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China defiant on territory claims, demands respect

BEIJING (AP) — China's foreign minister sounded a note of defiance to the country's neighbors Saturday over rival territorial claims, and said good relations with Washington depend on mutual respect.

Wang Yi told reporters at an annual news conference that China wouldn't bully smaller countries over territorial and maritime disputes. But he said Beijing also wouldn't give in to what he called unreasonable demands from those same countries, in an apparent reference to the Philippines and others who challenge China's claims to the entire South China Sea and its islands.

Referring to a similar island dispute with Japan, Wang said there was no room for compromise on issues of territory and history.

Wang, speaking during China's annual ceremonial congress, also said strong relations with Washington depended on true respect for China's sovereignty, social system and major concerns.

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