Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Sunday for the first time since the U.S. imposed sanctions last week that Russia said ended hopes for better ties.
Tillerson and Lavrov met at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) forum in Manila, an international summit of Asian diplomats. It marked the first time high level officials of Russia and the United States came together following the White House’s sanctions on Russia and the Kremlin’s retaliatory limits on U.S. diplomatic presence in the country.
Neither responded at the start of the meeting to shouted questions on the impact the sanctions would have on their discussions. After a little over an hour, the two emerged, talking longer than expected.
“We felt the readiness of our U.S. colleagues to continue dialogue. I think there’s no alternative to that,” the Russian Foreign Minister said following the over hour long meeting.
Tillerson then proceeded to his motorcade, making no comment.
The secretary of State also met with both his South Korean and Chinese counterparts Sunday to discuss the next step towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
President Trump and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley had praised China Saturday for backing the strict measures against the rogue state and, following Tillerson’s meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho Sunday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters he urged Pyongyang not to violate the recently passed resolution. “At this critical moment, we urge every party to remain calm, to take a decision that helps to reduce tensions, resume negotiations and secure regional peace development,” said Wang Yi.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Abigail Williams and Amanda Proenca Santos