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Ex-President Lee pays tribute to World War II Taiwanese soldiers

2018/06/24 21:37:55

Former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝, front, second right)

Okinawa, June 24 (CNA) Taiwan's former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) on Sunday unveiled a monument in Japan dedicated to World War II Taiwanese soldiers, which bears the inscription "A testimony to their country."

The monument, erected in Peace Memorial Park in the Mabuni Hill area of the city of Itoman, commemorates the Taiwanese lives lost in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa and stands near another World War II memorial that is engraved with more than 240,000 names, including those of 34 Taiwanese.

In Lee's speech at the unveiling ceremony, he highlighted the inscription on the new memorial that reads, "A testimony to their country," in Chinese characters.

He said that some of the 34 Taiwanese killed in the bloody Battle of Okinawa during World War II were probably involved in the transport of rice.

Speaking in tears, he said that before the battle broke out in February 1945, about 900 tons of rice was shipped to Okinawa from Keelung in northern Taiwan, which was then a colony of Japan, to provide live-saving meals for military personnel and civilians during the battle.

He said that wars are horrible, cruel and a depletion of human lives.

"I've seen the hardship and suffering brought about by wars," Lee said. "But amid wars, I've seen how humans can adopt a positive attitude for their own survival."

History has shown that adhering to the values of peace, freedom and democracy has made humans great, Lee said,

Only by passing on the belief that everyone should live their lives to shape a world of peace, freedom and democracy can human civilization continue to advance, he said.

"One of the reasons why humans are great is that they learn from exemplary forefathers whose lives are a testimony to history so we know how to choose that path in our own lives," he said.

Lee was invited by Japan-Taiwan Peace Foundation to attend the unveiling ceremony, which was held one day after Okinawa Memorial Day, a public holiday in Japan that is observed on June 23.

(By Yang Ming-chu and Shih Hsiu-chuan)
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