US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: Ethiopia needs 'greater freedom'

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He also claimed that Chinese investments did not lead to significant job creation in Africa.

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was received Thursday morning at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

For his part, Tillerson ignored two questions about the comments attributed to Trump, only emphasizing the USA relationship with Africa, which until now has been largely undefined by the administration.

The top USA diplomat and a top African official tried Thursday to move past President Donald Trump's slur about Africa, deeming it a closed matter that need not be revisited.

Analysts say the US policy towards Africa has strings attached, while China has not placed any such conditions.

"The objective of my trip to this continent is that we listen", Tillerson said.

The United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, on Thursday told African countries to be wary of the Chinese government and its loan facilities.

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Tillerson later met with his Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu and at a press conference voiced his belief that Ethiopia's ongoing unrest should be solved with more freedom, not less.

Prior to his departure Tillerson spoke at George Mason University in Virginia wherein he expressed optimism for opportunities in Africa.

The Trump administration's National Security Strategy, released in January, also accuses China of "predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea".

"The North expressed its willingness to hold a heartfelt dialogue with the USA on the issues of denuclearization and normalizing relations with the United States", the South Korean government said in a statement following a landmark meeting between South Korean diplomats and North Korean leadership. "I believe this incident is in the past", he said.

The Africa trip - which also includes Chad, Djibouti, Kenya and Nigeria - is Tillerson's first since he became the United States' top diplomat, and he announced more than half a billion dollars in aid just before embarking on the visit. Tillerson did announce Tuesday an additional $533 million in humanitarian assistance to help with starvation and conflict-related needs in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, but it was unclear exactly where the money would come from.

In a speech ahead of the trip, Tillerson lauded these same programs, including free-trade initiatives, a program to bring electricity to Africans and one to provide AIDS treatment to millions across the continent.