tv U.S. Institute of Peace Discussion on Chinas Role in North Korea... CSPAN May 6, 2019 1:38pm-3:12pm EDT
>> good afternoon, everybody. i am the president of the united andes institute of peace i'm delighted to welcome everyone here today for a very timely and important conversation. for those of you joining us for the first time, the u.s. institute of these was founded 35 years ago by members of congress and a nonpartisan national but independent
institute with the very singular mission of working around the world with partners to present an resolve of violent conflict. so, we do this by connecting research with policy, training, education, and support for partners on the ground in conflict zones seeking to prevent conflict from becoming violent or resolving it once it does. and we use this headquarters here on the mall and washington, d.c. as a very powerful platform for containing people across political aisles and various kinds of expertise. thinking deeply about how to solve some of the most pressing problems face as a nation. the essence of he's building. that is what we are doing today and celebrating today. for the last year we have
a series of study groups a look at the chinese influence on can't dynamic with a look at conflict zones instant fragile states of strategic interest to the united states. the china north korea senior study group is the second in the series. you will hear more about that in a few moments. it includes an impressive set of very knowledgeable, deeply , formercholars government officials, diplomats, and practitioners, some of whom we have with us here today for the conversation. we are here today to launch their report -- china's role in a north korean nuclear peace negotiations. as we saw from this weekend, the release of this could not be more timely. we saw north korea's latest weapons test, the first missile test from that country in more than a year.
it is the latest in a series of provocations that indicate a return to tensions with washington while talks remain at an impasse. china, which wields considerable influence in pyongyang and shares washington's desire for a very much north korea wants to have a role in the negotiations with its neighbor. is -- howtal question to ensure that china can play a more constructive role in helping to move the discussion forward. today we have the cochairs of the senior study group with us. and we have two of the groups members, daniel russell and kathleen stephens, here to discuss the report and its recommendations. a i said, look forward to timely conversation that you can
follow with us on twitter @ h tag chinathe has dprk. our podcast network, it will include this event and a lot of other offerings featuring leading voices in violent conflict prevention and national security. and of course i hope you reportd and share the that you can find on our website. please welcome me when joining introducing are very impressive panel of speakers today. jennifer? >> thank you for joining us for the launch of our new report on china's role on the nuclear
peace negotiations. we invite you to pick up a hard copy. they are right outside the door. if you're joining us online, they are available on the website for download. our china program focuses on the program for dynamics around the world. influencey that the results but can't china's influence is growing in all corners of the globe. it is still felt most acutely in those countries on china's border. as china's neighbor, the largest sorry, chinaer -- is north korea's neighbor. it plays an important role in efforts to address the ongoing nuclear crisis on the peninsula. this report examines china's influence and interest in north korea. it provides recommendations on the way the u.s. government could take these factors into
account when devising our strategy. as nancy noted, the program is conducting a series of study groups examining china's influence on different config zones around the world. convene ssg, we bipartisan experts over a time of five to six months to examine china's role in pacific conflict. the first group looked at china's involvement in conflict in burma. it was chaired by eric mitchell and daniel twining. over the winter, we convened a different look -- a different group of experts. the product of those discussions is the report you have in front of you. we are fortunate to have an amazing group of experts participating. first and foremost are our magnificent cochairs. you will hear from them shortly. we benefited from the expertise of our other group members. they were not all able to be with us today. i will read their names to make sure the contributions are
recognized. they included frank from u.s. csis.ctory, bonnie from paula from the george washington university. zachary hosford. daniel russell from the asian society. stevens fromthleen the korea economic institute. carnegiewain from the endowment for international peace. have also received excellent research support from our u.s. lucy,m including philip, patty, and jacob stokes. last but not least, i want to say a special word of thanks to rachel vanden brink. she is a magic -- a member of our china and korea team. we cannot have done this without
her. we are grateful for all the work she did. ado, moving onto the substance of today's event, we will hear from our two cochairs. we will then turn to ambassador stevens and mr. russell for the comment here -- for their comments. most of these folks are very well known to those of you in the audience. i will give a short introduction before we get going. . is fromor stapleton roy the kissinger institute of night states. he was born in china and watched the chinese civil war from the roof of his school. he attended princeton university and joined the u.s. foreign service where he dissipated in secret negotiations to established up a medical relations. -- to -- establish diplomatic relations. he served as the u.s. envoy to indonesia.
cochair, joseph, served as the u.s. are presented of for north korea policy from 2016 to 2018. he has been at the nation's leading experts for relations with north korea. with 33 years in the foreign service, he also served as the ambassador to malaysia and the forcipal deputy southeastern asian policy. he is the senior advisor for the asia center here. we will start with opening remarks and turn to our other panelists. the floor is yours. i prefer to speak sitting down. i have trouble juggling paper and microphones at the same time. we are here this afternoon to launch the u.s. institute of new report on china's on the north korean issue.
