Tillerson Skips ASEAN Gala Attended by N Korean Envoy

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho emerges from his bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, right, in the sidelines of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting and its Dialogue Partners Sunday in suburban Pasay city, south Manila, Philippines. Photo: Bullit Marquez / Associated Press

MANILA — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has skipped a dinner in the Philippines for foreign ministers that North Korea’s top diplomat attended.

According to Tillerson’s public schedule, he was due to attend the dinner at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathering in Manila.

Tillerson aide R.C. Hammond says that after a productive first day, Tillerson has taken time to prepare for prepare for Day 2.


Representing the United States at the dinner was Susan Thornton  acting assistant secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs.


Before Tillerson’s trip, the U.S. had said he had no plans to interact with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.

Ri was spotted at the gala smiling and toasting with the other foreign ministers.