This Week at State: April 28, 2017

6 minutes read time

This Week at State: April 28, 2017

Did you miss key foreign policy developments this week? We’ve got you covered. Each week, DipNote recaps the latest U.S. Department of State highlights spanning a wide range of global issues, events, and initiatives in one blog post.

Here are the highlights from This Week at State

Secretary Tillerson Chaired United Nations Security Council Ministerial Session on D.P.R.K.

On April 28, Secretary Tillerson traveled to New York to chair a special ministerial meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the denuclearization of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.). The D.P.R.K. poses one of the gravest threats to international peace and security through its pursuit of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other weapons of mass destruction as well as its other prohibited activities. The meeting gave the Security Council members an opportunity to discuss ways to maximize the impact of existing Security Council measures and show their resolve to respond to further provocations with appropriate new measures. During the meeting, Secretary Tillerson called upon members to work together to impose increased diplomatic and economic pressures on the North Korean regime.  

Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, and Director Coats Briefed Members of Congress on Review of D.P.R.K. Policy

Upon assuming office, President Donald J. Trump ordered a thorough review of U.S. policy pertaining to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.).  On April, 26 Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats briefed Members of Congress on the review.  In a joint statement, they said:

“The President’s approach aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our Allies and regional partners.

“We are engaging responsible members of the international community to increase pressure on the D.P.R.K. in order to convince the regime to de-escalate and return to the path of dialogue. We will maintain our close coordination and cooperation with our Allies, especially the Republic of Korea and Japan, as we work together to preserve stability and prosperity in the region.

“The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our Allies.”

North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority.  Past efforts have failed to halt North Korea’s unlawful weapons programs and nuclear and ballistic missile tests. With each provocation, North Korea jeopardizes stability in Northeast Asia and poses a growing threat to our Allies and the U.S. homeland.

Secretary Tillerson Joined President Trump for a Meeting With President Macri of Argentina

President Donald Trump welcomed President Mauricio Macri of Argentina to Washington, D.C. on April 27.

On the same day, the State Department released declassified documents related to human rights abuses committed in Argentina during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship. President Trump handed the documents to President Macri, as a demonstration of the importance the United States places on its bilateral relations with Argentina.

Some of the documents were selected for inclusion in the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, because of their importance to other aspects of U.S. foreign policy toward Argentina or the entire Latin American region. The documents selected for the Argentina and Latin American Region chapters of FRUS, 1977-1980, Volume XXIV, South America, show high-level U.S. concern over human rights violations in Argentina and the Southern Cone during the administration of President Jimmy Carter. Many of the documents are directly relevant to the Argentine Government’s request regarding information about this period. The newly available documents for these two chapters are available here.

Secretary Tillerson Spoke With President Poroshenko of Ukraine

Secretary Tillerson phoned Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to discuss his recent trip to Moscow and his message to the Russian leadership that, although the United States is interested in improving relations with Russia, Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine remain an obstacle. The Secretary emphasized the importance of Ukraine’s continued progress on reform and combating corruption.

Secretary Tillerson reiterated the United States’ firm commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and confirmed that sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control of the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine and fully implements its commitments in the Minsk agreements.

U.S. Department of State Marked Earth Day, English Language Day, Yom HaShoah Remembrance Day, World Malaria Day, and World IP Day

On Earth Day, April 22, U.S. embassies and consulates showcased the use of American innovation in powering eco-diplomacy around the world. Many U.S. diplomatic missions also participated in local clean-ups and other activities.

On April 23, the U.S. Department of State marked English Language Day, an opportunity to understand English’s importance as a world language. The State Department promotes English-language learning through partnerships, such as the American English E-Teacher program.

On April 24, Secretary Tillerson joined those worldwide in commemorating Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. This year, the State Department hosted an event, along with the Embassies of Lithuania, Japan, and Israel, to honor the memory of Chiune Sugihara, Japanese Consul to Lithuania in 1939-40. Consul Sugihara saved the lives of some 6,000 Jews and others by providing them with transit visas to Japan.

World Malaria Day, April 25, spotlights the global effort to control malaria. Each year, organizations around the world unite to celebrate success, and highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control. On this occasion, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented together with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released its Eleventh Annual Report to Congress.

On April 26, the State Department joined the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO, and others in celebrating the 17th World Intellectual Property (IP) Day, which focused on how intellectual property promotes innovation.  Through our economic diplomacy, we encourage other governments to establish predictable legal regimes that ensure IP rights can be secured.

Follow the State Department on Twitter and Facebook for additional information and updates.