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Lien Chan calls for peace at Sun mausoleum
Updated: 2005-04-27 19:55

NANJING, China - Taiwan opposition leader Lien Chan called for peace with Chinese mainland Wednesday as he toured historic sites nearly 60 years after his party left the soil.

Lien's trip has been billed as a journey of peace to seek reconciliation across the Strait, but he said relations were at a "grave stalemate." 

In Nanjing, the capital when Lien's Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), ruled China, hundreds of Chinese waved banners welcoming him as he toured the mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen, father of the revolution that toppled China's last emperor in 1911.

"Facing the current situation across the Strait -- what could be called a grave stalemate -- we inevitably would recall in his dying days Mr. Sun Yat-sen repeatedly called for the Chinese people not to forget peace, to strive for and to save China," Lien told reporters.


Hundreds of Chinese lined the route of Lien's tour, waving banners reading "We hope for peaceful reunification." His delegation wore lapel pins reading "Peace 2005."

Under sunny skies, Lien bowed three times before a statue of Sun, who is buried in Nanjing at a mausoleum decorated with white marble and blue-glazed tiles, designed to symbolize the colors of the KMT flag.

Sun is a hero in China, where he briefly served as provisional president after the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1911. He was head of state at the time of his death in 1925.

"At this moment, we recall such urges from Mr. Sun. We really hope all of us, no matter where we are, could have a mind of peace and striving," Lien said.

Lien travels to Beijing Thursday and will meet President Hu Jintao Friday before continuing his trip to his birthplace, Xi'an, and the financial capital Shanghai.

"I came here four hours early to make sure I could catch a glimpse of Chairman Lien," said 59-year-old Yang Meizi.

"I hope his visit pushes forward the peaceful reunification of both sides."

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