tv U.S. Institute of Peace Discussion on Chinas Role in North Korea... CSPAN May 6, 2019 8:01pm-9:34pm EDT
coming up tonight on cspan 3, a discussion on china's role in negotiations with north korea. then the american bar association, young mother lawyers conference from political with brown. after that, federal reserve's speaks to students at georgetown university. a look at china's role in north korea negotiations. the us institute of peace released in a report on the negotiations and heard from former officials who worked in the region. speakers included the former us special representative for north korea. under the trump and obama administration. this runs 90 minutes. good afternoon everybody. good afternoon. my name is nancy lindbergh, i
am the president of the united states institute of peace and i am delighted to welcome everybody here today. for a very timely and important conversation. for those of you joining us for the first time, us institute of peace was founded just about 35 years ago, by members of congress as a nonpartisan national but independent institute with the very singular mission of working around the world with partners to prevent and resolve violent conflicts. we do this by connecting research with policy, training and education and support for partners on the ground in conflict zones speaking to prevent conflict from becoming violent or resolving it once it does. use this headquarters on the mall in washington dc is a very powerful platform for convening people from across the
political aisles, across various kinds of expertise to come together to think deeply about how to solve some of the most pressing problems that we face as a nation. the essence of peace building. and that is what we are doing today. and celebrating today. because for the last year, us ip has convened a series of senior study groups to look particularly at china's influence on conflict dynamics with an emphasis on conflict zones in fragile states that are of strategic interest to the united states. the china north korea senior study group is the second in that series. will hear more about that in a few moments. it includes an impressive set of very knowledgeable, deeply expert scholars, former government officials, diplomats and practitioners, some of whom
we have with us here today for the conversation. and we are here today to launch their report, china's role in nuclear and peace negotiations. and as we saw from this weekend, the release of this could not be more timely. we saw north korea's latest weapon test, the first missile test from that country in more than one year, and 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 non- nuclear north korea, very much wants to have a role in negotiations with its neighbor. so the vital question is how to ensure that china can play a more constructive and role in
helping to move the discussion forward. today we have the cochairs of the senior study group ambassador joe yoon, and ambassador stapleton way, and two of the groups members, danielle russell and ambassador kathleen stevens to discuss the report and its recommendations. as i said we look forward to a very timely and important conversation and you can follow the conversation with us on twitter at us ip using the hashtag china d prk. i also encourage you to check out usi please new podcast network at us ap.org/podcast today 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 download and share report which you can also find on our website.
and with that please join me in welcoming jennifer stats. with ip director for east and southeast asia programs who will introduce our very impressive panel of speakers today. jennifer? [ applause ] thank you nancy and welcome everyone to us ip. thank you for joining us this afternoon for the launch of our new report on china's role in north korea's nuclear and peace negotiations. as nancy said we invite you to pick up a hard copy. if you are here today there are right outside the door. if your joining us online they are available on the usip website for download. here at usip, our china program focuses on china's impact on conflict dynamics around the world. the ways that china's increased global engagement influences national community efforts to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflicts but as you know, china's influence is growing in all corners of the club but it is still felt most acutely in those countries on
china's border. as china's neighbor, largest trading partner, sra, china is north korea's trading partner, and plays a particularly important role in efforts to address the ongoing nuclear crisis on the peninsula. this report examines china's interest in influence in north korea. and provides nonpartisan recommendations for the us government and other stakeholders month take this into account when devising their own policies and strategies. as nancy noted, the china program is conducting a series of senior study groups examining china's influence on different conflict zones around the world. for each fsg we convene an expert bipartisan experts of a. about six months to examine china's role in a specific conflict. the first study group looked at china's influence in burma and it was released in september of last year. over the winter we completed convened a different group of
experts to look at china's role in north korea. the product of those discussion is a report that you have in front of you today. we were incredibly fortunate to have an amazing group of experts participating in this project. first and foremost are our magnificent cochairs, ambassador roy and ambassador yoon who we will hear from very shortly. we also benefited from the experience and expertise of our other expanding group members. there were not able to be with us today but i want to read their maims to make sure their contributions are recognized. those participants included frank from you usip, victor cha from csi f, and from georgetown university. bonnie glaser from csi yes. thackeray hosford from the office of united states senator marquis. john park from the harvard kennedy school. danielle russell from the society, oriana skyler mastro from georgetown university. ambassador kathleen stevens from the autonomic institute. michael swain from the international peace and susan thorton from the china center
