This Week at State: November 10, 2017

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This Week at State: November 10, 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:

President Trump and Secretary Tillerson Travel to Asia

This week, President Donald Trump traveled to Japan, South Korea, and China, underscoring the Administration’s commitment to longstanding United States alliances and partnerships, and reaffirming United States leadership in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accompanied the President on the trip.

In Japan, President Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visited American and Japanese troops at Yokota Airbase. In his meetings, President Trump strengthened international resolve to denuclearize North Korea, promoted a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and promoted American prosperity and trade.

Secretary Tillerson, joined by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty, also met with Japanese business leaders to discuss economic cooperation and trade issues.

In South Korea, President Trump met with Korean President Moon Yae-in, visited American and Korean troops at Camp Humphries, and addressed the Korean National Assembly. During the visit, President Trump discussed international efforts to security challenges presented by North Korea, encouraged efforts to strengthen the United States-Republic of Korea alliance, and promoted American prosperity and trade through a commitment to improve the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement.

In China, President Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and addressed participants in a U.S.-China business exchange. During the visit, President Trump discussed the continued joint effort to increase pressure on North Korea, for need for fair and reciprocal trade, and collaboration on the opioid crisis, as well as other issues of mutual interest.

Secretary Tillerson gave remarks at a press briefing on November 9, where he spoke about President Trump’s visit, U.S.-China relations, and a number of key bilateral issues including North Korea, trade and investment, and human rights.

Following their departure from Beijing, President Trump and Secretary Tillerson travelled to Vietnam to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.

For additional information, photographs, and updates on the Secretary’s trip, visit the trip page on the Department’s website.

Secretary Tillerson Releases Joint Statement on Syria Chemical Weapons

On November 8, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a joint statement on Syria chemical weapons with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

In the statement, Secretary Tillerson and his counterparts expressed their support for the recent United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism findings regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The group condemned “the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere,” adding, “we agree that it is vital for the international community to continue to investigate cases where chemical weapons have been used in Syria.”

Their statement concluded by saying, “A robust international response is now essential to hold those responsible to account, seek justice for the victims of these abhorrent attacks and to prevent such attacks from happening again. After such a report, the Security Council and all its members have a common responsibility to protect the international non-proliferation regime and live up to their previous commitments.”

State Department Delegation Comments on Burma and Bangladesh Visit

A Department of State delegation, led by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Simon Henshaw, visited Burma and Bangladesh, October 29-November 4. Acting Assistant Secretary Henshaw commented on his trip during a policy briefing on November 7.

During the policy briefing, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert also spoke about her trip with the delegation.

Department of State Hosts Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact Signing with Côte d’Ivoire

U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO Jonathan Nash and President of the Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara pose for a photo with their counterparts before signing a new compact to spur economic growth and private investment in Cote D'ivoire at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on November 7, 2017. (State Department photo)

On November 7, the Department of State hosted the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) compact signing ceremony with the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. The ceremony formalized MCC’s new $525 million Côte d’Ivoire Compact, which will spur economic growth and private investment to reduce poverty and support regional stability in West Africa. Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Stephanie Sullivan represented the Department of State.

United States Condemns Anti-Democratic Actions in Venezuela

In a statement released on November 7, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert condemned the recent actions by the Maduro regime in Venezuela to strip the democratically elected National Assembly’s Vice President and opposition leader Freddy Guevara of his parliamentary immunity and barring him from leaving the country.

“The [Maduro] regime is pursuing yet another extreme measure to close the democratic space in Venezuela, criminalize dissent, and control information. Governance in Venezuela must be determined by the Venezuelan people, who have a right to engage freely and peacefully in political discourse. “

– Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert

Department of State Honors Award Winners for Volunteerism Abroad

On November 7, the State Department hosted the annual Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) ceremony honoring award recipients for outstanding volunteerism abroad. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources Constance Dierman spoke on behalf of the Department of State. Read more about some of the award recipients here: http://www.aafsw.org/congratulations-2017-sosa-winners/.

Department of State Commemorates Veterans Day

On November 7, the Department’s Office of Civil Rights and Veterans@State affinity group hosted the 15th Annual Veterans Day Roll Call to honor Veterans and acknowledge their contributions to the State Department and service to our country.

President of 'Veterans@State' -- District of Columbia Air National Guard Renee Lee delivers remarks at the 15th Annual Veterans Roll Call at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on November 7, 2017. (State Department photo)

Deputy Secretary John J. Sullivan, Vice Admiral Mark D. Harnitchek (U.S. Navy, Ret.), Brigadier General Billy Don Farris (U.S. Army, Ret.) and Travis Hall from Project Welcome Home Troops participated in the Department’s Veterans Day commemoration on November 9.

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan participates in the Veterans Day Commemoration event at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on November 9, 2017. (State Department photo)

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 Medium.