Russia won't alienate China over US, Russian envoy assures Beijing on Biden-Putin summit

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Beijing, Jun 10 (PTI) Russia will not alienate China to improve its relations with America, a top Russian diplomat said on Thursday, days ahead of a crucial summit meeting between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Biden will meet Putin in Geneva on June 16 to discuss a full range of issues, a first face-to-face interaction between the two leaders amid escalating US-Russia tensions.

'Russia won't alienate China over the US,' Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov told China's state-run Global Times on Thursday.

In his virtual media interaction with the foreign media on June 3, Putin told Xinhua news agency that Russia-China relations have reached an 'unprecedentedly high level' and the two sides have extensive shared interests between them.

But there is considerable anxiety in Beijing over the Biden-Putin summit as Washington may try to soften the Russian leader’s efforts to forge close ties with China against the US and EU.

On his arrival in London for G-7 summit on Wednesday, Biden said, 'I will tell Putin what I will tell him. I am going to communicate that there are consequences for violating the sovereignty of democracies in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.' Reflecting China’s concerns, the Global Times quoted analysts as saying that while it would be hard to break the ice in US-Russia relations, the US may stabilize relations and ease tensions with Russia so as to concentrate on dealing with China.

As a result, the Geneva meeting may become an opportunity to lobby Russia, it said.

In response to this view, Denisov told the daily that the idea that Russia would alienate China over the possibility of the US temporarily easing tensions with Russia is 'very short-sighted.' 'Russia is smarter than Americans think,' he said.

He said Russia does not expect impossible outcomes from the Biden-Putin summit and the two sides are unlikely to resolve important issues at the meeting.

The ambassador noted that if the two leaders talk about issues related to China during their meeting, Russia will discuss them with the Chinese side. He stressed that Russia-China relations will not change no matter what attitude the US takes toward Russia.

Denisov said that Russia welcomes any measures that reduce tensions and competition, but they are also very cautious about what they can expect from Russian-American relations, especially in the context of the very tense relationship between the two countries.

He said Russia is a 'realist' and does not expect impossible outcomes, and the summit is not likely to resolve important issues between the two countries. A better outcome is one that sets conditions for resolving problems in the future, he said. PTI KJV ZH ZH

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