Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, traveling with just one conservative member of the press, has cut his trip to South Korea short, citing “fatigue.”
Tillerson went to Korea, in part, to make it clear that under the current administration, the practice of “strategic patience,” has come to an end, and any offensive action taken by North Korea may now be met with push-back from the United States.
Tillerson, who was meant to meet with South Korean officials for an extended period of time in order to address growing tensions in North Korea as well as a possible arms race between the U.S. and China, is apparently too tired to see his trip to its end.
While in Korea, Tillerson met with Seoul’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, but missed planned meetings with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn.
Tillerson’s visit to South Korea comes at a contentious yet vital time for Korean-U.S. relations as the nation has just forcibly removed its president, Park Geun-hye, from office. As the nation prepares to vote on a new leader in 60 days, the influence of the U.S. and its Secretary of State could be significant.
Instead, Tillerson is set to head home.
Notably, this story is coming from foreign press, The Korea Herald, because Tillerson did not permit the usual press pool to travel to Korea with him. The White House cited budget concerns as the reason for the exclusion, but the press and their media outlets foot the bill for these trips. Tillerson did permit a member of conservative website IJR to attend him, but she appears not to have published any reports on the SoS’s actions.