The Kremlin has lambasted US president Donald Trump’s new national security strategy as “imperial”, but lauded the US for willing to cooperate with Russia in areas of common interest.
The strategy, published on Monday, is harsher on Russia than Mr Trump has been in public comments.
It accuses Russia of using “subversive measures” to weaken America’s credibility and European governments.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters that the mentions of Russia struck Moscow as “imperial” and showed “an aversion to a multi-polar world”. Mr Peskov, however, said Moscow was encouraged by calls to cooperate with Russia in areas that could be beneficial for the US.
Mr Putin and Mr Trump talked on the phone twice last week. The Chinese government also criticised Mr Trump’s decision to label Beijing a strategic rival and called on Washington to “abandon a Cold War mentality” and accept China’s rise.
Mr Trump’s decision reflects a “victory of hardliners” in his administration, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It warned US-Chinese economic relations were likely to face “even more pressure and challenges”.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “We urge the United States to stop deliberately distorting China’s strategic intentions and abandon a Cold War mentality. Otherwise it will injure others and damage itself.”
Mr Trump’s report hit a series of sore spots for Beijing. It affirmed ties with Taiwan, the self-ruled island the mainland government claims as its territory, and pledged to “re-energise our alliances” with south-east Asian governments, some of which have conflicts with China over claims to portions of the South China Sea.
The United States and China share one of the world’s biggest trading relationships and cooperate in areas from clean energy to public health. However, Beijing sees Washington as an obstacle to its ambitions to be East Asia’s dominant power, and strains over Taiwan, trade, technology policy and the South China Sea are growing.
“It is selfish to put your national interest above other countries’ interest and the mutual interest of the international community,” said the Chinese Embassy in Washington in a statement. “The Chinese side is willing to have peaceful coexistence with all countries. “The United States should also adapt and accept China’s development.”
US officials are uneasy about Beijing’s rising military spending- already the second-highest behind Washington. They see President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, a project to build railways and other infrastructure across countries from Asia to Europe and Africa, as part of efforts to erode American influence and nurture a China-centred political structure.
Especially sensitive is Taiwan, the democratic island Beijing has declared a “core interest” over which it will go to war, if necessary. Mr Trump’s report promises to “maintain our strong ties with Taiwan” and provide for its “legitimate defence needs”.
China has taken a tougher stance toward Taiwan since last year’s election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to endorse Beijing’s contention that Taiwan is part of the Chinese nation.
Chinese commentators speculate on the possible need for military steps to put pressure on Taiwan.