Daily Archives: November 15, 2017

Remarks by President Trump on His Trip to Asia

Diplomatic Reception Room

3:35 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

Last night, I returned from a historic 12-day trip to Asia. This journey took us to five nations to meet with dozens of foreign leaders, participate in three formal state visits, and attend three key regional summits. It was the longest visit to the region by an American President in more than a quarter of a century.

Everywhere we went, our foreign hosts greeted the American delegation, myself included, with incredible warmth, hospitality, and most importantly respect. And this great respect showed very well our country is — further evidence that America’s renewed confidence and standing in the world has never been stronger than it is right now.

When we are confident in ourselves, our strength, our flag, our history, our values — other nations are confident in us. And when we treat our citizens with the respect they deserve, other countries treat America with the respect that our country so richly deserves.

During our travels, this is exactly what the world saw: a strong, proud, and confident America.

Today, I want to update the American people on the tremendous success of this trip and the progress we’ve made to advance American security and prosperity throughout the year.

When I came into office, our country was faced with a series of growing dangers. These threats included rogue regimes pursuing deadly weapons, foreign powers challenging America’s influence, the spread of the murderous terror group ISIS, and years of unfair trade practices that had dangerously depleted our manufacturing base and wiped out millions and millions of middle-class jobs.

The challenges were inherited, and these products really showed what previous mistakes were made over many years — and even decades — by other administrations. Some of these mistakes were born of indifference and neglect. Others from naïve thinking and misguided judgement. In some cases, the negative influence of partisan politics and special interests was to blame. But the one common thread behind all of these problems was a failure to protect and promote the interests of the American people and American workers.

Upon my inauguration, I pledged that we would rebuild America, restore its economic strength, and defend its national security. With this goal in mind, I vowed that we would reaffirm old alliances and form new friendships in pursuit of shared goals. Above all, I swore that in every decision, with every action, I would put the best interests of the American people first.

Over the past 10 months, traveling across the globe and meeting with world leaders, that is exactly what I have done.

Earlier this year, in Saudi Arabia, I spoke to the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations about our strategy to defeat terrorists by stripping them of financing, territory, and ideological support. And I urged the leaders to drive out the terrorists and extremists from their societies. Since that time, we have dealt ISIS one crushing defeat after another.

In Israel, I reaffirmed the unbreakable bond between America and the Jewish State, and I met with leaders of the Palestinian Authority and initiated an effort to facilitate lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

In Brussels, I urged our NATO allies to do more to strengthen our crucial alliance and set the stage for significant increases in member contributions. Billions and billions of dollars are pouring in because of that initiative. NATO, believe me, is very happy with Donald Trump and what I did.

In Warsaw, I declared to the world America’s resolve to preserve and protect Western civilization and the values we hold so dear.

In Rome, Sicily, Hamburg, and Paris, I strengthened our friendships with key allies to promote our shared interests of security and prosperity.

In September, at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, I urged that the nations of the world join in confronting rogue regimes that threaten humanity and laid out a model for international cooperation grounded in respect for sovereignty and the responsibilities that come with it.

On each trip, I have worked to advance American interests and leadership in the world.

And to each of these places, I have carried our vision for a better — a vision for something stronger and sovereign — so important — sovereign and independent nations, rooted in their histories, confident in their destinies, and cooperating together to advance their security, prosperity, and the noble cause of peace.

It was this same vision that I carried to Asia two weeks ago. And it was this same commitment to you, the American people, that was always at the forefront of my mind and my thinking.

Our trip was defined by three core goals. First: to unite the world against the nuclear menace posed by the North Korean regime, a threat that has increased steadily through many administrations and now requires urgent action.

Second: to strengthen America’s alliances and economic partnerships in a free and open Indo-Pacific, made up of thriving, independent nations, respectful of other countries and their own citizens, and safe from foreign domination and economic servitude.

And third: to finally — after many years — insist on fair and reciprocal trade. Fair and reciprocal trade — so important. These two words — fairness and reciprocity — are an open invitation to every country that seeks to do business with the United States, and they are a firm warning to every country that cheats, breaks the rules, and engages in economic aggression — like they’ve been doing in the past, especially in the recent past.

That is why we have almost an $800-billion-a-year trade deficit with other nations. Unacceptable. We are going to start whittling that down, and as fast as possible.

With these goals, it was my profound honor to travel on this journey as your representative. I explained to all of the world leaders, and across Asia, how well the United States is doing. Economic growth has been over 3 percent the last two quarters and is going higher. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 17 years. The stock market has gained trillions of dollars in value since my election and has reached record highs. We are massively increasing our military budget to historic levels. The House has just passed a nearly $700 billion defense package, and it could not come at a better time for our nation.

