This Week at State: October 6, 2017

6 minutes read time
This Week at State: October 6, 2017

This Week at State: October 6, 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 Addresses Global Challenges Annual Meeting 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave keynote remarks at the Global Challenges Annual Meeting 2017 in Washington on October 4. In his remarks, he emphasized the United States’ commitment to be a leader in global health and development, highlighting the success of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. role in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA.) For a full recap of Secretary Tillerson’s remarks, check out this DipNote entry.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered the keynote remarks at the 13th Annual Grand Challenges Meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 4, 2017.

United States Expels 15 Diplomats from Cuban Embassy

On October 3, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the Department of State informed the Government of Cuba that it was ordering the departure of 15 officials from its embassy in Washington, D.C. The decision was made due to Cuba’s failure to take appropriate steps to protect our diplomats in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Convention.

This action followed the Department of State’s September 29 ordered departure of non-emergency personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, as well as all family members. The United States will continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, and will continue to cooperate with Cuba on the investigation into the attacks on U.S. diplomats. 

Secretary Tillerson Travels to China, U.S. and China Conclude Strategic Dialogues

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson travelled to Beijing, China for a series of meetings with Chinese government officials from September 28 to October 1. During his visit, he met with Chinese President Xi JinpingForeign Minister Wang Yi, and State Councilor Yang Jiechi. To read more about Secretary Tillerson’s visit, see this DipNote entry.

The United States and China held the last of four strategic dialogues on the topic of law enforcement and cybersecurity on October 4. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan hosted the dialogue, which was co-chaired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke on the U.S. side, and State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun on the Chinese side.

Secretary Tillerson Meets with Pakistani Foreign Minister

On October 4, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif at the Department of State. In a  press availability later that day, Secretary Tillerson addressed the U.S.-Pakistan relationship saying, “the Pakistan relationship and the U.S. relationship is extraordinarily important regionally.” Speaking of the United States’ South Asia strategy, he added, “it really is a regional approach, and Pakistan is critical, I think, to the long-term stability of the region.” 

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif at the U.S. Department of State on October 4, 2017.

United States Submits Bid for Expo 2023 in Minnesota

On October 5, the United States gathered member states of the Bureau of International Expositions in Paris to discuss its bid for Expo 2023, to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The U.S. bid centers on the theme of “Healthy People, Healthy Planet.” For additional information on the United States’ Expo 2023 bid, check out this DipNote entry.

United States Maintains Open Channels of Communication with North Korea

During a press roundtable in Beijing on September 30, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that the United States has open channels of communication with North Korea. “We have lines of communications to Pyongyang. We’re not in a dark situation, a blackout. We have a couple, three channels open to Pyongyang. We can talk to them. We do talk to them,” Secretary Tillerson said.

Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert expanded on this remark through a statement stating, “North Korean officials have shown no indication that they are interested in or are ready for talks regarding denuclearization.”

United States Expresses Concern about Violence in Cameroon

In a statement released on October 4, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert expressed the United States’ deep concern regarding the violence and loss of life in Cameroon since October 1. 

“The Cameroonian government’s use of force to restrict free expression and peaceful assembly, and violence by protestors, are unacceptable… we call on all sides to engage in dialogue for a peaceful, durable resolution.” – Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert

United States Highlights Key Outcomes at UN Human Rights Council's 36th Session

In a fact sheet released on October 3, the United States highlighted the key outcomes of its priorities at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 36th Session.

“At the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, September 11-29, U.S. leadership was active and effective in shaping the international response to urgent human rights situations. On numerous resolutions and actions covering both country-specific and thematic topics, U.S. engagement protected critical equities of the United States, provided clarity on country-specific situations, and achieved successful outcomes on difficult issues.” – Office of the Spokesperson

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

Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on