State Department Recap: October 13-20

Photo: VOA


US-South America – Promoting democracy and managing migration are the focus of Blinken’s first trip to Ecuador and Colombia from October 19 to 21 as top U.S. diplomat. During a speech Wednesday in Quito, Blinken outlined challenges facing democracies in the Western Hemisphere but said he was optimistic they could be overcome.

By VOA – Nike Ching

Oct 20, 2021

Venezuela also looms large as the U.S. calls for political talks to resume between the Venezuelan government and the country’s opposition. U.S. officials this week discussed ways to tackle irregular migration, as Colombia hosts nearly 2 million Venezuelan migrants, and Ecuador also hosts a large number of migrants from Venezuela.

China also came up during Blinken’s South American trip. Ecuadorian officials described Beijing as “a commercial partner,” with Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso saying he wanted to secure a trade deal with China. Blinken told his Ecuadorian counterpart the U.S. was not asking countries to choose between Washington and Beijing, but he warned of risks of doing business with Chinese companies, saying “there really is no division between purportedly private enterprises and the state.”

US ‘One China’ Policy

Nicholas Burns, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to China, took a tough line on dealings with China during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday. Burns said the U.S. was right to continue its “one-China policy” but that Washington was also right to oppose China’s unilateral actions that undermine the status quo and undermine the stability of the region. Noticeably, Burns used the wordings of Washington’s so-called one-China “policy,” which is different from Beijing’s one-China “principle.” The U.S. has “acknowledged” but has never endorsed the Chinese Communist Party’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan.

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