Trump Seeks 'Constructive Relationship' With China
U.S. President Donald Trump says he is looking forward to developing a "constructive relationship that benefits both the United States and China."
A White House statement said Trump expressed the sentiment in a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
It also said Trump thanked Xi for a letter congratulating him on his inauguration last month. Trump further wished the Chinese people "a happy Lantern Festival and prosperous Year of the Rooster" as they celebrate Lunar New Year.
The U.S. and Chinese leaders have not yet spoken since Trump took office.
During his campaign, Trump frequently criticized China, particularly on the issue of trade, as he promoted his U.S.-focused vision for economic affairs. He also sparked ire from Chinese leaders when he spoke by phone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and questioned the One China policy.
Since 1979, the U.S. has recognized China's official position that Taiwan is part of China. Trump later questioned why the U.S. should be bound by that policy unless China makes trade concessions.
Russian Opposition Leader Given Five-Year Suspended Sentence
A Russian judge has given prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny a five-year suspended sentence after he was convicted of embezzlement, a decision that may prevent him from running in next year's presidential election.
Navalny, who maintains his innocence, said he would appeal the sentence and would still run for president against Vladimir Putin, should Putin decide to seek another term in office.
"We don't recognize this ruling," Navalny said after he was sentenced. "I have every right to take part in the election, according to the constitution, and I will do so," he added.
Navalny accused Russian government officials of trying to block him from running for president, claiming the sentence was "a message saying that they consider me, my team and the people whose views I'm representing too dangerous to be allowed into the election campaign."
When reporters asked if Navalny's absence from the presidential race would compromise the validity of the election, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded, "We don't believe any concerns about this are appropriate."
Russian law bars anyone found guilty of committing a "high-level crime," which would include embezzlement, from running for office for 10 years.
Navalny announced in December his intent to run for president in 2018, when Putin's current term expires. He said after the verdict he believed he could still run for office because the 10 year disqualification does not apply to those given a suspended sentence.
Navalny first became publicly known for exposing fraud in Russian state corporations. He was a leader during protests in 2011 and 2012 that united around Putin's return to the presidency.