Trump's Secretary of State SNUBS Nato visit ahead of meeting with Russian Federation

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The Nato summit is scheduled for 5-6 April, but the State Department confirmed that Mr Tillerson would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at President Trump's Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, from 6-7 April.

Potentially adding to the concerns about Russian Federation, the State Department said Tillerson is scheduled to hold meetings in Moscow after attending Group of Seven talks in Italy in early April.

Tillerson's trip to Moscow, right after he flies to Italy for a meeting of ministers from the Group of Seven countries, comes at a time when the Kremlin's alleged cyberattacks during the presidential campaign and its meetings with several Trump campaign officials is being scrutinized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Congress. Instead, the State Department Under Secretary Tom Shannon will represent t the the meeting. Acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner said at a briefing Monday that the USA considers both South Korea and Japan "strong allies and partners in the region".

The news is likely to create a new bout of consternation in Washington, where members of the US Congress and old establishment hands have expressed deep concern with Trump's roughing up of US allies in Europe, and his amiability with Putin.

"I think it's a most unfortunate signal", Albright said, reports The Hill.

Insulting a US ally, Tillerson accused the South Korean government and press of lying about him when they reported that he was "fatigued".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who met with Trump last week, announced Friday that her country has promised to meet the 2 percent minimum for the next seven years.

Both South Korea and Japan are "vitally important" allies to the United States, the State Department said Monday, stressing that Secretary Rex Tillerson's use of different words to refer to the two allies shouldn't be read into too much. In two tweets following her departure, Trump astonishingly upbraided her with the nonsensical claim that Germany owes the USA money for its military presence on German soil. Germany rebuked Trump's claims Sunday, clarifying that's not how North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense spending works.

Albright appeared before the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday and criticized the decision. I do think that is part of the problem.

Usually, the hope is that a tour by a top USA diplomat, particularly the top diplomat, the Secretary of State, will be a calming influence on the region they were sent to.