Tillerson to North Korea: 'We are not your enemy'

Tillerson to North Korea: 'We are not your enemy'

One former senior department official told Politico part of the delay is due to the new and convoluted decision-making process by Tillerson, a former ExxonMobil CEO.

Despite his displeasure with the sanctions, Tillerson said of the president, "all indications are he will sign that bill". "And so I think the fact that they felt the need to take symmetrical action -- and that's the way they view it -- is that they were delayed in taking this action, and I think President Putin has said that".

The U.S. Congress voted last week by overwhelming margins for sanctions to punish the Russian government over interference in the 2016 presidential election and its annexation of Crimea.

Some in Moscow and Washington had hoped relations between the former Cold War foes might improve under United States president Donald Trump, who has had warm words for President Vladimir Putin.

Both Tillerson and Trump have worked to strike a deal with Russian Federation that would allow relations between the two countries to improve and have avoided rocking the boat.

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At a State Department press briefing on Tuesday, Tillerson conceded State still "had a lot of open slots" but praised career diplomats for stepping up in the interim. In June, Trump pulled the USA out of the Paris climate change accord against Tillerson's advice.

In the meantime, Tillerson is grappling with deep internal discord and plummeting morale at the State Department, in part because President Donald Trump has yet to fill top diplomatic posts, seven months into his administration. "Does it make our life more hard? He knows the area well, he knows Russian Federation well", Tillerson said. "Of course it makes our life more hard".

Tillerson has not filled almost 200 senior posts in the department, having resisted putting many people in place while he carries out a State Department restructuring so he can fulfill Trump's request to slash $10 billion from its budget.

Brownfield's current role as assistant secretary of state for global law enforcement and narcotics could give him a leg up in the administration's eyes, one senior State Department official told FP, speaking on condition of anonymity. The ban, which includes potential exceptions for journalists and humanitarian workers, will take effect on September 1 and expires one year later unless extended by Tillerson. While he said frustrated Americans want the U.S.to get along with the nuclear-armed power, he did not address the deep suspicions at home about the president's intentions.

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