State Secretary Tillerson takes only one reporter to Asia

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Tillerson arrived in Japan, the first stop on his trip, late Wednesday local time.

Last week, the State Department announced that Tillerson would not allow the press to travel with him on his government plane during his trip to Japan, South Korea, and China, an extremely unusual step that will reportedly make it "exceedingly hard, if not impossible" for journalists to cover the proceedings.

The reporter, Erin McPike, accepted an offer to fly with Tillerson after discussion with her editors at IJR, which acknowledged the "controversy surrounding press access for the trip", founder Alex Skatell said in a statement.

Weighing in so heavily on one side of the political spectrum overseas ostracizes many foreign citizens who have traditionally supported strong relations with the U.S., Lee said.

On his first two trips as secretary of state, Tillerson traveled with a small number of "pool" reporters who provided information about his events to a broader group of reporters.

The State Department Correspondents Association, which represents reporters who cover US diplomacy, said in a statement that it was "disappointed" Tillerson chose to travel to Asia without a full contingent of media "or even a pool reporter".

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"After saying it was unable to accommodate press on the Secretary's plane to Asia due to space and budget constraints, the State Department offered a unilateral seat to one reporter", it said in the statement.

According to the State Department, while the secretary has access to an Air Force Boeing 757, Tillerson "prefers to travel on a smaller plane" which has no room for the press corps.

"We may not share a common view on this, given the makeup of the membership", Tillerson wrote.

A State Department spokeswoman directed TPM to comments made by a department spokesman during Tuesday's press briefing.

The group has been in talks with Tillerson's deputies "about a variety of issues related to media access", the statement said, "and we welcome the State Department's pledge to address our concerns in the very near future". Skatell, who previously worked for the Republican Governors Association, founded IJR with GOP strategist Phil Musser in 2012.

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