‘China cannot cede an inch of territory,' Xi Jinping tells US Defence Secretary James Mattis
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, June 27, expressed his country's goodwill gesture in a meeting with visiting US Defence Secretary James Mattis saying Beijing never wanted to have what belongs to others but also put across the message that it cannot cede an inch of its territory "left behind by ancestors".
In his mixed message, Xi made it amply clear that China was not ready to give up what it considers its rights in the Pacific Ocean region, saying the vast area could accommodate China, the US and other countries.
Xi made his stand clear during the meeting with Mattis at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
The Chinese president, however, emphasised that the Beijing and Washington should better their communication and mutual trust and work on cooperation and control their risks.
Xi also spoke about the military relationships between the two countries. "Over the recent years this military relationship has had good momentum... I would like to hope this momentum of the military relationship would continue," China Global Television Network quoted him as saying.
Mattis also stressed on the cooperation between the two countries on the military front.
"I am here to keep our relationship on the right trajectory, keep it going in the right direction and to share ideas with your military leadership, as well as look at the way ahead," Mattis was quoted as saying to Xi.
Mattis is on a three-day visit to China since Tuesday, June 26, and has met top Chinese officials, including his counterpart from Beijing Wei Fenghe, besides President Xi. He is the first US defence secretary to visit China since 2014 and his meeting with the Chinese leadership comes amid tensions on the trade and strategic front on the South China Sea.