Beijing slams Chen's 'independence push'
Beijing warned Wednesday that cross-Straits relations may face a rocky future if Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian continues his pro-independence push over the next four years.
At the first regular news conference since Taiwan's March 20 "presidential" election, Li condemned Chen for his latest advocacy of a splittist plan.
In media interviews following his highly disputed re-election, the Taiwan leader has stated time and again his intention to hold a referendum for the drafting of a new "constitution" in 2006 and enacting the document in 2008.
"In reality, this is a naked Taiwan independence timetable," said Li, adding that Chen is actually trying to cheat the Taiwanese public and world opinion by claiming that his plan will not change the cross-Straits status quo.
He cautioned that to push through such a pro-independence timetable "is set to result in tensions and danger in the Taiwan Straits."
While promoting peaceful reunification between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, Beijing has not renounced the use of force if Taiwan declares independence.
The spokesman told reporters that what Chen has done during his four years in office is full testimony to his persistent push for Taiwan's independence.
He stressed that Chen's obstinate adherence to the separatist stance has created chaos in Taiwan society, caused serious damage to cross-Straits ties and posed a direct threat to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Commenting on Chen's recent statement that mainstream Taiwan public opinion is protecting the island against the mainland, Li said the leader's remarks reflect his real intention to push for independence and stir confrontation.
The March 20 referendum, which was an attempt to provoke the mainland, showed that most Taiwanese people hope for stability and development in bilateral ties, the spokesman said.
Li blamed the current stalemate in cross-Straits talks on Chen's refusal to embrace the one-China principle that Taiwan and the mainland are part of China.
"The one-China principle is the basis for restarting cross-Straits negotiations," he said. "And we will not change the stance."
Since taking power on May 20, 2000, Chen has rejected the one-China principle, cherished by Beijing, and has agreed to discuss only the issue of a future one China.
Beijing and Taipei began bilateral negotiations through semi-official bodies in the early 1990s due to the absence of official links.
But the talks were broken off after former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui introduced the "two states'' theory in July 1999 and the deadlock in bilateral relations has been maintained during Chen's four-year term.
At the news briefing, Li also criticized a Taiwanese plan to fingerprint mainland visitors, calling it discriminatory.
"We oppose this discriminatory measure towards mainland compatriots,'' said the spokesman.
Under the Taiwanese policy, all mainland people are to be fingerprinted when applying for family reunions and temporary or permanent stays in Taiwan.
But the plan, due to take effect last week, had been postponed because the Immigration Bureau has not acquired the necessary equipment, according to Taiwanese media reports.