Improving the notoriously toxic air across the northern regions of the world’s second-largest economy has been a cornerstone of Beijing’s economic and social policy in recent years.
China has ordered factories to cut output in a bid to enforce bigger emission cuts in coming months and avoid a repeat of the near-record levels of choking smog that enveloped key northern areas at the start of the year.
In the long term, it has also launched a series of measures to curb the use of coal, the nation’s favourite fuel, and boost use of renewable power, like wind and solar.
The government will also take measures to improve rural areas by restoring soil and waterways, President Xi added, as China moves to modernise its vast agricultural sector.
China has the resolve, confidence and ability to thwart any attempt by self-ruled Taiwan to declare independence, Chinese President Xi said today, prompting Taipei to retort that only its people could decide their future.
Taiwan is one of China’s most important and sensitive issues. China considers proudly democratic Taiwan to be a wayward province and has never renounced the possibility of using force to bring the island under its control.
President Xi has set great store on trying to resolve differences, holding a landmark meeting with then-President Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore in 2015.
But relations have nosedived since Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won presidential elections last year, with Beijing fearing she wants to push for Taiwan’s formal independence, a red line for China.
“We will never allow anyone, any organisation, or any political party, at any time or in any form, to separate any part of Chinese territory from China,” President Xi told more than 2,000 delegates at the opening of a week-long Communist Party Congress, drawing the longest applause during his 3½ hour speech.
“We have the resolve, the confidence and the ability to defeat separatist attempts for Taiwan independence in any form,” President Xi told the audience, including some 300 from the People’s Liberation Army.
Beijing has suspended a regular dialogue mechanism with Taipei established under Taiwan’s previous, China-friendly government, and there has been a dramatic fall in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan under Tsai’s administration.
Tsai says she wants peace with China but will protect Taiwan’s freedom and democracy
In Taipei, the cabinet’s Mainland Affairs Council said it was “absolutely” the right of Taiwan’s 23 million people to decide their future.
“The Republic of China is a sovereign country,” the council said, using Taiwan’s formal name.