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Trump names Russia, China global rivals--seeks partnership



by Joseph Earnest December 18, 2017


Newscast Media WASHINGTONPresident Donald Trump has unveiled a new U.S. national security strategy that takes a hard line on China and Russia, but he said Washington would seek a "great partnership" with the two world powers while defending its national interests.


In a wide-ranging speech in Washington on December 18 shortly after the White House released the strategy document, Trump said "realism" and "America first" would be a guiding national-security principles going forward and sharply criticized the record of his predecessors on a broad range of issues, including counterterrorism, Iran, and North Korea.

He repeated his harsh assessment of the deal between Iran and major world powers to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for some sanctions relief, as well as the 2015 Paris climate accord that the Trump administration has announced it will withdraw from.

Trump also praised the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria and said that Pakistan must be more decisive in battling extremism. The new U.S. national security strategy warns that China and Russia "challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity."

"They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence," the strategy statement says.

Trump said that the 68-page strategy document "recognizes that, whether we like it or not, we are engaged in a new era of competition," adding that "vigorous military, economic, and political contests are now playing out all around the world."

"We face rogue regimes that threaten the United States and our allies. We face terrorist organizations, transnational criminal networks, and others who spread violence and evil around the globe," he said.

Calling Russia and China "rival powers" who "seek to challenge American influence, values, and wealth," Trump said that the United States will nonetheless seek to partner with those and other nations but in a way that "always protects our national interest."

He followed up on that remark by touting bilateral cooperation with Moscow that both the Kremlin and the White House said helped prevent a series of planned terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg.

Russian President Vladimir Putin a day earlier phoned Trump and thanked him for a tip-off from the CIA that the Russian leader said resulted in the arrests of seven suspected terrorists plotting to carry out bombings in Russia's second city.

"Many people -- perhaps in the thousands -- could have been killed. They were able to apprehend these terrorists before the event, with no loss of life, and that's a great thing, and the way it's supposed to work,” Trump said.

Ahead of the strategy's release, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed hope that the document would "play a constructive role to promote world peace and stability and contribute to Chinese-U.S. strategic mutual trust in ensuring world peace and security."


Source: Radio Free Europe

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