Russian President Vladimir Putin said political uncertainties in the U.S. and the European Union are weighing on the global economy, while initiatives advanced by China and Russia aim to strengthen stability.
“We see a growing number of elements of uncertainty. A sharp internal political struggle continues in the United States, which creates a certain nervousness not only in politics but also in the economy,” Putin told reporters Monday at a news conference in Beijing. “In the European community, everyone looks with concern at what will happen with Brexit,” and the EU faces “many other problems,” he said.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative to stimulate trade links provides “very much needed signals that would give hope for some stability,” as does Russia’s support for extending an accord with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to limit oil output for a further nine months, Putin said.
Putin has said he wants to rebuild relations with the U.S. under President Donald Trump after ties all but collapsed under the Obama administration. The two presidents may meet for the first time at the Group of 20 summit in Germany on July 7-8. Trump sparked fierce controversy in the U.S. last week by firing FBI Director James Comey, who was heading an investigation into possible collusion between his presidential campaign and the Russian government in the 2016 elections. The U.K. is in the midst of parliamentary elections ahead of negotiations with the EU over its departure from the bloc by March 2019.
Putin warned that “nothing good” could come from North Korea’s latest missile test and said Russia remained “categorically opposed to any expansion of the club of nuclear powers, including in the case of the Korean peninsula.” At the same time, the arms race had been set off by “flagrant violations of international law, invasion of the territory of foreign states, regime change and so on,” he said.
After being filmed playing the piano while waiting for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday, Putin was asked at the news conference what he’d pick to play for a meeting with Trump. They should “meet first and talk, then choose the melody based on results,” Putin said.