The Treaty of Shimonoseki was an treaty signed at the Shunpanrō hotel, Shimonoseki, Japan on April 17, 1895, between the Empire of Japan and Qing China, ending the First Sino-Japanese War. Among the treaty terms,
Articles 2 & 3: China cedes to Japan in perpetuity and full sovereignty of the Pescadores group, Formosa (Taiwan) and the eastern portion of the bay of Liaodong Peninsula (Dalian) together with all fortifications, arsenals, and public property.
During the summit between Japanese and Qing representatives in March and April 1895, Prime Minister Hirobumi Ito and Foreign Minister Munemitsu Mutsu wanted to reduce the power of Qing Dynasty on not only the Korean Peninsula but also the Taiwan islands. Moreover, Mutsu had already noticed its importance in order to expand Japanese military power towards South China and Southeast Asia. It was also the age of imperialism, so Japan wished to mimic what the Western nations were doing. Imperial Japan was seeking colonies and resources in the Korean Peninsula and Mainland China to compete with the presence of Western powers at that time. This was the way the Japanese leadership chose to illustrate how fast Imperial Japan had advanced compared to the West since the 1867 Meiji Restoration, and the extent it wanted to amend the unequal treaties that were held in the Far East by the Western powers.
At the peace conference between Imperial Japan and Qing Dynasty, Li Hongzhang and Li Jingfang, the ambassadors at the negotiation desk of Qing Dynasty, originally did not plan to cede Taiwan because they also realized Taiwan's great location for trading with the West. Therefore, even though the Qing had lost wars against Britain and France in the 19th century, the Qing Emperor was serious about keeping Taiwan under its rule, which began in 1683.
At the first half of the conference, Ito and Mutsu claimed that yielding the full sovereignty of Taiwan was an absolute condition and requested Li to hand over full sovereignty of Penghu Islands and the eastern portion of the bay of Liaotung (Dalian). Li Hongzhang refused on the grounds that Taiwan had never been a battlefield during the first Sino-Japanese War between 1894 and 1895. By the final stage of the conference, while Li Hongzhang agreed to the transfer of full sovereignty of the Penghu islands and the eastern portion of the bay of Liaotung Peninsula to Imperial Japan, he still refused to hand over Taiwan. As Taiwan had been a province since 1885, Li stated, "Taiwan is already a province, and therefore not to be given away."
However, as Imperial Japan had the militaristic advantage, and eventually Li gave Taiwan up. On April 17, 1895, the peace treaty between Imperial Japan and the Qing dynasty had been signed and was followed by the successful Japanese invasion of Taiwan. This had a huge and lasting impact on Taiwan, the turning over of the island to Imperial Japan marking the end of 200 years of Qing rule despite local Chinese resistance against the annexation, which was quashed swiftly by the Japanese.