(LEAD) S. Korea celebrates 100th anniversary of establishment of provisional gov't
(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead and photo; UPDATES with more info throughout)
SEOUL, April 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea marked the 100th anniversary of the establishment of its China-based provisional government on Thursday with a ceremony honoring the country's grueling fight for liberation from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.
The festive ceremony, open to all citizens, began in Yeouido, western Seoul, at 7:19 p.m. -- or 19:19 on the 24-hour clock -- to highlight the year, 1919, when the government-in-exile was launched in Shanghai, the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs said.
The ministry chose the venue to commemorate the 1945 arrival of an advance group of the Korean Liberation Army (KLA) at an airport in Yeouido aboard a C-47 transport plane. The KLA was launched in 1940 as a military arm of the provisional government.
Some 10,000 people, including former independence fighters, their families, government officials and other citizens, attended the commemoration, which included a joint performance by the National Chorus and Korea Coop Orchestra.
"We must once again strive to make our nation better," Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said during the commemoration. "We must realize a prosperous and peaceful Korean Peninsula by overcoming our country's separation."
The ceremony started with a performance involving a "torch of independence" that was ignited last month, when the nation marked the 100th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement, and then traveled across the country.
Next came a recitation of the proclamation of the provisional government's charter that defined the country as a democratic republic and stipulated citizens' rights to freedom and responsibilities.
Some 30 actors and actresses staged a performance in honor of national heroes who poured into the streets and waved the national flag, the Taegeukgi, in defiance of Japan's occupation of the peninsula during the 1919 independent movement.
Descendants of former independent fighters and overseas Korean citizens also held commemorative events in China and the United States.
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