at yale law school. we also received excellent research support from our us ip team including gossard, lucy stephenson young, patty kim and jacob stokes. last but not least before we go any further i want to say a special word of thanks to rachel vanden brink. she is a member of our china and korea teams and serves as the project coordinator for this effort over the last eight months. from our first meeting until the launch today. we could not have done this without her and are grateful for all the work we did to make this project a success, thank you rachel. without further ado, moving on to the substance of today's events, we will hear first from our two cochairs, ambassador roy and ambassador yoon and turn to ambassador stevens and mr. russell for their comments and finish with q&a's discussion from the audience. i imagine most folks are very well known to know those of you in the audience i will give a short introduction before we get going. first, ambassador stapleton roy, the founding director emeritus and a distinguished scholar at the kissinger
institute on china and the united states. he was born in china and watched the chinese civil war from the roof of his school in shanghai. he attended princeton euston university and joined the us foreign service where he participated in the secret negotiations to establish us prc diplomatic relations and later served as us ambassador to china. he also served as a top us envoy to singapore and indonesia as well as assistance to you for intelligence and research. the coach or ambassador joseph young served as us special present different north korea policies from 2016 to 2018 and was one of the nation's leading experts on north korea for 33 years in the end us foreign service, he also served as the ambassador to malaysia and the deputy assistant secretary for southeast asia policy. and most importantly, he is currently a senior advisor with the asia center here at usip. we will start with a inning remarks from our cochairs and turn to our other co-tourists.
without ambassador why the floor is yours. >> i prefer to speak sitting down but i have trouble juggling paper and microphones at the same time. we are here this afternoon to launch the us institute of peace new report on china's role in the north korean nuclear issue. it is terrific timing. harsh reality is the north korean nuclear issue is the most dangerous problem facing the united states and our friends and allies in east asia. through four successive us administrations, extending back a order of a century, the united states has attached high- priority to preventing north korea from developing nuclear weapons. following north korea's detonation of a nuclear device in 2000 and, our attention
shifted to limiting north korea's nuclear program and if possible, reversing it with a goal of again, dena clear rising the korean peninsula. these policies have been a dismal failure. after decades of determined efforts, and in defiance of an increasingly rigorous un back sanctions regime, north korea has successfully developed nuclear weapons and is nearing the capability to target the united states homeland with nuclear missiles. when the trump administration took office in 2017, on this issue of vital importance to the united states security, we had painted ourselves into a corner with no exit. north korea had nuclear weapons. it had declared itself a nuclear power and taken denuclearization off of the table.
we were only prepared to negotiate with north korea on the basis of denuclearization which was no longer on the table. that left us with no realistic options for addressing the problem other than extremely dangerous military ones that posed unacceptable risks to our allies. president donald j. trump deserves credit. indeed, i would say real credit for getting us out of this impasse and reopening a diplomatic track for negotiations with denuclearization back on the table as the goal of the talks. this put us in alignment with our south korean ally which favors direct us engagement with north korea. this has broken the impasse but failed to produce any progress toward denuclearization. after two summit meetings between president donald j. trump and north korean leader
kim jong un, the negotiating process is in danger of breaking down. the us breakthrough with north korea also causes the ground to shift beneath our feet. north korea's leader kim jong un has emerged from international isolation in addition to two summits with president donald j. trump, over the last year he has held several summits with south korea, for summits with china, and his first summit reading meeting with russian lear putin just a few days ago. china is a central factor in this equation. it shares our goal of denuclearization on the korean peninsula, but interest on the peninsula are not identical to those of the united states. china's top priority is to head off instability on its borders. its goals are to, one, and often foreign military intervention in north korea,
second, to prevent the collapse of the north korean regime, and third, to promote denuclearization in that order. chinese leaders believe that north korea developed nuclear weapons to determine the perceived threat from the united states. for that reason, it supports direct talks between washington and pyongyang as long as it is somehow involved in the process. sees clearly that north korea's actions are negatively affecting tennis interests by eliciting responses from the united states and its allies, japan and south korea. that worsen china security environment, and increase pressure on japan and south korea to acquire nuclear weapons of their own. the us trade war with china has added a strain to an already strained us china relationship and this has the potential to affect cooperation on korean
related matters. therefore it takes considerable skill on the part of the united states, to balance the fact that the country that is most relevant other than ourselves to progress with north korea, that would include south korea in the process but the external powers that is most significant is china and we do not have easy relations with china at the present time. with the outlook plotted in this session, the institute of peace report looks at the role china could play in three possible scenarios. first, if talks produce progress toward denuclearization, second, if the talks remain stalled, and third, if they collapse and tensions increase. 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 a step-by-step approach based on reciprocal actions that moves the process forward. skillful and tenacious diplomacy will be necessary for either approach to succeed. it is probably a good thing that the package is on the table, because if you failed to make progress in the step-by- step approach, which has been attempted over numerous years before, then there might be criticism that you should have put the big package on the table. but the transition from a big package to a step-by-step approach is not going to be easy. and that is why this report is so significant because it explores the types of issues that are going to emergence we
