Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Philippines pledges cooperation with new USA top diplomat

Philippines pledges cooperation with new USA top diplomat

"Unfortunately, today's transition disrupts steady communications with the regime, especially since we lack a nominee for ambassador to South Korea and recently lost the top career official handling North Korea", she said in a prepared statement provided by her office.

That could help Pompeo operate as the nation's top diplomat, since foreign governments are more likely to view him as speaking directly for Trump when it comes to North Korea, Iran, trade disputes and other foreign policy dilemmas. Trump has named Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA, as his next pick to lead the State Department, with Deputy Director Gina Haspel slated to lead the agency. That stance was echoed on Tuesday by the USA general who heads the US military command responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia.

European diplomats saw some chance Pompeo may have more influence over Trump than Tillerson, who antagonized the US president by reportedly calling him a "moron" and who differed with Trump on Iran and other issues.

Iran. In commenting to reporters on the appointment, Mr. Trump singled out the Iran nuclear agreement as an issue on which he disagreed with Mr. Tillerson, saying, "I think it's awful; I guess he thought it was O.K". But with Mr. Pompeo, continued the president, "we have a very similar thought process".

Tillerson, however, had argued for Trump to stand by allies who retained support for the accord.

Senior White House officials said Trump wanted his new team in place before any summit with Kim Jong un, who invited the US president to meet by May after months of escalating tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

It would be the first summit between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, following a year of heightened tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile tests. Trump reportedly said he wished his secretary of state were tougher. He specifically mentioned the Iran nuclear deal as an example of disagreement.

"Tillerson's replacement by. Pompeo, who is known as a political partisan and an opponent of the Iran agreement, raises the prospect of the collapse of that deal, and increases the possibility that the administration might soon face not one, but two nuclear crises", he said.

Donald Trump announced on Twitter that Rex Tillerson, who has held the post for 14 months, would be replaced by Mike Pompeo, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency and a close Trump ally.

Steve Goldstein, an under secretary at the department, said Tillerson was "unaware of the reason" for his firing, despite claims by the White House that Tillerson was given the news last Friday. And Tillerson's exit follows Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' disastrous interview this week on "60 Minutes" in which she struggled to answer basic education questions, and continuing controversies swirling around the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Interior, Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development.

On Monday, Mr Tillerson sharply criticised Russian Federation over the poisonings in England of a former spy and his daughter, directly blaming Moscow after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stopped short of doing so. Earlier at the White House, press secretary Sarah Sanders had refrained from saying Moscow was responsible.

Trump in recent days has told confidants that he feels emboldened, confident in his decisions to order new worldwide trade on tariffs and to meet with Kim Jong Un and far less willing to put up with disloyalty around him, according to a person who has spoken to the president in recent days but was not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations. Trump tweeted, "He will do a fantastic job!"

President Donald Trump's sacking of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could sound the death knell for the Iran nuclear deal and further strain U.S. ties with key European allies.

Gina Haspel, a veteran CIA clandestine officer picked by President Donald Trump on Tuesday to head the CIA, is a controversial figure, backed by many in the US intelligence community but regarded warily by some in Congress for her involvement in the agency's "black site" detention facilities. Rather than informing Comey in person or by phone, Trump sent his longtime bodyguard-turned-director of Oval Office operations Keith Schiller to the Justice Department to deliver a letter notifying the Federal Bureau of Investigation head he was done. Any employee who acted the way Tillerson did on the job would have been fired long ago.

Finnegan tweeted: "The Secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security".

A report from The Washington Post-which broke the news of Tillerson's firing-claimed Trump asked the outgoing secretary of State to step aside last Friday, days before his strongly critical comments against Russian Federation on Monday.

The proposed Trump-Kim meeting proves once again the enormous value that the possession of nuclear weapons and the rapid development of intercontinental ballistic missiles confers upon North Korea.

Goldstein was sacked by the White House shortly after issuing the statement. Tillerson was notorious for surrounding himself with a handpicked team of close aides and giving short shrift to State's collective institutional knowledge (in some respects mirroring his now former boss).

"I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man", Trump wrote on Twitter, using a pejorative nickname for Kim.

Tillerson's departure adds to a period of intense turnover within Trump's administration that has alarmed those both in and out of the White House.

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