Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Saturday to advance peaceful growth in relations with Taiwan and "reunification", and said his government firmly opposes any separatist activities or any foreign interference.

China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory, has increased military activity near the island over the past two years, responding to what it calls "collusion" between Taipei and Washington, Taiwan's main international backer and arms supplier.

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," Li added.

"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."

Most Taiwanese people have shown no interest in being ruled by autocratic China, and have strongly supported anti-government protests in Chinese-run Hong Kong.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected by a landslide in 2020 on a promise of defending the island's democracy and standing up to China.

China believes Tsai wishes to push for Taiwan's formal independence, a red line for the Chinese government which has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under Beijing's control, and has refused Tsai's offers of talks.

Tsai says Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China, its formal name.