This year marks 225 years since the United States opened a consulate in Curacao. A U.S. Consul designed the Queen Emma Bridge in Willemstad, which remains a strong symbol of our friendship as we continue to build a safe and more secure future for the Caribbean, foster entrepreneurship, and combat transnational crime.
As you honor Curacao’s culture and proud heritage, the United States stands with you. I extend warmest wishes for the year ahead, reflecting on our shared history and looking forward to strengthening U.S.-Curacao bridges into the future.
Extradition of Iranian Official Asadollah Assadi for Role in Paris Terrorist Plot
Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
October 10, 2018
Authorities in Germany announced yesterday the extradition of Asadollah Assadi, an Iranian official working under diplomatic cover, to Belgium 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. We support our European allies in exposing and countering the threat that Iranian-backed terrorism poses around the world. The United States will continue working with our partners and allies to confront the threat posed by the Iranian regime.
Secretary Pompeo's Call With Canadian Foreign Minister Freeland
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke by phone today with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. The two congratulated the U.S., Canada, and Mexico teams on reaching a successful conclusion to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Secretary Pompeo also expressed thanks to Canada for maintaining sanctions pressure on the DPRK.
Remarks With Traveling Press
SECRETARY POMPEO: Pretty close.
QUESTION: Like, so an announcement should be --
SECRETARY POMPEO: Hard to know. Hard to know. Sometimes that last issue is hard to close. But we’re getting pretty close. Yeah.
QUESTION: Okay. You want to --
SECRETARY POMPEO: And most importantly, both the leaders believe there’s real progress that can be made, substantive progress that can be made at the next summit, and so we’re going to get it at a time that works for each of the two leaders in a place that works for both of them. We’re not quite there yet, but we’ll get there.
QUESTION: Are you at a point, though, where you think it needs the top – in other words, you could – you’re not going to – it’s not – you’re not in a position now to be able to get that done? It’s got to go to the very highest level? Is that where we are?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So a couple things that came out of this. One is – and I’ll let Steve maybe make a comment here too – we will be – what’s the right way? We will be having more frequent and higher-level working group discussions than we’ve had in some time on a set of issues. So that was important good news. I think Steve’s counterpart will be Choe Son-hui. And we think – we think that’s important too. So we’ll have a chance to meet here in between the summit date as well. So we really hope we can deliver some good outcomes when the summit takes place. But we do think, right, this is a place where, ultimately, some of these big, difficult issues have to be resolved by the nations’ most senior leaders, and we’re hoping to have those presented in a way that the two leaders can resolve them when they get together.
QUESTION: All right. Last one from me. But is this kind of like the Vienna invitation that you – in your statement from --
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, it’s consistent with what we were seeking to do there.
QUESTION: But not necessarily Vienna for --
SECRETARY POMPEO: Who knows.
QUESTION: No, not for the summit, but I mean --
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. No, no, I’m – that’s what I’m saying. I don’t know where those – I mean, Steve, you want to say anything about it? Yeah.
MR BIEGUN: Sure. Good morning. The – so last night I issued an invitation to my counterpart to meet as soon as possible. We’re actually working on specific dates and location, and I was reassured to see today in the KCNA statement that the DPRK likewise has fully endorsed the idea that working-level talks will begin as soon as possible. So talks for the sake of talks, obviously, are no great accomplishment, but we actually have a full range of issues now to talk about too. When you combine the commitments that came out of the joint statement between the North and South in – from the Pyongyang summit as well as the issues that Secretary of State Pompeo and Chairman Kim discussed yesterday, we’re starting to see a first wave of actions we can take on all four pillars of the Singapore communique, for sure, but that’s specifically on the issue of denuclearization as well. So we’re very much looking forward to that.
Some of that is actually not even going to be about the threshold question of whether we can do this. It’s more the modalities of how we do this, and we’re looking forward very quickly to work that out with our DPRK counterparts, and really begin in earnest the process of denuclearization to fill the vision the President and Chairman Kim had from Singapore.
QUESTION: Can I ask a quick follow-up on the Trump-Kim summit? Will – are you guys ruling out Pyongyang as a location for that? I ask because North Koreans yesterday mentioned that to me as a place they’d like to see it happen. And will it happen in the next month?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Can’t answer either of those questions.
