The mainland sent a strong warning to Taiwan secessionist forces on Friday, reiterating that non-peaceful means could be the last resort if the possibility of peaceful reunification is completely lost.
However, the mainland will make the utmost efforts to push forward peaceful reunification, which is the best for both sides, senior officials and military staff said at a seminar in Beijing marking the 15th anniversary of the Anti-Secession Law's implementation.
"There is only one China in the world, and both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China," said Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the top legislature. "We sternly warn Taiwan secessionists that 'Taiwan independence' is a dead end. Those who defy the law are bound to receive harsh punishment."
He said secessionist forces have been misjudging the situation for some time and kept provoking the mainland, which has seriously undermined peace and stability across the Straits and challenged the bottom line of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
However, "no matter what tricks the separatists use to seek 'independence', they are illegal and invalid. Whatever they do, it is in vain. No matter how they collude with foreign powers, they cannot change the historical and legal fact that Taiwan is a part of China," the top legislator said.
"If secessionist forces for 'Taiwan independence' take desperate moves, we'll take all necessary means, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Anti-Secession Law, to crush their plot and resolutely defend the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Li said.
Shen Chunyao, head of the NPC Standing Committee's Legislative Affairs Commission, said the law, passed in 2005, made clear three conditions for using nonpeaceful means against "Taiwan independence" forces and acts.
In the event that secessionist forces cause Taiwan's secession from China, or that major incidents entailing Taiwan's secession from China should occur or that possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the State shall employ nonpeaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to the law.
Li Zuocheng, chief of the Joint Staff Department under the Central Military Commission, said the country needs both peaceful and military options for Taiwan.
"If the possibility of peaceful reunification is completely lost, the PLA, together with the whole nation, including Taiwan residents, will take all measures to safeguard the country's territorial integrity," he said at the seminar on Friday.
The army has the strong will, full confidence and sufficient capability to defeat any separatist attempts toward "Taiwan independence", he added.
Fifteen years ago, amid rising escalation caused by secessionist actions of "Taiwan independence" forces, the NPC initiated the legislation and adopted the Anti-Secession Law in March 2005. Its implementation has provided a strong legal backing for maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and promoting the development of cross-Straits relations, Li Zhanshu said.
"To solve the Taiwan question and realize the reunification of the motherland constitute one of the three historic tasks of the Communist Party of China," the top legislator said, adding that "peaceful reunification" and "one country, two systems" are the best ways to reunify the mainland and Taiwan.
Liu Jieyi, head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, also said that the mainland is still, with the utmost sincerity and efforts, willing to continue to work for the prospect of peaceful reunification.