China's state-run media has rejected calls from the Taiwanese president for peace talks with Beijing.
President Chen said talks could defuse military tensions
The China Daily newspaper said Chen Shui-bian's idea was "too insincere and vague to be treated seriously".
In an address to mark Taiwan's National Day on Sunday, Mr Chen urged China to agree to talks to resolve tensions over the build-up of weapons.
Beijing insists Taiwan is part of its territory and has pledged to invade if it declares formal independence.
The Communist government in Beijing did not respond directly to Mr Chen's speech, but the China Daily - which is controlled by the state - ran a prominent article citing researchers who described the address as "more symbolic than substantial".
Liu Guoshen, from Xiamen University, accused Mr Chen of "playing with words".
He said that if the Taiwanese leader continued to reject the one-China principle - an acceptance that Taiwan is part of China - his proposal of talks "will be tantamount to nonsense".
Mr Chen made his comments during a speech to mark the island's national day on Sunday.
"Because we can't communicate, there's a lot of misunderstanding," Mr Chen said.
Correspondents saw little chance of rapid progress towards talks. If a meeting were to take place between Chinese and Taiwanese delegates, it would be the first time the two sides have had formal contact since 1992.
Taiwan's media was divided in its view on Mr Chen's speech.
The China Times, one of the island's major newspapers, praised his proposal for being vague enough to avoid touching on subjects which have blocked talks in the past.
The US welcomed Mr Chen's "constructive message", and a spokeswoman said the president's speech "offers some creative ideas for reducing tension and resuming the cross-strait dialogue".
Flights and weapons
In his speech, President Chen said that talks on arms control could defuse military tensions between China and Taiwan.
"In the long term, both sides should formally end the state of hostility across the Taiwan Strait, and establish confidence-building measures through consultations," Mr Chen said.
The president called for the establishment of a "code of conduct" by the two rivals as a guarantee of permanent peace between them.
He also said China should talk to Taiwan about direct charter flights from the island to the Chinese mainland.
However, he also defended his proposal to seek a multi-billion dollar purchase of US armaments.
"Every citizen should recognize that increasing Taiwan's defensive strength is the first condition of preserving the peaceful status quo in the Taiwan Strait," he said.
He said China had 600 ballistic missiles targeting Taiwan and was adding more every year.