Tillerson says State Department spending 'simply not sustainable'

Rex Tillerson told reporters in Tokyo Thursday morning that he is "confident" the President's proposed budget cuts to the State Department will make the agency "much more efficient". McPike, the IJR reporter, is traveling unilaterally and is not a pool reporter.

The decision to travel on a smaller aircraft was Tillerson's, Toner said, and was in part an effort to save money.

He said "clearly the level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking is unsustainable". "I'm not saying this is going to be the norm going forward". The journalists who reported Tillerson's landing in Tokyo on Wednesday evening travelled there on commercial flights. They are expected to discuss Japan's plans to step up missile defense and the possible deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, as well as President Donald Trump's concerns about the USA trade imbalance with Japan, Reuters reported. He said the situation was challenging, but that he took on the challenge that Trump had given him "willingly".

"It was chose to take a journalist who was not, or from an outlet that doesn't normally travel with the secretary, as part of an effort to include a broader representation of the USA media", added Toner, who also served under former president Barack Obama.

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The White House proposal to cut the core State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) budget from $36.7 billion in 2017 to $25.6 billion in fiscal year 2018 reflects the Trump administration's expectation that the United States will be involved in fewer military conflicts overseas and that other countries will be contributing more for foreign assistance, Tillerson said. News outlets such as CNN, New York Times, and Reuters complained regarding the matter.

"We understand the challenge", the former Exxon Mobil CEO said.

Republican secretaries of state Alexander Haig, George Shultz, James Baker, and Condoleezza Rice routinely took 10 or more journalists on their overseas trips, even to war zones.

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