Defence minister: Army to smash any independence plot
China's army has the ability to crush any attempt by Taiwan to move towards independence, Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan said in a speech reported by state media on Sunday.
"If the 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces obstinately persist in their course, the Chinese People's Liberation Army has the determination and ability to resolutely smash any 'Taiwan independence' separatist plot," Cao said.
In a telephone conversation with US President George W. Bush, Chinese President Hu Jintao also urged the United States not to sell arms to the island.
Hu told Bush on Friday that Beijing opposed U.S. sales of sophisticated weapons to Taiwan.
He told the American leader that the situation across the Taiwan Strait was very sensitive and complicated, and the two sides should "act resolutely" against Taiwan independence.
Cao said China hoped to achieve peaceful reunification with Taiwan.
"But we absolutely will not allow any person, using any means, to split Taiwan from the motherland," Cao said.
"There is nothing more important than the territorial integrity of the motherland, and the will of 1.3 billion Chinese people cannot be spurned," he said.
Beijing sees Chen Shui-bian's goal of adopting a new constitution by 2008 as a drive towards a formal declaration of independence, and has been preparing for a possible military showdown.
Both sides have held war games in recent weeks amid rising tensions.