For Rex Tillerson, the coming visit to Asia should be something to relish: his first multi-state tour as America’s top diplomat, and the chance to wade into some of the most consequential issues facing the world.
Yet Mr Tillerson’s trip is not going to plan – even before he sets out for Beijing.
The former Exxon chairman and CEO is not taking any reporters with him to cover the trip, breaking with decades of precedent, and causing consternation among both staff and onlookers.
Afraid of the media?
Mark Toner, the acting state department spokesman, explained that Mr Tillerson was taking a smaller plane than usual, and that some American reporters would likely be in China, Japan and South Korea when the secretary of state was in town.