A spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said if Taiwan’s “secessionist forces” cling to their course, the mainland “will definitely take necessary measures to safeguard state sovereignty and territory integrity and protect our nation's core interests.”
The report gave no other details. China has always claimed Taiwan as its territory.
It was not clear what prompted China to issue its warning. However, the Voice of America quoted Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian Monday as saying more than 1.8 million signatures against a target of 2 million had been collected for a referendum on joining the United Nations.
Voters in the referendum, expected to be held next year, will be asked to decide if they want to join the world body using the name “Taiwan” instead of “Republic of China,” which was the island nation’s formal name when it was a U.N. member until its expulsion in 1971 in favor of China.
China sees the referendum as a Taiwanese ploy to move toward independence. Chen has asserted it is all about the wishes of his 23 million people.