QUESTION: No? Okay. And then I guess a follow-up on the statement that Heather put out last night. Do you guys have a date for when international nuclear inspectors will be allowed onto the Punggye-ri location?
SECRETARY POMPEO: As soon as we get it logistically worked out, Chairman Kim said he’s ready to – ready to allow them to come in, and there’s a lot of logistics that will be required to execute that, but when we get them we’ll put them on the ground.
QUESTION: And in terms of forward movement on the summit between Moon and Kim Jong-un, they agreed that international inspectors would be allowed onto the – which one was it?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Punggye-ri. Yeah. And the missile engine test site.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes.
QUESTION: So --
SECRETARY POMPEO: So we’re hopeful that’ll occur as well.
QUESTION: The Yongbyon site?
SECRETARY POMPEO: You need to go back and reread. You --
QUESTION: No, they said international inspectors would be allowed into the Yongbyon site if the U.S. took corresponding measures.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Fair enough. Yeah.
QUESTION: So is there any forward movement on that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We don’t have any comment on the – again, we’re not going to talk about where we are in these negotiations except for things we have agreed to release with the North Koreans.
QUESTION: Could I ask you, Mr. Secretary, you mentioned you would bring up the abductee issue with Chairman Kim. Is --
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yep. We – we raise third-country issues each time we travel. The importance of making sure that we resolve all the issues, right – one of the key pillars of the statement between Chairman Kim and President Trump was that we would have better relationships, confidence-building measures. We would fundamentally change the nature of North Korea’s relationship with the rest of the world. And so there are many issues, including the abductee issue, that will need to be addressed in order to achieve that. And I think Chairman Kim understands that fully.
QUESTION: A follow-up on some of the questions about inspectors. Has it been decided which organization is going to --
SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t have any comment on that.
QUESTION: Who is the counterpart? I’m sorry, maybe I missed it. Who is going to --
MR BIEGUN: Well, we – this is all completely up to the North Koreans. They decide who sits across the table from us, but we have reason to believe it’ll be Choe Son-hui, the vice minister of foreign affairs.
QUESTION: Who is a known quantity?
MR BIEGUN: Mm-hmm, a very experienced negotiator, well known to our side, and somebody who we think can deliver good results for Chairman Kim and President Trump both.
QUESTION: I’m sorry, she was not there yesterday?
MR BIEGUN: No.
MS NAUERT: We’re heading to China today. Any questions about that?
Does anybody have anything on China?
QUESTION: Are you planning to meet with Xi Jinping?
SECRETARY POMPEO: No, I won’t be meeting with him today. I’ll be meeting with my two counterparts, Wang Yi, the foreign minister, and Yang Jiechi.
QUESTION: And do you expect them to raise the full gamut of their unhappiness with the administration, or is this just going to be a North Korea thing?
SECRETARY POMPEO: No, it’ll be a much broader discussion than that. I expect they’ll also raise the issues that they’re happy with – lots of places we find overlap in our interests as well – and we’ll explore all the places we’re working well together and all the concerns that each country has.
QUESTION: Are you worried about the Chinese and Russians’ meeting with North Korea in any way hurting the advancement that you can make in your discussions with North Korea?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Chairman Kim was very clear yesterday in our conversation about the things that we need to do between the United States and the DPRK. That’s what we’re focused on.
QUESTION: And ahead of your meeting with Prime Minister Abe, you spoke about wanting to synchronize the countries on the situation in North Korea. Have – in the last two days, I mean, have you found that the U.S, South Korea, and Japan are on the same page or are there areas of concern or disagreement that you’re encountering?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’ve never been involved in an international discussion where there weren’t differences of view, not only between governments but inside of governments, lots of thoughts. But if you look at the approach, we are in lockstep with each of those two countries in terms of how we approach achieving the results that everyone is aimed at. And so there’ll be tactical places where we’ll have debate and disagreement. That is a necessary component of getting to the best deliverable. But with respect to our relationships with the Republic of Korea and Japan on this issue, I have found that we are in lockstep on the most important issues and how to approach them.
