This Week at State: June 23, 2017

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This Week at State: June 23, 2017

This Week at State: June 23, 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 and Mattis Hosted Inaugural U.S.-China Diplomatic Security Dialogue

U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis hosted the first session of the Diplomatic Security Dialogue with China since the two countries agreed on this format at a presidential summit in April 2017. According to Secretary Tillerson, this inaugural session on security represents one of four distinct dialogue areas that will implement the Trump Administration’s vision for constructive, results-oriented bilateral relations.

“These dialogues provide an opportunity to consider how we’re going to engage and how we’re going to live with one another over the next 40 years. In furthering this relationship, we need to work to expand areas of cooperation, as we did today, on issues where we have shared security interest. But we also need to address, directly and very frankly, areas where we face threats or areas where we have differences so that we can narrow these differences and solve the problems.” - Secretary Tillerson, Joint Press Availability with Secretary Mattis on June 21, 2017

Deputy Secretary Sullivan Led U.S. Delegation at OAS General Assembly

Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan led the U.S. delegation at the 47th Regular Session of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico on June 19-20. In his remarks to over 30 heads of delegation from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada, Deputy Secretary Sullivan outlined U.S. goals for engagement in the Americas including mutual security and shared prosperity, shared values between fellow OAS member states, and our support for collective OAS action when these values are threatened, such as in the case of Venezuela.

Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan delivers remarks at the 47th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cancun, Mexico, on June 20, 2017.

During remarks at the General Assembly, Deputy Secretary Sullivan highlighted the enormous importance of U.S. neighbors in the Americas to building long-term prosperity for the United States. He also noted that the United States is committed to working with our partners in the Americas to defeat transnational criminal organizations, and end the violence, illegal arms sales, and human trafficking that are lethal byproducts of the drug trade.

United States Joined United Nations in Marking World Refugee Day

On June 20 the United States joined the United Nations to mark World Refugee Day, recognizing the plight of those forced by persecution and war to flee their home countries and  the pressing challenges posed by ongoing refugee crises in various parts of the world.

As the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance, the United States is a leader in supporting refugees and addressing causes of forced displacement. Last year, the United States gave $7 billion in humanitarian assistance worldwide. Yet as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley noted, “The United States gives more humanitarian aid than any other country, but money alone is not enough—we must also work to end the conflicts that drive these people from their homes, while tearing apart their countries. We have lots of work to do at the UN, but the world's refugees and the countries that host them should know they can continue to count on the United States to lead.”

State Department Offers Condolences on the Passing of Otto Warmbier

U.S. citizen Otto Warmbier was released from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) on June 13 and passed away June 19 following his return to the United States. In an official statement released the same day, Secretary Tillerson conveyed: 

“Today we received with deep sadness the news that Otto Warmbier has passed away. On behalf of the entire State Department and the United States government, I extend my condolences to the Warmbier family, and offer my prayers as they enter a time of grief no parent should ever know.” - Secretary Rex Tillerson, Press Statement on June 19, 2017

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert extended the heartfelt condolences of the Secretary, the entire State Department, and the United States Government to Otto Warmbier’s  family. Both Spokesperson Nauert and Secretary Tillerson have made clear that the United States holds North Korea accountable for Warmbier’s unjust imprisonment, and demand the release of three other Americans who have been illegally detained.

As a reminder, the State Department strongly warns U.S. citizens against travel to North Korea.

State Department Marked 20 Years of the Chemical Weapon Convention

On June 20, the U.S. Department of State hosted a high-level forum where U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster provided keynote remarks. The day-long event at the U.S. Department of State examined the progress made and lessons learned in the two decades since the Chemical Weapons Convention's (CWC) entry into force, and participants discussed strategies to meet ongoing and future challenges.

Since its entry into force 20 years ago, the CWC has verified the destruction of approximately 95 percent of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles, and thereby made a significant contribution to making our world a safer place. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the CWC’s implementing body, has facilitated the destruction of chemical weapons in Albania, China, Iraq, Libya, Russia, Syria, and the United States – among others. Nonetheless, the international community’s work is far from done, and serious challenges remain.

SelectUSA Investment Summit Set Records Promoting Foreign Direct Investment to United States

On June 20, the Department of Commerce concluded its fourth SelectUSA Investment Summit. The summit set records for total registrations and participating international business representatives with more than 3,000 people registered for the Investment Summit, including 1,200 business representatives from 64 foreign markets. Secretary Tillerson provided a special  video message for SelectUSA attendees highlighting the unique ways the State Department can support foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. 

This annual Investment Summit connects global business leaders with U.S. economic development teams and businesses to facilitate U.S. investment. To learn more about foreign direct investment in the United States, go to www.selectusa.gov.  

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

Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.