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Taiwan President Vows to Seek Eternal Peace With China

Taiwan's president has marked the 60th anniversary of a key battle against Chinese Communist forces by vowing to seek eternal peace across the Taiwan Strait.

Ma Ying-jeou said Sunday Taiwan will continue dialogue and negotiations with China to try to secure a peace that consigns the killings of previous battles to history.

He was speaking at a ceremony on the island of Kinmen honoring veterans of the 1949 battle of Kinmen in which Taiwan Nationalists repulsed an invasion by Chinese Communist forces. The Kinmen island group lies just off the coast of southeastern China's Fujian province.

The three-day battle that began on October 25, 1949 killed around 3,000 Chinese Communist soldiers and 1,200 Nationalist troops.

Taiwan President Ma described the battle as a turning point in modern Chinese history, saying it allowed Taiwan and China to experiment with differing political and economic systems.

China's former Nationalist government fled to Taiwan in early 1949 after losing the Chinese civil war to the Communists. Taiwan and China have been ruled separately ever since. Beijing views Taiwan as a renegade province and has vowed to reunite with it, by force if necessary.

China and Taiwan have held a series of talks since President Ma took office last year with a pledge to improve cross-Strait relations.

At the ceremony, Mr. Ma said the battle of Kinmen gave Taiwan the opportunity to develop into a democracy.

China, he said, initially endured three decades of turbulence in which millions of people died and society's core values collapsed. But, he acknowledged that in the most recent 30 years, China has undertaken gradual reforms that have allowed it to develop into a regional power.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.