Moscow doesn’t have to choose between cooperation with the West and partnership with Beijing, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday.
"The matter is that we are not creating a military union with China, we are strategic partners but we don’t work against anyone else. We work for the sake of ourselves and our partners and have no plans to substitute one thing with another," Putin said when asked if trade and economic ties with China could be a substitute for relations with the West, TASS reports.
In this regard, the Russian president pointed to Moscow’s relations with the European Union, which had always been multifaceted. He said that in the past, trade between Russia and the EU exceeded $400 bln and it wasn’t Russia’s fault that it had declined.
"It wasn’t us that initiated restrictions but it [trade] nearly halved, though it is now growing to reach $300 bln," Putin said.
The head of state added that Russia was ready for cooperation with all countries, including the United States. "However, our trade is not impressive: it used to be $30 bln under Obama, then fell to $20 bln and now it has grown by $5 bln under Donald Trump though he has imposed restrictions thirty times, if I am not mistaken," Putin said.
"Nevertheless, our trade has grown and we don’t contrast anyone with anyone. We are ready to work with all," he emphasized.