China which firmly opposes any separatist activities or foreign interference, has reiterated its plans of “reunification” with Taiwan.
Taiwan and China split during a civil war in 1949, but China claims the island as its own territory.
Speaking at the opening of the annual meeting of China’s parliament, Li said Beijing stands by the “one China” principle, which states Taiwan is part of China.
“We will advance the peaceful growth of relations across the Taiwan Strait and the reunification of China,” he said. “We firmly oppose any separatist activities seeking ‘Taiwan independence’ and firmly oppose foreign interference.”
“All of us, Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, should come together to advance the great and glorious cause of China’s rejuvenation.”
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council responded by saying China should focus more on addressing the real concerns of its people and promoting democracy rather than “undermining international rules and order”.
“Taiwanese public opinion firmly opposes the political framework, military intimidation and diplomatic suppression imposed by China,” it said. “Democratic Taiwan is a force for regional peace and stability.”
Beijing has used diplomatic and military means to isolate and intimidate the self-ruled island, but the US has continued to support Taiwan by selling it advanced weapons and fighter planes.
Tensions have been high since Taiwanese citizens elected Tsai Ing-wen as president in 2016, to which Beijing responded by cutting off previously established communications with the island’s government.
She says there is no need to declare independence, as Taiwan is already a sovereign nation called the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Tsai’s predecessor was friendly to China and had endorsed Beijing’s claim that the two are part of a single Chinese nation.