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Old battleground Dadan Island to open to the public in late July

2018/04/20 23:04:31

(File photo)

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) A Taiwan-held island off the coast of China that was a major battleground during the Cold War is calling for military veterans who served there to volunteer on the island before it opens to the public as a tourist destination in late July.

(File photo)

In a statement issued Friday, the Kinmen County government said it is now planning the opening of Dadan Island to the public on July 26 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 823 Artillery Bombardment and is looking for volunteers to help.

(File photo)

The Kinmen County tourism department is calling for veterans who once served on the 0.79-square-kilometer Dadan Island to return as volunteers to assist with the environment and landscape planning.

Volunteers need to have served on the island in the past and need to provide proof of service such as military documents, old photographs or artifacts.

Potential volunteers can apply until May 15, and email the application form to 2018godadan@gmail.com, the county government said.

The Republic of China military's presence on Dadan and neighboring Erdan dates back to 1949, when the ROC government relocated to Taiwan after losing mainland China to communist forces.

The islets were the sight of a fierce battle on July 26, 1950 as the communists set their sights on capturing ROC-held islands near China in the Taiwan Strait.

Communist forces fired a volley of shells before landing 700 soldiers on Dadan's beaches. But faced with the larger invasion force, 298 ROC soldiers and officers on Dadan fought for more than 10 bloody hours to emerge victorious the next day.

The 39 ROC soldiers posted on the 0.28 sq.km. Erdan also defended the islet from incoming Chinese forces. Their success in securing the islands illustrated their importance to Taiwan's defense.

For many years, they continued to bear the brunt of the exchanges of fire across the Taiwan Strait, including the Aug. 23 Artillery Battle of 1958, when more than 100,000 shells fired from China crashed into the tiny islets.

Because of their historic importance, the two islets have lived in the minds of generations of Taiwanese civilians, who will soon be able to set foot on Dadan Island for the first time.

Administration of the small islands located just over four kilometers from the Chinese city of Xiamen was transferred from the military to the Kinmen County government in 2014.

(By Huang Huei-min and William Yen)
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