Beijing Monday fired strong warnings to Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian, saying his pro-independence moves are leading the island to disaster.
"Chen Shui-bian has ignored the will of the people in advocating Taiwan independence, imposing the attempts of a handful of die-hard separatists onto the broad masses of Taiwan people," said Li Weiyi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.
"This will affect the Taiwanese economy, harm the immediate interests of Taiwan compatriots and lead Taiwan to disaster.''
The spokesman made the comments at a press conference Monday. It is the first official response to Chen's call for a referendum to decide Taiwan's future.
This is also the first time Beijing has mentioned Chen by name. Chen, who is also chairman of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has previously been referred to as the "Taiwan leader.''
In his speech to the pro-independence World Federation of Taiwanese Associations in Tokyo via teleconferencing on Saturday, Chen said that he backed legislation on a referendum on Taiwan's future and destiny at an appropriate occasion.
He also preached that "each side (of the Taiwan Straits) is a country'' and that Taiwan will "walk down its own road.''
Li said Chen's overture is exactly the same as the notorious "two states'' theory put forward by his predecessor Lee Teng-hui in July 1999, in which he defined the relations between Taiwan and the mainland as having a "state-to-state or at least a special state-to-state relationship.''
The move has laid bare Chen's position to cling to "Taiwan independence'' and is outward defiance to the Chinese people, which includes Taiwan compatriots, Li said. The move also defies the internationally acknowledged one-China principle, the spokesman added.
He added that Chen's separatist remarks will "seriously sabotage the relations between both sides of the Taiwan Straits and effect the stability and peace in the Asia-Pacific region.''
Li also said Chen's statement that "each side is a country'' proved that the "Four Nos'' pledge he made in his inauguration speech in 2000 was merely an expedient measure aimed at deceiving the people in Taiwan and world opinion.
When he took office, Chen said he would follow the "Four Nos''(not seeking Taiwan independence, not changing the name of Taiwan, not enlisting the theory of two countries into the constitute and not holding referendum) which said Taiwan would not declare independence, change the ''national title,'' enlist the concept of ''state-to-state'' relations between the island and the mainland in its ''constitution,'' nor promote any referendum to change the status quo in regards to independence.
The majority of people in Taiwan are in favor of peace, development, stability and improvement of relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. Chen imposed the attempt of Taiwan independence held by a handful of people on the broad masses of Taiwan compatriots. It will affect the economy of Taiwan,harm the fundamental interests of Taiwan residents and bring Taiwan into disaster, he said.
The spokesman reiterated that there is only one China in the world. Both the mainland and Taiwan are part of China. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of China can't be separated.
China's consistent policy is to oppose Taiwan independence and materialize the goal of China's reunification. Nobody is allowed to separate Taiwan from China in any form, he said.
"We solemnly warn the separatist forces in Taiwan not to mischaracterize the situation, to see the danger in theses moves and stop all separatist activities.''