Blinken says Russia must decide if it wants better relations

“A more stable, predictable relationship with them, I think, would be good for us, good for them, and I’d even argue good for the world,” Blinken said.

A number of areas of conflict have arisen in the last decade, including Russian military actions in Ukraine, allegations of widespread Russia interference in American elections, and Putin’s persecution of opposition figures such as Alexei Navalny. Blinken said the administration had no qualms about calling out Russia and defending American interests if Russia pursues “reckless and aggressive actions” that destabilize the world.

“The president has been very resolute on this,” Blinken told Zakaria.

Blinken on Sunday also discussed two countries at the heart of conflicts over nuclear weapons, Iran and North Korea. In discussing Iran on ABC’s “This Week,” Blinken said the U.S. is waiting to see if Iran will “come back into compliance” when it comes to the international treaty signed in 2015. The Trump administration withdrew from the agreement, but Biden has said he wants to return to the treaty.

“What we haven’t seen is whether Iran is ready and willing to make a decision to do what it has to do. That’s the test and we don’t yet have an answer,” he said.

Blinken also said that the administration is looking for positive signs from North Korea in its efforts to try to eliminate nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula.

“I don’t think there’s going to be grand bargain where this gets resolved in one fell swoop. It’s got to be clearly calibrated diplomacy, clear steps from the North Koreans, and it moves forward in that way,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

“Now we’ve put that forward. We’re waiting to see if Pyongyang actually wants to engage. The ball’s in their court,” he said.

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