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Rex Tillerson finally speaks

Alex Brandon / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has given an interview in his new role. Highlights from his conversation with IJR's Erin McPike:

  • The big question on China: "I think there's a question, perhaps even in the minds of the Chinese: How will the American people, the Chinese people, live with each other in this world for the next half century?"
  • Denied cutting short his meeting with the South Koreans: "They never invited us for dinner, then at the last minute they realized that optically it wasn't playing very well in public for them, so they put out a statement that we didn't have dinner because I was tired."
  • On Trump's North Korea tweet, which said: "North Koreans are behaving badly and China has done little to help." Tillerson said it came without warning, but was in line with their private conversations.
  • Defended his decision to only take one reporter (McPike) on his plane: "[W]e're trying to save money ... and we're going to destinations that, by and large, the media outlets have significant presence already... I spend my time working on this airplane. The entire time we're in the air, I'm working."