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US not striving for bitter rivalry between Russia and China, says Pentagon chief

June 02, 10:19 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

According to James Mattis, a bitter rivalry between Moscow and Beijing is "what Washington does not want to have happen"

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US Defense Secretary James Mattis

US Defense Secretary James Mattis

© AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

WASHINGTON, June 2. /TASS/. Washington would like the relationship between Moscow and Beijing to be characterized by "cooperation and collaboration," rather than rising competition, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said at the 2018 International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday.

Asked to comment on provisions of the new national defense strategy of the United States, which names Russia and China Washington’s major strategic adversaries, he said that "with both of those nations with great power competition at levels that we had hoped would be characterized more by cooperation and collaboration."

According to Mattis, a bitter rivalry between Moscow and Beijing is "what (Washington) does not want to have happen."

"I think it is an objective fact that Russia has more in common with Western Europe and the United States than they have in common with China. I believe China has more in common with Pacific Ocean nations, the United States and India than they have in common with Russia. I think there is a natural non-convergence of interests," he explained, adding though that there may be "short-term convergence."

Defense Secretary also emphasized the necessity of expanding cooperation, adding that he would not be wasting time going to Beijing at the end of June if he thought confrontation is the only option regarding relations with China. "I believe that what we are going to see is at some point in both Moscow and Beijing they are going to recognize the reality," Mattis said.

He also promised to "go back and read the documents (national defense strategy - TASS) again." "After you go through it about thirty times before you sign it you can sometimes start missing the forest for the trees," Defense Secretary said, adding that "this is certainly not how we see the world.".

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