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Tillerson on Path to Cooperation with Russia and China

August 2, 2017 (EIRNS)—Despite the Congressional sanctions and other stress points, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson outlined the Trump administration’s commitment to continuing cooperation where possible, and conflict-avoidance where necessary, with Russia and China as the countries confront a new "pivot point" in world history.

Tillerson met with journalists at the State Department last night to update and clarify the nature of the Trump administration’s foreign policy. He said that looking back 50 years, there was a major change at the time of the collapse of European communism, and that now we are confronting a "pivot point" due to the dramatic expansion of China’s role in the world. He reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to "making America great again," but emphasized that when Trump says "America first," he does not mean "America alone." Tillerson emphasized that, despite difficulties and disagreements, the administration is committed to mutually beneficial and peaceful resolutions of these difficulties.

Tillerson said the fight against terrorism is "one area of mutual interest," and told reporters, "We are committed to the stability of Syria following the battle to defeat ISIS," adding that the U.S. favored "a unified Syria, not divided," as well as the drafting of a new constitution, free and fair elections, and a new political leadership.

He said that both the United States and Russia are committed to the defeat of ISIS and its allies, and to the future stability of Syria. He said that the administration finds Russia’s support for the indefinite continuation of the Syrian government of Bashar Assad "unacceptable" and that Iranian forces must leave Syrian territory, "and it continues to be our view that the Assad regime has no role in the future governing of Syria." He explained, "The sequencing of all of that, we’re open to, as long as that is what is achieved at the end."

"Again, we’re working closely with Russia and other parties to see if we can agree on a path forward on how to stabilize Syria, in the post- ISIS world, create zones of stabilization and lines of deconfliction that will hold, and then create conditions for the political process to play out in Geneva."

He said the creation of a de-escalation zone in the southwest part of Syria, created by Russia, the United States, and Jordan, was "one small measure of success," to be replicated throughout Syria.

Speaking on China, Tillerson said:

"How should we define this relationship [with China], and how do we ensure that economic prosperity to the benefit of both countries and the world can continue, and that where we have differences—because we will have differences, we do have differences—that we will deal with those differences in a way that does not lead to open conflict?

"We test this relationship through things like the situation in North Korea,"

he said.

"Can we work together to address this global threat where we have a common objective? And where we have differences—in the South China Sea, and we have some trading differences that need to be addressed—can we work through those differences in a way without it leading to open conflict and find the solutions that are necessary to serve us both"?

Tillerson went on to discuss the stress in the relationship with Russia over Ukraine, commitments to NATO, the Mideast, cyber security, Iran, the dispute between the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, the drug cartels, the internal difficulties in the Trump administration. In every instance, he stressed working toward cooperation on our common aims and avoiding conflict both with our "allies and partners" and "our adversaries."