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Russia won't take part in any US-led coalition against China, wants France and UK included in new nuclear talks – ambassador

Russia won't take part in any US-led coalition against China, wants France and UK included in new nuclear talks – ambassador
Russia won’t join any coalitions against China, or other countries, and it regards American demands to force Beijing into nuclear talks as inappropriate if London and Paris aren’t involved too, Moscow’s envoy to the US has said.

The US “promotes anti-Chinese sentiments” and its relations with Asia-Pacific countries are based on their support for such an approach, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov outlined in an interview with the Japanese publication Nikkei Asia Review.

“We believe that the US attempts to create anti-Chinese alliances around the world are counterproductive” and “present a threat to international security and stability,” Antonov said, adding that Russia “will never participate in coalitions against third countries, including China.”

While Washington talks about “the free and open Indo-Pacific” with Japan, Australia and India, the initiative is neither transparent nor inclusive, Antonov noted. Instead of established norms of international law and existing multilateral organizations, the US insists on a “rules based order.”

What are those rules, who created them and who agreed to them – all this remains unclear.

Calling the possible continuation of a trade war between Washington and Beijing “a threat to the global economy,” Antonov said Russia would be happy to use its contacts with both countries and its considerable experience in resolving inter-state disputes for “balancing efforts,” if needed.

The US is pressuring China to make it join the nuclear arms control process, which Antonov said Russia “cannot support.” Beijing’s participation should be voluntary and based on respect for Beijing’s legitimate interests, Antonov told Nikkei.

Russia’s priority in a broader arms treaty would be to get the UK and France involved as well, since they “not only possess nuclear arsenals comparable to that of China, but are also US NATO allies closely coordinating their nuclear policies.”

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While the US is trying to set a “price” for extending the New START arms control treaty – demanding a rewrite of its verification mission and inclusion of China, among other things – Moscow has been willing to extend it without any preconditions, Antonov said

Referring to the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty last year, the Russian ambassador offered a reminder that Moscow has promised not to deploy missiles that were previously banned “in any region of the world – including Asia” until Americans deploy their missiles first. The ambassador also warned the US, however, that any such deployment in Asia would get an appropriate response, given the presence of the Russian strategic nuclear deterrent in the region. The INF originally applied only to Europe and US officials complained it was “obsolete” because it did not cover China.

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Asked about Russia’s relationship with India – which has recently clashed with China in the Himalayas and moved closer to the US in certain military matters, while also expanding trade with Russia – Antonov said the two countries enjoy a “privileged strategic partnership.”

“We are certain that the government of Narendra Modi will continue to pursue a harmonious multidimensional policy, develop predictable and mutually beneficial relations with all countries, including Russia… as well as the US,” he told Nikkei.

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