This Week at State: August 18, 2017

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This Week at State: August 18, 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 Confirms Commitment to Diversity in the Workplace, Emphasizes Integrity, and Condemns Racism

In his remarks addressing State Department student programs and fellowships participants, Secretary Tillerson confirmed his commitment to increase diversity within the State Department, especially at the highest ranks.  During his remarks, Secretary Tillerson also commented on race relations and hate speech in the United States while condemning racism and bigotry in all of its forms.

Secretary Tillerson Releases Annual International Religious Freedom Report

On August 15, 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released the 2016 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom at the Department of State.  In his remarks, he reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to religious freedom as both a core American value and a fundamental human right.

Secretaries Tillerson and Mattis: ‘We’re Holding Pyongyang to Account’

In an op-ed published on August 14 in The Wall Street Journal, Secretary of State Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Mattis outlined their unified pursuit of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.  The commentary outlined the United States’ diplomatic approach toward North Korea, including its shared goals with China and actions taken through the United Nations.

Secretaries Tillerson and Mattis Host Japanese Ministers to Discuss U.S.-Japan Security Cooperation

On August 17, Secretary of State Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Mattis hosted Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera for a Security Consultative Committee meeting.  During the meeting, Secretary Tillerson confirmed the United States’ commitment to security cooperation with Japan and the two countries’ shared resolve to protect their citizens and work for security and stability in Northeast Asia.  In addition to bilateral issues, Secretary Tillerson also addressed the situation in North Korea, developments in the East and South China Seas.

Department of State Expresses Condolences on Terrorist Attacks in Spain and Offers U.S. Assistance to Local Officials and American Citizens

Before his remarks at the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee, Secretary Tillerson expressed his condolences for the loss of life and injuries that occurred as a result of the August 17 terrorist attacks in Spain.  He also offered U.S. assistance to local officials and to American citizens affected through the embassy and consulates across Spain.

Secretary Tillerson Reaffirms Strong Relationship and Shared Values with Canadian Foreign Minister

Secretary of State Tillerson hosted Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland at the Department of State in Washington, DC on August 16th during Foreign Minister Freeland’s visit to Washington for the start of NAFTA renegotiations. In addition to NAFTA, the two leaders discussed North Korea, Venezuela, Ukraine, economic issues, and advancing the Columbia River Treaty.

Department of State Designates Additional Individuals and Group as Specially Designated Global Terrorists

As a part of its larger comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS, on August 17, the Department of State designated Ahmad Alkhald and Abu Yahya al-Iraqi as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.  This announcement expands the number of designated ISIS branches and individuals to more than 30.

In a separate announcement, the Department of State designated Hizbul Mujahideen—also known as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, also known as HM—as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

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.