tv Policy Experts Discuss the North Korean Nuclear Threat CSPAN August 28, 2017 12:01am-1:20am EDT
and the cost of protecting the president and his family. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal, monday morning. during the discussion. >> the british parliament is in recess. minister's questions will not be seen tonight. instead, we will show you a discussion on threats posed by north korea followed by a discussion from washington journal about the trump administration's approach to foreign policy. and later, a look at how private prisons operate in the u.s. challengesook at the posed by north korea and its attempt to become a nuclear power. we will hear from former government officials discussing policies from the u.s. and how the administration has responded so far. this is an hour and 15 minutes.
>> >> good morning. it is great to see so many familiar faces this morning. we're looking forward to a timely event as we address the threats posed by north korea and u.s. policy options. today's event will be livestream and i encourage guests here in -- i encourage guests here and online to join in on the conversation on twitter. you can find that at fdd. also please silence your cell phone's this morning. i am pleased to hand over the conversation to today's moderator from the associated press. >> thanks a lot. thank you for being here. it has been a confusing and frightening past several months when it comes to north korea,
and confusing for americans, people in guam, south korea, japan. on the one hand, we've seen a level of saber rattling you do not typically see between nuclear armed nations, in a sense that we are closer to potential actual military conflict between the u.s. and north korea then perhaps we have been. on the other hand, you hear those in the administration are -- those in the administration are doingat what they is working and north korea feels squeezed by this. a senior official told me last night, they feel they have made more progress on north korea in last six months than the u.s. has made in decades. where does that leave us? who should we believe? what options are there now to counter proliferation, to address grievous human rights
concerns about north korea, to counter the north's growing cyber threat? we will try to tackle some of the questions figured we have a -- we will try to tackle some of these tough questions today. assembled a panel of top experts in each of these areas. we have the assistant secretary of state of labor under the obama administration. prior to that, he served as the washington director for human rights watch. dr. jonathan pollack is a senior fellow at the john l fortin china center. previously, he was a professor of asian and pacific studies at the u.s. naval war college.
dr. samantha ravitch served as deputy advisor to dick cheney. he is a senior adviser at the foundation for defense of democracy center on illicit finance. she leads a project on cyber enabled economic warfare. anthony rivero is a senior fellow here at fdd. he spent 16 years in the u.s. government as an expert in the use of targeted financial measures, especially sanctions, among other measures. most recently he served as a foreign-policy fellow for senator marco rubio of florida. why don't we begin. jonathan, i wanted to start with you and ask for a reality check. how bad are things right now? is the situation more or less under control than it appears externally from the rollercoaster of the past few months? >> well, fair questions, there's public and there's private and i
do think that we had several weeks ago a situation induced frankly by the president's own remarks, that almost had an implication of a readiness to proceed to prevent a war to -- to proceed to preventive war to north korea. i don't know exactly what motivated the president, but the reality was ironically then that north korea, for -- and the argument was, well, there's this dueling war going on between -- kim jong-un was not seen for two weeks. he was out of pocket. and even the supposed threat to send foreign missiles at guam, i probably read too much north korean propaganda, but it's revealing in all kinds of ways. and one thing you should remember about north korean propaganda, everything is condition based. the words may sound horrific about what they say they're going to do and then you read the fine print. and the fine print will say
that, it is a function of -- we will prepare and have a plan and then we'll present it to kim jong-un and if he so orders, we're just ready. well, i've seen this too often. i mean, north korean in its language is very, very jarring and i think that is often for the domestic audience more so than the international audience. if kim jong-un gives the green light when the united states does. unless you believe that the united states was prepared to undertake unilateral force against north korea, i wasn't anticipating and indeed, if you read literally the words of the commander of the north korean strategic rocket forces, it was a deterrent signal. he said it literally in those words. i'm not saying that because of that, you simply accept the words from a north korean senior official, but you know, i think
that we went in the space of a few days from the implication, particularly with all due respect in the media, that we were on the cusp of the biggest crisis since cuba in 1962, to a kind of an all-clear signal that came a few days later. so we're sort of whipsawed in that context. now, were the north koreans sufficiently alarmed that they would have acted otherwise? i don't know. i mean, you know, it's -- again, i can't emphasize enough that, and this may come as a surprise, and i think it's a horrendous regime, you know, i know anyone who is familiar with what i've written over the years about north korea, but there's much more prudence in the actual initiation of actions that they take as distinct from words they offer and threats. my own view is, i don't take it lightly.
we are in a different context because they have missiles that can certainly reach guam and under some circumstances, depending upon what you've got in the way of a warhead, might, might be able to reach the continental united states. so, the directions are not good because we can see that kim has doubled down on his nuclear and missile bits for reasons that to me are somewhat better than the history of this regime. there have been nuclear dreams in north korea literally from the origins of the north korean state. we have to be mindful of that, but very frankly, and this will be my last opening point, we have a policy on the korean peninsula, it's called deterrence. it has worked exceedingly well for 65 years. in that 65-year period, south korea has gone from being an economy that had a per capita gdp of less than $100 to the
12th biggest economy in the world. its economy is now roughly 35 to 40 times the size of the north korean economy. so, kim may feel validated by the possession of these weapons. the only issue here is what that -- the only issue is would that give him a different calculus of risk taking in some cases, not necessarily vis-a-vis the united states. the dangers in korea and its environment, it's on the peninsula and it's in the region and that's what we should be worried about more than anything else. so, that said, i think that there are people in the administration who have been very sober and serious about this. secretary mattis makes it very, very clear, the last place in the world where he would want to have to fight is on the peninsula and he knows it and he understands it and i think that trump, i suspect, listens carefully to mattis on this. so i don't think we're on the cusp of crisis, but if you ask yourself what do we do over the much longer term?
