Russian President Vladimir Putin has given a press conference in De Nang on the final day of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
The overall tone of his press conference can be categorised as a dichotomy between praise for the strength and depth of Russia’s relationship with China versus a sense of exasperation tinged with disappointment at the low state of relations with the United States.
When asked about his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Putin stated with enthusiasm that “China is our biggest economic and trading partner..If we maintain the current growth levels we will reach 100 billion in trade”.
He continued, speaking highly of many joint projects in energy, space exploration and aerospace manufacturing.
The Russian President further stated,
“Our positions are very close. On critical issues we have similar views, for example on North Korea our views are the same.
Soon China will be the world’s biggest economy and we should understand how we will be adjusting our work and trade with China, taking into account our plans for developing (our relationship)…and coupling our plans with Chinese plans for the Silk Road (One Belt–One Road)”.
This statement was intended not only to accurately reflect the productive nature of the Sino-Russian alliance and in particular, Russia’s enthusiasm for One Belt–One Road, but it was also directed at the United States as an admonition that its position as the leading global economy is more limited by the day. In other words, while the US still acts as though its a global hegemon, China is already a more important partner to Russia and will soon be the undisputed economic leader of the world.
Turning to the US, President Putin stated that it was unfortunate that he was unable to hold a proper meeting with Trump and that this was a reflection on the poor state of relations between Washington and Moscow.
During the short and informal meeting between the US and Russian Presidents, Putin stated that Donald Trump was “very professional, very friendly (and that he) behaves appropriately”.
By contrast, Putin spoke of productive, full-scale meetings with President Xi Jinping, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and Vietnamese President Trần Đại Quang, who hosted the summit.
In respect of Syria, Putin spoke of the formal joint statement on the matter that he constructed with the United States. Because, as Putin stated, the military operations in Syria are about to finish, all interested parties should begin to focus on a peaceful political “solution” to the conflict.
The Russian President appeared to be highly informed on the joint Syrian-Iraqi operation to liberate Al-Bukamal (aka Abu Kamal), the final ISIS held city in Syria to be fully liberated by the Syrian Arab Army and its Resistance allies. Putin stated that it is important to continue working to clear remaining pockets of mines in Syria east of the Euphrates and beyond this, that it is important for Russia to work with her partners in reinforcing de-escalation zones.
Turning to the US deep corporate state war on RT and Sputnik, Putin said,
“It would be funny, but it is too sad to be funny”.
Vladimir Putin vehemently criticised the US for preaching the values of free speech and how one cannot have a democracy without free speech while attacking the very reality of free speech in the assault on Russian news outlets such as RT.
He stated that it is absurd to attack RT for placing advertisements for its news programs which in any case were less than 1% of the total election based ads on American social media.
Putin promised a proportional “tit-for-tat” response to the US forcing RT and Sputnik to register as “foreign agents” in Washington. No other foreign media outlets broadcasting in the US have been ordered to do the same.