Once again our country is optimistic about the future, confident in our values, and proud of our history and a role in the world.

I want to thank every citizen of this country for the part you have played in making this great American comeback possible. In Asia, our message was clear and well received: America is here to compete, to do business, and to defend our values and our security.

We began our trip in Hawaii to pay our respects to brave American servicemembers at Pearl Harbor and the United States Pacific Command, the guardian of our security and freedom across the Indo-Pacific region.

our country prepared to observe Veterans Day, we remembered the incredible sacrifices and courage of all of the veterans whose service has preserved our liberty and a way of life that is very special. We also thanked military families for their support for our brave servicemen and women.

From Hawaii, we traveled to Japan, a crucial U.S. ally and partner in the region. Upon landing in Japan, my first act was to thank the American servicemembers and Japanese Self-Defense Forces who personify the strength of our enduring alliance.

Prime Minister Abe and I agreed on our absolute determination to remain united to achieve the goal of denuclearized North Korea. Shortly following our visit, Japan announced additional sanctions on 35 North Korean entities and individuals. Japan also committed to shouldering more of the burden of our common defense by reimbursing costs borne by American taxpayers, as well as by making deep investments in Japan’s own military. This will include purchases of U.S. advanced capabilities — from jet fighters to missile defense systems worth many, many billions of dollars — and jobs for the American worker.

The Prime Minister and I also discussed ways we can deepen our trade relationship based on the core principles of fairness and reciprocity. I am pleased that since January of this year, Japanese companies have announced investments in the United States worth more than $8 billion — 17,000 jobs. Thank you.

Oh, they don’t have water? That’s okay. What? That’s okay.

(Drinks water.)

THE PRESIDENT: Japanese manufacturers, Toyota and Mazda, announced that they will be opening a new plant in the United States that will create 4,000 jobs.

We also signed agreements between our nations to enhance infrastructure development, increase access to affordable energy, and advance our foreign policy goals through economic investment.

From Japan, we traveled to another key American ally in Asia — the Republic of Korea. My official state visit to South Korea was the first by an American President in 25 years.

Speaking before the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, I spoke the truth about the evil crimes of the North Korean regime, and I made clear that we will not allow this twisted dictatorship to hold the world hostage to nuclear blackmail.

I called on every nation, including China and Russia, to unite in isolating the North Korean regime — cutting off all ties of trade and commerce — until it stops its dangerous provocation on — and this is the whole key to what we’re doing — on denuclearization. We have to denuclearize North Korea.

We have ended the failed strategy of strategic patience, and, as a result, we have already seen important progress — including tough new sanctions from the U.N. council — we have a Security Council that has been with us and just about with us from the beginning.

South Korea agreed to harmonize sanctions and joined the United States in sanctioning additional rogue actors whose fund and funds have helped North Korea and North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. It’s unacceptable to us.

The United States welcomed the decision of President Moon to remove the payload restrictions on missiles to combat the North Korean threat. And together we reaffirmed our commitment to a campaign of maximum pressure.

Like Japan, South Korea is increasing its defense contributions. During our meetings, President Moon acknowledged his desire for equitable cost-sharing for the United States military forces stationed in South Korea. And I visited soldiers at Camp Humphreys, a brand-new, joint American-South Korean base, paid for almost entirely by the South Korean government. At that base, I discussed with the United States and South Korean military leaders both military options and readiness to respond to North Korean provocation or offensive actions.

During our visit, President Moon and I also discussed America’s commitment to reducing our trade deficit with South Korea. At my discretion and direction, we are currently renegotiating the disastrous U.S.-Korea trade agreement signed under the previous administration. It has been a disaster for the United States.

Last week, 42 South Korean companies announced their intent to invest in projects worth more than $17 billion dollars in the United States, and 24 companies announced plans to purchase $58 billion dollars in American goods and services.

From South Korea, Melania and I traveled to China, where, as in Japan and South Korea, we were greatly honored by the splendor of our reception. Our trip included the first official dinner held for a foreign leader in the Forbidden City since the founding of the modern China, where we enjoyed a very productive evening hosted by President Xi and his wonderful wife, Madam Pung.

During our visit, President Xi pledged to faithfully implement United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea and to use his great economic influence over the regime to achieve our common goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

President Xi recognizes that a nuclear North Korea is a grave threat to China, and we agreed that we would not accept a so-called “freeze for freeze” agreement like those that have consistently failed in the past. We made that time is running out and we made it clear, and all options remain on the table.

