China began celebrating its 35th anniversary under Communist rule today with a strong endorsement of opening relations with other countries and a call for reunification with Taiwan.

Hundreds of tanks, armored personnel carriers, rocket launchers and artillery pieces filled the streets of Peking during the night to prepare for the biggest display of Chinese-made military hardware since 1959.

In a banquet speech at the Great Hall of the People, Premier Zhao Ziyang said that China's political stability is growing stronger daily and economic reforms are the key to socialist development, United Press International reported. "Reforms will vigorously promote China's opening to the outside world, which is a long-term and basic state policy of ours," Zhao said.

He then praised the Sino-British agreement ending British colonial rule in Hong Kong in 1997 as a "great step forward" in national reunification and said Peking is ready to begin consulations with Taiwan.

"It is hoped that the Taiwan authorities will cherish the state and national interests, go along with the desire and aspirations of the people and take a positive attitude on the reunification of the motherland," Zhao said.

"There is no reason whatsoever that the separation of the people on both sides of the Taiwan straits should not be brought to an end," said an editorial in Monday's People's Daily.