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Top US diplomat Tillerson says he never considered resigning

[WASHINGTON] US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday he never considered resigning and that he was as committed to President Donald Trump's agenda as much today as he was when he first accepted the offer to serve as the nation's top diplomat.

"I have never considered leaving this post," Mr Tillerson said at the State Department.

"I am here for as long as the president feels I can be useful to achieving his objectives."

"My commitment to the success of our president and our country is as strong as it was the day I accepted his offer to serve as secretary of state," Mr Tillerson said.

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Mr Tillerson spoke after NBC News reported that Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials intervened to persuade him not to resign during the summer as tensions rose between Mr Trump and Mr Tillerson.

Mr Trump appeared to undercut Mr Tillerson over the weekend when the president tweeted that he told him that he was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

Mr Tillerson's tenure has been dogged with rumors about his unhappiness with Mr Trump's policies, but the secretary of state on Wednesday offered a vigorous defense of both the US president and his foreign policy goals.

"President Trump's foreign policy goals break the mold of what people traditionally think is achievable on behalf of our country. We're finding new ways to govern that deliver new victories, Mr Tillerson said.

Shortly before Mr Tillerson spoke, Mr Trump tweeted: "NBC news is #FakeNews and more dishonest than even CNN. They are a disgrace to good reporting. No wonder their news ratings are way down!"

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has played down any tensions between Mr Trump and Mr Tillerson over their apparent split, most recently over North Korea.

REUTERS