The Kremlin announced that U.S. President Donald Trump had a phone call discussion with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, Sunday on several topics of interests including strengthening cooperation of counter-terrorism. Experts say that the fact that Russia unilaterally unveiled the phone call at the highest level reflects political interests intertwined between the two countries.
According to foreign media including TASS and AFP, the Kremlin said the phone call was made between the two heads of state by Russia’s suggestion. President Putin expressed gratitude to the CIA for providing terrorism information. The FSB, the Russian federal security service, arrested a man and a woman, who were preparing a terror attack, tipped by the CIA intelligence suspecting the possibility of terrorism at the new year’s festival in St. Petersburg on January 1. President Putin said his country would also offer intelligence on the acts of terrorism threatening America in the future.
By contrast, the White House did not announce any news on the phone call between Trump and Putin. In August, the White House confirmed the news only after the Kremlin made the announcement on the two presidents’ discussion on cooperation for the prevention of forest fire in Siberia at the request of Washington. When President Trump had a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in 2017, American news outlets learned the news only after the Kremlin posted their photo online.
Pundits say that the White House is intentionally controlling the exposure of the news on the relationships between the two heads of state in order to keep a low profile in the run-up to Trump’s bid for reelection next year. Suspicions have remained that Russia was involved in the 2016 presidential election to help Trump take the highest office. President Trump came under public fire as he stood by President Putin, claiming that there was no Russian intervention.
It has yet to be confirmed if the two men discussed the issues regarding North Korea during their latest phone call. The deadline for nuclearization talks proposed by the North is getting closer, and Russia has submitted a resolution to alleviate parts of North Korea sanctions to the UN Security Council along with China, on which President Trump might have made some comments. On Dec. 20, Trump tweeted he had a “very good talk” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, adding Pyongyang was also included in their topics of discussion.
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