04:44 GMT +316 December 2017
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    China In, Russia Out: Trump Readjusting Washington's List of Top Threats

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    Washington's foreign policy is expected to change considerably under the incoming administration, with US President-elect Donald Trump appearing to be determined to search for common ground with Russia and adopt a tough stance towards China, Rostislav Ishchenko, head of the Center of Analysis and Forecasting, wrote for RIA Novosti.

    "We can expect that the military tensions in the Pacific Ocean, particularly in the South China Sea, will mount. Challenges in this region are as complex as issues in the Middle East. The situation could quickly become highly explosive," he explained.

    Ishchenko emphasized that Russia is interested in cultivating good relations with almost all nations potentially involved in this conflict.

    President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed that he wanted to build a working relationship with the Trump administration during his marathon press conference held on Friday. This feeling is apparently mutual. Donald Trump has repeatedly indicated that he was willing to work with the Kremlin.

    "At the same time, China is Russia's ally," the analyst said, adding that bilateral political and military commitments have not been formalized, but the alliance de facto exists.

    Ishchenko suggested that Russia's close relations with China will create simmering tensions in Moscow's relationship with Washington.

    "As long as China remains on the list of military priorities outlined by the [incoming] US administration, regardless of how cordial Washington's relations with Moscow are, the United States will not abandon the aggressive policy of global hegemony," the analyst said.

    Ishchenko was referring to a Pentagon memo dated December 1, which was circulated by the media earlier this week. The document contained a list of Donald Trump's defense priorities, which was ostensibly compiled by Mira Ricardel, one of the leaders of Trump's Pentagon transition team. The president-elect apparently plans to task the US Department of Defense (DoD) with devising a strategy to destroy Daesh, increase America's defense capabilities, develop a comprehensive cyber strategy and improve efficiency. These areas have been single out as top priorities for the DoD.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia
    © Sputnik/ Vladimir Astapkovich
    The document also said that the team had already discussed anti-Daesh efforts, North Korea and China. Interestingly, the memo made no mention of Russia, prompting analyst to suggest that the incoming administration does not view Moscow as an adversary, a sharp contrast to what high-ranking US defense officials and military commanders have publicly said for more than two years.

    Meanwhile, US President-elect Donald Trump has shown that he is ready to make decisions which could anger Beijing, including a phone conversation with the Taiwan leader, remarks on yuan and the South China Sea.

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    Tags:
    bilateral relations, tensions, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, China, United States, Russia
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