The People's Liberation Army will have zero tolerance toward "Taiwan independence" moves, Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan said yesterday.
"We will absolutely not allow Taiwan to secede from China under any pretext or in any manner," Cao said at a grand reception marking the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese army.
The PLA is ready, capable and resolute enough to stop any activity that could lead to Taiwan "independence" in order to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, he added.
"The army will continue to make the utmost effort in promoting peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Straits and strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification," said the defense minister.
"Peaceful development across the Taiwan Straits is in the interest of not only Taiwan people and Chinese mainlanders, but also the international community."
He also noted that the army should modernize and "informatize" further.
"With the world becoming more and more interdependent and with the increase in non-traditional security threats, we face new opportunities and challenges to maintain world peace and development," said Cao.
He reiterated that the PLA is an army of the people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
"The absolute leadership of the CPC guarantees that the military will take the right course," he said.
Cao urged the armed forces to continue their efforts in social development by participating in natural disaster rescue operations, building a socialist countryside, developing the western regions and helping other key national projects.
"China's military will further strengthen cooperation and exchanges with foreign counterparts on the basis of equality, mutual respect and benefit," Cao said at the reception at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, which was also attended by military attachs from embassies in Beijing.
(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2007)