QUESTION: I saw a couple of Japanese officials last night, so have you already briefed them?
MR BIEGUN: I did.
QUESTION: You did. And some officials were expecting that most likely you would fly back to Tokyo.
MR BIEGUN: Well, we’re moving on to Beijing, and from there we’re flying directly back to Washington, D.C. I’ve made a point to both our South Korean and our Japanese allies that I will be available before and after every discussion so that we’re in complete alignment and have full transparency between us on the discussions. Just for scheduling purposes, the Japanese – my Japanese counterparts were kind enough to fly here yesterday evening, and we had a late-night meeting where we went through the full gamut of discussions so that we can achieve exactly what the Secretary said, which is we stay on the same page on the big, important issues, and we are.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I should mention, so you can see from Steve’s first trip with me to Pyongyang and the work that he’s done already in advance of this, he is going to be at the very center of not only managing the relationship with North Korea and achieving the ends we are, but also making sure that we’re working with not only with the Republic of Korea and Japan, but there are many countries that have a deep interest – China, others.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Russia – that have deep interests in this set of issues. And Steve is going to take the responsibility to be working directly for me as the point person, making sure that we are communicating well, fully coordinated, we’re taking on information from them so that we don’t have disconnects between our allies and others with interests in making sure that denuclearization proceeds as quickly as possible.
QUESTION: It sounds like not very much sleep for you in the next couple months.
MR BIEGUN: He’s the boss.
QUESTION: Critics are going to say you guys came here, you didn’t accomplish anything new on denuclearization itself. What’s your response to that? Did you just come to set up the Trump-Kim summit?
SECRETARY POMPEO: On the process we made significant progress, we’ll continue to make significant process, and we are further along in making that progress than any administration in an awfully long time.
State Department Announces 23rd Experience America Visit to Charleston, S.C.
More than 30 foreign ambassadors – representing countries across four continents – will join Ambassador Sean P. Lawler, Chief of Protocol of the United States, to engage local business and community leaders and spotlight America’s communities. Transforming from an economy driven by tourism and aerospace manufacturing, the Charleston region is diversifying into a number of new business sectors, accelerating international exports and launching new programs to integrate into a global marketplace. The culture, diversity and competitiveness of the region continues to draw international firms to the area, which has powered growth across automotive, IT, life science and aerospace industries.
While embracing classic Southern charm, diplomats will learn firsthand about Charleston’s integration with the world – from the nearly $70 billion worth of cargo transported each year through the Port of Charleston, to the engineering advances developed at Clemson University for countless international projects, to the advanced manufacturing at Boeing’s signature production facility – as the region addresses critical challenges and opportunities.
Promoting economic development is a major priority of the visit. Experience America will build relationships between the visiting Ambassadors and Charleston, open doors for local organizations eager to develop global partnerships, and stimulate new investment and trade possibilities.
The following events are open to the press:
Sunday, October 14, 6:15pm – Welcome Reception aboard the USS Yorktown – Aboard one of the 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the U.S. Navy, and a national historic landmark, the foreign ambassadors will meet and interact with Charleston’s top business and cultural leaders. The event will feature remarks by Charleston representatives and Ambassador Lawler.
Monday, October 15, 9:00am – Regional Business Breakfast at Trident Technical College – The Charleston region is a home, workplace and inspiration to 750,000 people who are globally connected through trade, technology and travel, and locally engaged to craft a legacy for the future. Diplomats will meet with local business leaders and hear from manufacturing, technology and logistics executives leading companies operating across the region. This panel discussion will be held at Trident Technical College, a 2-year, multi-campus community college that provides quality education and promotes economic development.
Monday, October 15, 11:00am – Visit to Joint Base Charleston: Ambassadors will receive a mission briefing and tour a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 437th Airlift Wing. They will also tour the Transport Isolation System, or TIS, an asset the Department of Defense can use to safely transport patients with highly contagious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, and visit with explosive ordnance disposal Airmen assigned to the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron. The Charleston Region contains the largest military presence in South Carolina, with an annual economic impact of approximately $10.8 billion that is supported by 68,529 jobs. JB Charleston is “The Launch Point for the Nation's Resolve” because it comprises the strategic mobility triad. Uniquely, JB Charleston has air, land and sealift capabilities to support the nation's warfighters. It is comprised of 23,000 acres and provides installation support to more than 60 mission partners representing all military services (Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marine Corps) as well as Federal Law Enforcement Training agencies. Overall, JB Charleston services a total population of 90,000 active duty, reserve, civilian, dependent and retiree members while maintaining and operating $7.8 billion of physical infrastructure spanning three seaports, two civil-military international airfields, 22 miles of coastline and 38 miles of rail.