try to keep this negotiating path alive and secure genuine progress however slow toward denuclearization. the stakes are very high. thank you. [ applause ] truck so you know, in my 33 years of foreign service i have had several bosses. and i think four of them are here. you know? anyhow, thank you very much. i wanted to discuss a little bit about the question that everyone is asking which is, will north korea denuclearize? have they made a fundamental question to denuclearize? and you know, my own answer is always that we don't know, i
really don't even kim jong un himself knows, you know? but what i do know, is that i do not think us alone can do it. you know, i think it is just, we have tried it, we have tried it bilaterally, a number of times, and it is just too difficult. and this is why we have really taken on the project what else can we look for health and health? the obvious place is china. and i do believe that the relations between china and north korea is such that they will be vital if we are to really succeed at denuclearize and north korea. and you looked at our reports route, it mentions the leverage that china has over north korea. that is very very important. the second question that is often asked is, does china really want denuclearize to
north korea? or do they see it as in their interest to annoy the us to have leverage over the us, to have a nuclear north korea. and to me i think our report answers that quite clearly. yes, china does value denuclearization. it is clearly in their interest. number one, china's strategic goal is to ultimately get the us out of their back door. they really see nuclear north korea is something of a pretext or reason for us to be. that is important for them. second, they do not want to proliferate the area. i mean, they do value very significantly the fact that they are related to, acknowledge, accepted nuclear
power. they certainly do not want another country, let alone a small country in the region, having nuclear weapons. so i think for all those regions, our conclusion is very strongly that china does want denuclearization of north korea. but that does not mean that china wants to do it the same way as the us, and this is the fundamental disconnect between the us position and chinese position. and to put it very simply, china wants to see both the stability and continuation of the regime while denuclearization is going on. call it parallel action, call it dual track, but clearly they want that. for us, for the us, it has always been important before we think about issues like peace,
globalization, whatever, that there be denuclearization. and so i think that is a fungal distance fundamental disconnect. as ambassador why mention, i do think what president donald j. trump has done is very important in trying to at least align a position between beijing and us in the sense that we are approaching, us is now approaching both of the issue of security and peace on the korean peninsula, at the same time as denuclearization i think where we do differ fundamentally with the chinese is the timeline. nobody in china believes that this can be done quickly. nobody in china believes that this can be done without some kind of compromise. and nobody believes that north korea will
completely denuclearize before we begin the peace process, normalization process, and sanctions lifting process. so 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? and so 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. so i think you know you will hear the debate coming up over and over again, is it enough to approach north koreans alone? or should we do it multilaterally as the four-part team, something like that?
so i think that is a question to me, i would very much support now, having china away in, a lot more powerfully, and a lot more influence. thank you very much. i'm going to introduce you before you start, because everyone is going to the podium. i've been ripped off that is all right. our next speaker, get another member of the career senior foreign service, daniel russell is vice president for international security and diplomacy at the asian society policy institute. as a career member of the senior foreign service he served all over the world. in his most recent post here in dc, assistant secretary of state for east asian and pacific affairs and a special assistant to the president of the national security director, senior counsel for asian affairs and the obama white house. mr. russell? thanks jennifer and nancy. this has been a terrific group
and it has been my honor to be part of such an esteemed gathering of experts. the, my heartfelt conviction is as this report points to, there is no prospect of a happy ending of the challenges of the korean peninsula without proper operation between the united states and china. just touch on the four big questions concerning china's role and say just a word or two about us perceptions were missed perceptions of china's role on the korean peninsula. i think the report makes some of these, or asks these question in either an explicit or implicit way. the first question is, what should we expect, what comes after hanoi, the setback in hanoi? of course we have seen not only the warnings from kim jong un, his new year's speech, his
speech at the spring people's assembly in april, but as nancy pointed out, the rock 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 have a certain degree of sympathy for north korea's impatience, although of course a lot of unhappiness and craziness about the connecticut expression of that frustration. the chinese are very supportive of the notion of the phase synchronous action, action for action. they are very sympathetic to the idea that it is the big rich america that ought to be offering more, including ms. joy and joe pointed out, lowering the involvement in the presence of the us military on the korean peninsula.
