US advice would be sought before attack Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has listed five conditions on using cruise missiles against the mainland, saying the US will have the last say over the island attacking the mainland with such weapons. In defence of his push for a controversial UN membership referendum that could trigger a military response from Beijing, Mr Chen said yesterday that the development of the Hsiung Feng-2E missile capable of reaching the mainland was solely for self-defence and the referendum was not a way for Taiwan to declare independence. 'The so-called tactical shore-based missile for fire suppression (Hsiung Feng-2E) is a kind of national defence system we have been developing, and in developing them, we have insisted on five criteria,' Mr Chen said in Taipei. He said the missile would only be used tactically, in self-defence, without targeting the general public, and with the nod from security authorities. 'The fifth and the last criterion is to communicate with the US beforehand, seek its opinions and if the US said no problem, then we would use it,' he said. The military's Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology has been working on the Hsiung Feng (Brave Wind) 2E missile, which has a range that would put Shanghai or Hong Kong within reach. Taiwan's defence ministry decided earlier this month against displaying the missile during its national day military parade, possibly due to US pressure. The US has reportedly been displeased by the island's development of such a weapon, thinking it could further provoke the mainland and escalate cross-strait tension. Mr Chen stressed that in the face of the mainland's threats and rapid military build-up, including close to 1,000 missiles targeting the island, there is an urgent need for Taiwan to develop a kind of countering force for self-defence. He said the weapon would enable the island to counter a mainland attack for some time before friendly countries came to Taiwan's rescue. The US had instituted the Taiwan Relations Act authorising the provision of necessary military aid to the island should it come under attack by the mainland. But Washington has been increasingly concerned by Mr Chen's moves to assert the island's independent status and identity, including the abolition last year of a presidential body assigned to bring eventual union between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and his frequent remarks that Taiwan and the mainland are two political entities not subject to each other, statements seen by Beijing as expressing his desire to officially split the island from the mainland. The US expressed doubt over Mr Chen's recent bid to seek to join the United Nations in the name of Taiwan, saying it was obviously impossible, described as 'irresponsible and a mistake' his bid for a referendum on the issue alongside the presidential election in March. Mr Chen yesterday defended his referendum push, saying it was not the first step towards Taiwan independence as Washington and Beijing suspected. 'Rather it is a referendum to reject unification' between Taiwan and the mainland, he stressed. Mr Chen said the referendum is aimed to tell the world that Taiwan is not a part of the mainland and that Taiwan deserves to join the UN. When asked if the island would hold a referendum on Taiwan independence, the president said there was no such plan. 'There is no proposal from the public to hold a Taiwan independence referendum. Even if there were, it would have to go through necessary legal procedures,' he said. A referendum needs approval by the legislature before it can be held.