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Possibility of Improved US-Russia Relations Worries China


President-elect Donald Trump speaks with reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. Trump has offered views on U.S. relations with Asia that could indicate radical shifts in long-standing policy toward the region.

President-elect Donald Trump has said that he hopes relations with Russia will improve after he takes office.

This has caused a debate in the United States after U.S. intelligence services accused Russia of interfering in the presidential election.

However, the idea of improved ties between Russia and the U.S. worries some Chinese officials. They believe that increased cooperation between the two powers will harm their country’s interests and weaken its relationship with Russia.

Comments by influential Chinese research groups and stories in state media show the level of concern.

Chinese media have been noting that China has strong ties with Russia. At the same time, reports in state-controlled media say there is little chance the U.S. and Russia will develop close relations.

The Chinese reports say that the U.S. and Russia may be able to reach agreement on some issues. They might cooperate on ending the civil war in Syria or working together to fight the Islamic State terrorist group for example. But the reports say deciding how to divide power after the conflict ends will not be easy.

Chinese officials reportedly worry that a stronger relationship between the U.S. and Russia would harm China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific area and the world.

Because of its action in Ukraine, Russia has faced international sanctions, limiting its trade with other countries.

Stephen Blank is an expert on Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council. He says many experts in China believe that closer relations between the U.S. and Russia will weaken relations between China and Russia.

He says “there is a lot of anxiety in Beijing that Russians who have all along taken an anti-U.S. stance may start to think differently.”

He notes that, until now, “the China-Russia relationship has been based in a large measure on their rejection of U.S. interests in the global order. This would be affected if there is improvement in (the) U.S.-Russia relationship.”

Chinese opinion writers have, in the past, written about the importance of China and Russia to the international community. At the same time, they have openly voiced concerns about some of Russia’s actions.

I’m Marsha James.

Correspondent Bill Ide reported this story from Beijing. Saibal Dasgupta also contributed to this report. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted his report for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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Words in This Story

sanctions – n. measures taken, usually trade restrictions, meant to punish a country and cause it to observe international law

anxiety – n. fear, concern or nervousness about what might happen

stance – n. a publicly stated opinion

in (a) large measure – phrase mostly

global order – n. the order of international institutions and agreements

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