second big question is the effect of the trade war. and even if there is a deal and a truce that is likely, the united states seems to have shifted to a kind of full on the 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 united china relationship. but as roy pointed out, this has at least the potential to seriously derail any prospect of us china cooperation. certainly, the friction in the relationship to malicious china's willingness to make risks or to cooperate with the united states. china is careful about linkages, but it does take a holistic and long-term
approach. the question that the report tackled head on is, what happens, what should we expect and do if us north korean negotiations begin. i won't even say resume because i am not much less convince than some of my friends that there really is a negotiating or was a negotiating process with north korea. the chinese who are great believers in the principle that judge is better than war war will be relieved but i think that we will find them to be deeply deeply worried about being frozen out. of a deal between jenny young and washington. china will need to protect its own equities which are very considerable as joe had mentioned to shape the outcome is and therefore will push hard
to multilateral lies the process. the report also asked the question what happens if talks were to collapse? certainly in the aftermath of hanoi, that is the question we have to take a large hard look at. we see that china is pushing to de-escalate the situation and resume some degree of diplomatic engagement, and we should expect a push by china on north karina 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. i think we should expect more pressure on the united states in this scenario to ease off and be more flexible to give
more and we have already seen that in the form of china's call for sanctions. with sanctions relief in the um. but we don't know is how china could be convinced that the blame for a collapse of any hope for negotiations rests on the us side and not the north koreans died. we also don't know the answer to the question what would happen if, in the aftermath of a complete collapse, and the resume resumption of tensions or even fire and fury, what would happen if the united states actions included such things as economic sanctions against chinese meter, chinese banks that are doing business with north korea. on that note far be it for me to use this platform to plug something from the asia side but i just wrote a report on
which the north korea which you can find on our asian society website. we'll click on us perceptions or misperceptions of china's role in the north korea problem, is, there is a very long list , i have mentioned three. that china wants the denuclearization, and therefore, we share the same goal. and as state pointed out, denuclearization is number three on the top three chinese wish list. so it is often coming up short when china has to make tough calls, avoiding wall war and chaos being number one and two. that china could force north korea to capitulate if it only wanted to, there is no doubt that china has a tremendous amount of leverage, but the
risks to china, the cost of using that leverage in chinese eyes, vastly outweighs the gamble, and full on pressure. and thirdly, because china wants the us to make compromises with north korea, to engage north korea. china will stand back and let the united states make a deal and as i said at the outset, china has such profound equities on the korean peninsula. and is it so much risk things developing in a way that is an inevitable to chinese interest it cannot afford to be sidelined. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. our fourth speaker is ambassador kathleen stevens who is the president and ceo of the korea economic institute and the former us ambassador to
south korea. she was also a career diplomat in the foreign service with postings all around the world including in china. in washington she served as acting secretary of state for public diplomacy and affairs. secretary and sector of state. 50 assistant secretary of state for european and eurasian affairs and national security council director at the clinton white house. no thank you and it is an honor to be here on this statistic was panel on this platform i thought would break the mold and try to be a bridge into a more interactive part of the afternoon by making a couple of comments here and trying to balance my notes with the microphone. thank you so much, it was an honor to be part of the group. i thought the discussions were lively, excellent papers contributed by many. and i congratulate everyone and thank everyone who wrote the final report. you know who you are. i think the recommendations are really good, i will get to that in a minute. i was asked to comment on what has been said. i agree with paul.
