U.S. President Donald Trump may be facing a lot of criticism back home for his performance beside Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki Monday, but one major power thought the meeting went just swell: China.
"China welcomes the meeting between the leaders of Russia and the U.S. in Helsinki," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters Tuesday, according to a read-out posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry website. "As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and major countries commanding global influence, Russia and the U.S. shoulder important responsibilities for global peace and security. China welcomes the improvement of Russia-U.S. relations."
Hua said China hopes the U.S. and Russia will "expand" communication and cooperation, which it said was "conducive to the cause of world peace and development and the joint efforts of the international community to address common challenges."
China has otherwise been highly critical of the U.S. in the wake of the ongoing trade war engulfing several industries in both countries.
Back home, critics of Trump's performance in Helsinki as well as in a follow-up interview with Fox News, said the American president failed to stand up to Russian aggression and continued to undermine confidence in the decades-old U.S.-led NATO alliance. In the interview with Fox News, Trump said he has questioned why the U.S. should have to come to the defense of smaller European nations like Montenegro -- despite mutual defense being a central tenet of the alliance. (Montenegro has deployed troops to Afghanistan, as part of its commitment to NATO and U.S.-led military operations there.)
NATO was created in 1949 following the Second World War to check the Soviet Union's influence in Europe. But the alliance has watched the military and economic ascendancy of China with growing concern.
"Although NATO does not seek a role in Asia, the security situation in the Asia Pacific region cannot be separated from that of the Euro-Atlantic and NATO has an interest in understanding how these linkages work," NATO said in a report a month ago, announcing the resumption of military-to-military talks between NATO and China. "As with all good dialogues, the military staff talk acted as a vehicle for both parties to talk and explain their security challenges and views, which in turn increases transparency and helps minimize uncertainty."
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