we're in a very, very long struggle here on this and we're going to have to -- if i could coin a phrase that i'm not really coining, it is a case of strategic patience that may leave people unhappy. there is a collective failure involving a lot of countries, not just the united states, to prevent north korea's weapons development and the goal has to be to make life as difficult as possible for them without provoking a war and hoping that at some future point, yet to be seen, yet to be determined when, you either have a different kind of leader in the north or that much more likely, at some point, that the system, in fact, comes to an end. >> you mentioned some of the sober voices in the administration on this, mattis and others. the position in the administration has been that the u.s. is open, at some point, to talks with north korea under the
right conditions, namely that they abandon their nuclear aspirations, and there are interesting comments earlier this week from secretary of state rex tillerson, who came out and praised north korea for refraining from provocation since the u.s. kind of laid out this marker for them and basically implied that if this continues on this path, the u.s. would be ready to sit down. i think a lot of people look at this and say, well, publicly announcing detailed plans to strike near guam is not exactly refraining from provocation. on the other hand, you haven't actually tested anything in the last several weeks. the state department officials are saying that secretary tillerson is being intentionally vague about what are the markers and what is the timeline for the u.s. it to enter into north korea. do you think that is a smart strategy, given the risk of not
miscalculation to leave vague and open what north korea has to do? >> a fair question. my one piece of advise to secretary tillerson, was, the fact that north korea has not tested a long range missile in a month is not necessarily equivalent to restraint. if i were to tote up the number and varieties of missiles they've been testing on accelerated basis over the last several years, it does not look like restraint. there may be many reasons why they have not tested in the last month. interestingly enough, there is -- there has not been a nuclear test in north korea for over a year. and there were predictions
there would be a 6th test, a 7th, an 8th for a nuclear weapon, but you don't want to give them, dare i say, too much credit, but i think that what tillerson seems to be dangling is the idea that, ok, you've gone a month without doing anything that we deem a quote, unquote, provocation. on that basis, if your "good behavior" is sustained over a period of time we'll talk to now, talking dialogue, to use that dreaded, but not specific term, is not a negotiation. i don't think that anyone in the administration should be under any illusions about this. there's no reason to believe for any reason that i can identify that kim is remotely close to or considering a path that does not entail the continued quantitative and qualitative enhancement of nuclear weapons capability. you have to ask what would a discussion be about? why would an outcome here be different? i will freely acknowledge, any day you don't have another long range missile test or a nuclear test is a good day. the question is, what does it really represent?
is there really a path we could imagine under which north korea could reverse the strategic orientation that it has and find a way to put the kinds of pressures on them that they try different paths? i understand in diplomacy, you have to sort of say all the magic words and all that, that i'm personally, very, very skeptical there's much of a path for any kind of a meaningful -- something beyond a discussion and even then, you know, the administration needs to ponder what do you expect out of this, what do you do, assuming you start that kind of a process, what are you looking for north korea that would justify it and sustain it over the longer run? we've seen this movie too many times, frankly, for me to have too much confidence in the outcome.
>> you've worked a lot in the u.s. government to try to expand the amount of information that north koreans have access to. we have an image in the west, the north koreans kept clueless by their government. images of the massive military celebrations and histrionic state news broadcasts and adulation of kim jong-un. as the number of weapons in north korea in recent years, we've seen images that counter that, luxury items in north korea and elements of pop culture seeping in from south korea and elsewhere. what is really the situation? how important or relevant is it, given that the kim regime doesn't seem to place the economic well-being of its people as the top priority, how relevant is it that north koreans understand what's going on around them and what role their country is playing in this conflict? >> in the long run, i think it's more than relevant. i think it's the key to the puzzle.
first of all, i completely agree with your assessment. we are dealing with a nuclear power, we tried to prevent that and we failed. that's the reality. it's not going to change. it's a situation that in some respects resembles the challenge we faced in the cold war, albeit on a much smaller and ultimately less scary scale. in a sense that it's a problem that we have to manage through the combination of diplomacy, deterrence and pressure through sanctions. but as important as all of those elements of our strategy are to preventing this thing from getting out of hand and protecting ourselves and our allies, it's not how we're going to solve this in the long-term. the solution will come at a point that we cannot predict right now. but when there is some sort of change in north korea. and i think we do need to get
used to thinking about this country in a way that we haven't in the past. it's not just a state. it's a country with people. a country where increasingly politics is going to come into play. the only way this regime has managed to sustain itself over a period of decades is by creating a total information blockade, denying its people knowledge of the outside world, the existence of alternative possibilities, of life. that's been more necessary for the north korean regime than for most other totalitarian regimes that we know. when you think about it, north korea is a completely unnatural state. there's absolutely no reason for this country to exist apart from sustaining this one family in power indefinitely.
more than china, more than the soviet union, more than burma in recent years or any other totalitarian state you can think of. its existence depends on maintaining a set of myths. myths about the true history of the korean war, myths about the origins of the kim regime. myths about the economic well-being of the people of north korea relative to those living in south korea and the rest of the world. and its success in creating those myths is why it has succeeded over the years, that -- over the years, but it is also what makes it particularly vulnerable for a strategy that punctures those myths by exposing people of north korea to information. and 20 years ago, most people in the north had no idea, no clue what was going on outside their borders. that's changed to a dramatic extent.
