Beijing, Aug. 31 (CNA) Former vice president and Kuomintang (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said on Monday in Beijing that the only purpose of his China visit is to commemorate history by participating in an upcoming event that celebrates the 70th anniversary of the end of the Eight-Year War of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945).
The war to defend China against Japan's invasion and occupation was the bloodiest war ever fought in China, with up to 23 million Chinese civilians and soldiers killed, according to estimates. It later became a part of World War II.
Lien's visit is controversial because the Beijing event on Sept. 3 is seen as an attempt by the People's Republic of China to play up the role of the communists in the war.
The government of the Republic of China fought most of the war, but later lost the Chinese civil war to the communists and fled to Taiwan in 1949.
Taiwan's government is concerned that the Chinese government is playing with history by presenting the communists as having played the main role in resisting Japan.
Some fear Lien's participation in Beijing's event could lend credibility to the Chinese government's claims.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had called Lien's trip "inappropriate."
However, Lien said he is making his trip with a sincere heart to commemorate history and look toward the future.
He was speaking during a meeting with Yu Zhengsheng (俞正聲), chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Lien said that mistakes in war can be forgiven, but historical responsibilities cannot be forgotten.
In the meeting with Yu, Lien also stressed the cooperation between the KMT and the Chinese Communist in fighting the Japanese.
"We abandoned and shelved some of our different views, and we cooperated unanimously to fight against mighty powers, against humiliation and against the invasion by another race," Lien said.
He did however stress that the Nationalist Army, the military arm of the KMT, fought in a total of 22 decisive battles during the war against Japan.
"It also combined forces with armed groups led by the Chinese Communist Party that were (fighting) from the sides and from behind the enemy," he said, in what appeared to be a diplomatic way of asserting the communists' secondary and less important role in the war.
Yu, meanwhile, said the commemorative event will be held to lift the spirit of the Chinese people and that the mainland hopes that it will contribute to the peaceful development of cross-Taiwan Strait relations.
(By Chiu Kuo-chiang and Christie Chen)ENDITEM/cs