it is terrific timing. the harsh reality is that the north korean nuclear issue is the most dangerous problem facing the night states and our friends and allies -- the united states and our friends and allies in eastern asia. extending back a quarter of a century, the united states has attached high priority to prevent north korea from preventing nuclear weapons. following a curious detonation 2006, ourar device in attention has shifted to limiting north korea's nuclear possible, with the goal of denuclearizing the korean polenta the -- the korean peninsula. these policies have been a dismal failure. after decades of determined efforts and in defiance of an increasingly rigorous u.n. banked -- u.n. back sanctions
regime, north korea has developed nuclear weapons and is nearing a capability to target the u.s. homeland with nuclear tipped missiles. when the trump administration 2017, on this issue of vital importance to united states security, we had painted ourselves into a corner with no exit. north korea had nuclear weapons. it had declared itself a nuclear denuclearization off of the table. we were only prepared to negotiate with earth korea on the basis of denuclearization, which was no longer on the table. no realisticwith options for addressing the problem, other than extremely dangerous military ones that posed unacceptable risks to our allies. president trump deserves credit. foruld say, real credit
giving -- for getting us out of the impasse and opening a double medic track for negotiations -- a diplomatic track for negotiations with denuclearization back on the table. this put us in alignment with our south korean ally, which favors direct engagement with north korea. but has broken the impasse failed to produce any progress towards denuclearization. after two summit meetings between president trump and north korean leader kim jong-un, the negotiating process is in danger of breaking down. the u.s. breakthrough with north korea also caused the ground to shift beneath our feet. north korea's leader, kim jong-un, has emerged from his international isolation. in addition to two summits with president trump, he has had several summits with south korea
, four summits with china, and his first summit meeting with president putin. china is a central factor in this equation. it shares our goal of denuclearization on the korean pin insula. -- the korean peninsula. it's interests are not identical to the night states -- it's interests are not identical to the united states. one, fend off to foreign military intervention in north korea. prevent the collapse of the north korean regime. denuclearization in that order. chinese leaders believe north korea has developed nuclear weapons to deter the perceived threat from the night states -- from the united states. it supports talks as long as it is somehow involved in the
process. it sees clearly that north korea's actions are negatively interests byna's eliciting responses from allies that worsen the security environment and increase pressure on japan and south korea to acquire nuclear weapons of their own. the u.s. trade were with china has added strains to an already strained relationship. this has the potential to affect cooperation on korean related matters. therefore, it takes considerable skill on the part of the night states to doubt -- on the part of the bow -- on the part of the night states balance the fact -- to progress with north korea. the external power that is most significant is china. we do not have easy relations
with china at the present time. with the outlook clouded in this fashion, the institute of peace report looks at the role china could play in three possible scenarios. first, if the talks produce progress towards theclearization, second, if talks remained stalled, and third, if they collapse and tensions increased. at the moment, the trump administration favors a quick resolution of the problem through a so-called big deal. that exchanges immediate denuclearization for full normalization of relations with the united states. north korea and china both favor and step bicep approach based -- a step-by-step approach based on reciprocal actions. skillful and tenacious diplomacy will be necessary for either approach to 60. -- to succeed.
it is a good thing the packages on the table because if you fail to make process -- make progress in the step-by-step approach, which has been attempted over numerous years before, there might be criticism that you should have put the package on the table. the transition from a big package to a step-by-step approach is not going to be easy. that is why this report is so significant because it explores the types of issues that emerge as we try to keep this negotiating path alive and secure genuine progress, however slow, toward denuclearization. the stakes are very high. thank you. [applause] >> so, in my 30 years of foreign
service, i have had several bosses. four of them are here. [laughter] >> thank you very much. bitnted to discuss a little about the question everyone is asking, which is, will north korea denuclearize? have they made a fundamental question two denuclearize? my own answer is always that we do not know. i really doubt, even kim jong-un himself knows. i do not know is that, think that the u.s. alone can do it. it is just, we have tried it. we have tried it bilaterally, a number of times. it is too difficult. it is why we have taken on the project of, where else can we look for help? the obvious place is china.
relationeve the between china and north korea is such that they will be vital if we are to really succeed at denuclearizing north korea. you look at our report throughout. it mentions the leverage that china has over north korea. that is very important. the second question that is often asked is, does china really want to denuclearize north korea? it in theirsee interest to have leverage over the u.s., to have a nuclear north korea? to me, our report answers that clearly. yes, china does value denuclearization. it is clearly in their interest.
china's strategic goal is to get the u.s. out of their backdoor. they really see nuclear north korea as something of a pretext or reason for us to be on the korean peninsula. that is important for them. second, they do not want to proliferate the area. significantlyy a andct that they are accepted nuclear power -- they are and accepted nuclear power. they do not want another country having nuclear weapons. for all those reasons, our conclusion is very strongly that china does want denuclearization of north korea. that does not mean that china wants to do it the same way as the u.s.
this is the fundamental u.s.nnect between the position and the chinese position. wants to simply, china see both the stability and the regimeation of the kim while denuclearization is going on. call it parallel action, but clearly they want that. beenhe u.s., it has always important before we think about issues like peace, normalization, that there be denuclearization. that is a fundamental disconnect. mentioned, i roy do think what president trump has done is very important in trying to align a position between beijing and the u.s. in the sense that we are
approaching. the u.s. is now approaching both the issue of security and peace on the korean peninsula. at the same time as denuclearization. where we do differ fundamentally with the chinese is the timeline. nobody in china believes this can be done quickly. nobody in china believes this without some kind of compromise. nobody and nobody believes that north korea will completely denuclearize before we begin the peace process, and sanctions lifting process. that does beg the question that i think we should all think about -- can we do this bilaterally alone? if not, what should be the next format?
