“President Biden has been very clear for a long time including before he was President that if Russia chooses to act recklessly or aggressively, we’ll respond. But we are not looking to escalate. We would prefer to have a more stable, more predictable relationship, and if Russia moves in that direction, so will we. And I think President Biden will have an opportunity when he meets with President Putin to talk about that directly”, Blinken said.
Raab, in turn, said that an opportunity for better relations with Moscow exists if Russia “changes its behaviour”.
At the same time, Blinken said that he welcomed the United Kingdom’s recent announcement about extending the global Magnitsky sanctions targeting Russia.
“I also want to thank the United Kingdom, for joining us in holding Russia to account for its reckless and aggressive actions”, Blinken said during a briefing. “We have reaffirmed our unwavering support for the independent sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, which I’ll be visiting later this week. I also welcomed the Foreign Secretary’s recent announcement on the extension of global Magnitsky sanctions to combat Russian human rights abuses.”
Last week, US President Joe Biden said in an address to Congress that Washington is seeking no escalation with Russia and believes both countries can cooperate where their interests converge. The US president had offered Putin to meet during summer in a yet to be determined European country.
Tensions between Moscow and Washington intensified after the United States imposed sanctions on 32 Russian entities and individuals as part of a new round of sanctions over Moscow’s alleged cyberattacks and other hostile acts against US interests. Washington also expelled 10 Russian diplomats from the country and prohibited US entities from purchasing Russian government bonds during primary placements.
The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the latest round of US sanctions against Russia as running contrary to the interests of the two nations. In response, Russia banned eight US citizens from entering the country.
On Relations With China
Raab and Blinken also discussed relations with China and agreed that Beijing should be held to the commitments it has made but also relations should be advances in a positive manner.
“I think it’s fair to say we see eye-to-eye on the need to stand up for our values, holding Beijing to the commitments that they’ve made”, Raab said, adding that this stance refers to the Hong Kong declaration and other commitments. “But also at the same time finding constructive ways to work with China in a sensible and positive manner where that’s possible.”
Blinken said that the United States and the United Kingdom will continue to cooperate to address a human rights abuses in China.
“Together, our two countries recently took measures to prevent British and American businesses from inadvertently supporting forced labor and Xinjiang and elsewhere and China”, Blinken said during a briefing. “We continue our robust cooperation to address the atrocities in Xinjiang, a crackdown on pro-democracy activists, and politicians in Hong Kong, which breaches China’s international commitments, and the repression of media freedom across China and in other parts of the world.”
According to Blinken, the US does not have a goal to contain China, but Washington will act if Beijing tries to undermine the international order.
“It is not our purpose to try to contain China or to hold China down, what we are trying to do is to uphold the international rules-based order that our countries have invested so much in, over so many decades”, Blinken said. “When any country – China or otherwise – takes action that challenge or undermine or seek to erode that rules-based order and not make good on the commitments that they’ve made to that order, we will stand up and defend the order.”
President Joe Biden has had a rocky start in his relationship with China, with officials from the two countries openly bickering before the media at a meeting in Alaska hosted by Blinken earlier this year.
While Biden has undone most of Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration, climate and other matters, he has left intact the tariffs on China, indicating that his administration would likely use them in the future to pressure Beijing into making concessions on trade and other issues.
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