George W. Bush has criticised Russia and China for human rights failings, but promised to work with them on reform. The US president made his comments in Prague at the begining of an eight day European tour.
“China’s leaders believe that they can continue to open the nation’s economy without also opening its political system, we disagree.
“In Russia, reforms that once promised to empower citizens have been derailed, with troubling implications for democratic development. Part of a good relationship is being able to talk openly about our disagreements, so the United States will continue to build our relationships with these countries and we will do it without abandoning our principles or our values.”
Earlier in the day Bush had sought to calm Moscow’s concerns over a proposed missile defence shield in Europe, inviting Russian scientists and generals to participate in the project.
“The cold war is over, it ended, the people of the
Czech Republic don’t have to choose between being a friend of the United States or a friend with Russia, you can be both. We don’t believe in a zero sum world, we don’t believe that one should force a country to choose.”
Bush is seeking to persuade the Czech Republic to host a radar base for the shield against long range ballistic missiles, but has faced criticism that he’s provoking a new arms race.