one conclusion we came to is that we really should develop a roadmap. how we get there with the chinese. and, of course, you need then the input from both north and south korea. you will hear the debate coming up over and over again. is it enough to approach north korea alone, or should we do it multilaterally as a four party, something like that? i think that is a question. to me, i would very much support now having china weigh in a lot more partially and with more influence. thank you very much. [applause] >> i'm going to introduce you before you start. everyone is going to the podium. our next speaker, you get another member of the career
senior -- is vice president for international security and diplomacy at the asia society career institute. he's served all over the world and his most recent post in d.c. as assistant secretary of state for east asian and pacific affairs and special assistant to the president and the national security council senior director for asian affairs in the obama white house. mr. russell? thanks, jennifer and thanks, nancy. it has been my honor to be part of such an esteemed gathering of experts. heartfelt conviction is, as this report points to, there is no prospect of a happy ending of the challenges of the korean peninsula without cooperation between the united states and china. i'll just touch on four big
questions concerning china's role and then just a word or two u.s. misperceptions of china's role on the korean peninsula. i think the report makes some of these, asks these questions, either in an implicit or explicit way. the first question is, what comes after hanoi, after the setback in hanoi? of course, we have seen not only the warnings from kim jong-un, his new your speech, his speech to the supreme people's assembly in april. but as nancy pointed out, the walk through the window, the launch of projectiles into the sea of japan as an expression of impatience and of warning. i think we should expect that the chinese would have a certain degree of sympathy for north korea's impatience, although, of
course, a lot of unhappiness and queasiness about the connecticut expression of that frustration expression ofstration o that frustration. the chinese are very supportive of action for action. very severe to the idea that it is the big, rich america that ought to be offering more, including as joe pointed out, lowering the involvement and the presence of the u.s. military on the korean peninsula. second big question is the effect of the trade war. and, even if there is a truce, likely, the united states seem to have shifted to a kind of full on strategic rivalry towards china. china's policies on north korea are always going to be rooted in china's national interests. china is not going to shift gears on north korea in a fit of
pique because of other issues in the u.s.-china relationship, thethis has at least potential to seriously derail any prospects of u.s.-china cooperation. certainly the friction in the relationship diminishes china's willingness to take risks or to cooperate with the united states. china is careful about linkages, but it does take a long-term approach. the question that the report tackles head-on is what happens, what should we expect and what should we do if u.s.-north korean negotiations begin? i won't even say resume, because i am much less convinced - and so are my friends -- that there really was a negotiating process with north korea.
the chinese who are great believers in the principle that war,aw is better than war will be relieved but i think we will find them to be deeply deeply worried about being frozen out of a deal between pyongyang and washington. china will need to protect its own equities which are very considerable. joe had mentioned, to shape the outcomes. and, therefore, will push hard to multilateralize the process. the report also asks the question what happens if talks were to collapse? and, certainly, in the aftermath of hanoi, that's a question we have to take a hard look at. we already see that china is pushing to deescalate the the situation and resume some degree of diplomatic engagement. we should expected push from
china on north korea not to test, certainly testing a nuclear device i think is highest on beijing's do not do list, given its morbid fear of radioactive material drifting into china. we should expect more pressure on the united states as well in this scenario to ease off, to be more flexible, to offer and give more. we've already seen that in the form of china's call for sanctions relief in the u.n. how chinan't know is could be convinced that the any hope a collapse of for negotiation rests on the u.s. side and not the north korean side. the answer toknow the question what would happen
if in the aftermath of a complete collapse, and the resumption of tensions or even fury" what would happen if the united states actions included such things as economic sanctions against chinese, major chinese banks that are perceived as doing business with north korea? and, on that, note, far be it for me to use this platform to plug something from the asia society, but i just wrote a report -- on north korea which you can find on our asia society website. sorry, nancy. real quick on u.s. misperceptions of china's role in the north korea problem. there's a very long list, i'll mentioned three. the china wants delocalization as does the united states and , therefore, we share the
same goal -- china wants denuclearization. denuclearization is number three on the top three chinese wish list. and, so, it is often coming up short when china has to make tough policy calls, avoiding war, avoiding chaos, being number one and two. second, that china could force north korea to capitulate if it only wanted to. now, there is no doubt that china has a tremendous amount of leverage, but the risk to china, the cost of using that leverage in chinese eyes vastly outweighs full-onle and pressure. thirdly, because china wants the u.s. to amake compromises with north korea, engaged north korea, that china will stand back and let the united states make a deal. and, as i said at the outset,
china has such profound equities in the korean peninsula and is at so much risk of things developing in a way that is inimical to chinese interests it cannot afford to be sidelined. thank you. [applause] thank you very much. our for the speaker is ambassador cathing stevens who is th president ande ceo of the korea economic institute and the former u.s. ambassador to south korea. she was also in the foreign service of postings all around the world including in china. here in washington she served as acting under secretary of principal deputy assistant secretary of state for east asian and pacific affairs, debbie assistant secretary state for european and eurasian affairs and national security council director for european affairs at the clinton. >> thank you very much. it is an honor to be here on
this distinguished panel and his platform and i thought i would break the mold and either bridge into a more interactive part of the afternoon by making couple comments and trying to balance my notes with the. microphone. thank you so much. i thought the discussions were very lively, excellent papers contributed by many. i congratulate everyone and thank everyone who wrote the final report. you know who you are. and i think the recommendations are really good. i was asked to kind of comment on what has been said. i agree with all of these are very wise men up here. arei think you'll see they well reflected in the report. i was asked to say something about maybe a south korean perspective. there are many experts on south korea and the audience. i do not want to be to presenters. -- presenters. -- presumptious. the relevance of this topic, it struck me. talking about american politics
but i am not in foreign service anymore, so i can, president trump as a candidate he was very focused on the idea if we got china involved we could fix the north korean issue. he thought he was the first person to have this idea. he wasn't. president bush was very focused on it. i was working in the bush administration on the six party talks, and that was the insight there, which i think was a very important insight -- china needs to be involved and let's make than the chairman of these talks. the obama administration understood the centrality of it. the challenges to quote president trump and his "it hasn't worked out yet." so, that's part of what we are trying to look at in the report. but, also, recognizing it is absolutely essential that u.s. and china find a way to work together to make progress on north korea, and also, i would say to avoid becoming a real flashpoint in the relationship. really focus on but could not be completely discounted.
