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Russia Calls U.S. Security Strategy 'Imperial,' China Denounces 'Cold War' Thinking

Trump Names Russia, China As Global Rivals
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WATCH: Trump Names Russia, China As Global Rivals

Russia and China have lambasted U.S. President Donald Trump's new national security strategy, which refers to them as rivals of Washington that are seeking to undermine U.S. power and interests.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on December 19 that the new strategy has an “imperial character” and accused Washington of clinging to a "unipolar world."

Moscow "cannot accept that the country is treated as a threat to the security of the United States," Peskov told reporters.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry urged Washington to abandon what it called a "Cold War mentality," saying that China has always been a contributor to global development and a protector of the international order.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

"Cooperation is the only correct choice for China and the United States," ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The U.S. national security strategy unveiled on December 18 says 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," it says.

The document comes as U.S. relations with Russia have been driven to a post-Cold War low by disagreements over issues including Russia's aggression in Ukraine, its role in the war in Syria, and its alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

Since taking office in January, Trump has accused China of unfair trade practices, criticized the "militarization" of the disputed South China Sea, and asked Beijing to do more to pressure North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic-missile programs.

In a speech after the White House released the 68-page strategy, Trump said that Russia and China are "rival powers" of the United States but that Washington would seek a "great partnership" with them in a way that "always protects our national interest."

He touted bilateral cooperation with Moscow that both the Kremlin and the White House said helped prevent a series of planned terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg.

Putin a day earlier phoned Trump and thanked him for a tip-off from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency 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.

Peskov said that the new U.S. strategy contains some "modest positive aspects, including the readiness to cooperate with Russia in areas where it is in the interests of Americans."

“This absolutely corresponds with our approach," he said. "Moscow likewise seeks cooperation with the U.S. where it is beneficial for us and as much as our American colleagues are ready to do so."

The U.S. security strategy also states that "the dictatorships" of North Korea and Iran "are determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people."

It also warns that transnational "jihadist terrorists" and criminal groups are "actively trying to harm Americans."

In his speech, Trump portrayed additional sanctions the United States slapped on Iran earlier this year as a strong message to Tehran.

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.

In a speech broadcast live on state TV, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on December 19 that "the nuclear deal will not collapse.”

“Those who hope that Trump will cause its collapse are wrong," he added.

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 security strategy is a formal document that each U.S. president since Ronald Reagan has produced, usually every four years.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, TASS, and dpa

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