Tillerson to visit Russian Federation, skip North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a G20 meeting February 16, 2017 in Bonn, Germany. The last secretary of state to miss a foreign ministerial was Colin Powell, who canceled his ministerial attendance last-minute during the start of the Iraq war in 2003.

President Trump has come under scrutiny for his overtures on improving relations with Russian Federation.

Tillerson said on Friday at a joint press conference with his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se in Seoul that all options were on the table to resolve the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue, including diplomatic, security and economic measures, Xinhua reported.

While she did not confirm Tillerson's meetings in Russia, Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said that "we are definitely surprised by the constant leaks of sensitive information from Washington".

While Tillerson is expected to miss the April talks in Brussels, he will meet Wednesday with foreign ministers who are attending a meeting Wednesday in Washington of the USA -led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

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The liberal media criticized Tillerson for not catering to them for his trip to Asia, to which he said, "I'm not a big media access person".

The Trump administration has been unusually forceful in pressing a longstanding United States complaint about an imbalance in financial contributions to the alliance, which Mr. Trump once described as "obsolete". Hinting that Tillerson will be present when Xi talks with Trump, a State Department official said Tillerson told Xi he hoped they would meet again "very soon".

"We have gone back with alternative dates", Toner told reporters when asked about the meeting.

Posing for photographs with Defense Secretary James Mattis, he declined to answer a reporter's questions on what signal it sent that Tillerson did not plan to attend the meeting, according to a reporter who attended the session.

Mr. Tillerson's plan to opt out of April's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ministerial, which will likely focus on American and alliance-led military efforts in Afghanistan, eastern Europe and elsewhere, is being interpreted by some members of the global community as another slight against the Cold War alliance by the Trump White House.