but, turning to, i guess, if you're looking from the korean peninsula, from south korea in particular, a couple of thoughts, and bear with me if i get a little bit historical here. the report is honestly very much focused on what is happening now. it does do a good job of trying to look, at least historically from the establishment of the the end of dprk and the korean war at the relationship, but i think and i do not want to sound too much like seeking paying at mar-a-l ago, but korea and china have a very long history and some of you may recall that it was two years ago in april 2017 when xi jinping was meeting with president trump at mar-a-lago, that according to present trump's account that xi jinping went a longtime explain, have all expenses a bit, the very long relationship and history between china and korea. of course unified korea.
over that long history. as received by trump and transmitted to "the wall street journal," this may not a been exactly what was said, it's complicated and korea used to be a part of china. this gets me into south korea because that news went viral and south korea. there were protests. what?again, who said wisely, both the foreign ministry spokesman in beijing and washington kept quiet on that one. but i think that the notion that there is a long history there and in some ways xi jinping wanted to communicate that is relevant. is relevant to the challenges today. two more addict us to think about. a-- anecdotes to think about. korea's development of a modern national identity. many of you have been to the hotel in seoul.
and you sit in the lovely ninth gate restaurant the result of a little building that looks like the temple of heaven in beijing. if my history is right, do you know why that was built? well, it is one korea -- no? under pressure from japan and russia and a weak china unable to protect his interest decided it needed an umpire too and to ire you had to have a direct channel to heaven. that is the korean empire. that is part of its finding its identity outside the wing of china. if you go to logan circle, there is the legation building. it's so interesting. thethere this is set up in late 1800s with the koreans trying to build a relationship, the first time they tiredried to do that with any countrysides
china -- and one of the things is a seating chart from a dinner at president arthur's white house where the korean diplomats and the chinese diplomats and the korean diplomats are seated in a higher protocol position than the chinese. everybody was shocked. he looks shocked by that, too. it is part of the experience of a moderneveloping identity is developing -- a certain amount of separation from china. south and north korea have had very diverse experiences since the division but i think that underlying sense of what are the attitudes in south korea and north korea and in china towards each other is something we do not all need to be, and i'm not deep historians but we need to be very mindful of, i think. i mean, getting to south korea's relationship with china, this is still old history for a lot of you, i was in ira korea in 1988
seoul olympics happened. chinese athletes -- it was the first time they had ever been in korea. i remember how euphoric south koreans were. i wasn't in korea were. i remember how delighted south koreans were when they finally establish diplomatic relationship with the peoples republic of china in 1992. and subsequent we, built an animus economic -- an enormous economic relationship and partnership, utterly intertwine. i remember all the south koreans said to me, you know, we have a long history with the chinese, we know how to manage this relationship. i think it has been a hard road for the south koreans in recent years when they have seen that nota imposes sanctions only sometimes on north korea but on other countries including south korea. when china is not shy about using his influence and sometimes the u.s. has been
accused of it by the south koreans included, our elbows are not quite as sharp as the chinese. we are not quite as close. koreansame time south recognize, as do we in this paper, that china is absolutely central to the future of the region, the future of denuclearization and to thieir own future hopes. with that, i just wanted to say, again, ,i think the recommendations are quite good. you still make recommendations, get them out there. to me, part of what the recommendations try to do, i do not knew if you all thought it quite this way was a little bit of a trade-off between with the chinese if you like and maybe the south koreans on process. and to say, rather than the big deal, we will do a step-by-step. that is kind of the negotiations i think most of us know from our own heart and not always successful and celtid seldom successful -- it is the only geithner is. at the same time, it is good to
have a clear and goal. even if you do not know exactly if kim jong-un is going to deliver, some clarity of where you are trying to head is probably important. there are many other outlets to get you there anything the thert salutes these, but notion have others have said that you cannot -- have the denuclearization in isolation. it would be nice if this was a purely intellectual exercise and we learn about and that way but it is very much tied into the future of relations between north and south korea, the inter korean relations or the peace regime, security architecture in the neighborhood, a number of other things that have to be part of this process going forward. so, i think if we can find a way to one, recognize that china, if we're going to engage in this way, in my opinion anyway, is going to need more than like after action reports, whether they come from a shuttling diplomat or from our
presidential phone call, they are going to have to be in this process in a bigger way but in a way that ensures from the u.s. perspective that we are not seen as and not in actuality somehow forming some kind of great power kind of south korea or, for that matter, north korea or of course other very concerned countries like japan. [applause] very much.u that leads me to one question i want to ask before we open it up to the audience. you ended by talking about japan which is a country that is itical partr of this process but one we have not spent too much time talking about. but also russia. both of them were discussed in the report. steve is in japan today if that is right. there was just recently the meeting between kim jong-un and vladimir putin.
open up to the panel if someone wants to say more about the role japan and russia in this process. well, thanks, jennifer. like everything pertaining to north korea, it is complicated. from japan's point of view, on the one hand is most directly and most imminently in danger from north korean missiles and potentially from nuclear warheads. japan, of course metaphorically, is the one thing that all koreans seem able to agree upon. the threat to japan has a unifying effect. and it, furthermore, is part and parcel of north korea's own strategy to align itself strategically with china and with russia in the current
environment. so, japan believes that it has a lot to fear from north korea, and with some justice. and that's reinforced by the act that kim jong-un declared moratorium only on long-range and medium-range missiles, not short-range missiles and what we saw over the weekend were projectiles that landed in the sea of japan. there's something real there. japan has the long festering issue of japanese citizens who were willfully abducted by north koreans in the 1970's and 1980's and this has a tremendous political importance abeapan under the government. thirdly, japan right now, in addition to being isolated in the kim jong-un round of parties, round of summits, has real concerns about the erratic,
spasmodic, and unpredictable quality of the u.s. statements pertaining to north korea. and feels that it's important, number one, n oot to be excluded and number two, not to allow the trump administration to rush headlong into some ill-advised to deal that might compromise aligns efforts -- alliance efforts and japan's interest in particular. with regard to russia, i would say simply that what we see is characteristic putin opportunism. and, certainly, the russians perceive an opportunity to get back in the game, so to speak. and, as a special side benefit to make some mi
schief for the united states. in the past, russia take a pretty hard view -- for denuclearization consistent with his global equities and policies. that seems to have really disappointed over the last several years. -- dissipated over the last several years. now, although russia may harbor hopes of economic benefits in the future along the lines of what the south korean president has been proposing, first and foremost, i think there is a tactical opening that the russians see. add an additional .2 danny's very good points. the end result of denuclearization, we cannot just stop there.
