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President-elect Donald Trump has rattled the foreign policy establishment yet again by saying he's open to lifting sanctions imposed on Russia for its alleged interference in the American election.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal posted late Friday, Trump also said he was not committed to the "One China" policy. The principle that there is only one China, although two governments claim legitimacy, has been a mainstay of American foreign policy for 45 years.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump said in the one-hour interview that he would keep sanctions against Russia in place "at least for a period of time."
The president-elect's relationship with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, has been the subject of considerable scrutiny.
Putin and Trump exchanged flattering remarks during the U.S. presidential campaign. Russia has been accused by U.S. intelligence agencies of using cyber attacks to help Trump in the election. And, more recently, some news organizations have reported an unverified allegation that Russian operatives have compromising information on Trump.
Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he would maintain the sanctions on Russia "at least for a period of time." The sanctions were imposed late in December to punish Russia for its alleged cyberattacks meant to influence the election.
Among the sanctions were the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and the closure of two Russian compounds in the U.S.
Trump said in Friday's interview that he might lift those sanctions if Russia helped fight terrorism and cooperated with the U.S. in other ways, as well.
“If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” Trump told the newspaper.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told NBC's Bill Neely that Russia would like the sanctions lifted.
"Of course we'd like to see them gone but you know sanctions are not that effective," Peskov said. "Sanctions hit the interests of the country that is under sanction but at the same time it hits the interest of the country that introduce the sanctions."
The One China policy dates to 1972, when President Richard Nixon — like Trump, a Republican — visited mainland China to initiate closer relations with the country's Communist government.
China's government views Taiwan as a renegade province and reacts angrily to suggestions that the government in Taiwan has any legitimacy. Trump initially ruffled Chinese feathers by taking a phone call from Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen before speaking with anyone from the government of the mainland.
During the interview, Trump was asked whether he supported the One China policy.
"Everything is under negotiation, including One China," he replied.
The government in Beijing has yet to issue a formal reaction to Trump's remarks.