TAIPEI – Taiwan will hold a military display in July to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the island’s government said Monday.
Sun Lih-chyun, spokesman of the Executive Yuan or Cabinet, told a press conference that the display will be part of a series of events the administration plans to hold from July 7 to Oct. 25 to mark both the war’s end in 1945 and the island’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule.
July 7 is the anniversary of the 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident, widely regarded as the start of the Sino-Japanese War, while Oct. 25 is Taiwan’s Retrocession Day.
While emphasizing that the display will not be a military parade, Lt. Wang Ming-woo, director of the Political Warfare Bureau of the Ministry of National Defense, told the same press conference that its scale will “not be second to” that held on Oct. 10, 2011, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China, Taiwan’s official name.
The 2011 “Double 10” National Day military display held in front of the Presidential Office was the first of its kind held on National Day since 2007.
It included a military flyover and displays of special forces, a military police motorcade, weapons, and search and rescue equipment.
China will also be holding a series of events to mark the anniversary, including a “grand military parade.” Wang said he realizes Beijing is planning to invite Taiwanese veterans who fought in the eight-year war against Japanese aggression to its parade, adding that he believes the veterans have the ability to tell “right from wrong” and “truth from falsity.”
“The truth is that it was mainly the ROC military (forces loyal to Kuomintang, which now rules Taiwan) that took on the Japanese,” he said.
While the communists played a lesser role, the communists led by Mao Zedong later fought a civil war with the Nationalists on the mainland, forcing the latter to retreat to Taiwan in 1949.
Since then, China and Taiwan have been governed separately. While Taipei still calls itself the Republic of China and claims the mainland as its territory, Beijing has long threatened to use force, if necessary, to reunite both sides under the leadership of the People’s Republic of China.
Commenting on the future relationship with Japan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrew Kao urged both sides to move forward toward peaceful and cooperative development.
However, he emphasized that Taiwan will not yield to any distortion of the historical fact of World War II.
As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to release a statement in August on the 70th anniversary, the Taiwan government has urged the Japanese government to reflect on its wartime aggression, while calling on China to honestly examine the role it played in resisting Japanese aggression.
China has been calling for Abe’s government to be more sincere in dealing with historical issues, suggesting that it is open to inviting Abe to its military parade if Japan properly faces its role and defeat in the war.
Apart from the military display, the Taiwan government is also planning a series of low-key activities including seminars, symposiums, talks, concerts and photo exhibitions. It will also release documentaries, book series, stamps and coins.
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