the goal is to create a more stable situation in northeast asia. to get ia more stable situation in northeast asia, that means that any denuclearization arrangements have to have the buy-in of all the major powers whose interests are affected. if make an enormous error you think you can somehow do it simply on the basis of the original four party without japan and russia buying into the arrangements. these are not countries with trivial capabilities to spoil a good arrangement if they do not think it is working in their interests. i think you have to take into account the strategic issues, and that's one of the hopeful things is that, as we saw in the six party talks, the five, with the exception of north korea, were united in their desire to push forward a non-
nuclearization process, because this was before north korea had successfully tested a nuclear device. that was a vedrry important facr and, again, the -- it shows a recognition that the six major powers whose interests are deeply involved in the issue all have to be considered as part of thinking about outcomes. >> thank you. we will now open it up to the audience for questions. we have a lots of talk about today so i think we will take a few questions at a time. when we acknowledge you, please wait. folks will bring you a microphone. please stand up, identify yourself and then ask your question and again, i think we have a lot so try to keep question short as possible. i want to start right here. ofi'm with the voice america. after north korea launched its projectile secretary pompeo told media that at no point was there
international border crossed, they landed in the water east of north korea and did not present a threat to the united states or south korea or japan. this sounds different from previous u.s. government responses which criticized not only long-range but short range as a threat to not only the united states but his allies. soon after official responses from japan and south korea and the united states as that this is not a threat to any of the countries. all three countries seem to thetain lokw key -- to projectile launch. how is the latest response from secretary pompeo different from previous responses and what is your take on that? are three countries condoning north korea's bad behavior to keep diplomacy a life? >> i-- a live? >> this is one everyone is going to want to talk about because of
the events over the weekend. so, maybe we will stop right now and pause and let the panel is common on the question but also on perhaps the developers over the weekend and what that means for the process going for. we talked about it a little bit and i'm sure folks have more to say. both what that means for china's role which is still the focus of this particular report, but also how that might change the dynamics in the coming weeks and months. >> i thank you very much. maybe i can have a crack at that question first. must remember there is an important distinction between short-range missiles and long-range missiles, especially short-range missiles, practiced, trained within the national, you know, ez and outside. i think that is an important distinction that secretary pompeo made. second is the reality. there has been two summit meetings between u.s. president
and north korean present. -- president. summit.s been three meetings between south korean president and the north korean leader and four between chinese and north korean. it is in the interests of the region to keep the current engagement alive. so, i think what you said is partly true. they do want to give diplomacy a chance. fair,ean, i think it's anurate to say that there's effort to perhaps downplay the actions over the weekend for the reasons that joe suggested. one hopes, i'm not privy to this, that there is some effort to be in contract through private channels and try to get a negotiation going. there's a shared interest at this point of the various parties in the region. i would note that that the part
you didn't quote was that mr. pompeo underscored the continued emphasis on tough maximum sanctions and so on. i think we are seeing the continuation of the effort post hanoi to try to get going again and not to see it derailed. >> this is literally a warning shot by north korea to the trump administration punctuating the point that kim jong-un has made quite clearly first in his new his's oaddress and address to the supreme people's assembly, namely my patiences is no ot unlimited. you need to give me more. while, assuming this was not a ballistic missile test, because all ballistic missile tests are explicitly -- exclusively prohibited under multiple u.n.
security council resolutions, it is perfectly understandable why the trump administration would seek to downplay the significance of this morning and redouble efforts to get the north koreans to engage in a diplomatic format. but it also does raise the question, if the message to north korea is, this didn't meet the threshold of truly alarming us, is that inadvertently a challenge to north korean to up the ante? we may see the as her to that question in the coming weeks and months. -- we may see the answer to that question. >> we'll go back to the audience for questions. we'll start here. >> hi. wilson center. i have two simple quest is about
china and six party talks. first question is i had a chance to -- attend a seminar in china. some chinese scholars that china's role to north korea is highly limited. so, china cannot prevent north korea from developing nuclear weapons. how does the ambassador think about this? is, is there any possibility to revival of six party talks among six countries in northeast asia? thank you. >> we'll start here at the back. thanks. coming. thank you. >> oh, thank you. my name is don kirk. one thing i can't see why we hear this term step-by-step when
it has never worked before. why do you think it would possibly work now? if you insist on using step-by-step why doesn't human rights become one of the steps? i haven't heard human rights mentioned so far today. >> we will take one more and then we will turn to the panel for comment. here in the front? >> barbara harvey retired foreign service officer, i have served in seoul in the early 1960's. my question is about china's relationship now that it has good relations with south korea. how has that affected their approach to the question of the korean peninsula, and does it make them less nervous about unification? >> thanks. we will turn to the panel to comment on those three questions. does anyone want to go first? >> let me take the question of china not being able to prevent
north korea from developing nuclear weapons. as a representative of a great power dealing with many countries that were not as powerful as the united states, i am very aware of the limitations of what great powers can do in forcing other countries to behave. if china had unlimited resources before -- to force north korea to do what it wanted, i have no doubt we would of been able to tell north korea to stop the flow, tell mexico to halt the flow of refugees across the hundreds of miles of mexican territory they crossed to reach the u.s. border. we can't border mexico around. china cannot order north korea around. china was the first country to issue a statement condemning the north korean nuclear test in 2006. it used language that is normally reserved for the united states.
