China on Tuesday marked the 60th anniversary of the end of Japanese colonial rule over Taiwan in festivities meant to affirm the mainland's claim to the self-ruled island.
Chinese leaders held an official ceremony in Beijing, while the state press called for Taiwan to unite with the mainland.
Taiwan was recovered by China after World War II, but just four years later the two sides split amid civil war as the communists took control of the mainland and the former ruling Nationalists fled to the island.
Beijing insists the democratic island belongs to the communist mainland and has used both threats of force and public relations campaigns to prevent it from declaring formal independence.
In commemorations marking what it calls "the recovery of Taiwan from Japanese occupation" on Oct. 25, 1945, Beijing has sought to play up the island's historical connection to the mainland.
Jia Qinglin, a member of the Communist Party's ruling Standing Committee who ranks fourth in the party hierarchy, led an official ceremony at the Great Hall of the People _ the seat of China's legislature in central Beijing.
Jia delivered a speech titled "Strive for peaceful reunification of the motherland and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," the official Xinhua News Agency reported. No details of the speech were immediately released.
The main party newspaper, the People's Daily, declared in a front-page editorial that "Taiwan has never been a country but is instead an inalienable part of the Chinese territory."
It called on Chinese people on both sides to work toward unification, AP reported. V.A.