Lavrov, Tillerson meet on sidelines of ASEAN forum in Manila

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Lavrov, Tillerson meet on sidelines of ASEAN forum in Manila

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met on the sidelines of the ASEAN forum in Manila on Sunday.

CGTN’s Toby Muse reports. 
Follow Toby Muse on Twitter @tobymuse

The meeting was the first high-level meeting between U.S. and Russian officials following President Donald Trump’s signing of new sanctions on Russia earlier this week.

The sanctions, passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress, are in response to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In response, Moscow announced the expulsion of more than 700 U.S. officials from Russia.

Despite this further souring of relations, Lavrov believes today’s meeting was needed.

“We felt the readiness of our U.S. colleagues to continue dialogue,” Lavrov said. “I think there’s simply no alternative to that.”

President Trump blames Congress for bad relations with Russia. Both Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have expressed hope that relations between their two countries can be improved.

Tillerson also met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday. The two discussed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Saturday, the members of the U.N. Security Council – including China and Russia – unanimously approved new sanctions on the DPRK to try to dissuade the country from conducting further missile tests. The measures could slash the DPRK’s exports by $1 billion.

Minister Yi said the new sanctions are necessary, but dialogue was the only long-term solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.

Anthony Nelson, the Director of the East Asia and Pacific practice at the Albright Stonebridge Group discusses the pressing issues facing the countries of ASEAN.