Donald Trump hints he may scrap Russia sanctions if Moscow helps on fighting terror

Washington: President-elect Donald Trump has hinted that he may lift sanctions on Russia and won't stand by the 'One China' policy either, unless Beijing improves its currency and trade practices.

A file photo of Donald Trump. AP

A file photo of Donald Trump. AP

Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Friday that he would keep the sanctions intact "at least for a period of time". But if Russia helps the US on key goals such as fighting violent extremists, Trump suggested he may scrap the punitive measures altogether. The sanctions were imposed by President Barack Obama's administration on Russia last month over Moscow's alleged cyberattacks to influence the US election.

He also said he was prepared to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin after taking office on 20 January. Trump, who sees an opportunity to cooperate with Moscow in fighting jihadist groups like Islamic State, has expressed admiration for Putin, and only reluctantly accepted US intelligence's conclusion that Russian hackers acting on Putin's authority interfered in the US elections.

Turning to the long-standing US practice of not recognising Taiwan diplomatically, Trump said, "Everything is under negotiation, including One China." Trump has already irked China by accepting a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-Wen after he won the election, upending decades of diplomatic precedent in which the White House has foregone direct communication with the island's leader.

He defended that move in his interview with the Journal, saying, "We sold them $2 billion of military equipment last year. We can sell them $2 billion of the latest and greatest military equipment, but we're not allowed to accept a phone call? First of all, it would have been very rude not to accept the phone call."

Beijing considers the island to be a breakaway province to be brought back within its fold, by force if necessary. Trump has threatened to get tough with what he sees as unfair Chinese trade practices, and suggested that the 'One China' policy could become a bargaining chip in other disputes.

Published Date: Jan 14, 2017 20:59 PM | Updated Date: Jan 14, 2017 20:59 PM

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