President Chen Shui-bian (
Koo Kwang-ming (
"Taiwan is taking the path towards independence and this cannot be stopped," Koo, 78, said in an interview.
Koo reckons Beijing is bluffing with its military threats and would be forced to talk if Taiwan pushes ahead towards independence.
"They are only making verbal threats," he said.
Koo's pro-independence views have made him a maverick in his own family -- it is one of Taiwan's wealthiest and has close links to the former Nationalist Party.
His brother, Koo Chen-fu, held the highest-level Taiwan-China talks in Singapore in 1993.
"As Taiwan moves towards independence, tensions between the two sides will inevitably escalate. At that time, China will have to choose between going to war and talking to us. They are not stupid," Koo said.
China would not risk destroying an economy it has worked so hard to build to wage a war that could provoke international intervention, he added.