Taiwanese defence minister calls for increase in spending to prepare for attack Beijing's anti-secession law threatens to shake the foundations of Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian's peace overtures towards the mainland, the island's premier warned yesterday. Frank Hsieh Chang-ting's comments came as Taiwanese Defence Minister Lee Jye called for an expansion of military spending to ensure that the island would be able to fend off an attack by the mainland. Mr Hsieh told a legislative meeting in Taipei that Mr Chen's pledges not to declare independence or change the status quo came with the precondition that Beijing did not use force against the island. At the same meeting, Mr Lee voiced concern about the law's provisions allowing Beijing to use 'non-peaceful means' to stop Taiwan separating from the mainland. He said the phrase 'non-peaceful means' was even worse than 'military means', as the flexibility meant it could almost apply to anything. His ministry was waiting for the final version of the law to see whether it spelled out what exactly would lead to war. He said that members of Taiwan's armed forces underwent regular training to prepare for a possible attack by the mainland. However, even if Beijing did decide to attack the island, it would take the PLA between five to 10 years to achieve the necessary combat readiness, Mr Lee said. 'Therefore, it is highly important for us to maintain our military supremacy by acquiring the necessary weapons to counter any possible attack by the mainland.' Mr Lee urged legislators to support the proposed NT$480 billion ($121 billion) arms deal with the United States, which had been lowered from NT$610.8 billion. He said the arms package, which includes conventional submarines, anti-missile PAC-3 systems and anti-submarines planes, would ensure that the island had at least 30 years of stability - a claim disputed by opposition lawmakers. The defence minister said it was estimated that the number of mainland ballistic missiles targeting Taiwan was expected to rise from the current 700 to at least 800 next year. Echoing Mr Hsieh, Mainland Affairs Council spokesman Chiu Tai-san said Beijing's anti-secession law was obviously aimed at the island. 'If it is enacted, its impact on cross-strait relations will be tremendous, and this will prompt the [Taiwanese] government to reappraise its current policy toward the mainland,' the spokesman for the top mainland policy body said. Mr Chiu suggested that Taiwan might be forced to revise its current approach to dealing with the mainland, but added that the council was assessing various factors concerning cross-strait relations. However, he stressed that as the law had still not been officially endorsed by the National People's Congress, it was too soon for Taiwan to adopt any countermeasures. Vice-President Annette Lu Hsiu-lien also denounced the anti-secession law. She said it would 'not only seriously hamper the interests of various countries in the world, but also violates UN charters as it would unilaterally change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait'. She said the government should attempt to take the issue to an international tribunal for arbitration.