PLA: Chen is to blame if war breaks out
( 2003-12-03 09:45) (China Daily HK Edition)
Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian will be held responsible if a war breaks out across the Straits; and separatists on the island will be treated the same way war criminals are dealt with elsewhere in the world.
These are the stern warnings made by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) officers in Outlook Weekly magazine; and carried prominently on major Chinese websites including Xinhua news agency yesterday.
"Chen has touched on the mainland's bottomline on the Taiwan question," said Luo Yuan, a senior colonel with the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences. "He is actually playing with fire."
The warning is the strongest from the mainland military since Taiwan's "parliament" passed a referendum law last week, allowing island authorities to hold a so-called "defensive referendum" on its sovereignty in case of "external threats".
At a campaign rally over the weekend, Chen said he aimed to hold such a referendum alongside "presidential" elections in March, arguing that the mainland is a threat to Taiwan because it has hundreds of ballistic missiles pointed at the island.
"It is very dangerous - and immoral as well - for Chen and his predecessor Lee Teng-hui to take the restraints and tolerance of the mainland as signs of weakness," Luo said.
"If they refuse to come to their senses and continue to use referenda as an excuse to seek Taiwan independence, they will push Taiwan compatriots into the abyss of war," he said.
To underline the mainland's determination to "pay any price" to deter Taiwan independence, as indicated by Premier Wen Jiabao during a recent interview with the Washington Post, Major General Peng Guangqian - also with the academy - listed the "prices" China is ready to pay for achieving national reunification.
They include boycotts of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, decreasing foreign investment, worsening foreign relations, economic recession, and "necessary" casualties of the PLA.
"All these prices are bearable," he said, when they are compared with the Taiwan issue, which is of the highest interest for the Chinese nation.
He added that it is "worthwhile" to achieve national unity and rejuvenation at costs which are partial and temporary.
"If Taiwan separatists want to gamble on it (by pushing for independence), they will pay a heavy price and be defeated with shame."
He said the PLA will never allow Taiwan separatists to seek independence - in whatever name - by taking advantages of clauses of Taiwan's referendum law.
"We will definitely intervene," he stressed.
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