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FILE PHOTO - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attends a press conference with Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in London, January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Latin American countries on Thursday against excessive reliance on economic ties with China, saying the region did not need new imperial powers.

"Today China is getting a foothold in Latin America. It is using economic statecraft to pull the region into its orbit; the question is at what price," Tillerson said in a speech at the University of Texas at Austin, ahead of a five-nation tour of Latin America and the Caribbean.

"Latin America does not need new imperial powers," he said.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Matt Spetalnick and Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Reuters