China warns Taiwan it won't tolerate separatist activities

China warns Taiwan it won't tolerate separatist activities
Taiwanese sailors saluting the island's flag on the deck of a supply ship after taking part in annual drills at the Tsoying naval base in Kaohsiung
PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING - China will never tolerate any separatist schemes for self-ruled Taiwan and will safeguard China's territorial integrity, according to prepared remarks by Premier Li Keqiang at the opening of China's annual meeting of Parliament on Monday (March 5).

China has been infuriated over a US Bill that seeks to raise official contact between Washington and Taipei. China told Taiwan last Friday it would only get burned if it sought to rely on foreigners, adding to the warnings from state media about the risk of war.

The legislation, which only needs President Donald Trump's signature to become law, says it should be US policy to allow officials at all levels to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts, permit high-level Taiwanese officials to enter the United States "under respectful conditions" and meet US officials.

Li will say at the National People's Congress (NPC) that China will promote the peaceful growth of relations across the Taiwan Strait and "advance China's peaceful reunification".

"We will remain firm in safeguarding China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and will never tolerate any separatist schemes or activities for Taiwan independence," Li will say.

China's hostility towards Taiwan has risen since the election to president of Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party in 2016.

China suspects Tsai wants to push for formal independence, which would cross a red line for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, though Tsai has said she wants to maintain the status quo and is committed to ensuring peace.

Beijing considers democratic Taiwan to be a wayward province and integral part of "one China", ineligible for state-to-state relations, and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.

Hong Kong has been another troublesome area for China's leadership, especially after students organised weeks of protests in late 2014 to push for full democracy.

China will also continue to implement to the letter and in spirit the "one country, two systems" method of rule for the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau, Li will say.

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