China used the forum of a key government meeting to again declared its sovereignty over Taiwan and promised to defeat any moves towards independence by the island state, but not necessarily by the use of military force.

Premier Li Keqiang Friday said China is determined to deter any move towards independence by Taiwan. China will, however, promote peaceful cross-strait relations as a prelude to Taiwan's peaceful reunification with the mainland.

"We will remain highly vigilant against and resolutely deter any separatist activity seeking Taiwan independence," said Li at the opening of the annual meeting of China's National People's Congress (NPC), attended by 3,000 delegates.

"We will promote exchanges, cooperation and integrated development across the Taiwan Strait. Together we can shape a bright future of rejuvenation for our great nation."

Li said China remains committed "to promoting the peaceful growth of relations across the Taiwan Strait and China's reunification." He also claims Taiwanese will receive equal treatment similar to those of mainlanders under communist rule.

On the other hand, he affirmed the mainland's communist government will continue its strategies aimed at unification with Taiwan. Li warned the communist regime remains vigilant and will resolutely deter "separatist activities" fighting for Taiwan's independence.

Li's statement stands in to remarks made by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who said Taiwan is already an independent country that goes by the name, the Republic of China (ROC). Tsai was reelected Taiwan's president on Jan. 11, 2020.

"We don't have a need to declare ourselves an independent state," said Tsai after her re-election. "We are an independent country already and we call ourselves the Republic of China, Taiwan."

Beijing has refused to deal directly with Tsai, saying she hasn't accepted the 1992 consensus, which says Taiwan and China are part of "one China."