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Update: Trump's security strategy labels China, Russia as threats, partners


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Update: Trump's security strategy labels China, Russia as threats, partners

President Donald Trump's first national security strategy report labels Russia and China as global threats to American prosperity and power while also acknowledging the role both countries play in containing threats like North Korea and Iran.

During a speech in Washington D.C. on Monday, Dec. 18, Trump called Russia and China "rival powers" but stressed the importance of cooperation.

"We will attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries but in a manner that always protects our national interests," he said.

Trump referenced the importance of cooperation as he discussed a call he received from Russian President Vladimir Putin a day earlier to thank him for U.S. intelligence that thwarted a potential terror attack in St. Petersburg.

The 55-page report, released the same day as Trump's speech, said Russia and China "challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity."

"They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence," the report continues, detailing threats posed by North Korea, Iran and groups like ISIS.

The report states that China is working to displace the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region and attempting to reorder the region in its favor, and later cites the country's efforts to build and militarize outposts in the South China Sea as moves that endanger other nations' sovereignty, threaten free trade and undermine regional stability.

Russia is working to "restore its great power status" and surround itself with spheres of influence, the report states. It calls the country's invasions of Georgia and Ukraine efforts to "weaken the credibility of America's commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity and weaken European institutions and governments." Still, the report states that the U.S. "stands ready to cooperate across areas of mutual interest with both countries," citing that the intentions of both countries "are not necessarily fixed."

The strategy stresses the importance of continuing to fortify America's missile defense system. The report warns that North Korea is pursuing chemical and biological weapons that could be delivered by missile, and that both Russia and China are "developing advanced weapons and capabilities that could threaten our critical infrastructure and our command and control architecture."

The strategy states that "enhanced missile defense is not intended to undermine strategic stability or disrupt longstanding strategic relationships with Russia or China."

The document names China among competitors that steal hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. intellectual property every year, and highlights the importance of protecting individual agencies and sectors from attacks. The report states that the U.S. is committed to utilizing counterintelligence and law enforcement solutions to prevent theft and exploring "new legal and regulatory mechanisms to prevent and prosecute violations."

A report from the Financial Times that included excerpts of the document before it was released indicated that the inclusion of trade and economics in the strategy document highlights the weakening influence of Gary Cohn, head of the White House National Economic Council, against U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer's growing authority, and warns of a rough patch in relations between the world's two largest economies.