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Experts say US ties with Russia, China may improve after Tillerson appointment

Experts believe Russia and China are among the key states in Washington’s foreign policy

SINGAPORE, December 14. /TASS/. The appointment of Rex Tillerson as US Secretary of State makes it possible to hope that Washington’s relations with Moscow and Beijing will gradually improve, said experts interviewed by TASS who took part in the conference of the Valdai International Discussion Club held in Singapore.

Zhao Huasheng, the Director of the Center for Russia and Central Asia Studies, noted that "the advent of a pragmatic person, a businessman, offers certain hope that the Russian-US relations will improve, considering his previous experience (as ExxonMobil CEO - TASS)." The professor noted that the recent appointment of Terry Branstad as the next US Ambassador to China "also inspires hope that it will be easier to work with partners." According to the expert, Branstad "has good relations with China and is personally acquainted with Chinese President Xi Jinping."

He added that Russia and China are "among the key states in Washington’s foreign policy."

Meanwhile, Andrei Bystritski, Chairman of the Board at the Foundation for the Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, described Tillerson as "a serious and serious-minded entrepreneur with extensive experience." According to Bystritsky, "one could hope that the Russian-US relations will improve." He noted that "there are grounds for optimism regarding the US-Chinese ties, even though there are fears that the future administration will pursue a tougher policy towards Beijing compared with its predecessors."

Russia-China ties

Beijing hopes that Russia will not yield to Japan’s attempts to shape anti-Chinese sentiment, Zhao Huasheng said.

He noted that "considering extremely difficult relations between China and Japan, there has always been a desire in Tokyo’s foreign policy to shape an anti-Chinese stance among other countries." According to the expert, Beijing is "positive about Russia’s actions to develop friendly ties with all countries, including Japan." He noted though that "the Chinese side hopes that Moscow will not yield to such attempts on the part of Tokyo."

The professor added that "China is a key partner for Russia in Asia," while "security is the basis for bilateral relations." According to the expert, "China is the largest market in the region for Russia's energy resources." Besides, it can become "the largest market for Russian products, for example, agricultural goods."

Meanwhile, Professor Huang Jing representing the Center on Asia and Globalization at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy noted in an interview with TASS "Russia’s growing role on the world stage, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region." In his view, "this influence will grow with the advent of the new US Administration led by Donald Trump." He noted that "the US is losing its influence, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, while China is boosting its power in that region."

The professor emphasized that "the anti-Russian sanctions imposed earlier have not had any negative impact on Moscow’s positions in the region." Nor have they affected its relations with Asia-Pacific countries, he added.