I also had very candid conversations with President Xi about the need to reduce our staggering trade deficit with China and for our trading relationship to be conducted on a truly fair and equitable basis. We can no longer tolerate unfair trading practices that steal American jobs, wealth, and intellectual property. The days of the United States being taken advantage of are over.

In China, we also announced $250 billion worth in trade-investment deals that will create jobs in the United States.

From China, I flew to the city of Da Nang in Vietnam, to attend the Leaders Meeting for APEC — Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. There, I spoke to a major gathering of business leaders, where I reminded the world of America’s historic role in the Pacific as a force for freedom and for peace.

Standing on this proud history, I offered our vision for robust trading relationships in which Indo-Pacific nations can all prosper and grow together. I announced that the United States is ready to make bilateral trade deals with any nation in the region that wants to be our partner in fair and reciprocal trade.

We will never again turn a blind eye to trading abuses, to cheating, economic aggression, or anything else from countries that profess a belief in open trade, but do not follow the rules or live by its principles themselves.

No international trading organization can function if members are allowed to exploit the openness of others for unfair economic gain. Trade abuses harm the United States and its workers — but no more. No more.

We will take every trade action necessary to achieve the fair and reciprocal treatment that the United States has offered to the rest of the world for decades.

My message has resonated. The 21 APEC leaders — for the first time ever — recognized the importance of fair and reciprocal trade, recognized the need to address unfair trade practices, and acknowledged that the WTO is in strong need of reform. These leaders also noted that countries must do a better job following the rules to which they agreed.

I also made very clear that the United States will promote a free and open Indo-Pacific in which nations enjoy the independence and respect they deserve.

In Vietnam, during a state visit in Hanoi, I also met with President Quang and Prime Minister Fook to discuss the growing friendship between our countries. Our Vietnamese partners are taking new actions to enforce sanctions on North Korea. In addition, we committed to expand trade and investment between our countries, and we pledged to address the imbalances. I am particularly pleased that the United States and Vietnam recently announced $12 billion in commercial agreements, which will include $10 billion in U.S. content.

Finally, I visited the Philippines, where I met with numerous world leaders at the U.S.-ASEAN and East Asia Summits. At ASEAN — the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — we made it clear that no one owns the ocean. Freedom of navigation and overflight are critical to the security and prosperity of all nations.

I also met with the Prime Ministers of India, Australia, and Japan to discuss our shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

During our visit, President Duterte of the Philippines thanked the American people and our armed forces for supporting the recent liberation of Marawi from ISIS. We pledged to strengthen and deepen our long-standing alliance.

At the East Asia Summit, the United States negotiated and signed four important leaders’ statements on the use of chemical weapons, money laundering, poverty alleviation, and countering terrorist propaganda and financing.

And crucially, at both summits and throughout the trip, we asked all nations to support our campaign of maximum pressure for North Korean denuclearization. And they are responding by cutting trade with North Korea, restricting financial ties to the regime, and expelling North Korean diplomats and workers.

Over the last two weeks, we have made historic strides in reasserting American leadership, restoring American security, and reawakening American confidence.

Everywhere we went, I reaffirmed our vision for cooperation between proud, independent and sovereign countries — and I made clear that the United States will be a reliable friend, a strong partner, and a powerful advocate for its own citizens.

The momentum from our trip will launch us on our continued effort to accomplish the three core objectives I outlined: to unite the world against North Korean nuclear threat, to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and to advance fair and reciprocal economic relations with our trading partners and allies in the region.

We have established a new framework for trade that will ensure reciprocity through enforcement actions, reform of international organizations, and new fair trade deals that benefit the United States and our partners.

And we have laid out a pathway toward peace and security in our world where sovereign nations can thrive, flourish, and prosper side-by-side.

This is our beautiful vision for the future. This is a where this vision — this dream — is only possible if America is strong, proud, and free.

long as we are true to ourselves, faithful to our founding, and loyal to our citizens, then there is no task too great, no dream too large, no goal beyond our reach.

My fellow citizens: America is back. And the future has never looked brighter.

Thank you. God Bless you and God Bless the United States of America. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you all.



3:56 P.M. EST

“We believe in peacekeeping” pledges Canadian Prime Minister

Listen /

UN Peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix, addressing the Opening Plenary Session of the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference in Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Matt Wells/UN News

Peacekeeping has the power to transform the world but bold innovations are needed to make UN missions more effective in the years ahead.

That’s according to Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, in his key address to the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference, taking place in Vancouver.

The UN’s peacekeeping chief told the largest annual meeting of defence ministers from around the world that the challenges missions face could be overcome, but “we cannot do it alone”.

