China on Tuesday marked the 60th anniversary of the end of Japanese colonial rule over Taiwan with celebrations 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 island belongs to the 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.
China seeks "to encourage compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to firmly oppose the separatist forces," said Jia Qinglin, a member of the Communist Party's ruling Standing Committee, in a speech at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing.
"The situation is still very serious and complicated," Jia said. "The Taiwan independence forces have not given up."
Jia reiterated that Beijing is open to talks with Taipei based on a 1992 declaration that said they are "one China" a description that Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian has rejected.
The main Communist 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.
China also organized special museum exhibits and song-and-dance pageants to honor Taiwan's struggle against Japanese rule.
Taiwan, once a Chinese territory, was ceded to Japan in 1895, reports the AP
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