Taipei, July 3 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) attended the launch Friday of two exhibitions on people's lives during the 1937-1945 Second Sino-Japanese War and presented a Republic of China flag to a son of a war heroine.
The two exhibitions, one about wartime lives and the other specifically about Taiwan under Japanese colonial rule and Chiang Wei-shui (1891-1931), both curated by CNA, are being held at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei.
Ma gave the ROC flag to Chu Fu-kuei (朱復圭), a son of Yang Hui-min (楊惠敏 1915-1992), who as a girl guide supplied ROC flags and supplies to Chinese troops besieged by the Japanese army in Shanghai in 1937, to show gratitude and respect to citizen heroes and heroines in the war.
Ma said that "the mistakes of history might be gradually forgotten, but historical truth cannot be forgotten, since forgetting history could lead to the recurrence of the same mistakes."
To commemorate the victory over Japan is to express the hope of avoiding war and to hope that "war will not happen any more," rather than showing off that we were on the side of the winners, said Ma.
Many people doubt what the victory was for, since millions of Chinese soldiers sacrificed their lives in the eight-year conflict, Ma said, but added that the war's importance is that it shows the willpower and determination of the Chinese people.
In response to media speculation that the commemorative events for the end of the war will affect relations between Japan and the ROC, Ma said that they will not.
Ma is scheduled to attend a July 7 conference on the 70th anniversary of the victory hosted by Academia Historica. That date is the anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937, which is widely considered the beginning of the war.
Asked if the ROC Air Force's removing kill marks (flags of Japan) from two of its jet fighters was the result of pressure from Japan, Ma said this is not the case and that kill markings are still on a replica Curtiss P-40 Warhawk plane to be displayed in a military event Saturday.
The ROC government moved from Nanjing to Taipei in 1949 after its defeat at the hands of the Communist Party of China during a Chinese civil war.
(By Lu Hsin-hui and Kuo Chung-han)ENDITEM/J