this begin during the great famine of the 1990's when many north koreans had to make their way to china just to survive. this created networks, cross-border networks through which first food and then consumer goods started flowing and inevitably information did as well. we now have 3 million people in north korea with smartphones that can be used to share information person to person. there's a tremendous volume of information crossing the border on little flash drives and sd cards. things that were technologically impossible 10 or 15 years ago. and there's know you a growing -- and there is now a growing subculture in north korea, not only of consuming that kind of information, which begins with entertainment and soap operas and showing people what life is
like in south korea and the united states, but includes more sophisticated political information. there's a subculture of consuming it, but also of sharing it. by sharing it surreptitiously, we're beginning to see the development of what i call civil society networks. people cooperating with each other in ways that the state tries to monitor, but can't on a massive scale, which creates a greater sense of independence from the state, independence of thought, independence of action. now, what does that mean for our strategy? we can't make any of this happen. i'm very wary of the rhetoric of regime change, which suggests that somehow we can, you know, foment a coup or revolution in north korea, which i don't think is possible, but we can accelerate this trend that's already naturally happening in north korea by funding programs that are run by ngo's and other
organizations, that push information into the cross-border flow of goods between china and north korea. we can accelerate that and we can also do what we can to prepare ourselves and the people of north korea for the pretty extraordinary challenges that we will face when the regime is ultimately challenged and destabilized. >> the issue of regime change is sort of interesting. the president and secretary mattis or secretary tillerson and others have made a point to say we're not seeking regime change in north korea. they seem to be trying to placate kim jong-un's concerns that that's our actual motive, but you don't actually hear them make that same assertion regarding, at least not proactively, recording iraq,
n, regarding venezuela, where the mission has sort of flirted with that idea. and other countries that also pose egregious concerns to us about rights, about destabilizing roles they play. by trying to placate kim jong-un's concerns about that and drawing differentiation there, is there an extent which the u.s. is undermining its moral leverage on rights and democracy, by saying it is all right that totalitarian state exists and we won't mess with that as long as they don't develop nuclear weapons? >> there's a fine line here. i don't like the rhetoric of regime change myself even though the future i envision for north inea is the only future which the problem solved, and rhetoric matters in diplomacy and i think when, particularly given our own history. particularly given the way
perceived the regime change operation we undertook in iraq. the rhetoric of regime change, that phrase in particular, suggests to people around the world that the united states is going to use military force to overthrow a regime and impose a different one. i think when we use that rhetoric, it reduces the legitimacy of the appropriate things to do to human rights around the world, even though you might argue the difference is only semantic. if the people of north korea had their rights, and could choose a government, they would not choose an arrangement that leaves them ten times poorer than brothers and sisters in south korea. i think we can be clear about what the goal is, but i think we have to be careful about the rhetoric. i would prefer to emphasize rather than regime change, i would use human rights. everybody in the world has certain rights, freedom of choice, freedom to travel,
people of north korea are no different. they should have a say in the future of the korean peninsula just as south korean people do. they should certainly have a right to know about what's going on around the world. they should have freedom of information and whatever choices they make, if they're empowered to choose, would be choices that the united states supports. that's how i would phrase it. >> speaking of rhetoric, jonathan mentioned strategic patience, which was the policy under the obama administration. the trump administration tried saying,rentiate itself we're not doing that anymore. when you press the administration on what the strategy is, it is we're going to ramp up economic pressure on north korea on different measures and then try to wait and see whether that changes their calculus about the wisdom of pursuing these programs and you say, well, how long, well,
we'll know it when we see it. aside from not wanting to play into rhetoric associated with the obama administration which the trump administration considered weak, is there had a substantive difference in the way that this administration is litigating this? >> absolutely not, apart from the kind of unbalanced president that we have. in terms of everybody else in the administration, what they're actually doing, i don't see it is different. i was a speech writer for a president of the united states and secretary of state and we used to trot out phrases like strategic patience all the time and then we'd giggle about it, you know, behind closed doors because these phrases don't mean anything. one of the things i used to laugh at, if you want to make an informed policy in washington, use the moderator strategic before every mundane concept. i'm going to be strategically
patient. >> a bold new strategy. >> you can make it far in the think tank world saying the administration has no strategy, for any different administration. we're not just going to engage, we're going to have strategic engagement. these things are silly. i think recently they were talking about containment and engagement. congaugement now? and i was thinking if it is engagement. and i look at the u.n. security council, a continuation of what we were trying to do. they succeeded one level up. i think the pressure campaign is wise. it's not going to be a nuclearized north korea, but it will make it harder for them to modernize and keep moving in that direction.
