Wednesday, 24 Jul 2019
OPINION

Status quo until next time

Updated at Saturday, 29 Jun 2019, 18:12
The Hanoitimes - The encounter was of very positive significance that they met with each other again.
Right on the first day of this year's annual G20 summit held in the Japanese city of Osaka, the presidents of the USA and Russia Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met , again after their gathering last summer in Finland's capital Helsinki. Their talk in Osaka which lasted more than one and a half hours was unexpectedly and remarkably long.
 
US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin meet in Osaka, Japan on June 28. Photo: CNN
US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin meet in Osaka, Japan on June 28. Photo: CNN
The two men’s rendezvous in Osaka had been disclosed shortly before it happened by officials of both the US and Russia. This indicated that both sides had taken a long time to consider the encounter and had decided to arrange it at almost in the last minute. This also showed that the most meaningful result of their meeting in Osaka has been the meeting itself and the noteworthy length of their gathering.

In fact, there was hardly any detail of their talks released and whether they got any specific agreements on issues of their common concerns remained unknown. The public could only see the usual harmonious atmosphere between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin.

It was easy to suppose that the two men had talked about the future of the nuclear disarmament, including the fates of treaties like INF or START 2, about Iran and the now ongoing stand-off between the US and Iran in the Persian Gulf, about Syria and Venezuela; and, why not, about North Korea too. They may have touched upon Ukraine and Crimea, about strategies of NATO as well as about the US's new deployment of troops and weapons in some East European countries, especially in Poland. And last but not least about sanctions of the US and its allies against Russia.

It was foreseeable that the two men could hardly have reached any agreement on these issues because they are still too complicated and sensitive to be quickly solved at this moment, because the conflict of their strategic interests are still fundamental and because Mr. Trump in America still doesn't have free hands to handle the relationship with Russia. The closer the US next presidential election approaches, the more sensitive domestically for Mr. Trump the US relationships with Russia are. This forces Mr. Trump to be very careful with any step with Russia and with Mr. Putin.

Therefore, it was no surprise that the outcome of their talk in Osaka was very modest. But it was of very positive significance that they met with each other again. For the US and Russia just now, preserving the status quo until the two men’s next meeting is already something good and encouraging.   
Ambassador Tran Duc Mau
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