Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, visiting Zimbabwe on Thursday, told reporters it was inappropriate for Tillerson to criticize China's relationship with African countries.
"Fruitful discussions with US Secretary of State Tillerson focused on Peace and Security, including AU-led initiatives to fight terror, governance and the continental free trade agreement".
At a press conference with African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, a journalist asked Faki and Tillerson whether the USA should apologize for the remark.
The AU expressing its disappointment said the remark by the U.S. president dishonours the celebrtaed American creed. "I think it is important to listen to what the priorities of the continent are".
"As a people, we are more determined to forge a united front as we march forward in the path of progress", the President said.
While appreciating Africa's increasing integration, he commended the AU for setting- up the African Centre for Disease Control.
Tillerson said health security advances national security, economic development, and political stability. We also discussed how to reinforce our partnership based on mutual priorities.
"But transparency really is an essential requirement for good business conditions and will attract greater investment and economic activity as well. It is useful for both parties".
Mr. Mahamat, in his remarks, said his dialogue with the US diplomat was fruitful.
This visit might also be an opportunity for Trump's White House to reassert itself as the most logical go-to partner for African states.
In a symbolic display of that connection, the African Union headquarters where Tillerson and Faki met was built by China; there is a plaque inside the building that notes senior official Jia Qinglin attended the opening ceremony in 2012. Trump later sent a letter on January 25 to Faki and other African leaders underscoring the U.S.'s commitment to the continent.
"We have agreed to work for the strengthening of the trade and commercial relations between Africa and the USA, including the post-AGOA - the African Growth and Opportunity Act", he said.
According to a readout issued here by the Office of the Spokesperson, Heather Nauert, on Thursday, the United States applauded the launch of the AU's 2018 "African Anti-Corruption Year", with Secretary Tillerson indicating the United States stood ready to support AU anti-corruption efforts.
He said they underscored the importance of nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, calling for the scrupulous observance and compliance with global instruments.