China foreign minister defiant on territorial claims, wants respect from US for positive ties

China's foreign minister has sounded a note of defiance to the country's neighbors over rival territorial claims and says good relations with Washington depend on mutual respect.

Wang Yi told reporters at an annual news conference on Saturday that China wouldn't bully smaller countries over territorial and maritime disputes. But he says Beijing also wouldn't give in to what he calls 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 says there is no room for compromise on issues of territory and history.

And he says strong relations with Washington depend on true respect for China's sovereignty, social system and major concerns.