TAIPEI, Taiwan – A new special report by China (search) on its defense forces shows that the country's military modernization is targeted at rival Taiwan, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry claimed Tuesday.
China and Taiwan (search) split amid civil war in 1949, and communist Beijing has repeatedly said it will attack if Taiwan — a democratic, self-ruled island off China's coast — formally declares independence.
Beijing's State Council, or Cabinet, on Monday published a white paper or special report on the Chinese military's plans to modernize. The document included a strong warning that China would crush any Taiwanese independence (search) attempt "at any cost."
Taiwan said it is the target of China's military modernization — which it said is the biggest security threat in the Asia-Pacific region.
"All their military equipment is completely directed against us," said Wang Shih-lan, a senior official at the Taiwanese Defense Ministry's intelligence analysis center.
Wang said the report showed China was strengthening its naval warfare capabilities. China's air force was also turning from territorial defense to add attack capabilities, he said.
The report also criticized the United States for selling missiles to Taiwan. Washington is Taiwan's chief protector and its most likely defender if it is attacked.
Beijing has steadily ratcheted up its rhetoric in response to what it says are efforts by Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian to pursue independence through a referendum on changing the island's constitution.
The white paper's release on Monday also came as China's legislature discusses an anti-secession law, seen as a legal means to push Taiwan to unify with the mainland.
Taiwan has described the planned law as a pretext for a military move against it. Officials in the capital, Taipei, have also said the law would hinder improvements in Taiwan-China relations and hurt the feelings of the Taiwanese public.
Despite their political bickering, Taiwan and China have a thriving business relationship. Taiwanese have massive investments in the mainland and regularly visit it as tourists.