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Peters, Tillerson hold top secret talks

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4 days ago Karen Sweeney

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has held a surprising last-minute meeting with Foreign Minister Winston Peters to discuss an issue relating to the Pacific.

But what that issue is remains top secret.

Mr Peters sat down for the meeting with the US' top diplomat in the Philippines on Tuesday morning at Mr Tillerson's request just days after the pair held formal bilateral talks in Vietnam when they attended the APEC summit.

"I can't tell you about the details of it," a cagey Mr Peters said after the meeting.

"It's to do with this region and initiatives coming in the future but it would be remiss of me - the prime minister has been fully informed of it - to divulge what it was about until we know."

There's speculation it could relate to a mysterious tweet by US President Donald Trump.

"I will be making a major statement from the White House upon my return to [Washington] DC," he tweeted before boarding Air Force One to return home after his 12-day tour of Asia.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was equally reluctant to talk about the contents of the meeting.

"One would be unwise to predict the nature of any of President Trump's tweets," she said.

Mr Peters has had a number of other encounters with Mr Tillerson this week.

They were seated next to each other at a gala dinner and later chatted over a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

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