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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2007, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Taiwan shows off military might
Taiwanese troops marching in the parade in Taipei
The parade was the first such display since 1991
Taiwan has marked its national day with a military parade for the first time in 16 years, in a show of strength apparently aimed at China.

Fighter planes flew above the capital, Taipei, and 2,000 troops showed off military hardware through the city.

President Chen Shui-bian used a speech to hit out at China's "relentless military build-up", labelling it as a threat to world peace.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province that should be reunified.

Beijing has threatened to use force if Taiwan declares formal independence.

'Military intimidation'

National day military displays were discontinued in 1991 as Taiwan sought to improve ties with China, and underline its own transition to democracy.

The BBC's Caroline Gluck in Taipei says the parade was a signal to China that the island could defend itself if it came under attack.

Ruled by separate governments since end of Chinese civil war in 1949
China considers the island part of its territory
China has offered a "one country, two systems" solution, like Hong Kong
Most people in Taiwan support status quo

Before the parade, Mr Chen used a speech to denounce China's "ever more belligerent rhetoric and military intimidation".

"The problem in the Taiwan Strait today does not rest with Taiwan... but with China's totalitarianism, authoritarianism and dictatorship," he said.

Mr Chen pledged to pursue more forcefully Taiwan's bid to be recognised by the United Nations - which Beijing has repeatedly blocked.

The president wants to hold a referendum on the issue in March, when presidential elections are scheduled to take place.

The government used the national day celebrations to unveil two weapons developed in Taiwan - the Hsiung-feng III ship-to-ship missile and the Tien-kung III anti-tactical ballistic missile.

But the Hsiung-feng 2E - a long-range cruise missile believed capable of targeting the Chinese mainland - did not appear.

Such a move would have been considered extremely provocative by China, our correspondent says.

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