Presidential hopefuls underscore importance of peace
President Tsai Ing-wen attended her final remembrance service as Taiwan's head of State for those killed on Kinmen during the 1958 Second Taiwan Straits Crisis. The memorial marks the 65th anniversary of the start of a massive Chinese artillery bombardment of the island.
Also attending the event, the KMT's presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih and possible 2024 candidate Terry Guo stressed the importance of maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait.
After a public memorial service Hou said war must be avoided at all costs. He added this could only be achieved through de-escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait, which is key to securing stability and prosperity.
Meanwhile, Guo called on Beijing not to underestimate the Taiwanese people's resolve to defend their country. Guo also said he plans to launch his "Kinmen peace promotion foundation" very shortly, as the outlying island can serve as an important hub in the quest for cross-strait peace."
The Taiwan People's Party presidential candidate, Ko Wen Jie didn't travel to Kinmen. Instead, Ko visited the Martyr's Shrine, where he honoured the memorial tablets of military personnel who died during the Second Taiwan Straits Crisis.
Ko urged the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to decrease hostility and engage in dialogue, particularly on issues relating to daily life.
At the event Tsai burnt incense, laid a wreath and bowed her head in respect at the Tai-Wu-Shan Cemetery martyr hall to the soldiers who successfully repelled the attempted invasion.
Speaking prior to a banquet for survivors and family members of those killed, Tsai said she believes "a powerful defence is needed to maintain peace" and Taiwan needs to continue to reform national defence, push for self-reliance and strengthen defence capabilities and resilience."
She also told reporters that despite the expansion of authoritarianism continuing to threaten cross-strait security and stability to this day, Taiwan has the support of the international community for safeguarding democratic values.
Tsai was accompanied by defence minister Chiu Kuo-cheng and National Security Council Secretary-General Wellington Koo. It was only the third time that Tsai has attended the annual memorial since she took office in 2016.