China warns Taiwan it won’t tolerate separatist schemes

BEIJING China said yesterday that it would never tolerate any separatist schemes for Taiwan and would safeguard China's territorial integrity with the aim of "reunification".

Premier Li Keqiang issued the warning in a speech to the opening of the annual session of China's Parliament, his words coming amid mounting Chinese fury over a US Bill that seeks to raise official contacts between Washington and Taipei.

Last Friday, China said Taiwan would only get burned if it sought to rely on foreigners.

The legislation, which needs only US 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 US "under respectful conditions" and meet with US officials.

Mr Li said China would 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," Mr Li said, to loud applause from the 3,000-odd legislators at the Great Hall of the People.

Taiwan's China policy-making Mainland Affairs Council said it could not immediately comment.

China's hostility towards Taiwan has risen sincePresident Tsai Ing-wen's election in 2016.

China suspects Ms Tsai, from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, wants to push for formal independence, though she has said she wants to maintain the status quo and is committed to ensuring peace.