This Week at State: August 11, 2017

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This Week At State - August 11, 2017

This Week at State: August 11, 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 Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to the Asia-Pacific With Trip to the Region

U.S. Secretary Rex W. Tillerson traveled to Manila, Philippines on August 5 to participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit Ministerial, the U.S.- ASEAN Ministerial, and the Lower Mekong Initiative Ministerial. During a series of meetings with ASEAN counterparts on August 6-7, Secretary Tillerson discussed a range of issues, including the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maritime security, and counterterrorism. Secretary Tillerson also celebrated 40 years of close ties between the United States and ASEAN.  

In Manila, Secretary Tillerson held a press availability, during which he discussed UN Security Council Resolution 2371, the situation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), U.S.- ASEAN relations, China, and Russia. The Secretary said:

"The strong UN Security Council resolution unanimously approved, working in coordination with China and Russia both to put out a statement from the Security Council that I think is quite clear in terms of there being no daylight among the international community as to the expectation that North Korea will take steps to achieve all of our objectives, which is a denuclearized Korean Peninsula."

Secretary Tillerson also took the opportunity to honor fallen heroes at the American Battle Monuments Commission's Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson honors fallen heroes at the American Battle Monuments Commission's Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City, Philippines, on August 6, 2017.

Following the ASEAN Forum, Secretary Tillerson traveled to Bangkok, Thailand on August 8 to pay respects to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and engage with Thai officials on the enduring U.S.-Thailand partnership as well as regional issues.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pays respects to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the Red Room of the Chambers of the Bureau of the Royal Household at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, on August 8, 2017.

While in Thailand, Secretary Tillerson met with U.S. embassy staff and their family. Acknowledging their hard work,  Secretary Tillerson said, “Your patriotism is clear to all of us. And your commitment to the mission here in Thailand is quite evident.” 

During his remarks, Secretary Tillerson emphasized the long and historic nature of the U.S.-Thailand relationship. He said, “We have been treaty partners for over 184 years, and we've been allies for over 60. Next year the U.S., I think most of you know, will mark 200 years of relations with Thailand. I think that's significant because elections are scheduled here in Thailand next year, as well, to return the country to civilian control. We certainly hope those elections proceed as scheduled. And I think it'll be meaningful that we're celebrating 200 years at a time when the country is returning to civilian control.”

Secretary Tillerson also had the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House to discuss regional issues and bilateral cooperation.

Secretary Tillerson concluded his travel in the region with a stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. During his visit, the Secretary met with Malaysia Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak and Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi. The Secretary discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation and marked the 60th anniversary of U.S.- Malaysia relations.

Secretary Tillerson’s travel reaffirms the Administration’s commitment to further broaden and enhance U.S. economic and security interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

Secretary Tillerson Addresses the Situation in North Korea

While en route to Guam following his travel to Southeast Asia, Secretary Tillerson spoke with journalists about the latest developments on North Korea.

In his remarks to the press, Secretary Tillerson stated:

"The U.S. and international community with respect to North Korea has actually had a pretty good week. We had a unanimous UN Security Council resolution strengthening sanctions against North Korea with China and Russia joining us in that vote, and then at ASEAN, a lot of strong statements coming out of ASEAN, and I think also reinforced with a global community that has expressed its view that North Korea really needs to stand down this program.”

During the State Department press briefing on August 9, Spokesperson Heather Nauert emphasized that the United States and the world are speaking with one voice on the DPRK, as evidenced by the passage of the UN Security Council resolution on strengthening North Korean sanctions.

U.S. Trade Representative, Senior State Department Officials Attend 2017 AGOA Forum in Lome, Togo

Senior Bureau Official for African Affairs Peter Barlerin accompanied U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer as part of the U.S. delegation to the 2017 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, held August 8-10 in Lomé, Togo. The annual forum provides a platform for promoting stronger economic ties between the United States and qualifying sub-Saharan African countries.

Led by U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer, the U.S. delegation included senior officials from the U.S. Departments of State, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, and Transportation, as well as other U.S. government agencies and Congress.

United States and India Will Co-Host 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, India

The United States and India will co-host the eighth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) November 28-30 in Hyderabad, India. Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, will lead the United States’ delegation to the Summit, which will focus on supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth globally.

President Donald J. Trump originally announced the Summit during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House on June 26, 2017. The theme of this year’s GES is Women First, Prosperity for All, which highlights that when women do better, countries do better.  GES 2017 will create an environment that empowers innovators, particularly women, to take their ideas to the next level.  This year marks the first GES held in South Asia and underscores the broad and enduring partnership between the United States and India.

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.