This Week at State: October 12, 2018

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This Week at State: October 12, 2018

Did you miss key foreign policy developments this week? 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 key moments from This Week at State:

Secretary Pompeo Meets with Chairman Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang During Asia Trip

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo traveled to Tokyo, Japan; Pyongyang, DPRK; Seoul, Republic of Korea; and Beijing, China from October 6-8. In Tokyo, October 6-7, the Secretary met with Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Kono. In Pyongyang, October 7, the Secretary met with Chairman Kim Jong Un.

In Seoul, October 7-8, the Secretary met with President Moon Jae-in, and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha. In Beijing, October 8, the Secretary met with his Chinese counterparts to discuss bilateral, regional, and global issues. 

Throughout the Secretary’s trip, he reiterated the Administration’s continued focus on the final, fully verifiable, denuclearization of the DPRK, and longstanding commitment to our alliances and partnerships in the region.

View more highlights from the Secretary’s trip in this blog.

Secretary Pompeo Comments on Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

On October 8, Secretary Pompeo released a statement commenting on conflicting reports on the safety and whereabouts of prominent Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. 

“‎As the President has conveyed, the United States is concerned by his disappearance. State Department senior officials have spoken with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through diplomatic channels about this matter. We call on the government of Saudi Arabia to support a thorough investigation of Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation.”

- Secretary Pompeo

Secretary Pompeo and Deputy Secretary Sullivan Speak with Global Leaders

On October 10 Secretary Pompeo spoke by phone with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi and Canadian Foreign Minister Freeland.

On October 9, Deputy Secretary Sullivan met with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos at the Department.

Secretary Pompeo Addresses Roadblocks to State Department Staffing

Spokesperson Nauert commented on roadblocks to the State Department’s staffing on October 9.

On October 10, Secretary Pompeo released a statement addressing this issue.

“In order to conduct U.S. foreign policy, the State Department needs its full team in place. Today, there are more than 60 State Department nominees awaiting confirmation in the United States Senate. That's more than a quarter of all the senior-level confirmable positions at the Department. These are excellent candidates, a mix of career Foreign Service Officers and political nominees. More than a dozen of these qualified political nominees are being held up by Senate Democrats because of politics.”

- Secretary Pompeo

Secretary Pompeo Comments on Extradition of Iranian Official Asadollah Assadi

On October 10, Secretary Pompeo released a statement on the  extradition of Asadollah Assadi, an Iranian official working under diplomatic cover, from Germany for his role in the disrupted Iranian terrorist plot to bomb a political rally near Paris, France on June 30.

"The scale of this plot, which involved arrests of numerous suspects across Europe – including in Belgium, France, and Germany – reminds us that Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. This plot also lays bare Iran’s continued support of terrorism throughout Europe.”

- Secretary Pompeo

Secretary Pompeo Delivers Remarks at  the 36th Annual Jewish Institute for National Security of America Awards Dinner

On October 10, Secretary Pompeo delivered remarks at the 36th Annual Jewish Institute for National Security of America Awards Dinner, where he underscored the importance of the United States’ relationship with Israel.

The Secretary also addressed security issues in the region, including Iran’s role in the Syria conflict.

State Department Marks the International Day of the Girl Child

On October 11, the State Department joined the international community in commemorating the International Day of the Girl Child, a day on which we are reminded of the daily challenges facing girls around the world. Spokesperson Nauert commented on this International Day and shared that the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues welcomed members of the Afghanistan Girls Robotics team to the Department for meetings on the International Day of the Girl.

Read about the U.S. government's efforts to support girls’ health initiatives in this blog and this Q&A blog featuring a member of the award winning Afghan Girls Robotics team.

State Department Comments on Cameroon’s Presidential Election

On October 11, Spokesperson Nauert released a statement on Cameroon’s Presidential election.

“The United States reiterates its neutrality with respect to Cameroonians’ right to choose their leader and calls for calm and the careful, non-partisan conclusion of the remaining phases of the vote tabulation process. We appeal to all Cameroonians to exercise patience and avoid hate speech.”

- Spokesperson Nauert

Secretary Pompeo Chairs Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

On October 11, President Trump delivered remarks at the  President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Secretary Pompeo chaired the meeting, marking the Trump Administration’s first time convening the annual meeting of the task force.

Following the meeting, the Secretary released a statement highlighting four new initiatives, under which the U.S. government seeks to leverage input from human trafficking survivors to strengthen federal policy and programming efforts.

Read more about the Interagency Task Force meeting in this blog.

State Department Hosts Second Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America

On October 11, Vice President Michael R. Pence, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen, along with Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray and Secretary of Government Alfonso Navarrete, co-hosted the second Conference for Prosperity and Security in Central America, at the Department of State. The United States and Mexico reviewed progress on joint projects to augment the Northern Triangle governments’ efforts in these critical areas and address the drivers of illegal immigration.

Vice President Michael R. Pence, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen pose for a photo with leaders from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador at the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., on October 11, 2018. (State Department photo)

The first day of the conference, hosted by the State Department, was  themed prosperity day, and ended with concrete support for a safer and more prosperous Central America.

The second day, themed security day was hosted by the Department of Homeland Security, and focused on security cooperation, stemming the flow of illegal immigration, combating organized crime and gangs, and enhancing regional and citizen security. 

Learn more about the conference in this blog.

Secretary Pompeo Swears-in 195th Foreign Service Generalist Class

On October 12, Secretary Pompeo delivered remarks and led the swearing-in of the 195th Foreign Service Generalist Class at the State Department.

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo poses for a group photo after delivering remarks and administering the Oath of Office to the 195th Foreign Service Generalist Class, at the Department of State, October 12, 2018.

U.S. Welcomes the Release of Pastor Brunson from Turkey

On October 12, Secretary Pompeo addressed Pastor Brunson's release after being detained in Turkey. The White House Press Secretary also released a statement on Pastor Brunson's release. 

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.