Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first overseas trip as the United States’ top diplomat was to the G-20 foreign ministers meeting in Bonn. The summit meetings with officials from the world’s largest economies focused on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development maintaining peace in a complex world, the future of a rules-based international order, and cooperation with Africa.
Secretary Tillerson also participated in discussions on Yemen and Syria, as well as several bilateral meetings with allies, partners, and others.
After a trilateral meeting with the Foreign Ministers of South Korea and Japan, Secretary Tillerson joined his counterparts in issuing a statement condemning “in the strongest terms North Korea’s February 12, 2017 ballistic missile test, noting North Korea’s flagrant disregard for multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that expressly prohibit its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.”
Secretary Tillerson reiterated the United States’ strong commitment to the defense of its allies, the Republic of Korea and Japan, “including the commitment to provide extended deterrence, backed by the full range of its nuclear and conventional defense capabilities.”
Secretary Tillerson said his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was “productive.”
He reiterated that the United States “will consider working with Russia where we can find areas of practical cooperation that will benefit the American people. Where we do not see eye to eye, the United States will stand up for the interest and values of America and her allies.” Mr. Tillerson added, “As we search for new common ground, we expect Russia to honor its commitment to the Minsk agreements and work to de-escalate the violence in Ukraine.”
At the conclusion of the G-20 meeting, Mr. Tillerson told reporters he had “met a lot of people, made a lot of new friends,” and that he planned to brief President Trump on the discussions he had in Bonn. The meetings in which the Secretary of State participated will help lay the groundwork for the G-20 Leaders Summit in July.