Playing with fire: Terrorism is on Taiwan separatist agenda
Pro-independence forces in Taiwan might resort to terrorist attacks on the mainland in an attempt to split the island from China, military experts and researchers on Taiwan studies have warned.
They also condemned the United States for instigating Taipei to engage in terrorism to hurt China's core national interests.
Their comments came after a US Defence Department report suggested the island's leaders were considering development of a missile that could strike civilian targets on the mainland.
Those targets could include the massive Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric project on the Yangtze River in Central China, or the 468-metre-high Oriental Pearl TV tower in Shanghai.
The Pentagon report said Taiwanese leaders have cited the need for ballistic missiles and land attack cruise missiles capable of hitting the mainland as a "cost effective means of deterrence."
"Since Taipei cannot match Beijing's ability to field offensive systems, proponents of strikes against the mainland apparently hope that merely presenting credible threats to China's urban population or high-value targets, such as the Three Gorges Dam, will deter Chinese military coercion," the report said.
Yan Dong, a Beijing-based military expert, said the attack scenarios expose a tip of the iceberg of "Taiwan independence terrorism."
"That well suggests pro-independence forces in Taiwan are turning to terrorist measures to help purse their political goal of formal independence for the island," Yan was quoted as saying by the weekly Youth Express run by China Youth Daily.
He added the terrorist moves are aimed at undermining the mainland's determination to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the motherland.
Yan speculated the Taiwanese military have planned terrorist attacks on State leaders, media organizations, nuclear-power plants and hydroelectric projects on the mainland.
"That's because splittist forces are increasingly feeling they have no chance to win a cross-Straits war, given the mainland's growing economic and military power," he said.
Beijing proposes to settle the Taiwan issue by peaceful means but does not rule out the use of force.
Yan solemnly cautioned that separatist forces in Taiwan might launch a wave of terrorist attacks on the mainland in the coming years as they are pushing hard for their splittist agenda.
Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian has unveiled his pro-independence timetable, which states the island's new "constitution" will be completed on December 10, 2006 and come into effect on May 20, 2008.
As an ominous sign of possible attacks, Taiwan separatists once supported the outlawed falun gong cult to hijack mainland satellite television programmes from the island in September 2002, according to Yan.
Li Jiaquan, a senior researcher with the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Washington should be blamed for Taipei's terrorist schemes.
"As Taiwan's biggest arms supplier, Washington has always been playing an ignominious role on the Taiwan issue by lending covert or overt support to pro-independence forces in Taiwan," he told China Daily.
"It is shameless for the United States, which has been urging a global anti-terrorism campaign, to encourage Taipei to promote terrorism."
On Wednesday, Lieutenant General Liu Yuan, a deputy political commissar of the General Logistics Department of the People's Liberation Army, also warned that any attack on the Three Gorges Dam would lead to war.
"(It) will not be able to stop war...it will have the exact opposite of the desired effect," Liu said in a front-page commentary in China Youth Daily.
"No normal person would be willing to pay the price of self-destruction if it were to bring retaliation that would blot out the sky and cover the earth."
The general said the giant dam is impervious to anything short of nuclear attack and that Taiwan has no weapon that could harm it.
"The Three Gorges Dam will not collapse. It cannot be destroyed," he wrote.
Liu also called the reference in the Pentagon report petty psychological war. He likened Washington to somebody who waves high democracy and the flag of human rights but is no better than Osama bin Laden, whose al-Qaida group has been blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.