Chinese Premier Li Keqiang
China's Premier Li Keqiang delivers a government work report during the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, ChinaREUTERS/Jason Lee

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has said that Beijing remains resolutely opposed to independence for Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In remarks prepared to be delivered at the opening of the annual parliament session, he said the notion of independence for Hong Kong would lead nowhere and that Beijing was committed to applying the one country, two systems principle in Hong Kong without it "being bent or distorted".

"We will continue to implement, both in letter and in spirit, the principle of one country, two systems, under which Hong Kong people govern Hong Kong," Li added.

A former British colony, Hong Kong was given back to China in 1997 under the principle of "one country, two systems" giving it autonomy, an independent judiciary and rule of law for over 50 years.

Last year, the Chinese parliament interpreted Basic Law, the mini constitution of Hong Kong, and barred pro-independence legislators from taking oath of office.

Addressing the issue of Taiwan, Li said: "We will never tolerate any activity, in any form or name, which attempts to separate Taiwan from the motherland."

Beijing will safeguard its territorial integrity and national sovereignty while maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, he added.

On Thursday (2 March), Chinese jets and warships conducted exercises near Taiwan and in the western Pacific even as the defence minister of Taiwan said it was facing a growing threat from its neighbour.

Beijing is suspicious of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who belongs to a party that advocates independence for the island nation.

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