Matt Wells is in Vancouver.

The gathering of more than 80 defence ministerial teams involved in peacekeeping, hosted by Canada, began with the last post, in honour of the hundreds of UN blue helmets from dozens of nations, who have lost their lives over the past 70 years.

Under-Secretary-General in charge of peacekeeping, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, said peacekeeping missions faced greater challenges than ever before, and there were crucial gaps such as helicopters and better-qualified personnel, which urgently needed to be filled.

“We can overcome these challenges; we cannot do it alone. We need you, we need your support, we need the support of troop-contributing countries, we need the support of civil society, and outstanding leaders who can help us in defence, and in support of the UN. So we at the UN will work tirelessly to make UN peacekeeping more effective and more efficient.”

Mr Lacroix told the packed conference chamber that a greater focus was needed on key priorities, finding political solutions to intractable conflicts, and boosting the presence of women so that peacekeepers could truly be a “force for peace and justice”.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the first so-called “smart pledges” of the day, designed to fill gaps in dangerous missions in countries such as Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He unveiled the new Vancouver Principles on preventing child soldiers from even reaching the battlefield, and promised that Canada would do all in its power to help transform UN peacekeeping.

“Modern peace operations bring with them some of the biggest challenges, the toughest decisions and the most heart-breaking consequences of anything we do. But our commitment to the effort endures, because we believe in peacekeeping. We have seen its power to transform and we know there is no greater gift that we can leave our children and our grandchildren than true and lasting peace. So let’s be bold, let us innovate. Let us try new things. Let us be the change we need, to build a more peaceful world together.”

Mr Trudeau made four commitments including a new initiative to increase womens’ participation as the best way of tackling root causes of conflict; new training teams which would aide blue helmets before and during deployment; and tangible assets such as a tactical airlift capability for the UN’s transport hub in East Africa.

This is Matt Wells, reporting for UN News from Vancouver, Canada.

Duration: 2’40″

Feature Photo:  Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressing the Opening Plenary Session of the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference in Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Matt Wells/UN News

“We will not allow ourselves to be limited:” UN Gender Award Winner

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Major Seitbebasto Pearl Block receiving the UN’s Military Gender Advocate of the Year award from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.
Matt Wells/UN News

“One woman at a time,” the vision of gender in peacekeeping will change.

That’s the optimistic view of the recipient of the United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year award, Major Seitbebasto Pearl Block from South Africa, who serves as an Information Operations Officer with the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO.

Major Block’s outstanding work includes developing a mission-wide SMS campaign on conflict-related sexual violence to reach communities who would otherwise not be easily accessible.

She shared with Zeenat Abdool the significance of receiving this award, which will be presented during the UN Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

Duration: 4’00″

Security Council renews mandate of UN peacekeeping force in Abyei for six months

15 November 2017 &#150 The Security Council on Wednesday extended until 15 May 2018 the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Abyei, a contested area on the Sudan-South Sudan border.

Unanimously adopting a resolution, the 15-member body also extended, for the same duration, the tasks of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) set out in the resolution that authorized the deployment of UNISFA in 2011.

Further, the Council extended until 15 April 2018 UNISFA’s support for the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, which was established by the two countries as part of the negotiations on South Sudan’s secession from Sudan in July 2011.

In doing so, however, the Council decided that this renewal of UNISFA’s support for the Mechanism will be &#8220the final such extension&#8221 unless Sudan and South Sudan ensure the free, unhindered and expeditious movement to and from Abyei and throughout the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone of all personnel, as well as equipment, provisions, supplies and other goods, including vehicles, aircraft, and spare parts, which are for the exclusive and official use of UNISFA.

The Council further decided to maintain the authorized troop ceiling of 4,791 until 15 April 2018, but the ceiling will decrease to 4,235 unless the Council decides to extend UNISFA’s support for the Mechanism.

President Donald J. Trump's Visit to Asia Advanced America First Priorities

“I’m here to advance peace, to promote security, and to work with you to achieve a truly free and open Indo-Pacific, where we are proud and we have sovereign nations, and we thrive, and everybody wants to prosper.” – President Donald J. Trump

INVESTING IN AMERICAN WORKERS: During his trip through Asia, President Donald J. Trump secured new projects and deals that will bring investment back to the United States and employ American workers.

  • In China, trade and investment deals potentially worth $250 billion were announced that will create jobs for American workers, increase United States exports to China, and stimulate investment in American communities.
  • South Korean companies announced 64 new projects that will invest more than $17 billion in the United States over the next four years, as well as plans to purchase $58 billion in United States goods and services, including $23 billion in energy purchases.
  • The United States and Vietnam welcomed the conclusion of $12 billion in commercial agreements, which when implemented will include $10 billion in United States content.