in, again, short run, we can manage it in this way, we can protect our allies and protect ourselves. in the long run, it's not going to go away until there's some sort of change in north korea which we cannot make happen, but we can create conditions under which it's more likely to happen sooner. >> could i just interject here and comment an important point. >> sure. >> by the end of his presidency, it seems clear to me that president obama understood that whatever we were doing was not working, and as we know, he met with president-elect trump two days after the election. i think it's fair to say if hillary clinton have been elected, you would have seen what we're seeing, dare i say strategic patience, but with more teeth. in that sense, it is no surprise. presidents get very, very attached to what they are associated with, it's not as if president obama did not try with
north korea. quite the contrary, he tried literally from his inauguration. we all remember that a fist was not unclenched. but i think if you think of that there's a logical progression in policy regardless of the bumper sticker that one administration or another might actually employ. >> i mean, i have to say, we have to be careful suggesting that this is the same as the obama administration. when we're looking at some of the financial actions that the trump administration is taking, when you read the actual documents, it goes all the way back to 2009. so it really -- the question jumps up, what would you doing for those eight years? we're seeing north korea doing u.s. dollar transactions, illegal u.s. dollar transactions. of course, a case could be made for watching that, but for eight years, and i have to say, the trump administration has finally
gone after chinese banks and they've had six separate actions against chinese entities. i also think that the obama administration would not have gone off this network unless it was exposed here. i think we have to be clear, whether it is the words are whatever, the pressure campaign during the obama administration was partially pushed by congress and pushed by those outside of the government to do more. i wouldn't give them as much credit as pushing the pressure aspect of the strategic patience. >> identifying whether those steps are actually working, what are the specific metrics we can look for from north korea to see whether these actions are having any kind of affect? >> that's the question being debated. regardless what you want to call it, what is our end goal? is our end goal denucleariza
which is our policy should be containment. not containment towards nuclearization, which would be a strategy, and i think likely is where we're headed. containment with pressure, i think as tom said, plus, pushing in some more information and trying to get the north korean people to understand what their regime is doing to them. and then denuclearization, whether you want to call it a regime change or regime transformation. the concern i have, there are articles coming out, and people suggesting that our actual policy should just be containment, that denuclearization has failed and that that is not an appropriate goal. in terms of metrics, the metrics are high. we have to see the programs start to roll back and i understand that that's not an easy thing to produce, but when we look at the iran model that we had, i mean, i remember conversations where, you know,
we should never go after iran's oil exports, you know, we should never go after certain other areas and the united states did and that worked. and so now, i think we're starting to get into those areas where before on north korea, it was always about you can't go after that unless it's only a link to the nuclear missile program. that's changed now, right? so we're going after coal, some of which you can link to the nuclear and missile programs, but going after commodities, going over the overseas laborers, i think is going to be the next step. but what we're seeing here is the united states is looking at the end result, right, they're trying to claw back some of the money going through the u.s. financial system. what we need to start moving toward, and i think we will eventually, is the source of the problem. and the source of the problem, frankly, is chinese banks. and chinese banks are not asking the right questions and that at
some point, just as we did with european banks with regard to iran and fining them $12 million between 2012 and 2015, that chinese banks will have significant fines against them and they will start to ask the right questions. some will go into dandung and ask the questions there. it is no surprise all these actions against chinese entities are located there and we need to ask the right questions. the chinese banks eventually could be our best way forward into it. >> you're referring to the chinese border city with north korea where there's a lot of trade back and forth. the one bank that the u.s. so far has targeted in china, do you see that as a precursor to a broader campaign of secondary sanctions such as cited as being particularly effective to get
iran to the table several years ago? >> the way i look at it, it's an escalation, the phrase escalation ladder. i think that the bank is a small bank able to call it a money launderer, cut it off from the united states. they've used asset forfeiture tag, in some cases they haven't described which chinese banks are involved. they've designated larger networks inside china. i think the next logical step, if the chinese banks are not cooperating now the next logical step would be going after chinese banks. i understand that people are very concerned about that, concerned it will harm the u.s. -china economy or harm u.s.-china trade, but there's a way to do that, you don't have to freeze their assets or cut them off from the united states. you can declare their compliance procedures are not appropriate and they could get significant fines.
remembering that we, the united ed a french bank closed to $9 billion back in the iran sanctions days and it can work that way and we can get people's attention. >> because i don't know the answer, what do we know about our efforts, american efforts to lay out the case and the data, if you will, about various kinds of north korean operations in china and elsewhere? well, a lot ofy activities of north korean, you know, entities of one kind or another, they're really good at it, but do you know, do we know anything about the efforts under the trump administration to really have these kinds of conversations with the chinese about what we believe we know and to try to air it with the again -- billin
>> no, i suspect they're doing what we've done for the last ten years, which is go to china with a very lengthy list and say, you need to do something about this, and the chinese -- i mean, i could write the script. the chinese response is, oh, this is very interesting. we'll look into it. and you'll have another meeting with china, we looked into that and we need more information. we looked into this, that's not there. give me some more and that goes on for a period of months and it's turned into a decade and that's the problem. i wrote when i first came here how -- i know there's a desire for this administration to give china time. they gave them time. there was 100 day suggestion out there and i understand why they did that, but from my perspective, the chinese don't deserve that. they have had 10 years. when you're talking about
metrics, the chinese now are sort of some reporting that, you know, the chinese are telling their own companies to stop hiring north korean laborers. when you're talking about a metric, the metric for me is when the significant chinese security services start going to dandung, china and talk about what's going on. they can read the same doj documents that everyone here can read and see china merchants, icbc, the list goes on and on of all of the chinese banks involved in these transactions. >> dr. smith, there's another poses, theh korea cyber and economic threat. we all recall the sony hack a few years ago. tell us more the extent of what north korea is doing, and given how isolated the country is from the internet and modern technology, how is it that they have gotten so good at it?
