Taiwan will invite several winners of the Nobel Peace Prize to attend a ceremony on Aug. 23 next year in Kinmen to commemorate the “823 Artillery Bombardment,” Council of Culture Affairs Minister Emile Sheng (盛治仁) said yesterday.
According to Sheng, one Nobel Peace Prize winner has already accepted the invitation from Taiwan to attend the ceremony to ring a “peace bell” made of artillery shells used in the 1958 battle, in which China fired up to 500,000 shells at Kinmen over a period of 44 days. However, he declined to reveal the award winner’s name, saying only that “the peace bell will be engraved with ‘peace’ in 100 languages, while ringing the bell on the day will show our determination to pursue peace.”
The event is touted as part of a series of activities celebrating the Republic of China’s (ROC) 100th anniversary next year.
Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), who doubles as chairman of the organizing committee, said the series of celebrations will begin on the last day of this year, with a New Year’s Eve party scheduled to be held in Taipei.
Siew said the organizing committee also planned to hold three international events to enhance Taiwan’s international visibility, while maintaining the operation of the popular Taipei International Flora Expo pavilions for the whole year. These include a designers’ exhibition, the annual meeting of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles and the annual meeting of the International Press Institute.
While addressing the -organizing committee on preparation for the ROC’s centennial celebrations, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said: “Taiwan and the ROC are associated closely with each other, having been through difficulties, creating not only an economic miracle, but also a political miracle, termed the quiet revolution. The world also admires its achievements in social security and social welfare.”
He expressed the hope that the ROC will play an international role as an inventor of peace, a provider of humanitarian assistance, an advocator of cultural exchanges and a creator of new technology and business opportunities.