US eyes more stable Russia ties: Blinken

·1-min read

The United States hopes for more stable and predictable relations with Russia but if the latter continues "to be aggressive", then Washington will respond, Secretary of State Antony Blinken says.

"But if Russia is going to continue to take reckless or aggressive actions, we'll respond - not for purposes of conflict, not to escalate, but because we will defend our interests and values," Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported him as saying.

Blinken - who was in Rome for a meeting on international efforts to combat Islamist militia - also made reference to the SolarWinds cyberattacks and the attempt to poison jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Earlier this month US President Joe Biden told Russian leader Vladimir Putin at a summit in Geneva certain critical infrastructure should be "off-limits" to cyberattacks.

China was "the most complicated" when it came to relations, Blinken added, but said the United States respected the different relations countries had with China and would not ask any nation to choose between the two.

"We see adversarial aspects to the relationship, competitive aspects of the relationship, and co-operative ones," he said.

"There's no single word that can define it.

"It is, however, true that when we deal with China - as an opponent, a rival or a partner - we are much more effective if we act together," he said.

Blinken also said Italy had made important efforts in drafting legislation aimed at protecting its 5G network from "untrusted vendors" and it should continue to carry out checks should investments from other countries be offered.

The United States has lobbied Italy and other European allies to avoid using equipment made by Huawei in their next-generation mobile networks, saying the Chinese company could pose a security risk.

Huawei has rejected the accusations.

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