Trump signs 'seriously flawed' Russian Federation sanctions bill

Violet Powell
August 3, 2017

Thornton's remarks contrasted with those of U.S. President Donald Trump, who on Saturday accused Beijing of doing "nothing" to help on North Korea and pointed to the huge U.S. trade deficit with China.

Tillerson said the additional sanctions against Russian Federation that the U.S. Congress passed by an overwhelming margin last week are not "helpful", from his point of view.

The secretary of state said the Trump administration has been clear in their intentions to work with Russian Federation but the Kremlin has to take steps to address some of the core issues. US intelligence agencies have formally accused Moscow of meddling in the 2016 presidential election to help Trump.

Identifying North Korea as one of the first threats encountered by the Trump administration, Tillerson said the threat has materialised in the ways they expected it would.

Though ostensibly in retaliation for a similar US move a year ago under President Barack Obama, the Russian action came just after Congress voted to slap Russia with more economic sanctions, and to include new requirements making it far harder for Trump to ease the penalties.

China shows off newest weapons in huge military parade
Xi said the Chinese army must "unswervingly stick to... the Party's absolute leadership". The PLA was founded on August 1, 1927 by the Communists against the Kuomintang regime.

Tillerson also reiterated that the United States seeks neither a "regime change" nor "collapse of the regime" in the DPRK.

"In the Ukraine, we have been very consistent in our messages to Russia", Tillerson said, adding that the Minsk Accords "must be achieved, they must be implemented, otherwise nothing can be done about the sanction situation in Ukraine".

"We were clear that we didn't think it was going to be helpful to our efforts, but that's the decision they made".

Vice President Mike Pence sounded a distinctly different note about the sanctions bill Tuesday, when he was in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, seeking to reassure Russia's neighbors, who are anxious about Moscow's expansionist policies. Trump has expressed frustration over Congress' ability to limit or override the power of the White House on national security matters, saying that it is complicating efforts to coordinate with allies - a sentiment he expressed in Wednesday's statement. "It seems to me that Minister Lavrov and I understand our roles, we understand our responsibility, I believe that he, as much as I, is a supporter of the attempts to find a way to normalise our relations and to get closer (Moscow and Washington), "said the first United States diplomat, quoted by TASS". "Does it make our lives more hard?" It means that the total number of U.S. diplomatic personnel is to be cut to 455. Officials in the building and lawmakers on Capitol Hill want Tillerson to spend the money that's sitting there.

The secretary of state also revealed that during their meeting in the Oval Office in May, Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, "we need some good news" from Moscow.

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