BEIJING (Reuters) - China broadcast greetings and two Taiwanese songs from its first moon probe on Sunday, to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival when families gather to enjoy the bright autumn moon.
The Chang'e-1 satellite, named after a lonely goddess who lives with a rabbit on the moon and pines for her husband, was launched in October 2007 and has orbited the moon thousands of times.
"Let's (all Chinese compatriots) enjoy together the bright moon light and look forward to our reunion," the broadcast said, according to a statement from the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence carried by the Xinhua News Agency.
The satellite also broadcast two songs with a reunion theme. One was "Ali Mountain Girl", a folksong of native Taiwanese aboriginals, and the other, "Wish to be with you forever", was penned by Taiwanese songwriter Liang Hong Zhi.
China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since their split in 1949 amid civil war and insists the self-ruled democratic island must one day return to the fold, by force if necessary. But ties between the two have warmed since the Nationalist party, or Kuomintang (KMT), was re-elected to the Taiwanese presidency this year.
Monday is a national holiday in mainland China for the first time, after the government added traditional festivals and shortened weeklong National Day and Labor Day holidays.
Families and friends traditionally gather to sing, enjoy the moonlight and enjoy mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival.