Xi states firm position on sovereignty

President Xi Jinping meets with United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. Xi said China will stick to peaceful development in the process of building a modernized socialist country. LI GANG / XINHUA

China’s attitude on safeguarding national sovereignty and territory integrity is firm and clear, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday.

China will not tolerate losing even an inch of homeland that is inherited from ancestors, nor will it claim the land of other nations, Xi said while meeting with the United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

There are wide common interests between China and the US, and at the same time, the two countries also have disagreements, Xi said.

Xi said that China will stick to peaceful development in the process of building a modernized socialist country, and it will not seek expansion or colonization, nor will it bring chaos to the world.

Hailing the China-US relationship as one of the most important bilateral ties in the world, Xi said that the good development of the China-US relationship is not only significant for international peace, stability and prosperity, but also beneficial for the people of both.

China and the US have wide common interests, and the two countries should push the development of bilateral ties with the principles of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, Xi said.

Military exchanges between China and the US have gained momentum in recent years, Xi said, adding that Beijing hopes to keep pushing military exchanges with Washington.

“Your visit has very good timing — I think both our sides were hoping to have this meeting,” Xi told Mattis.

Enhancing military exchanges between China and the US is helpful to clear misunderstandings and avoid misjudgments, Xi said, adding that the two militaries should deepen cooperation and manage disagreements.

Mattis said that the US attaches great importance to developing military relations with China. The two countries should enhance strategic communication, manage disagreements and avoid conflicts, he said.

“This is an important time in the history of China and the United States as we work our relationship forward,” Mattis said, adding that he had “very, very good discussions this morning” with his Chinese military counterpart.

The US assigns the same high degree of importance to the military-to-military relationship as China does, Mattis said.

“It reminds me just how important this is for both our nations,” he said, adding that his visit is aimed at keeping the bilateral relationship going in the right direction.

Mattis extended greetings from US President Donald Trump to Xi, and Xi also asked Mattis to extend his greetings to Trump.