BEIJING (AP) — China says it will introduce more "preferential policies" for Taiwan to allow the self-governed island's residents to enjoy the same treatment as mainland Chinese citizens.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, speaking at a press conference, said Friday that new initiatives will be implemented to invite people from Taiwan to access "the same development" and "work hand-in-hand to realize the dream for our shared nation."

China has used increasingly aggressive rhetoric toward Taiwan, which split from the mainland amid a civil war in 1949.

The ruling Communist Party maintains that Taiwan is part of China and says it seeks "peaceful reunification." But President Xi Jinping did not rule out the use of force during a January speech on cross-strait relations.

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