China, Russia Solidify Growing Eastern Bloc as Trump Rattles G-7

Geneva Stokes
June 10, 2018

China's President Xi Jinping and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China Sunday.

Addressing the SCO leaders seated, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the addition of Pakistan and India means that the organisation "has become even stronger".

Britain blamed Russian Federation for the poisoning of the Skripals with a nerve agent in March in the British city of Salisbury, the accusations Moscow has vehemently denied.

Russian Federation was expelled from the grouping in 2014 after it invaded and annexed Crimea and for its support for pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine.

Before leaving Washington this morning, Mr Trump caused fresh controversy by suggesting Russian Federation should be invited back into the G7, to reform the G8, after Vladimir Putin was kicked out in 2014 after his annexation of Crimea.

"Today crystallises precisely why Putin was so eager to see Trump elected", said Ned Price, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst and the National Security Council spokesman under then-President Barack Obama.

Putin says "Russia welcomes the planned summit of the USA and North Korea and notes China's big contribution to helping settle the crisis on the Korean Peninsula".

Under Trump, the United States has abandoned its traditional role in the G7.

Mr Trump said he had been tough on Russian Federation but they should still be part of the group.

At the same time he downplayed tensions at the acrimonious G7 meeting in Quebec City, after Trump disowned the joint summit statement and lambasted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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Putin, however, voiced his support for Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also criticised the USA for its withdrawal, claiming the decision could potentially destabilise the situation.

Putin played up his bond with "good friend" Xi in an interview with China's state broadcaster CGTN this week.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has criticised the United States for "imposing its policies on the rest of the world".

Both leaders also issued a joint declaration pledging to preserve the global accord on Iran's nuclear programme which the U.S. withdrew from last month.

Both he and Mr Xi also held talks in the Chinese capital, where they hailed the close ties between their countries and discussed the upcoming US-North Korea summit, as well as the Iran nuclear deal.

The group demonstrated solidarity in pledging to uphold the Iran nuclear deal, a major source of G-7 contention after Trump's withdrawal last month.

"We will be ready to greet them all in Moscow", he added, referring to leaders of the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Canada and Italy.

"The very fact that we confirm the high level of our interaction and talk about the need for its development, in my opinion, is of great importance, for contemporary worldwide relations, for Russian-Chinese relations", he said.

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