US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L), speaking a during a joint press conference, with Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat on March 8, 2018 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
Tillerson began the first leg of his five-nation Africa tour with a visit to Ethiopia after he arrived in the capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday. The reporter said the comment, which Trump has denied, "is something that Africa's still digesting".
Tillerson also said the United States wants more African countries to put diplomatic pressure on North Korea's nuclear programme. "But I do not think it is entirely appropriate if he indeed said that", said Lavrov.
South Korean media reports said the envoys would hand over a private message to the United States from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Tillerson took that line saying that Chinese investments "do not bring significant job creation locally" and criticised how Beijing structures loans to African government. Details are still sketchy, but South Korea announced Tuesday that the North had stated there was "no reason" to hold on to its nuclear weapons "if military threats towards the North are cleared and the security of its regime is guaranteed".
Tillerson's trip has been planned for months and was immediately overshadowed in January by Trump's remarks. The government reacted aggressively when opposition leader Raila Odinga held a mock inauguration, shutting down TV stations and arresting opposition politicians, but the USA has largely voiced support for Kenyatta.
He said China insists that large-scale infrastructure and industrial development in Africa go hand in hand, and that attention be paid to both the economic and social benefits of projects and increasing African countries' ability for independent and sustainable development. Aside from the announcement of more than $500 million of food and medical aid to fight starvation in several countries on the continent, made before he left, he has tamped down expectations for big announcements or new initiatives during the visit.
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NAIJ.com gathered that the United States secretary has been criticising China and its investment in Africa in the past few days. "It is important that African countries carefully consider the terms of those agreements and not forfeit their sovereignty".
Faki minced no words, all but rejecting Tillerson's argument.
The sentiments represent a change on the part of the Trump administration, which until now has said very little publicly on African policy.
In an administration that has often struggled for coherence in its foreign policy, and which lives by the maxim of America First, it would be unrealistic to expect Secretary Tillerson to deliver a transformation in the relationship between USA and Africa.
Representative Chris Smith, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, released a statement that said China's activities and actions on the continent have "propped up kleptocrats and autocrats".
"The opportunities for engagement from different partners in the continent is quite great", she added.