>> so, first, a little bit of history. i was talking to jonathan before , it was 25 years ago this fall that i met jonathan, right? so 1992. another fateful year in the north korean relations with the world. january of 1992, the joint declaration was signed between the north and south and both sides committed not to process, store, ship, hold, use nuclear , then the u.s. imposed missiles sanctions in june of that year, and then the iaea said there were irregularities in north korea's first nuclear declaration. 25 years ago, that happened. 25 years ago, i don't think we would have said 25 years from that point we'd be on kim regime 3.0. that it would be a full-on nuclear weapons state and that it would be a cyber power.
we wouldn't know what that was in 1992, a cyber power, right? as one of my mentors is fond of saying, problems don't age well. so now we're 25 years on and we are where we are. however, on the cyber threat, we are seeing a ramp up in north korean cyber capabilities over the last decade, eight years specifically, that kind of harkens back to the kind of ramp up in, you know, their gaining of nuclear knowledge, nuclear capabilities. right? s attack,9, a major ddo north korea against certain departments and agencies here
and in south korea. 2011, a pretty devastating cyber attack on certain south korean institutions and banks. shutting down atm's at one of the largest south korean banks. and 2013 seoul, the sony hack, the bangladesh bank. there has been a temptation, except for a small group of folks that is kind of looking at this closely, they kind of brush it aside, right, it's an ancillary capability that the north has, we really don't know how to talk about it and really don't know how to measure it, but it is serious. the threat is growing and north korea is a very, very capable adversary. so what do they want to achieve by this? there's a recent report out from a south korea think tank saying that north korea has moved from
gathering secrets by their use of cyber means, to just getting some money. well, they're under constraint by sanctions, so of course any way that they can possibly fill their coffers. but i think the data and analysis is out there that it's well beyond that. right? , kimn, they are not simply jong-un is not simply robbing banks because that's where the money is. when you look at totality of what's happening on north korea's increasing cyber breaches and cyber attacks on the main fundamental elements of specifically south korea and here as well, economics and political and military units in that country, you know, it does appear that it's a much broader campaign plan on how to destabilize an adversary.
if and when, of their choosing, it comes to that. right? so it's not willy sutton stealing money from the bank. it's willy sutton knowing and having the intention to destabilize the banking sector. and this is an extremely powerful asymmetric tool on the part of the north koreans because, think about it. we impose economic sanctions it -- we impose economic sanctions, it could constrain north korea, what is it, $1,000 gdp in north korea? think about the vulnerabilities of an economy like ours, how much pain could be inflicted on our economic elements and we here have a project called cyber enabled economic warfare, and what that is is the purposeful use of cyber means to undermine
parts of an economy in order to weaken that country politically or militarily. so i do push back forcibly on the notion that it's simply north korea trying to fill its coffers with a couple million here and a couple million there. it is that certainly, but it's much more than that. >> and just briefly before we open it up to questions from the audience, let's talk about the flip side of this, if you can. there's been a lot of reporting the last few years about u.s. cyber efforts to disrupt or sabotage the supply chain for the north's ballistic missile programs, and a lot of speculation about many of their failed tests. to what extent has north korea developed cyber capabilities that could prevent our efforts in that venue from being effective? >> just like for the last 25
years we've been trying to figure out exactly, you know, the extent of the north korean nuclear capability, you know, we're trying to understand this on the cyber side. but you know, let me answer in kind of two parts. you know, first in terms of what we are doing and what we should be doing, i'm a proponent that we've got to fight on the frontiers on this. we've got to push this back on the use of cyber not only as an enabler, but the forward deployed forces that are being used. i think we need to be a forceful and aggressive in this phase. the second is understanding how north korea could get so good. what do we know about their capabilities? we know that like some other nations, they start targeting children in middle school who have technical chops.
they ring them up and train them, and a lot of these people companiestion at i.t. in southeast asia, and from them nightave day jobs and at they do the bidding of those in pyongyang to undertake cyberattacks because it is hard to constrain the networks outside north korea. >> i want to open it up to questions from the audience at the foundation for the defense of democracy. i think we have folks with some microphones. if you have a question and want to raise your hand, please wait until you do have the microphone and please introduce yourself as well. over here.
>> thank you. many years ago i was a soldier in korea and because of that experience i am not good great believer in deterrence and i would like to challenge the statement that deterrence is working in korea by mentioning the nuclear reactor north korea and syria. the 2010 sinking of the warship that killed 26 people, the shelling of young young islands, the 2014 sony cyberattack that drove a film from theaters across the country and took a big bite out of our own freedom of expression. the 2015 landline incident that blue the legs off two south korean and cos. -- south korean nco's. the chemical perforation of syria killing scores of children in that country, the burglary of the bangladesh bank. vx attack that killed kim jong un un? don't take this as an endorsement of preemptive war. i fully endorse the vision of
what we call strategic compassion. there is a great think tank a buzzword for someone. but look. let's not -- i need to be convinced by someone that deterrence is working here. at this fair to say point in that deterrence has not been successful? >> my definition of deterrence is not a perfect one but is the avoidance of a second korean war which i'm not saying -- josh is around this morning. a lot of them. there have obviously been cases where north korea -- north korea tends to do things it figures it can get away with and that is what we have to be, their resourceful, cunning, clever but fundamentally if my definition,
it may not be a flawless definition is have we avoided , another full-scale war on the peninsula? the answer is yes. maybe that is too starkest definition but i can think of things being far worse than they are. does it work perfectly? no, it does not work perfectly but i would say that in the big picture it has. >> i would just say that if we are moving toward where that is our policy, or half the definition changes, which gets ito his point, which is should be to deter north korea from doing things against american and strength -- interests. sure >> sure. >> the only thing not on the list was developing a uranium enrichment program when we thought everything was hunky-dory during the great framework. the question is if this is our policy whether that is our policy for containment on the road toward denuclearization, is the standard topping the next
month korean war, or is it ensuring that they do not do anything against us, america or its allies? >> i think your point is well taken, anthony. i would say that clearly the requirements, my definition of deterrence or anything else, the requirements are, we have to up our game. that is self evident. there cannot be a situation in which north korea concludes that it is not in some significant measure to be held accountable for its actions so we are in a new environment, what samantha mentioned as well. this is an extraordinarily capable place. and we have tended, i think, historically to be far too dismissive of north korea.
