The U.S.-led Artemis Accords are signed by the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. According to NASA, the Accords aim to establish norms of behavior between countries regarding lunar resource extraction and exploration, outline "safety zones" on the lunar surface where other countries should not interfere, and protect heritage sites on the lunar surface such as the Apollo landing sites. More signatories are expected to be announced in the coming months.
Japan says it will not join the U.S.-led International Maritime Security Construct to protect international shipping in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz amid Iranian aggression, but will instead deploy its own Maritime Self-Defense Force to the region to guard merchant vessels "related to Japan".
In the first part of 2019, Pope Francis has these foreign trips planned. He journeys to Panama (January 23-26), the United Arab Emirates (February 3-5), Morocco (March 30-31), and Bulgaria and Macedonia (May 5-7). The Pope also hopes to visit Japan during 2019.
Hillary Clinton of the United States speaks out against Iran in Abu Dhabi during a five-day trip to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar. She requests that the world increase its pressure on Iran, a country she considers "a serious concern".