TAIWANESE President Lee Teng-hui has blamed Beijing's 'ideological cocoon' for the lack of progress towards reunification. In his message released for today's Double Tenth celebration, Mr Lee urges Chinese authorities to give up confrontation and pursue co-operation. 'The Chinese communist authorities have not thrown off their ideological cocoon and, persisting in their self-centredness, are presenting the biggest barrier to reunification,' read a speech issued yesterday by the President's office. Mr Lee challenges Beijing to a peaceful competition over political and economic development. But, the President points out, Beijing's insistence on its own ideologies has become a major obstacle to reunification. The Kuomintang chairman, whom Chinese leaders have accused of pushing for Taiwanese independence, says the nation cannot be unified as long as there are political and economic disparities between the two sides across the Taiwan Strait. Mr Lee says Taiwan will continue to develop diplomatic relations with other countries as long as the nation is not unified. 'Our aim is not to hurt anybody, or to submit to anybody's suppression,' Mr Lee says. He adds overseas ties are important to Taiwan's existence and development. Meanwhile, the China Times reported yesterday Taipei would raise defence spending by 20 per cent in the 1996-1997 financial year, mainly to buy more military hardware. The increase was designed to cope with tension across the strait and the island's current military needs, the paper quoted 'authoritative' military sources as saying. Defence spending, excluding personnel expenses, would rise by NT$40 billion (HK$11.4 billion) in the next financial year. The entire defence budget was likely to hit a record high of NT$300 billion, a 20 per cent increase compared with 1995-96. The extra money would be used to buy more US-made tanks, naval frigates and transport planes.