, "and China is not prepared to become a party to the illegal denunciation of treaties even though advantageous to our country." Comrades, such is China’s spirit. It is also the spirit of the Three People’s Principles. We have relied on this spirit to resist invasion; we have depended on this spirit to resist all forms of domination, force and violence. We should be sustained by this spirit to restore order in East Asia and offer it as a contribution towards enduring world peace.
To conclude, this war on the part of Japan is violent banditry brought about by the total collapse of morals and sound principles in that country. Insofar as China is concerned, we have courageously taken upon our shoulders the world responsibility of fighting for justice and righteousness. Of late, the Japanese militarists have lost their senses, and prompted by sheer inertia, are rapidly going the way to exceed all bounds and damage the civilization and happiness of mankind. Nations of the world which are bound by treaty obligations should have acted to maintain the sanctity of treaties and apply punitive measures against the aggressor so that light might have been restored to the present scene of impenetrable darkness. But the nations hesitated and looked on. China, unmindful of any sacrifice, however, took upon herself the immense responsibility at the time when the fate of righteousness and justice was in the balance.
Our object in prosecuting this war of Resistance, is to complete the task of national revolution and secure for China independence, liberty and equality. Internationally, our object is to support righteousness and justice, restore the prestige of treaties, and re-establish peace and order. This is a war between good and evil, between right and wrong. It is a war between justice and force, and a war between an abider by the law and a breaker of it. It is also a war between righteousness and brute-force.
A Chinese proverb says: "Virtue never lacks company; it will ever find support." The force of world justice will rise, and men of goodwill ultimately co-operate in the interests of rectitude. On our part, we should hold fast to our stand and fix our eyes steadfastly on our goal, and be firm in our determination. Our firmness should increase with greater difficulties, and our courage should rise with prolonged Resistance. The entire nation should carry on with oneness of heart. The final victory will be ours. I urge my comrades, our army, and our people to redouble their efforts in order to attain success.