China warns Taiwan of armed conflict threat


One of China's top Taiwan policymakers has warned of armed conflict if the island keeps pushing for independence but held out hope for future dialogue.

"I think it is unavoidable tension will rise in the Taiwan Straits and there may even be armed conflict . . . if the island keeps bumping Beijing's 'one China' bottom line and pushes for independence," Mr Wang Zaixi, vice minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office, said.

But Mr Wang held out hope for the two sides to resume dialogue under the "one China" principle which dictates that the mainland and the island are part of a single country.

Beijing has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since their split at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 and has threatened to attack the democratic island if it formally declares independence.

Tension has been simmering since the March re-election of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, who said last week the next two years are key to resuming dialogue with China, and suggested the two sides set up a "buffer zone" to avoid accidental military conflict.