Russia and China ‘rival powers’ in new security plan: Trump

BBC | Published: 10:45, Dec 19,2017

Donald Trump

Donald Trump. — Reuters file photo

US president Donald Trump has outlined his new national security strategy, labelling China and Russia the primary threats to US economic dominance.

His speech - which was based on his platform of ‘America First’ - attacked the ‘failures’ of past foreign policy.

He criticised Pakistan and North Korea, and how previous administrations approached other world powers.

The US faces a new era of competition, the US president said at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington.

Russia and China are ‘rival powers’, he said, but the US must attempt to build a ‘great partnership with them’.

As an example of this new spirit of co-operation, Trump referred to a phone call of thanks he received from Russian president Vladimir Putin for intelligence the CIA provided to the Kremlin about an alleged terror plot.

But there was harsher language for Russia and China in the new National Security Strategy document itself, published before the speech, which called them ‘revisionist powers’.

Trump described ‘four pillars’ to his new plan but made no mention of human rights or climate change, his critics noted.

The four themes are protecting the homeland, promoting American prosperity, demonstrating peace through strength and advancing American influence.

The 68-page document, which White House officials began work on 11 months ago, suggests a return to Trump’s campaign promises.

It explicitly states that ‘the United States will no longer turn a blind eye to violations, cheating or economic aggression’.

Referring to his election victory during the speech, he said that in 2016 voters chose to ‘Make America Great Again’.

Previous American leaders had ‘drifted’ and ‘lost sight of America’s destiny’ he said, standing before a backdrop of American flags.

‘Now less than one year later I am proud to report that the entire world has heard the news and has seen the signs,’ he said.

‘America is coming back and America is coming back strong.’

He named the US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal among his successes in office.

Trump also said that wealthy countries must recognise that they need to ‘reimburse’ the US for the costs of defending them.

He criticised North Korea for their repeated nuclear missile tests, and Pakistan for not doing enough to tackle Islamic extremism.

He also outlined his campaign promise to build a wall on the southern border, as well as reform of the immigration visa system, which he said is necessary to defend the homeland.

The new policy stresses economic security but does not recognise climate change as a national security threat.

His predecessor Barack Obama in 2015 declared climate change an ‘urgent and growing threat to our national security’.

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