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Ma promotes reconciliation but stresses military preparedness

2015/01/20 17:39:24

Taipei, Jan. 20 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Tuesday marked the 60th anniversary of a battle across the Taiwan Strait, stressing that reconciliation with China is a top priority, but Taiwan must maintain its military preparedness nonetheless.

At the ceremony to mark the Battle of the Yijiangshan (一江山) Islands in 1955, Ma spoke of a wish for peaceful resolutions to future disputes between the two sides, saying that "now, we begin to seek peace."

"This is the third time I have attended the Yijiangshan commemoration event. Each time, I have aimed to underscore the military's contributions to Taiwan," he said.

But unlike the violent past, Taiwan and China are now working toward peaceful relations, he said, reiterating his administration's policy of "no unification, no independence and no use of force" and the 1992 consensus of "one China with different interpretations."

"We still have disputes (...) but we now resolve them through peaceful means," he said, adding that Taiwan must still be prepared for the worst by continuing to build up its armed forces.

During the ceremony, Ma paid tribute to the hundreds Republic of China (ROC) soldiers who died in the two-day battle against People's Liberation Army forces on the islands off Zhejiang Province.

Also called the First Taiwan Strait Crisis, the battle ended in an ROC defeat, forcing it to withdraw from the Dachen Archipelago to the islands of Kinmen and Matsu, which the ROC government still controls today.

It was also a catalyst that prompted the U.S. Congress to pass a resolution on Jan. 29 that year authorizing then-President Dwight Eisenhower to sent troops to defend Taiwan and other islands controlled by the Taipei-based ROC government.

(By Claudia Liu and Elizabeth Hsu)