President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday expressed regret over a claim by Beijing that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forces played a significant role in the victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War, while a former high-ranking Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) official put it more bluntly, accusing former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) of being “disgraceful and belittling himself” over his insistence on attending a military parade to commemorate the end of the war in China today.
During a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Beijing on Tuesday, Lien said: “The [then-]Chinese Nationalist Party forces led by Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) fought a series of decisive and major battles on the front lines and dealt the Japanese military a heavy blow, and the Chinese Communist Party forces led by Mao Zedong (毛澤東) effectively pinned down and crushed the Japanese and the collaborationist armies on the battlefield behind enemy lines.”
Xi, who is also the general secretary of the CCP, said that the KMT and the CCP “cooperated and coordinated” actions during the campaign against Japan and that “both made significant contributions to the victory.”
Speaking in Taipei at a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end the Second Sino-Japanese War, Ma said that it was Chiang who led the Republic of China (ROC) to victory in the eight-year war against Japan.
“We feel regret” that the CCP has been claiming that it led China in the war against Japan and has been ignoring the fact that the Chinese Nationalist Party government directed the war and the ROC military made the greatest contribution, Ma said.
“We have never denied that Communist forces participated in the war against Japan, but the Communist forces did not maintain leadership and instead played a supplementary role, which is the historical truth,” Ma said.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The Ministry of National Defense also took issue with Lien’s remarks, saying that the ministry “cannot accept or agree with” the comments made by Lien in China.
His comments have “deviated from historical facts,” it said.
“Whether on the front lines or behind enemy lines, the ROC government led the campaign,” ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said.
With regard to today’s parade in Beijing, ROC retired generals should firmly support the government and not travel to China to attend such activities, Lo said.
He urged them to “safeguard national and historical dignity and avoid causing misunderstandings among the public and trouble for the government.”
Beijing has invited Lien and ROC retired generals to attend a series of events for the anniversary.
Lien’s visit has not been endorsed by the government.
Former National Development Council minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) reacted to Lien’s visit with fury.
Kuan questioned the veracity of Lien’s comments with regard to the Second Sino-Japanese War, posting scathing remarks on Facebook..
“A direct assault was only good enough to ‘deal a heavy blow,’ but attacking from behind the enemies’ back was enough to crush them?” Kuan wrote.
He added that Lien should have referred to Chiang as “Chairman Chiang,” even if it meant he would have to refer to Mao as “Chairman Mao.”
“However, Lien, as a former KMT chairman, disrespectfully omitted Chiang’s official title,” Kuan said.
“All in all, [Lien is] base, disgraceful and self-belittling,” Kuan said, adding: “And you [Lien] want to spectate at [China’s] military parade? Spectate my ass!”
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