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Taiwan Risks Attack, China Military Warns (07 Aug 2002)

Taiwan risks attack from China if President Chen Shui-bian presses ahead with a referendum on the island's future, Beijing's military warned through state-run media on Wednesday.

In the first direct reference to possible military action since Mr Chen's call for a referendum at the weekend sparked a crisis between the rivals, an unidentified 'senior military source' told the China Daily that force always remained a possibility.

The Taiwan leader's comments underscored the growing possibility that 'peace will have to be safeguarded and won through the use of force', the source was quoted as saying.

'We have enough confidence and determination to settle the question.'

The source reiterated Beijing's long-held stance that it would continue to work for peaceful reunification with the island, while also stressing that the Taiwan issue was purely an internal Chinese affair.