it accused it of blatantly violating its international undertakings. it was extraordinarily strong man which. the chinese -- strong language. the chinese were offended by it. they were offended by the fact that north korea repeatedly has taken actions designed to some their nose on china on issues that china has told them are very important to china. if one understands this background to the relationship, one has a better understanding of why china believes that it is reate interest for north korea's to move into particular declarations. a lunch and china when the premier of china was complaining about that north korea when he used to ship their to north korea on railroad cars.
china's response as it built a pipeline instead. the united states we would've made a big issue out of the railroad cars. china found a way around problem. that is the way it tends to deal with north korea. >> i think the thing about this format is weekend pick a question we want to answer. i'll go ahead and pick the step-by-step one. you know, i agree with you. i don't like it step-by-step or even calling it. i mean, what i would have, if i was back, i would push for an interim agreement, you know? because it is presently impossible to get from where we are to the end point of complete denuclearization which includes dismantling which includes verification. we just can't get there, because they won't agree. so, how do you get from here to
there? and i don't think, call it what you want, step-by-step, parallel action, action for action, you have to do it because of such incredible lack of trust. and there is no other way. we have not been able to communicate with them except in these rare meetings. and really, you know, i remember when i was in the government when i first started in late 206, 16, i was at the end of the obama administration and i called him up and said, should n't we be talking at least? their answer was at the point, we will never talk to anyone in the obama administration. so, i mean, i don't want to going to the long reason they gave. they really did not like the obama administration. so, i had to wait until january 20th. there is no communication. no trust.
sthe only way we can get there is by little by little. so this idea somehow we can do a big deal in which everything will be resolved in one setting, i think it's just fantasy. there are two wayas of getting getting, resulting in one go. fantasy. the other is military action which is another fantasy. you really do have neo choice, i believe. korea- leave the south china question to you if i may, kathleen. hardike to pick up on the question that was asked about human rights because i think it is a very important question. there's no good answer but it does lie in what joe just said about step-by-step, because there is a fundamental tension
between the options in terms of process. does creating engagement and normalization and reconciliation also create the environment that will facilitate denuclearization does denuclearizing north korea create the environment that allows normalization and engagement and reconciliation? there are very different perspectives on this, particularly between washington and say beijing. step-by-step is highly unsatisfactory approach. but, as joe points out, this big bang notion that you can take all of the difficult issues -- it's not, limited to human rights it also includes chemical weapons, biological weapons, a
bductees, it include cyber theft as well as many threats to critical infrastructure in south korea and elsewhere -- it includes the drug manufacturing, comes out of north korea, counterfeiting and someone. i'm not merely putting human rights on a long list of offenses. it's central to american values and universal values. but the notion that you can wrap all of this in a ball and get right to the "big deal," wishes but the premise of president trump's approach, is completely un realistic. on the other hand we know from experience that step by step with north korea almost invariably has led to what's called the xenome paradox, where you are always inching a half
step closer and closer but somehow you never seem to get there. and step-by-step simply hasn't yielded result. but i agree with joe that there is no viable alternative. what the report points to is keeping a clear eyed focus on what the objectives are and what the end state will have to look like, not only in terms of denuclearization but more broadly in terms of the regional environment. and that includes human rights. those issues that are of highest priority that will-- the wolf nearest to the door and tackling those issues you can naturally get your arms around. -- actually get your arms around. >> i have to pitch in. this question of how do you to
structure an negotiation is at the heart of the frustrations we have had over the years. i a greased up a step does not sound like the right phrase. i agree that step is that does not sound like the right freight. phrase.e the right why have agreements of north korea not held up? dayton accords, the good friday agreement, none of. those were exactly comprehensive agreements but they were kind of copper hands of statements of principle in 2005 was kind of comprehensive and the question becomes the implementation. maybe step-by-step in a way is implication. good idea to get as much up front as you can but you cannot get everything. i can't think of the history of diplomacy where we had one okreement, big deal, that to into account and slowly everything but the key things, touch on them in some way, but implementation certainly it's slow and on even in every
circumstance but what i'd like to see is a circumstance where the whole agreement does not collapse which was what has tended to happen. it has happened with north korea. with respect to human rights, and thank you for raising it, i think it -- there are a couple of things that the u.s., south korea, others in the international committee could do and they are doing some of them but when i think the trump announcer: administration-- the trump ministration should appoint someone to be a special representation for human rights. two, it is not a long list but we could look at things can if youlike suggestions like that could become essentially part of agenda for adjustments in north korea's legal system, that it would need to do in order to encourage the kind of economic growth. something else we have not yet touched on in talking about north korea, the kind of economic growth and development it says it wants. some of this could be labor laws, others could be basic
human rights issues we used to have with south korea, like the law on guilt by association. that wasn't a limited in south korea until the 1980's. simply getting rid of that would be a huge step. i think putting it on the agenda without waiting for an agreement or other things would be the right thing to do. barber, it is great to see you again. yeah, thison about, burgeoning relationship between south korea and china that has developed over the years economically but also i other waysn, k-pop is very big in china and tourism has gone back and forth. much influence in the last three years by the tensions over the department of the missile defense system in south korea and some other issues and china's putting economic pressure because of that. you see over the years, since the 1990's, i mean, and the improvement and the
normalization of relations, great hopes on the part of the south koreans that china could it the to understand previous president was ready to irritate washington. to build a relationship with china and he was very public about this of a call trading them to the kind of korea she hoped to see and why that would be in china's interest. i think right now there is a sense of disappointment, to put it mildly with some of china's decisions particular in that it's find a mental interest you seem to certainly still go more to sustaining north korea than for south korea's desire improve relations. the efforts continue and are certainly on the agenda of any south korean government. >> go back out to the audience
for questions. in the very back in the blue shirt? hi. ben marks with nhk japan broadcasting. prime minister abe has stated he wants to homld a summit with kim jong-un. does kim jong-un have any interest in meeting with primacy abe -- prime minister abe? does north korea provide anything to japan that would incentivize a summit? >> i'm with tv sahi. i did want to ask about the economic part that came up in the last question. the trump administration seems to be pushing this idea -- as a more fleshed out idea of making north korea into more of an economically developed country. is there a possibility for cooperation with china on this? could china possibly get interested in this idea as well? thank you.
