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China tells U.S. it won't give up "any inch of territory"

Mattis and Xi shake hands
Mattis and Xi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: Sheng Jiapeng/China News Service/VCG)

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Defense Secretary James Mattis in Beijing that China will not give up "any inch of territory passed down from ancestors," reports Xinhua, China's state-run news agency.

Why it matters: The core issue on the table during Mattis' visit is China's expansion into disputed territory in the South China Sea, where it has accelerated efforts to militarize despite the West's objections. As the trade fight between Washington and Beijing escalates, China's military expansion raises the stakes of conflict with the U.S.