Tillerson to press China and ASEAN states on North Korea in Manila

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ordered his department to scrub its mission statement of any mention of

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is not using nearly $80 million in earmarked money to combat terrorist propaganda and disinformation from America's adversaries, Politico is reporting.

The money to combat Russian misinformation was set aside by Congress late previous year for the State Department's Global Engagement Center.

The officials say their former colleagues are frustrated that Tillerson has not requested the transfer of $60 million from the Pentagon to State's Global Engagement Center, an organization created past year to "diminish the influence of worldwide terrorist organizations".

Tillerson has demurred on releasing funds to the Global Engagement Center because he needs more details about how the office intends to use the money, department spokesman R.C. Hammond told Politico.

It is highly unusual for a Cabinet secretary to turn down money for his department.

"I think with respect to how we conduct foreign policy in light of the fact that the president communicates the way he does is, as I've explained to the people in this building, look, it's just like anything else, it's part of the environment in which we work", Tillerson said. The secretary is concerned that releasing the money will complicate ongoing negotiations with the Kremlin on sensitive issues such as Syria and the Russian intervention in Ukraine, a former State department official told Politico. Turning to Asia، Tillerson said the U.S.is willing to sit down for talks with North Korea on the condition that they give up on their pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Speaking at a press conference held at the state department in Washington DC, Tillerson argued that Iran's military forces must leave Syria, and the Syrian regime must let the Syrians to form a new constitution and to run free and fair presidential elections ahead the the USA cooperation with Russian Federation. After officials filed an "action memo" for the money - a routine document requesting a decision from the secretary of state - Tillerson's aides reportedly replied that he "didn't like being told what to do".

President Barack Obama expanded the unit's mission at the end of his term after intelligence agencies concluded Russian Federation had flooded social media with fake news and phony Twitter accounts to influence the 2016 elections, and lawmakers from both parties want a stronger US response.

Thornton said Tillerson would have the chance to engage with China's foreign minister at the meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila, but had no plans to meet North Korea's foreign minister there. He reaffirmed the administration's commitment to "making America great again", but emphasized that when Trump says "America first", he does not mean "America alone".

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