Chen's stance a "threat" to peace
Beijing warned yesterday that Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian could still exacerbate cross-Straits tensions through his hard push for formal independence despite his party's election setback over the weekend.
"The crux to the problem is that the Taiwan authorities do not accept that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China," he told a regular press conference.
"The key to improving cross-Straits relations is (for them) to drop the pro-independence stance and stop all separatist activities."
His comments were the mainland's first official reaction to Taiwan's "legislative" elections on Saturday, in which Chen's pro-independence coalition suffered a surprise defeat.
In the polls, the pan-blue camp consisting of the opposition Kuomintang, People First Party and New Party won 114 of the 225 "parliamentary" seats.
The pan-green camp, including the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its pro-independence ally Taiwan Solidarity Union, gained only 101 seats and lost its bid to wrest an absolute majority of the "legislative yuan."
Chen was forced to take the blame for the loss and resigned as DPP chairman on Tuesday.
"The election results showed that the separatist activities aimed at provoking the mainland go against the will of the Taiwanese people," Li said.
"The pursuit of peace, stability and development remains the mainstream public opinion of Taiwan society."
The spokesman accused Chen of stepping up his separatist push to worsen cross-Straits tensions. That, he said, poses the biggest threat to stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Chen has vowed to make every effort to realize all the promises he had made ahead of the elections in spite of his party's defeat.
The leader pledged a referendum on "constitutional" changes in 2006, with the new "constitution" taking effect in May 2008 when his second term ends.
He also announced on December 5 a two-year timetable to drop "China" from the names of all relevant government agencies and government-controlled enterprises in favour of "Taiwan."
All these moves are widely seen as part of Chen's attempts to edge the island closer toward formal independence.
Li warned that Chen's radical splittist steps will dig the grave for peace across the Straits and ultimately damage the island's social stability, economic development and the fundamental interests of Taiwanese people.
"The Chinese Government and its people will not sit by if Chen Shui-bian forges ahead with his pro-independence timetable to change the status of Taiwan as part of China," he stressed.
Li said the mainland has the greatest sincerity and will exert utmost effort to achieve peaceful reunification.
But it will not tolerate anybody to split Taiwan from China in any form and has the determination, confidence and capability to defend its sovereign and territorial integrity, he added.
While promoting peaceful reunification of China, Beijing does not undertake to renounce the use of force in case of Taiwan declaring independence.
Asked whether Taiwan opposition figures will be invited to visit the mainland, Li said Beijing has an open attitude towards the issue.
"We welcome anyone and any group from Taiwan to exchange views with us on how to develop cross-Straits ties and promote peaceful reunification of the motherland," he said.