>> i mean, i think deterrence has worked well on us. we have been phenomenally deterred, and over the last 25 years there have been actions we haven't wanted to take, because they seem very ugly. but over 25 years what has , occurred is the choices of options for us have been more restricted. -- more and more constricted. there hasn't been a full on war, of course, that is incredibly important. however, if you take a slightly more encompassing view of deterrence in terms of the adversary checkout capability, intentions and will clearly the , answer is no, it hadn't worked because on every single dimension especially on the cyberfront, there will is there, intentions are there and capabilities ramping up
>> next question if anyone else has a question. right here. >> good morning. i have two questions. first is for mr. pollock, for the trump administration, the conditions that the u.s. provided is that you have to give up your nuclear program this seems to be impossible, from the prk side. rk have to admit that the dp now has this power, whether we admit it or not. do you think it is possible in the near future that the trump
administration will to some extent change or say that it is possible, that you can have a nuclear power as long as you can that, stopssing developing your power. with their this -- do you think there is a chance or possibility for dialogue? and if not, do you think there is a dead and their? the second question is for anthony. you mentioned sanctions of the chinese individuals and entities , do you think that it may undermine relations between the u.s. and china? -- forthink for trump the trump administration it will continue to expand this kind of sanctions like you mentioned to areas like important or key banks in china? >> thank you.
i would say quickly that the administration, to my observation and awareness has groped its way towards trying to get a consistent message of discipline is the argument, there hasn't been a lot. in fact there has been very little depending which day of the week and who you are listening to. you could hear very different things from the administration. that said, i don't think there is anything -- i may be wrong, that the administration indicated, unless you, quote, unquote give up your nuclear weapons capability, i don't know how we would define that that there are no circumstances under which we would have, quote, dialogue. it is, there is much more, if you look at what secretary of state tillerson said the other day, it is a good example of that there is a lot of wiggle , room, flexibility in what he
said. so i think at some level that is a recognition that wherever we may be headed, no one is assuming at this point that as a precondition, that you will see all of these things go away. you might want to look for evidence of various kinds of activities and the like. i would not characterize it the way you did, that i would say this. i think it is terribly important for the trump administration, to the degree that it can, to have a coherent message. and i do not hear it, not yet. anthony? >> just on that, i think there was some confusion when secretary tillerson went to asia, i would say it is not a precondition but if we are going to have a repeat of the past two major times we tried to do this
we are going to fail. ,the only way negotiations with north korea will work is if north korea demonstrates a upfront commitment to declare -- denuclearization, and that will come with a large bill on the us side. to your question on china, these are companies and individuals and banks that are violating us law. companies that advertise themselves as the key conduit between north korea and china. these are companies capable people are discovering on their own. i cbc, the largest bank in the world, has more customers than the united states as citizens in this country could certainly use , some of their economic power to look at these networks. that is the way to avoid these sanctions.
the chinese have had numerous opportunities to do that and i would note the response to this week's sanctions have just been rhetoric from the chinese side. the suggestions that the chinese are going to harm of the relationship has been overblown. >> anthony how do we address , china's concerns if they do comply and freeze north korea that your regime potentially ultimately collapses and millions of north koreans stream over the border and it creates all kinds of instability for china. how do we argue to them that they are not doing something that could jeopardize their own interest? >> well on the issue with north , koreans streaming over the border, that is something the united states and china should start talking about right now, something that i understand the chinese do not want to have those conversations because it , suggests regime change or regime transformation.
that is the ultimate way toward denuclearization so on the chinese side if they would be open to those conversations we might have to have those and we are at the very beginning of this escalation. i think at some point-the point, chinese and the north koreans will change their approach. we don't have to get to the most extreme measures at the beginning of this process . >> a couple of things, first of all, this image of millions of north koreans streaming across the chinese border is one of the oldest cliches of conversations about north korea. we don't really think about it, we just say it. it is very unlikely to happen even in a situation of regime , collapse. anyone who has worked with refugees around the world knows people do not up and leave their homes and become destitute residents of refugee camps unless they have to do it to save their own lives. unless there is a civil war in
north korea in which thousands of people are dying as in syria you are not going to see that , scenario. that said, the chinese don't want to talk about this. they fear it. i totally agree with anthony that it is difficult, any , understanding of history leads us to the conclusion that the regime in north korea as it is , today, is not going to last forever. it's ending will create challenges and problems and therefore the united states, china, if we are going to be responsible powers, we need to talk about the contingencies and understand what our respective interests are in that situation. try to diminish the level of mistrust the chinese have about what we might do. in that situation. >> could i just jump income i have some relevant points here to read there are, shall we say to use the term the chinese like to use, contradictions in
chinese policy of a very profound sort. although the chinese don't like to talk about it they have had, , i have written about this we , have this all from records, diplomatic archives and the like, the chinese have their own failure with north korea that has been very profound, going back to the earliest days, setting aside the frictions of the 1950's and 1960's. beginning with deng xiaoping, trying to show that kim il sung, achieve if you changed your orientation without getting into all the gory details, that failed profoundly. it failed again after kim jong ill had a stroke. the chinese made a calculation, you get this young kid who spent time in switzerland. maybe this time the system will open up.
