By Joe Cash, Ellen Zhang and Laurie Chen

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s top legislators on Friday vowed to enact new laws to “modernise China’s system and capacity for national security” and safeguard the country’s sovereign interests.

The roughly 170-member National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC), gathering at the annual meeting of parliament in Beijing, pledged to enact legislation including an emergency management law and atomic energy law.

They also said they would revise laws on national defence education and cybersecurity this year, according to a work report by the NPCSC’s chairman and the Communist Party’s third-ranked official Zhao Leji.

The annual legislative plan had an increased focus on national security, in line with President Xi Jinping’s growing focus on preventing internal and external threats in response to intensifying geopolitical competition.

The separate Supreme People’s Court work report also vowed to “apply the concept of overall national security” to its work this year.

Other new legislation to be formulated this year includes a financial stability law and private sector promotion law, and the legislative body plans to revise existing laws on mineral resources, unfair competition, public bidding and civil aviation.

The NPCSC report also took on an international focus, vowing to “strengthen legislation in areas involving foreign affairs and develop a system of laws for extraterritorial application.”

“We will use legal means to stand up for our country in the international arena and resolutely safeguard our sovereignty, security and development interests,” Zhao said in the NPCSC report.

The Hong Kong government published the draft of its national security bill, Article 23, on Friday but the NPCSC work report made no mention of developments in the Chinese-controlled financial centre.

(Reporting by Joe Cash, Ellen Zhang, Yew Lun Tian and Laurie Chen; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Lincoln Feast.)

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