State Council blames Chen Shui-bian for the deterioration in cross-strait ties The mainland has underscored its resolve to use force to deter Taiwan from moving towards independence, describing the cross-strait situation as 'grim' and 'deteriorating'. In a defence policy paper released yesterday, the State Council blamed the pro-independence activities of Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian for the worsening of relations across the strait. The paper said the 'vicious rise' of the pro-independence forces was its top national security concern. Others included a lack of technology and risks related to the global economy. 'Taiwan's separatist activities have increasingly become the most serious threat to Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity,' it said. The people and military forces of the mainland would pay any price to prevent Taiwan from declaring independence, the paper said. It accused Mr Chen of pushing independence activities, stirring up the people in Taiwan against the mainland and buying huge quantities of weapons. The paper also said that Mr Chen was poised to stage a stunt that would endanger peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. On Sunday, the National People's Congress Standing Committee approved draft legislation that would provide a legal basis for the mainland to use force against Taiwan should it declare independence. The white paper also pointed a finger at Washington, saying it had sent wrong signals by selling sophisticated arms to Taiwan. Since 1995, Beijing has released five national defence white papers, four of which have mentioned unification with Taiwan as a goal. Although the latest edition conveyed the strongest sense of urgency, it stopped short of saying the use of force was inevitable. Chen Zhou, a military expert who helped draft the white paper, was quoted by Xinhua as saying that the perceived threat from Taiwan reflected the collective assessment of the new leadership. He said the paper highlighted the fact that the US was refocusing on its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, strengthening its military alliances and stepping up the deployment of its missile defence system, while the remilitarisation of Japan was gathering force. In Taipei, the Mainland Affairs Council criticised the mainland for issuing the white paper, saying it would only upset residents of Taiwan and drive the two sides further apart. 'The military threats to crush Taiwan only result in further regression in cross-strait relations. They also force the Taiwanese people to drift further apart from the mainland,' said council chairman Joseph Wu Jau-shieh. He said that if Beijing's intention was to ensure peace for the mainland, the statements in the white paper would have the opposite effect. Mr Wu said Beijing had already aimed 600 missiles at the island. 'Two months ago, China succeeded in test-firing its cruise missile, and deployed the Ming-class and Yuan-class submarines to intimidate Taiwan,' he said. Such moves had already increased the resentment of the Taiwanese people, he added. Mr Wu said the People's Liberation Army had misunderstood the US policy of supplying arms to Taiwan, which was a direct result of intimidation of the island.