FAIR AND RECIPROCAL TRADE: President Trump advanced fair trade between the United States and its partners in Asia, working to end years of one-sided and unbalanced trade that has left too many Americans behind.

  • In Japan, President Trump delivered clear messages on the need for balanced trade and greater market access commitments, and Japan committed to improving trade in the areas of motor vehicles and life sciences innovation.
  • President Trump and President Moon of the Republic of Korea stated their commitment to quickly renegotiate the U.S.-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) and to reducing the United States’ trade deficit with the Republic of Korea and achieving balanced and reciprocal trade between the two countries.
  • In China, President Trump underscored the importance of rebalancing the bilateral economic relationship and pressed to reduce the trade deficit by eliminating barriers to trade, guaranteeing fair and reciprocal treatment to United States companies and exports, implementing market-oriented reforms, and eliminating forced intellectual property transfer and theft.
  • President Trump and Vietnamese leaders pledged to deepen and expand bilateral trade and investment relations, in line with the President’s commitment to pursuing fair and reciprocal trade with key trading partners.

DENUCLEARIZE NORTH KOREA: President Trump prioritized advancing the global Maximum Pressure Campaign against North Korea, encouraging all responsible Nations to work to compel the North Korean regime to denuclearize.

  • President Trump renewed his commitment to enhance Japan’s and the Republic of Korea’s defense capabilities and to defend both countries against North Korean aggression.

    • President Trump and President Moon welcomed the adoption of the Republic of Korea’s Revised Missile Guidelines (2017) to remove the Republic of Korea’s missile payload restrictions in order to better address the North Korean threat.
    • President Trump underscored his commitment to making advanced defensive equipment available to Japan.
  • During the trip, the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea pledged to boost trilateral security cooperation to enhance deterrence against North Korean aggression.
  • President Trump and President Xi of China reaffirmed their commitment to achieving complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and stated they will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state.

    • China affirmed it would fully implement United Nations Security Council resolutions to pressure North Korea to eliminate its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
  • The President secured new commitments from Vietnam’s leaders to increase pressure on North Korea to come back to the path of denuclearization.

PROMOTE A FREE AND OPEN INDO-PACIFIC REGION: President Trump’s trip to five Asian nations strengthened existing relations and advanced high-standard rules that will enable regional development and prosperity.

  • While visiting Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines, President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to promoting prosperity, development, and security in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • In Japan, the two nations launched the Strategic Energy Partnership, which supports universal access to affordable and reliable energy, and agreed to cooperate to offer high-quality infrastructure investment options in the Indo-pacific region. 
  • In the Republic of Korea, President Trump delivered a clear message that the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea will be strengthened and grounded in shared values and mutual trust.
  • In China, President Trump and President Xi constructively exchanged of views on regional security and maritime issues, and agreements were made regarding joint projects on HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases.
  • In Vietnam, a new three-year plan of action for defense cooperation was concluded to increase bilateral naval activities, including the formal transfer of United States Coast Guard cutter to the Vietnamese Navy.

    • President Trump and President Quang welcomed the planned first-ever visit of a United States aircraft carrier to Vietnam in 2018.
  • In the Philippines, President Trump congratulated President Duterte on the liberation of Marawi City, Mindanao, from ISIS-inspired terrorists and promised increased support from the United States.

    • President Trump announced an additional $14.3 million for Marawi City to address the humanitarian needs of 360,000 displaced persons and to support stabilization and a speedy recovery.
    • President Trump announced $2 million to support drug demand reduction programs in the Philippines.
  • President Trump hosted a trilateral meeting with Prime Minster Turnbull of Australia and Prime Minister Abe of Japan, which was followed by a bilateral meeting between President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Modi. Representatives at the working level from all four countries met to discuss issues related to the Indo-Pacific.

A U.S. COMMITMENT TO ASIA: President Trump attended three summits, reaffirming and strengthening the United States’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.

  • The United States supported the successful conclusion of Vietnam’s 2017 chairmanship of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, an important forum for addressing trade issues in the region.
  • President Trump celebrated the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and the 40th anniversary of United States-ASEAN ties by releasing a Joint Statement of the ASEAN-United States Commemorative Summit.
  • President Trump attended the East Asia Summit, the region’s premier leader-led forum for addressing the Indo-Pacific’s most pressing political and security issues, and rallied international cooperation to address shared regional challenges, including territorial and maritime issues the South China Sea, counterterrorism, and the humanitarian crisis in Burma’s Rakhine State.