Tillerson and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley wait for the arrival of Trump at the Palace Hotel. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is going to China Sept. 28-30 in advance of Trump's visit in November, State Department Press Secretary Heather Nauert told reporters today. Tillerson will discuss denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as well as trade.

Other highlights from the press briefing:

  • On Cuba: Tillerson is meeting with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez this evening. The Cuban government requested the meeting, Nauert reports. The U.S. government is reviewing whether to close down the U.S. Embassy in Havana after it was uncovered that 21 American diplomats serving in Cuba are experiencing brain damage and hearing loss. Raul Castro denies involvement in the incidents.
  • On the Kurdish referendum for independence: The U.S. "did not support that referendum…we don't see it as taking sides with Baghdad. We support a unified, democratic Iraq." Instead, Nauert said the U.S. wants everyone to focus on defeating ISIS. "This type of division right now could hurt Iraq."
  • On the news that Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive: "It's a great step in the right direction."

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 20,412,501 — Total deaths: 744,649— Total recoveries: 12,629,465Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 5,163,509 — Total deaths: 164,994 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi on state of coronavirus stimulus talks: "It's a chasm"
  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  6. Education: Gallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.

Pelosi on state of coronavirus stimulus talks: "It's a chasm"

Democrats and the Trump administration remain "miles apart" on negotiations over a coronavirus stimulus deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday.

Driving the news, via Axios' Dion Rabouin: Congress' failure to renew enhanced unemployment measures for millions of Americans at the end of July is already affecting consumer spending patterns, holding down retail purchases and foot traffic, economists at Deutsche Bank say.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. threatens to veto UN peacekeeping in Lebanon over Hezbollah concerns

Peacekeepers with Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon. Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration is threatening to veto a resolution to extend the UN's long-standing peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon if its mandate isn't changed, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: The U.S. is the main funder of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has an annual budget of $250 million. The veto threat is a tactical move, and part of a broader effort to put pressure on Iran and its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah.