Russia, China not biggest adversaries in world: US

China and Russia are nations with large nuclear arsenals and large armies.

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2011, 16:15 PM IST

Washington: The Obama administration dismissed the notion that Russia and China pose a major challenge to the United States.

"Clearly China and Russia do not represent our biggest adversaries in the world today, or the nations that we perceive to pose the greatest threat in terms of their intent to harm US interests," Deputy Nations Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said.

"We obviously spend a lot of time focused on, as a non-state actor, al Qaeda, but then nations like North Korea and Iran that pose a challenge to US interests," he said in response to question.

In terms of pure capability, obviously China and Russia are nations with large nuclear arsenals and large armies.

"But we have pursued a policy from the beginning of this administration of building cooperative relationships with the Chinese and the Russians and, frankly, those efforts have yielded concrete benefits that have served US interests as well as Chinese and Russian interests," he argued.

"These are two nations that have extraordinary capabilities in the securities here, but they are two nations that we are building cooperative relationships with, whereas when you look at the issue of intent to be an adversary to the US, that leads you to focus on nations such as North Korea, organisations such as al Qaeda, who again are a great focus of what we do here every day," Rhodes said.

Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor, said the US from the beginning worked very hard on the great power relationships because the platform of a productive, constructive set of great power relationships provides the opportunity for the US to pursue its interests in the most effective way.

"The work that we have done building up the relationship with the Russians, across a range of issues that you are intimately familiar with, and with the Chinese -- which is an effort, I have been deeply involved in – whereby we tried to build out a productive and constructive relationship -- really do affect that analysis," Donilon said.

Noting that not to say that the US is are in any way not cognisant of various circumstances, but the overall strategic thrust has been to try to build productive and constructive relationships with the great powers as a way to most effectively pursue US interests.

"Indeed, these conversations, we have pursued these great power relationship strategies in a very intensive way, not just through kind of periodic summits every six months or year, but we have now had nine face-to-face meetings with Hu Jintao. Vice President Biden met with Prime Minister Putin today in Moscow as part of our ongoing efforts to work on areas of common concern with the Russians," he said.