well, it did not happen that way. particularly after the execution pf ypung -young sun check. the chinese are reluctant to there is this. what we need is a private or dare i say confidential discussion with china because the other aspect, this is a big puzzle, for all the arguments about chinese assertiveness and big bed china, if i could use a china.bad if i could use a phrase from richard nixon, when it comes to north korea, china is a pitiful helpless giant. he has said things to president obama, and comparable things to donald trump, saying that this kid bites the hand that feeds him, not only is he an grateful risk,x, y,utting at
z. but paying for reasons that we don't have time to explore, dips his toe in the water and pulled them out and i do get it, the chinese are not looking for convulsive upheaval if they can avoid it. they remind us they are the ones with the 850 mile border with north korea, it is an, quote, their backyard. it would have profound effects and they are very an easy about it, it is a legitimate issue. but that is one of the reasons why despite the difficulty of , getting there, we have to have the ability to talk to china about this, if we are to avoid a truly horrific outcome whenever the regime should unravel or begin to unravel. but i do not expect that unraveling to be happening anytime soon. i like to say that when i wake up in the morning and turn on my laptop they are still there. >> anything you want to add? >> look, i really do agree with
the comments what johnson is , saying about these conversations we have had in the past, we have to have more. i have always been a forceful advocate that showing how ugly the path be, how dangerous, how -- the payoff will be, how dangerous, how deadly the path will be, if and when there is collapse and the chinese are not working on it together with the north koreans, it needs to be asked toward and all of its gory detail. but i also think there is something to be said about having more robust conversations with the chinese, and afterwards, what does the better path look like? what does it look like for a china which has helped stabilize and eradicate one of the world's worst problems? actually if you can get past all of that, on to the and then what
conversation, it can become an interestingly productive conversation which we have not really had or explored with the chinese and how they benefit from it. >> yes, right over here. >> stephanie cook, nuclear intelligence weekly. i would like to ask, not sure who, if any of you could address it, the question of even if you , did get regime change do you expect north korea to follow in south africa's example? how do guarantee then that if there is an arsenal of nuclear weapons, that they sort of disappear? >> i would say that is another reason to talk to the chinese. if you believe the rumors about chinese have reoriented their own military forces near the border.
when you have, whether it is transformation or collapse or whatever it looks like, there will be a lot of forces in the same square footage, china, the united states, south korea presumably. how do they get from that point? then of course, we would want a unified career to a nonnuclear -- unified korea to state nonnuclear. that is the concern on the united states's side, to make sure a unified korea gets rid of its wmds. my sense is that those discussions are not happening just like discussions, we'll talk about we want negotiations, how did those negotiations play out? what i referenced before about turning the negotiation on its head and not the agreed framework and joint statement playbook of, well we will , convince north korea to denuclearize by these negotiations.
that has failed. your question is a good one, what happens post denuclearization whether that is , in a negotiated way or collapsed way or transformation way but i don't think those discussions are happening. china is an integral part of that but they don't want to have these discussions and that hampers this . >> as far as the korean peninsula, the new south korean president is trying to have talks with north korea, issued a pretty stark warning to the us not to pursue any unilateral military moves against north korea. do you think south korea is playing a productive or unproductive role in this situation at the moment? >> president moon is learning that running from is different -- running for office is different than governing. i think south korean president moon had some interesting
thoughts on reopening kaesong industrial complex which is the complex north/south, would be a violation of sanctions. if it was reopened that hasn't happened, we had this environmental study to delay the for additional launchers, that was completed really quickly. i think he is realizing the nature of the threat and frankly negotiations take two to tango and when north koreans won't even answer his call, what else is he going to do? he has five years in office so this might change. but i think his ultimate goal, he would like to talk to the north koreans but they are not answering. >> i agree. president moon, if anything i , was very wary when he was running. but he has been -- i don't want to say a pleasant surprise but he has been much more careful and much more collaborative with the united states at least at
this notwithstanding that goes point. notwithstanding the fact that that goes against what his be,mate objectives would but he is demonstrating a pragmatic streak. he does not seem to be a repeat kim dae-jong, who was different, but let us also remind ourselves the mother is active it of anything else, it is the korean peninsula. let's never forget that. when he gives voice to what his concerns are they are very legitimate. would also like to say, i am surprised by what north korea is doing. i expected when moon was inaugurated, that north korea would go back to smile diplomacy and say come to pyongyang, give us the billion dollars your predecessors gave us, let's reopen kaesong and let's do it and by the way we are a nuclear state and drive a wedge between
south korea and the united united states. north korea has not done that which is very surprising. >> from usa today. i am hearing two threads of this conversation and one has to do with the possibility of regime change and the other one is kind of talking about the end point, where does this situation wind up? i'm hearing two threads, talk about regime change or regime collapse and talk about possible negotiations. i just want to make a couple of observations, nuclear states don't go away. they do not get invaded. of nuclearory so far states, south korea doesn't really, you just mentioned, they don't really want to fight with north korea. korea but talk to the united
-- the north koreans, my understanding is they want to not talk to south korea but talk to the united states directly. if these talks were to happen, that this came up in this conversation, what is the end point? be about andey what would be on the table? again, my understanding is that the north koreans their ultimate , goal is for the united states not to be on the korean parents a lot, that they be accepted as a country. or if there is some kind of unification that there be two systems for the korean peninsula and i'm interested in hearing are these complete nonstarters? , is there any gray area, or area where these things can be talked about ? >> i think they are nonstarters, notwithstanding former white house advisor steve bannon's abrasive one north korean position which is we might pull
our troops out of south korea if they clampdown the missile program. i think that would be a nonstarter. i think, one country two systems would be a nonstarter. virtually anything north korean regime would demand is something we would not and should not give . so therefore, what is the point of talks? i think there is a point and that is if we are in deterrent situations it is absolutely essential there be clear communication between the united states and north korea about what our redlines are, , what we would be prepared to do if they took certain actions . just as in the cold war i keep going back to that analogy there was no grand bargain ordeal we could strike with the soviet union that would make all the problems go away. as we heard there are ongoing , grave problems that we will continue to face. but we can manage the risk to the united states and our allies through clear, continuous communication with our adversaries.