Monday, October 15, 1:00pm – Tour of Clemson Turbine, Clemson University SCE&G Energy Innovation Center: Diplomats will visit The Clemson University Restoration Institute (CURI) to tour a diverse range of projects focusing on restoration ecology, historic preservation, advanced material research, marine conservation and electric grid testing. The CURI provides researchers, scientists, students and faculty with opportunity to impact the growing tech economy while also appreciating the rich historical heritage in the surrounding area. It was stablished in 2004 as a means for driving economic growth, innovation and workforce development in South Carolina's Lowcountry.
Monday, October 15, 5:30pm – Community Reception with Mayor John Tecklenburg, Business and Community Leaders – During an evening reception in historic Charleston, elected officials and community leaders will meet with ambassadors to discuss how international trade and innovation are fueling growth in the regional economy. The event will feature remarks by Ambassador Lawler and Mayor Tecklenburg.
Tuesday, October 16, 9:00am – Breakfast at the College of Charleston: At this event, the rich culture of Charleston will be explored through a variety of presentations focusing on food, social commentary and music. College of Charleston students, faculty and staff will connect with diplomats and forge new partnerships. President Steve Osborne, Addlestone Library’s scholar-in-residence and local historian Harlan Greene and others will deliver remarks.
Tuesday, October 16, 1:00pm – Tour of Boeing Charleston Delivery Center: Boeing will provide a tour and briefing to the visiting Ambassadors to showcase the latest in innovation and aerospace manufacturing. Diplomats will experience the world’s only “freezer-to-flight” manufacturing facility where the most technologically advanced commercial airplane on the market is produced. The briefing will also discuss the importance of creating partnerships across the public and private sectors, as well investing in the community and nourishing a workforce pipeline through those partnerships.
The visit will also include closed-press activities, such as a tour of the Port of Charleston, an editorial tour of Garden and Gun Magazine, and cultural and historic tours of Charleston.
For more information and to RSVP for one or multiple events, please contact Tim Gowa at GowaTM@state.gov by October 12 at 12:00pm.
United States and Mexico To Co-Host Second Prosperity and Security Conference in Central America
The United States and Mexico will review progress on joint projects to augment the Northern Triangle governments’ efforts in these critical areas and address the drivers of illegal immigration. The United States will discuss progress under the U.S. Strategy for Central America, while El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will highlight their efforts under the Northern Triangle Governments’ Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity.
On Prosperity Day, October 11, hosted at the Department of State, participants will identify steps to further strengthen and expand projects promoting economic opportunity, infrastructure, economic integration, and energy markets. On Security Day, October 12, hosted by the Department of Homeland Security at the U.S. Institute of Peace, participants will discuss security cooperation, stemming the flow of illegal immigration, combating organized crime and gangs, and enhancing regional and citizen security.
The U.S. Government collaborates with the governments of the Northern Triangle to address the underlying conditions driving illegal immigration to the United States. By reducing crime and violence, attacking corruption, disrupting the activities of transnational criminal organizations, and helping these countries provide greater economic opportunity, the United States remains committed to fostering a strong, vibrant, prosperous, and secure Western hemisphere.
The family photo and opening session of the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America on Thursday, October 11 at 10:05 a.m. will be open press.
Pre-set time for video cameras: 6:15 a.m. from the C Street Lobby Entrance.
Final access time for still photographers and journalists: 8:45 a.m. from the 23rd Street Entrance.
The event will be streamed live on www.state.gov and Facebook.com/usdos. Please follow @StateDept for more information.
Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver's license, passport).
For further information, please contact the Department of State’s Office of Press Relations on 202-647-2492 or via e-mail at PAPressDuty@state.gov.