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Putin: US, Russia See World Differently But Confrontation Is Not Productive - 2002-12-03

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will seek cooperation with the United States, but acknowledges the interests of the two countries often differ. The comments came in a speech at Peking University as he wrapped up a two-day visit to China.

Mr. Putin repeated his caution against the unilateral use of force to resolve international disputes - a reference to Washington's threat to use the military to get Iraq to keep promises to disarm.

President Putin said Washington and Moscow sometimes see the world very differently, but calls it "counterproductive" to seek confrontation with the United States.

Mr. Putin also made it clear that Washington should not take Moscow for granted and that he will defend "our national interest" when the two sides disagree.

He repeated Moscow's objection to what he called the "mechanical" and "unnecessary" enlargement of NATO. The security alliance voted to add new East European members last month.

Russia and China have been trying to build a new strategic relationship, based in part on opposition to U.S. dominance in international affairs. Moscow and Beijing also oppose international intervention in other nations.

But at the same time, both nations have been improving their relations with Washington, and both back the war on terrorism.

Mr. Putin tells his university audience that Russia, China and the rest of the world face "new dangers" including terrorism, weapons proliferation, and extremist religious and political organizations.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin accompanied Mr. Putin to the university. He told students that the two nations are good neighbors, good partners and good friends.

President Putin has traveled on to India where he is expected to talk about terrorism, boosting trade, weapons sales and other issues.