so that would be the purpose of talks in my view with north korea, and then with china also , talking about contingencies so we are ready for potential changes down the road. final point on the end state regime change, regime collapse, whatever you want to call it, again keep in mind north korea did not like most of the other -- and they are not like most of the other states we have dealt with in that context. wereif the current regime to change in a fundamental way it is not clear why the country , of north korea would continue to exist. because if the north korean people were empowered, if they were to gain a voice in this situation, which i think at some point will happen why on earth , would they choose to live in a separated northern part of the
10 timeshere it is more prosperous than they are, it makes no sense. the closest analogy is east germany and we know what happened 24 hours after the wall fell. now, this is of course what the kim regime fears, what china fears, but that is the question we have to face one way or another. hopefully with less violence rather than more violence if and when this regime loses its grip. >> we have to wrap up in a moment but i want to hear from each of our panelists, some thought that you would like to leave us with going forward. >> something i wanted to mention before and didn't, i will take this opportunity to. when we look at the cybercapability of north korea and try to understand it and
try to curtail and constrain it, where we can, i made reference it seems one of the ways that north korea is connecting their cyber aggressive tactics, is they push --ir trained people, have however many they are, out to key companies in southeast asia and other places. anthony had mentioned that maybe goingill be sanctioned, after workers in some of these entities and industries. maybe we need to think more broadly on who those koreans -- are, even totizens have some kind of reward program for people who turned them in. if there are north korean hackers, having a number for people to call. i am glad i got to make that point. >> great. i said waswhat
basically the closing statement, but one additional thing. i totally agree with anthony on sanctioning banks and what you just said a little wary about , encouraging chinese security forces to start descending on border towns. we need to be careful that sanctions are targeted on activities that directly benefit the north korean state and their missile and nuclear programs but not to try to kill all trade and commerce and communication between north korea and china . because that is what is empowering ultimately in the long run the north korean people , to bring change to their country. >> anthony? >> on that point we would have to about how to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate when the regime itself takes most of that trade. i go back to something i said earlier which is i know the administration had one policy review, but now the intel
agencies apparently according to leaks have said the icbm may be , completed next year, may have 60 nuclear weapons currently. perhaps we need to about all the -- need to start thinking about all of the things we are talking about today, denuclearization is the ultimate goal with deterrence, however it is defined, is that our goal? or deterrence our strategy and those have very different policies going forward and the question of if you are going to have any negotiations what would that look like what are the , requirements on north korea as a precondition and the ultimate first step north korea would have to take. those are things that were not discussed. >> some years ago i wrote a book, i stole the title from jean-paul sartre because i called the book "no exit" and that is where we find ourselves,
we should never forget we are dealing with a profoundly adversarial state. it is embedded in the logic of north korea, and in the logic of the only family-run dynasty in the history of marxism, you have -- marxism and leninism. you have had three comes in a row and they have profited in some sense by what they have sustained since kim ill song first ventured back into korea in 1945. we have to face reality and we have to understand fundamentally that the goal that north korea has had from day one is to get the united off of the peninsula. north korea has never forgotten that they almost succeeded. their attack stalled ran out of , gas if you will, maybe literally and figuratively just
of pusan in the summer of 1950, and they have never forgotten about that. however impossible it may seem it is that continuing conviction is there korea, they will do whatever they can to get to that point and we have to make sure we never let that happen. >> i want to thank our panelists for joining us and our audience, here are the foundation for defense of democracies. this is an issue i am sure we will be discussing quite a bit in the future and we look forward to that. enjoy the rest of your day. [applause] more abouthear
threats posed by north korea tomorrow when george washington university holds a discussion on the topic. that even includes the chief negotiator from the 1994 nuclear crisis. at 4:00watch it live p.m. eastern on c-span. >> tonight, on the communicators -- on how is the framework we look at cyber security? i think congress with its bipartisan support -- we look to participate. >> we visited the microsoft tech fair in washington, d.c. to learn about tech issues facing congress. microsoftries from and a microsoft researcher share their thoughts. entrances a complete into the system. we are talking about sensors and
cameras that can provide useful services in the end. watch the communicators, tonight, at 8:00 eastern on c-span two. now includes the director at the foundation of defense and the new international project director at the institute of policy studies. trump's foreign-policy. thank you for joining us. is hisalk about what foreign-policy. the uc a development of a trump doctrine so hard? caller: i think it is difficult to make without. pristinee of the most lines for me about afghanian
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