‘Never yield,’ Tsai says at 823 event

ISSUE OF DEFENSE::After paying homage to the soldiers who died in the artillery bombardment, the president said she hoped that China would be a ‘good neighbor’

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Aug 24, 2019 - Page 3

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged Taiwanese to hold dear the “823 spirit,” which she said is the spirit of solidarity that binds Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu as a “community of life.”

“When commemorating 823, we do not forget the 823 spirit. We will safeguard the Republic of China [ROC] and will never yield an inch,” Tsai said addressing a ceremony at the Taiwushan Cemetery in outlying Kinmen County to mark the 61st anniversary of the 823 Artillery Bombardment.

The Chinese Communist Party began the bombardment of Kinmen on Aug. 23, 1958, nine years after the ROC government fled to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War.

Within 44 days, 475,000 artillery shells were fired at Kinmen, but the communist troops could not take the ROC-controlled islands, which lie only 10km from Xiamen in China’s Fujian Province, according to Academia Sinica data.

The 823 Artillery Bombardment is regarded as a significant battle that helped safeguard the ROC government in Taiwan.

At the cemetery, Tsai paid homage to the military officers and soldiers who died in the battle with flowers and incense.

Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發), Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇), as well as Kinmen County Commissioner Yang Cheng-wu (楊鎮浯) and several military officers also attended the event.

After the ceremony, in response to reporters’ questions about Beijing’s condemnation of the Democratic Progressive Party after the US agreed to sell Taiwan upgraded F-16 jets, Tsai said it is highly appropriate to bolster the country’s self-defense capabilities so that the nation’s “lifestyle of democracy and freedom can be safeguarded.”

She also expressed the hope that China would be a “good neighbor” to Taiwan.