War scars on Taiwan’s front line with China

On the windswept Taiwanese island of Kinmen, 50-year-old Chen Ing-wen recalls his days as a soldier firing torches at Chinese trawlers that came too close.
He is part of a group of veterans who returned to the island this month.
Kinmen is on the front line between China and Taiwan - just a short ferry ride from the mainland and an hour's flight from Taipei.
It is the last place the two were involved in major battles at the height of the Cold War in 1958.
Decades later, Chen did his military service on Kinmen - from 1991 to 1993 - and remembers his encounters with the Chinese ships.
"During the night you could hear the sound of the machines turning louder and louder, then our cannons started firing torches down there on the plain we were just passing. As soon as the torches lit up, we saw, oh my god, a a few ships have already approached. "
Kinmen, along with the Matsu Islands, has been held by the Taipei government since troops from the defeated Republic of China fled to Taiwan in 1949.
The regular shelling of Kinmen did not end until 1978 when Washington formally recognized Beijing over Taipei.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has never ruled out the use of force to achieve unification.
Earlier this month, China's air force carried out mass incursions into Taiwan's air defense zone for four days.
The recent surge in tension has raised alarms in the western capitals of Taipei and worried Kinmen locals.
Jessica Chen runs a local tea shop:
“Of course everyone is afraid of war, but I hope there can be peace in the strait, I hope that we will unite and get along. If there are problems we can sit down and talk about them, shouldn't we “light the fuse of war. If we can pave the way for this, future generations will have no worries in their lives. "
The Kinmen government is working hard to promote the island as more than just a war memorial.
But the remnants of the war are everywhere - from bunkers on the beach to anti-landing fortifications on the shore and tanks rumbling down the back streets.

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