Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
Ma made the remark while introducing the premiere of a documentary on the incident, one of the party's events marking the anniversary of the tragedy sparked on Feb. 27, 1947.
Saying the party could no longer shun its responsibility for the 228 Incident, Ma said he would be willing to come forward and make a formal apology to the victims and their families.
The KMT also invited relatives of the victims of the 228 Incident to watch the documentary about the tragedy.
Ma, along with representatives of the victims' families, appeared tearful. He also presided over an unveiling ceremony for the portraits of two prominent victims of the 228 Incident -- Liao Chin-ping (廖進平) and Sung Fei-ju (宋斐如) -- in the square outside KMT headquarters.
"Ever since I served as minister of justice, I have been attempting to mend the ethnic chasm resulting from the 228 Incident. Even though I am now the KMT chairman, I still believe that the KMT is willing to acknowledge the incident, offer an apology to the deceased and seek reconciliation with members of the victims' families," he said.
"Since the 1990s, the government has sought to placate family members ... through legislation, an apology and compensation. But a reconciliation channel must also be established between the KMT and the family members of the victims, for the party did take part in some inappropriate actions in dealing with the incident," Ma added.
"I wasn't yet born when the tragedy took place in 1947. But as KMT chairman, I feel the party can no longer shy away from its responsibility for the incident ... for Taiwan can no longer bear the ethnic divide," Ma said.
Ma said that the facts concerning the 228 Incident should be made known to the public, especially to the younger generation, and that the KMT must not be afraid of "airing its dirty linen in public."