The recent meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump in Helsinki will not significantly influence China-Russia relations, China’s Global Times newspaper wrote on Wednesday, citing Chinese experts.
"It is necessary for Putin and Trump to talk about China, because China is important. But it does not mean that Russia and the US are seeking ways to confront China," professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations in Beijing Li Haidong said, as cited by the Global Times.
According to the expert, the US president "is confident in simultaneously befriending China and Russia, although it is different from the traditional and ruling ideology supported by the US establishment elites and media," the newspaper wrote.
"For Putin and Russia, China is still a more active and effective partner," said Li Haidong. In his view, "Putin surpasses Trump in terms of political experience and wisdom, so Putin understands the situation better," the Global Times noted. "Putin will not answer his call [that may negatively affect relations between Moscow and Beijing]. The strategic partnership between China and Russia is stable," Director of the Eurasian Studies Center at Beijing Normal University Li Xing said, as cited by the newspaper.
Both experts also agreed that the Helsinki summit would not significantly influence Russian-US relations because there were some powers in the United States that could restrain Trump. "Trump sees the situation in a simplistic way. He will be restrained by the powers behind him," said Li Haidong. In his opinion, "since Trump holds different views from his diplomatic and security team, as well as the US mainstream, his personal expectations toward Putin will hardly make a dent on US policy toward Russia." "Russia and the US have structural problems. The meeting merely relieves the atmosphere," Li Xing said, adding that "negotiating is a good start."
The first full-fledged talks between the presidents of Russia and the United States took place in Finland’s capital of Helsinki on Monday. The one-on-one meeting between Putin and Trump lasted more than two hours, later delegation members joined the presidents for a working lunch. The Russian delegation was composed of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov and Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov. The US delegation included Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton. The expanded session also took about two hours.
Putin and Trump first held talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. In November 2017, the Russian and US heads of state held a brief meeting on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vietnam, adopting a joint statement on Syria. In addition, the two leaders have also held several telephone conversations.
Both presidents said after the Helsinki summit that a big step forward had been taken.