from -- i have two simple questions. the first question is what the the u.s. and china in terms of setting up a peaceful agreement in the korean peninsula. and the second question -- the denuclearization in north korea. how does north korea -- [indiscernible] in order to improve -- with the nuclearorder to -- with weapons in north korea? with the ambassador in the u.s. just between the two sides,
north korea and the u.s., to deal with the nuclear system in north korea. the the problem is north korea does not have -- an ambassador in the u.s. in ordero they lobby to get an agreement and just between two sides? thank you. >> great questions about the abe-kim summit, economic growth and the north korea and u.s. relationship. >> i'll have the first choice this time. let me talk a little bit about diplomat in exchange and embassies and so on. this is, will be a fundamental part, i believe, of any agreement we reach with north korea. we were very close, u.s. was
very close to exchanging liaison, diplomatic liaison offices, i would say in the mid 90's. when we had a number of our colleagues actually were in training to go to north korea to open a u.s. diplomatic office there. we came quite close to it in the year 2000 when secretary albright went to it. and i believe we would have had an agreement to exchange liaison offices had it not broken off on how much sanctions and how much denuclearization issue. we're very close to that. the fundamental question is that we have a liaison office which is the first that. we have normalization, which is the last step in diplomatic recognition. in the case of vietnam, i think it was not very long from liaison office to diplomatic office. in the case of china, it was a
little longer, i believe. i thinkk these things can happen. i'm optimistic. as we go to something like a step-by-step or interim agreement, this will be one of the first measures we will take. >> which question? >> about -- economic development. no? normalization. [inaudible] >> peace treaty. >> whether you use the term step by step or not, here is your problem. if you can do the big deal, north korea begins the process of denuking itself and we begin the process -- [inaudible] removing sanctions.
if you do not go that road, how do you sustain a negotiating process which has to be based on denuclearization as the end result when you are not going to be able to get significant progress on denuclearization as part of that process? well, then you have to look at what do we have to play with? establishing representatives in each other's capitals, opening liaison offices. this is not like china where the liaison office was because we had an embassy in a competing government. we don't have that problem with north korea and south korea. we can open in a busy in pyongyang if we chose to and they could open an embassy in washington. you would still have an armistice agreement or a peace agreement. in other words, there are whole series of steps that could be taken. i won't called him steps, trying to stay away from that. there are number of stages you can both through and trying to work your way, but the idea
is you need to show enough progress to sustain what you are trying to do, which is get to ap of mutual confidence efficient so that north korea can actually considered denuclearization as a realistic prospect. now i am surprised that people do not seem to understand this. how many americans think that with china building up its naval and missile capabilities in the western pacific that we should start trying down our military forces in the pacific because we can trust china? that it won't try to abuse its power position? but north korea spends how many years developing nuclear weapons in order to fend off a potential attack from the united states and we want them to suddenly rid of ourll get defensive shields because the united states is a trustworthy country and we therefore do not have to worry about whether we have nuclear weapons are not? no. that's not realistic. at the moment, there is
insufficient trust between the united states and north korea to sustain a big deal. that's why all four of us up here are skeptical that a big deal as possible. on the other hand, it is the best outcome. i, myself, think that if president trump has floated that i do to the north korea, i am glad he has, because it enables, you know, dreams of purple balloons and things to float around in north korean heads. the idea of having trump hotels on the riviera there. not a bad idea. but it's not realistic. so, therefore, we have to think in terms of what are the steps that we can take in order to move us in the right direction. at some point, as part of that progress, human rights has to be out there. but if you try to do things in the wrong order, you impede your ability to move in the right to russian. -- the right direction.
you have to organize things in the best way to get to where you want to go, bearing in mind that all of them have to be part of the final resolution. can comment on the abe question. been wanting aas meeting with north koreans for a long time now. and, of course, north koreans haven' t agreed. i think this is more a statement on kim jong-un than anything else. two meetings with the u.s. president and for meetings with the chinese president and three meetings with the south korean leader and he took one year for putin to beg him to have a meeting with putin.how long is it going to take abe? i think it is going to take a while longer. >> i'll address the other half of the question which is what does north korea want from japan? and, while i'm engaging in a
little mind reading, something that the north koreans have consistently asserted is that japan is like the republic of korea essentially a puppet of the united states. and it's reasonable to believe that the north koreans calculate that if they can make a deal with president trump, then japan will be forced to follow. fromhat north korea wants japan is pretty straightforward. its money. the north koreans expect that they would receive reparation somethe war and that modern day currency equivalent of the reparations that were given to the republic of korea back in the 1960's. there's more, i'm sure, that they hope they can squeeze out context of ahe
deal, but they are seemingly convinced that they are better off cutting a deal with the united states than forcing japan to follow -- and forth in japan to follow. and forcing japan to follow. relatingher question to the possibility of cooperation on economic develop and in north korea, in principle, certainly, the u.s., china, japan and certainly south korea can cooperate and have a lot potentially to offer in the north korea economically in the context of a process or settlement. but we should remember that north korea has and will, i predict, continue to insist on economic cooperation on its own terms. highly improbable that north korea be willing to open the floodgates of investment in
a manner that would allow the infection by insidious western values and ideas. as kathy pointed out, the u.s. and others in the international community are going to raise rule of law, human rights, and associated interests in the context of doing business in north korea and frankly just keeping their businessmen and women citizens safe in north korea. i think, instead, we should expect that, if given the opportunity, north korea would po-- lifting of sanctions and increase resources and apply them where north korea has always applied its resources, which is in service of building its arsenal and strengthening the regime's safety. >> more questions? >> we're running low on time. [inaudible] ok, please.
