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Relations between US & Russia can get 'much better' – California governor to RT

Relations between the US and Russia aren't at their best, but can become “much better,” California Governor Jerry Brown told RT. He added that there is “still room for trade” between Washington and Moscow, despite new sanctions against Russia.

Speaking to RT at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, Brown said that although the “mood” towards Russia isn't great in Washington at the moment, the two nations have overcome poor relations before.

“I would recall the mood in 1984-1985, when Russia was described as an evil empire, but very soon thereafter, there was the very important agreements between President Reagan and President Gorbachev,” he said.

Brown added that the relationship between Moscow and Washington can “start going up” towards a “much better relationship in the future.”

When asked about the US sanctions imposed on Russia in August, Brown said the American consul in Vladivostok showed him his speeches “where he is urging more trade and investment with the United States.

“So I know the sanctions are a very serious matter, but there [is] still room for trade, for understanding, and for cooperation. And I am looking in various ways to pioneer that positive path, at least from the point of view of California,” he said.

The United States imposed sanctions on Russia in early August, claiming without providing evidence that Moscow interfered in the presidential election and may have colluded with the Trump campaign to have him elected.

Brown's Wednesday speech at the forum centered on the topic of global threats ranging from North Korea to climate change. It was given as part of a special session of the Valdai Discussion Club titled ‘The Russia-China-Japan-U.S. Quadrangle: Are There Opportunities for Cooperation?’

The Valdai club is aimed at promoting dialogue of “Russian and international intellectual elites and to deliver independent objective scholarly analysis of political, economic, and social developments in Russia and the world,” according to its website

Brown, a Democrat and advocate for climate change awareness whose trip was announced on short notice, said last week that “every government and every business is responsible for making this radical turn and from Victorville to Vladivostok, California will continue to lead the charge,” referencing his commitment to decarbonizing the economy. 

It's not the first time Brown has taken interest in international climate talks following US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accords.

In June, the governor traveled to China and met with President Xi Jinping, along with the country's special envoy on climate change. He signed agreements with the national government through the Ministry of Science and Technology in Beijing and with the leaders of Sichuan and Jiangsu, according to the Sacramento Bee. 

The annual Eastern Economic Forum – taking place on Wednesday and Thursday – is described as a “unique platform for cooperation between representatives from the worlds of business and politics, as well as members of the expert and media communities from Russia and the Asia-Pacific region.”

This year's forum is aimed at discussing the strengthening of business links in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as an expert appraisal of economic potential in Russia's Far East and increasing the region's “competitiveness and financial appeal.”

“The new conditions for investment in the region, where the entire government administrative structure is geared towards meeting the needs of business, will also be presented,” according to the forum's website.

Organizers said they received confirmations from 24 delegations, including from the US, China, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, according to TASS.