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President Ma attends press conference to mark opening of special exhibit for 75th anniversary of Marco Polo Bridge Incident

President Ma Ying-jeou on the morning of July 7 attended a press conference and ceremony to mark the opening of the Exhibition for the 75th Anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. The exhibition is being held by the Taipei City Archives. The president commented that we should all cherish the memory of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the country in the War of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945). He also urged people not to forget the truths of history, and to make sure the next generation knows what happened in the past.

In remarks, the president stated that the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which took place in Beijing in 1937, was a prelude to the War of Resistance against Japan. During the course of this war, over 10,000 battles were waged, some 3.22 million Chinese soldiers gave their lives, and civilian casualties topped 20 million. Among all the wars that this country has ever fought against foreign invaders, this was the largest in history, resulted in more casualties than any other conflict, and has had the most lasting impact, he said.

The president stated that the victory in the War of Resistance enabled Taiwan to ultimately enjoy freedom, democracy, and prosperity. Consequently, the Taipei City Government this year has arranged this special commemorative exhibition to cherish the memory of the martyrs. The displays include literature and novels from the period of the War of Resistance, as well as songs from the era. The exhibit also features, among others, the work of cartoon artist Feng Tzi-kai (豐子愷) and Azaleas, created by the cartoon artist and musician Huang You-ti (黃友棣).

In speaking about the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and the War of Resistance, President Ma stressed that the mistakes of history can be forgiven, but the truth cannot be forgotten. He said that this is not to continue the hatred toward Japan, but for generations to come to have a clear understanding of the facts of history. This same attitude should be adopted with regard to the February 28 Incident here. President Ma said that some have mistakenly interpreted the Cairo Declaration as just a press communiqué and not a formal treaty. He reiterated that the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation are both included in the List of Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States in Force. In addition, the Japanese Instrument of Surrender signed by Japan in September 1945 is included in the United States Statutes at Large. This indicates that these documents are binding, the president said, adding that they comply with international laws and regulations, and are not press communiqués.

President Ma emphasized that since taking office he has actively sought to improve relations between Taiwan and Japan. While the state of Taiwan-Japan ties presently is extremely friendly, on the basis of national interests and national sovereignty, the ROC will remain adamant on various issues and will make no concessions. The president said that he is fulfilling his responsibility in this respect as the president of the ROC.

After completing his remarks, the president toured the exhibition, looking through the various articles and artifacts on display. Others attending the event included Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), Deputy Minister of National Defense Andrew Yang (楊念祖), Veterans Affairs Commission Deputy Minister Chin Hsiao-hui (金筱輝), Academia Historica Director Lu Fang-shang (呂芳上), and National Central Library Director General Tseng Shu-hsien (曾淑賢).

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