Putin elaborates on Russian foreign policy at annual press conference

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 20, 2019
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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday elaborated on his country's foreign policy at a marathon press conference attended by record-breaking 1,895 journalists.

Putin answered more than 70 questions regarding economic, social, environmental and international issues, many of which reflected Russia's position in international community.

It has been Putin's 15th press conference since 2001, which lasted for 4 hours 18 minutes, close to the 2008 record of 4 hours 40 minutes.

To strengthen ties with China

Russia and China will strengthen bilateral ties, which will benefit both peoples and help maintain global stability, Putin said.

"The role of our interaction with China is very important. We will strengthen our multifaceted strategic ties, and I'm sure both peoples of China and Russia will benefit," Putin said.

"There is no doubt that Russian-Chinese cooperation is a most important factor of international stability, including in promoting international law and in creating a multipolar world," he added.

Putin recalled that after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 there was an illusion that a unipolar world would be possible and exist for a long time.

However, a unipolar world no longer exists, while a multipolar world has been created, he said.

In the last few years, an unprecedented level of trust has been created between Russia and China, with the two countries cooperating in various sectors, including in the exploration of outer space, aircraft manufacturing and transport, Putin said.

He expressed the confidence that Russian-Chinese trade turnover will rise to 200 billion U.S. dollars.

To maintain new start with US

Russia and the United States should base bilateral relations on protecting global security, for which the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) should be maintained, Putin said.

"And if there is no New START, there will be nothing in the world to contain the arms race," he added.

He said that Russia is ready to extend the treaty with the United States, which expires in 2021, but Washington has yet to respond.

Russia is interested in developing and maintaining relations with the United States and will continue doing so, Putin said.

To normalize relations with EU

According to Putin, Russia wants to normalize relations with the European Union (EU), as economic sanctions hurt both sides.

"In principle, we are for full normalization," he said.

The EU slapped sanctions on Russia in July and September 2014 in response to an alleged role that Russia had played in conflicts in Eastern Ukraine and then extended them several times.

Russia in response banned imports of foodstuffs and other items from the EU countries.

Putin noted that there are assessments of the damage caused by these sanctions to the EU of 50 billion euros.

He admitted that Russia also suffered losses from sanctions, but said they helped develop some sectors of domestic economy, particularly agriculture.

Russian economy and its national currency are consistently detaching themselves from the global oil market, while the situation in the country is becoming more resistant to external challenges, said the president. 

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