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Trump's secretary of state pick shows intent to pursue warmer U.S.-Russian relations: White House

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 08:57, December 14, 2016

The White Housesaid on Tuesday U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state showed he wanted to pursue "warmer relations" with Russia.

"I think what I would say generally is that throughout his campaign, the president-elect indicated his intent, if elected president, to pursue warmer relations with Russia," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a daily briefing.

"So what better way to do that than to choose someone who's been awarded the Order of Friendship by (Russian President) Vladimir Putinto be your secretary of state?" said Earnest.

Calling Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson "one of the truly great business leaders of the world," Trump announced Tuesday morning his pick for U.S. secretary of state, moving past 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a choice favored by the party establishment.

"The thing I like best about Rex Tillerson is that he has vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments," Trump wrote on Twitter.

Tillerson, 64, is the Texas-based oil company's CEO since 2006. Like Trump, he has no government experience and so far little is known of Tillerson's views about foreign affairs.

However, as Exxon's CEO, Tillerson oversees business operations in over 50 countries and has known Russian President Vladimir Putin since 1990s when they first met.

Tillerson was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship in 2013, a state decoration to reward foreign nationals whose work is aimed at the betterment of relations with Russia.

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