Faki, however, insisted the slur was now in the past.
"I think as President Trump has indicated, (there are) potentially positive signals coming from North Korea by way of their intra-Korean dialogue with South Korea", he told journalists. "But I do not think it is entirely appropriate if he indeed said that", said Lavrov.
Asked about Tillerson's criticism of China's approach on the continent, Kenya's foreign affairs minister Monica Juma said: "This country is engaging with partners from across the world driven by our own interests and for our own value".
The diplomat met Ethiopia's Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu as well as Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who resigned earlier this month amid a political crisis in Africa's fastest growing economy.
"It is important that the country moves on past the state of emergency as quickly as possible", he said. The acknowledgement of positive Chinese contributions and the desire to cooperate over common challenges by Tillerson's officials was "far more promising and more positive" than the U.S. attitude in 2012 when Obama's secretary of state Hillary Clinton articulated a more critical USA view on China in Africa.
The AU expressing its disappointment said the remark by the USA president dishonours the celebrtaed American creed.
Analysts say the US policy towards Africa has strings attached, while China has not placed any such conditions. "But also remember that the Djibouti base is as much about being a platform for the Gulf where China is preparing to take a much larger role as the United States seems to be reducing its commitments - though not its force size and structure".
"The incident is behind us, the visit by the secretary of state today is proof of the importance of relations between the different parties", he said.
There are obvious reasons why the United States would want to cast itself and its companies as a more favourable alternative to China, the geopolitical rival and economic competitor whose influence is also on the rise in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.
"We are not in any way attempting to keep Chinese investment dollars out of Africa".
Tillerson said Chinese investments do not create jobs in African countries and a government that accepts a loan from China risks losing control of its own infrastructure or its own resources.
Tillerson is in Ethiopia on his first official tour of Africa before traveling to Chad, Djibouti, Kenya and Nigeria where he is expected to meet with top leaders in each country. Washington denied receiving an invitation to talks. They say Chinese firms, unlike American ones, do not abide by anti-bribery laws, fuelling Africa's pervasive problems with corruption. "As you know, they announced that there will be no meeting and that no discussions (about it) have taken place at all", Lavrov said in Zimbabwe.