Chinese President Jiang Zemin has warned that impetuous and excessively aggressive policies against Taiwan would jeopardise Hong Kong's peaceful transition. After assessing Taiwan Vice-President Lien Chan's recent trips to the Ukraine, the United States and South America, the leadership has decided to continue with the policy of the 'economic united front' to put pressure on the administration of President Lee Teng-hui . Chinese sources said yesterday Beijing had got wind of Mr Lien's trip to Kiev soon after his airport 'disappearance' in New York, while on his way home from a visit to the Dominican Republic on Sunday. However, Mr Jiang, also Chairman of the Central Military Commission, ruled against strong-arm tactics as a means of retaliation. The sources said that in internal discussions about Taiwan over the summer, the President had reiterated the need to stay away from 'over-hasty' and excessively aggressive measures. Following Mr Jiang's guidance, the Politburo had ruled out war games and other forms of 'missile diplomacy' in the foreseeable future. Mr Jiang reportedly said a new flare-up of the Taiwan Strait crisis would be 'prejudicial to Hong Kong's peaceful transition to the motherland'. The President had earlier instructed that everything must be done to ensure the buoyancy of the Hong Kong economy on the change of sovereignty. The sources said senior officers who had urged an 'armed liberation' of Taiwan largely went along with Mr Jiang's viewpoint. After Mr Lien's diplomatic coup in the Ukraine, the leadership decided to cleave to the 'economic card'. This was making the Taiwan economy dependent on the mainland and goading businessmen to put pressure on Mr Lee to make concessions to Beijing. A diplomatic analyst pointed out that the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council had recently compiled a detailed report on the island's economic dependence on the mainland. It had examined areas including trade, investment, manufacturing and the supply of raw materials. 'The report concluded that the level of dependence is high and growing,' the analyst said. 'However, it is not yet to the point that a cut-off of the mainland connection would cripple the Taiwan economy.' He added Mr Jiang wanted to boost the degree of dependence so that Beijing could eventually use the economic card to impose a 'peace settlement' on Taiwan. It is understood the Politburo was heartened by the enthusiastic response of the Taiwan business community to the just-announced regulations governing direct shipping in the strait. The Taiwan Government, however, reacted only coolly to the new measures, suggesting that it would have its own set of rules for shipping in the strait. Yesterday, Xinhua (the New China News Agency) released another commentary urging Taiwan to immediately begin direct mail, shipping, air and trading links with China. To promote a 'united front' with Taiwan businessmen, Beijing has at least temporarily shelved personal attacks on Mr Lee and other Taiwan leaders.