Any military action against Taiwan would depend on the position of its next president on the 'two-states theory' and Taiwan's participation in a US-initiated anti-missile scheme, according to the mainland-based China Business Times. It is the first time a mainland publication has stated explicitly that the Beijing leadership will wait until the outcome of the presidential elections in March before deciding whether to take military action against the island. The newspaper said it was 'likely that China will take speedy military action' if the winner of the election 'persists with the 'two-states theory' ' or voices support for Taiwan joining Washington's Theatre Missile Defence system. It said the positions taken by the five presidential candidates on the controversial 'state-to-state' relations 'are open to interpretation' because they might be posturing during the campaign season. 'Their true attitude towards the 'two-states theory' can only be known after the election,' the paper said. The candidates are Vice-President Lien Chan, opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) nominee Chen Shui-bian, former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang, controversial political figure Li Ao and ex-provincial governor James Soong Chu-yu. The last chance for peace would come if the new president abandoned or shelved the theory and the missile defence scheme. Taiwan had embarked on 'a path of hopelessness' since July 9 when President Lee Teng-hui suggested relations be conducted on a new basis, the newspaper said.