Washington: The Biden Administration indicated on Wednesday that it would have a different approach in addressing the challenges posed by Russia and China, with the latter being with the help of its friends and allies.
“On China, the president’s view and the administration’s view is that we need to work with our allies, we need to work with our partners to align on how we are going to approach our relationship with China,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference.
“We need to approach that relationship from a position of strength. There are obviously key components of that relationship, there are economic, there are strategic,” she said when asked about the differences in the approaches of dealing with China and Russia.
“I think on Russia, his (Biden’s) call to (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin…is clear evidence of exactly that. When he called President Putin, he did not hold back. He made clear that while there are areas where we can work together — say, New START — which is in the interest of the security of the United States.
“He has concerns about a number of areas of their reported interference, whether it is in elections, in the hacking of the United States — the SolarWinds hacking, I should say — reports of bounties on American troops. There is an ongoing review that is happening, which he also stated in that conversation,” Psaki said.
Biden, she said, has certainly spoken with a number of European allies about a range of issues of mutual interest including Russia. “In terms of what sanctions options may exist or what options, in terms of a response, may exist, the president, of course, reserves the right to respond in the manner and course of his choosing at any point in time,” she said.
“But we are going to let this review complete and then our policy teams will make decisions about any specific steps they will take in response,” she added.
On Wednesday, the US and the Russian Federation completed the necessary legal procedures to extend the New START Treaty for five years.
“Extending the New START Treaty for five years ensures we have verifiable limits on Russian ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers through February 4 of 2026, avoiding a potentially unconstrained nuclear arms race,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference.
New START limits every Russian nuclear warhead that is loaded onto an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can reach the US in approximately 30 minutes. The US will use the time provided by the five-year extension of the New START Treaty to pursue with the Russian Federation, in consultation with Congress and its allies and partners, arms control that addresses all Russian nuclear weapons, he said.
“As we engage Russia in ways that advance American interests, we can also remain clear-eyed about the challenges that Russia poses. Even as we work with Russia to advance US interests, so too will we hold Russia to account for its reckless and adversarial behaviour,” Price said.