let's take a few more and then we will do a lightning round. >> thank you very much. the agreement with china -- my question is for ambassador roy yesterdayary russell, president trump was saying he would increase the tariffs on chinese goods by the end of this week. i'm wondering what is going on here? does it have anything to do with the talk on north korea issue? russellndly, secretary has touched upon the possibility revival between the u.s. and china may affect beijing's willingness to cooperate with u.s. on the north korea but my question is on the u.s. side.
how the -- of the north korea talk may affect the u.s. strategic to compete with china in northeast asia, or how it will affect the u.s. mindset to have a big power competition with china, or how the strategic competition with china may hefect the u.s. approach to t denuclearization issue? >> it is a great one to end on. i will turn to the panel for final comment. >> i don't know what lies behind president trump's tweets. that is much broader than your question. i don't know what lies behind any of his tweets. but the first, i think it had nothing to do with korea. i think it has to do with the trade negotiations that are taking place between the two parties.
i think it is characteristic of president trump, when trying to get over hurdles, is to put pressure on the other side. being dishonest theerms of the afeffect of tariffs on their domestic upon economies. my perception is both economies are hurting badly. which one is hurting worst is what both governments are trying to disguise. we know our agricultural sector has been hurt badly. if president trump raises from 10% to 25% tariffs on $200 billion of chinese imports, to the united states, that is a tax on the american people and he precipitates a downturn in the american economy. in some ways, china has to evaluate whether he is bluffing or prepared to take a step like that.
hand, china is probably disguising the degree to which its economy has been itt by the tariffs, because certainly has constrained exports to the united states. frankly, we're the best supplier of soybeans and other products china needs. it is awkward for china to find alternative suppliers. this is your problem. designedressure tactic to try to get an outcome you can then live with in terms of your own domestic factors. that is the restraining question on both sides, which is to have an agreement they can defend in terms of their own country's interests. i think we are still within reach of an agreement. i think both sides need an agreement, but i think they are on the u.s. side that they will end up with an agreement where they have been
saying, we will get something no previous administration has been able to get, and it will end up with people saying china is still stealing our intellectual properties, still doing bad things, and so it is no different from earlier administrations. i think they are trying to get beyond that. we will see if it works or not. there is unmistakably an interplay between the u.s. china relationship and the growing .riction and strategic rivalry china and the u.s. approach the problem of the korean peninsula of theirperspective respective national security interests, not as a manifestation of the greater strategic rivalry.
because of the conviction we all cooperations.-china is an indispensable ingredient outcome tosfactory the situation on the korean peninsula, it would stand to reason that building a u.s.-china relationship that included strong policy and strategic engagements, discussion and collaboration, ought to be a priority. exclusive,given the almost monomaniacal focus on the trade issue, the traditional mechanisms of coordination, exploration, cooperation, two governments, have largely shut down with
strategic or diplomatic security, dialogue. none of the normal processes. i think that is a problem that to get toven harder the prospect of practical cooperation, but conversely, if the u.s.-china relationship continues to deteriorate, and it is not at all clear that a deal on trade would stop the downward spiral towards strategic rivalry, that relationship word to deteriorate, we would see a further acceleration in the strategic competition between the u.s. and china for dominance, hegemony, in the
generallyfic region and the korean peninsula in particular. trend that should be very worrisome to us. absolutely no good can come from moving in that direction. among other reasons, because north korea has honed, over the decades if not centuries, a genius for playing powers off against each other. it would increase our vulnerability while increasing north korea's. want to throw in a comment on the concept of hegemony in east asia. geography is different in different parts of the region. subject tots are hegemony.
they have tried to establish a gemini, whether it was napoleon, hitler, they lost. east asia is not subject to hegemony by single power. it was a land power and affected the land powers there. japan tried to establish hegemony in east asia, it precipitated war and they failed. china will not be a book to establish hegemony in east asia. you have big powers like japan, vietnam, korea, myanmar. they do find their existence i not being controlled by china. the u.s. has been a prominent factor in the security situation for decades and. that is not going to change why are we talking about chinese hegemony in east asia? the chinese i talked to do not think in terms of establishing a military hegemony such as you
might see in some other part of the world, but they would like to see more deference to their interest on the part of regional countries. something we can help to balance off. countries do not want to be under china's some, but they want to cooperate. the u.s. is properly engaged in east asia, that is a dynamic it will be. it will not be a question of hegemony, a question of how far do you have to go to cater to the interests of the u.s. or china. that is a perfectly normal type unless theic contest u.s. and china. people keep talking about this .ostile atmosphere it has to do with bad policy makers. [laughter] >> unfortunately --
[indiscernible] unfortunately, we have run out of time, but this has been an absolutely wonderful conversation. could not have asked for a better discussion to launch our report. we hope you will take a hard copy outside or downloaded from the website thank you to all of you for joining us today this has been a great conversation and we appreciate your participation thank you to c-span for covering this event. thank you for the team and thanks to those who wrote the report of final thank you to our four excellent panelists. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.
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