China not expansionist but won’t give up even one inch of territory: Xi Jinping to US defence secretary

BEIJING: China is committed to peace and won’t cause “chaos” in the world, but cannot give up even an inch of territory that the country’s ancestors have left behind, Chinese President Xi Jinping told US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday.
Mattis, a former Marine general, has been highly critical of China’s muscular military moves in the disputed South China Sea. The US military even withdrew an invitation to China to join a multinational naval exercise that will start during Mattis’ visit, upsetting Beijing.Mattis is visiting against a backdrop of spiralling tension between Beijing and Washington over trade.Beijing is also deeply suspicious of US intentions toward self-governing and democratic Taiwan, which is armed by the United States. China views the island as a sacred part of its territory.
Meeting in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Xi told Mattis that China had only peaceful intentions and would not “cause chaos”, state television reported.
Both countries’ common interests far outweigh their differences, but on territorial issues there can be no concessions, Xi added, without referring to specific areas.
“We cannot lose even one inch of the territory left behind by our ancestors. What is other people’s, we do not want at all,” state television cited Xi as saying.Mattis, in comments in front of reporters, told Xi his talks had been “very, very” good.“I am happy to be in China and we are assigning the same high degree of importance to the military-to-military relationship,” Mattis said.Meeting earlier in the day, China’s defence minister told Mattis that only with mutual respect and by avoiding confrontation can China and the United States develop together.