WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday argued for a reassessment and calibration of the relationship with Russia in light of its chilly status, as he had canceled a summit meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
Addressing a press conference at the White House, Obama described as "mixed success" his dealings with Russia since he took office in January 2009.
"It is probably appropriate for us to take a pause, reassess where it is that Russia's going, what our core interests are, and calibrate the relationship so that we're doing things that are good for the United States and hopefully good for Russia as well," he said.
"I think there's always been some tension in the U.S.-Russian relationship after the fall of the Soviet Union," he added. "There 's been cooperation in some areas. There's been competition in others."
He mentioned "a lot of progress" made in his "reset" in ties with Russia under former President Dmitry Medvedev, including the signing of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and cooperation on Iran and talks over Russia's accession to WTO.
Relations turned sour after Putin, who was prime minister when Medvedev was president, returned to the presidency in May 2012.
"I think we saw more rhetoric on the Russian side that was anti- American, that played into some of the old stereotypes about the Cold War contest between the United States and Russia," Obama spoke of ties with Russia under Putin.
"And I've encouraged Mr. Putin to think forward as opposed to backwards on those issues with mixed success," he said.
On Wednesday, the White House announced the cancellation of a Obama-Putin summit, originally slated for early September when Obama goes to Russia for the G20 summit, on the grounds that no " enough recent progress" had been made in bilateral agenda.
Spokesman Jay Carney cited disagreements over missile defense, arms control, trade and commerce, security, human rights as well as the fate of Edward Snowden, the American intelligence leaker granted temporary asylum in Russia on Aug. 1.
"Our decision to not participate in the summit was not simply around Mr. Snowden," Obama said. "It had to do with the fact that, frankly, on a whole range of issues where we think we can make some progress, Russia has not moved."
"We're going to assess where the relationship can advance U.S. interests and increase peace and stability and prosperity around the world," he said. "Where it can, we're going to keep on working with them. Where we have differences, we're going to say so clearly."
"And my hope is that over time Mr. Putin and Russia recognize that rather than a zero sum competition, in fact, if the two countries are working together, we can probably advance the betterment of both peoples," he added.
On his personal relationship with Putin, Obama said it was not a "bad" one, noting his conversations with the Russian leader were "candid," "blunt" and oftentimes "constructive."
"I know the press likes to focus on body language, and he's got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom," he said of Putin. "But the truth is that when we're in conversations together, oftentimes it's very productive."
"So, the issue here really has to do with where do they want to take Russia," the American president said. "I think if they are looking forward into the 21st century and how they can advance their economy and make sure that some of our joint concerns around counterterrorism are managed effectively, then I think we can work together."
Obama reiterated that he will attend the G20 summit in St. Petersburg on Sept. 5-6 as planned. "That's important business in terms of our economy and our jobs and all the issues that are of concern to Americans," he said.
He also made it clear that Washington will not boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Russia's Sochi. "I want to just make very clear right now, I do not think it's appropriate to boycott the Olympics," he said. "We've got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed."
Despite the fact that bilateral ties has hit a new low, foreign and defense ministers of both counties pressed ahead with their so- called 2+2 meeting in Washington on Friday.
"I can't promise you what's going to come out of it," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told MSNBC in an interview. "But it's more recognition that this relationship is important and we need to continue to work through it, even at challenging times."