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Russia and UK hold high-level military talks in Moscow
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Feb 28, 2017


Wary US and China pledge respect at first Trump-era meet
Washington (AFP) Feb 28, 2017 - China's top diplomat wrapped up his first set of meetings in President Donald Trump's Washington on Tuesday satisfied that no breakdown in ties is imminent.

The newly elected US president initially caused consternation in Beijing by flirting with Taiwan, calling into question US support for the One China policy and threatening a trade war.

But he has since walked back his comments on One China, and Washington and Beijing are in talks about a Trump visit to build ties with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Both the State Department and the Chinese embassy said State Councilor Yang Jiechi, China's top foreign affairs official, had had a successful visit.

He was greeted by Trump on Monday after talks with senior White House officials and sat down with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday.

Afterward, the Chinese embassy issued a statement saying Tillerson had expressed a willingness to set a "positive tone" in relations between the two powers.

And it said China is willing to join the United States in upholding the principle of "non-conflict and mutual respect" in relation to each other's "core interests."

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Yang had invited Tillerson to visit Beijing and that the US envoy hoped to take him up "in the near future."

The pair "discussed the importance of improving and maintaining a mutually beneficial economic relationship between the two largest economies in the world."

Toner said Tillerson also raised US concerns about North Korea. Washington hopes Beijing will help it rein in Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

Senior Russian and British military officials held rare talks in Moscow on Tuesday aimed at avoiding clashes and lowering tensions that have spiked to their highest levels since the Cold War.

Russia's deputy chief of staff Alexander Zhuravlyov and his British counterpart, vice chief of staff Gordon Messenger, "discussed the state and prospects for re-establishing military cooperation", the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

Ties between Russia and Britain have frayed in the wake of Moscow's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine and its military intervention in Syria.

The statement said the talks focused on "possible steps to lower tensions, develop mutual trust and prevent incidents during military activities".

Britain's Ministry of Defence called the meeting "an important opportunity in terms of managing risk and avoiding miscalculation."

"They discussed military issues including opportunities to reduce risks in the conduct of our respective defence activity," it said in a statement.

Russia is carrying out a bombing campaign in Syria to support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, while Britain is part of a US-led coalition targeting the Islamic State group.

Moscow and the coalition have a "deconfliction" system in place to avoid mid-air collisions or clashes over Syria, but they do not coordinate their strikes.

Britain has been one of the strongest opponents of Russian aggression in Ukraine and has sent troops to eastern Europe to bolster NATO's presence in the region.

Officials in London have also been on edge as British jets have repeatedly been scrambled in response to a reported increase in Russian manoeuvres near Britain.

SUPERPOWERS
Russia wants to form new Collective Security Bloc that replaces NATO
Moscow (Sputnik) Feb 28, 2017
United States President Donald Trump was correct in his assessment that the North Atlantic Alliance is outdated, Associate Professor in International Politics at the Universiteit Antwerpen Tom Sauer asserted, saying that the bloc should be replaced by a new security organization that will encompass countries in Europe and Asia. "NATO should be transformed or even be replaced by a new Euras ... read more

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