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Memorial service in Kinmen commemorates key battle against China

2015/08/23 17:28:02

Taipei, Aug. 23 (CNA) A memorial service was held Sunday in the outlying Kinmen County to mark the 57th anniversary of a battle that occurred during hostilities across the Taiwan Strait in 1958.

The service, organized by the Kinmen Defense Command, was attended by more than 70 retired soldiers in honor of their fellow servicemen who died defending the outlying island from Chinese invasion.

Lee Jing-chuan (李景川), who lives in Pingtung County's Wandan Township and has set up an exhibition there of the battle, said the victory paved the way for the peace that now exists in Taiwan. He said Aug. 23 should be celebrated as "Peace Memorial Day of the Taiwan Strait."

During the battle that began Aug. 23, 1958, Chinese troops fired more than 470,000 shells at the 150-square-kilometer Kinmen island over a period of 44 days, killing 587 ROC soldiers and 101 civilians.

It is regarded as a significant battle that helped safeguard the Republic of China government on Taiwan.

The Kuomintang-led government relocated to Taiwan proper in 1949 after losing a civil war in China to communist forces. From 1949 until the late 1970s, Kinmen -- only 10 kilometers from Xiamen Harbor in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian -- was on the frontline of intermittent conflict across the Taiwan Strait.

(By Huang Hui-min and Jeffrey Wu)