these are very wise men. i think you will see they are well reflected in the report. i was asked to say something about from a south korean perspective. and there are many expert on south korea in the audience so i do not want to be put sumptuous. i would like to repeat a couple of the obvious points. the relevance of this topic, it struck me, not to talk about about american politics but i'm not in the foreign service anymore, but i can. president donald j. trump was very focused on the idea that if we just get china involved we can fix the north korea china involved we can fix the north korea issue. he was not the first person to have this idea. president bush was very focused on it, i was working on the bush administration on the six party talks and that was the inside which i think was an important insight again. china needs to be involved. the obama administration similarly understood the centrality of it. the challenge is commanding into quote president donald j. trump i think in a tweet, it
has not worked out yet. or it has not worked out. so that is part of what we are trying to look at in the report. but also recognize it is absolutely essential that the us and china find a way to work together to make progress on north korea. and i would say to avoid it becoming a real flashpoint in the relationship. which we did not focus on but could not be completely discounted. turning to i guess if you are 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 obviously very much focused on what is happening now. i think it does do a good job of trying to look at least as directly on the establishment of the rok and the dpr k in the end of the korean war and the relationship but i think that i
do not want to sound so much like sheeting peanut mar-a- lago, but korea and china do have a very long history and some of you may recall that it was two years ago in april 2017 i believe that when she ching ping was meeting with president donald j. trump at mar-a-lago that according to president donald j. trump's account to the wall street journal, so you know, that she ching ping spent a long time explaining, and we have all had this experience a bit, the very long relationship and history between china and korea. of course unified korea. over that long history. and as received by trump and transmitted to the wall street journal, this may not have been exactly what was said. it is complicated and korea used to be a part of china. this gets me into trenton, because that news went viral in south korea. there were protests. you know? and again, who said what, i think wisely, both of the foreign ministry spokesman and beijing and in washington just kept quiet on that one.
but i think that the notion that there is a long history there and in some way, she ching ping wanted to communicate that is relevant. is relevant to the challenges today. two more kind of anecdotes to think about. and then korea's own development of a nine modern national identity. many of you have probably been to the chosen hotel in seoul and if you sit in a lovely restaurant there outside there is a little building that looks kind of like the temple of heaven and beijing. my history is right, do you know why that was built? well, it is when korea, you know, under pressure from japan and russia and china, a week china unable to really protect its interests, decided to be an empire to and to be an empire instead of a kingdom you had to have a direct channel to have one. so they built their own temple of heaven. that is the korean empire. that was part of it finding its
own identity outside if you like the wing of china. if you go to logan circle there is a building called the legation building. i always get this and i can i paper, it is so interesting. and there, this is sped up in the late 1800s with again the koreans trying to build a relationship. the first time they tried to do that with any real country besides china in a modern way, one of the things i think all the former diplomat and appreciate is this is a seating chart from a dinner at president arthur's white house. for the korean diplomats, chinese diplomats, and others in washington. the korean diplomats are seated in a higher protocol position than the chinese. everyone was shocked. states looks shocked by that, too. so was part of the experience of koreans developing a modern identity. it was a certain amount of separation from china.
clearly in south and north korea have had very divergent experiences since the division. i think the underlying sense of what are the attitudes in south and north korea and in china towards each other is something we do not all need to be, and i am not, deep historians but we need to be very mindful of. south korea's relationship with china, this is still kind of old history for a lot of you. i was in korea in 1988 as a foreign service officer. when the whole olympics to happened. and chinese athletes and all the athletes came. this was the first time they had ever been in south korea. i remember how euphoric south koreans are. i was not in korea then, remember how euphoric south koreans are when they finally established the somatic relations with the people's republic of china in 1992 and built an anonymous, as everyone has but they in particular
economic relationship and partnership. utterly intertwined. and i remember all the south koreans who kind of said to me, 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, particularly in recent years when they have seen that china imposes sanctions not only on north korea but on other countries it does not like including south korea. when china is not shy about using its influence and sometimes the us has been accused of it but i think the south koreans included were not quite as, i was not quite as sharp as the chinese and not quite as close but trying to get its way. i think at the same time the south koreans certainly recognize, as do we, and in this paper, that china is central to the future of the region in the future of denuclearization and to their own teacher hope. with that i wanted to say, highlight that i think the recommendations are quite good, especially at what out of diplomacy and you still make recommendations and get them out there. to be part of what the recommendations are trying to
do i don't know if you all thought this way but 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 that i think most of us know from our own heart and in my case not always successful, seldom successful experience, but is really the only kind there is. at the same time you do have to have, i am certainly good to have a clear and cool. even if you do not know exactly if kim jong un is going to deliver, some clarity of where you are trying to is probably important. but there are many other elements to get you there but i think the reports allude to these but the notion as others have already said is you cannot solve the denuclearization issue in isolation. it would be really nice if this was a purely intellectual exercise and we went about it in this way, but it is tied into the future relations between north and south korea, the inter-korean relations for 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 are going to engage in this way, in my opinion it is going to need more than after action report, whether they come from a diplomat or from a presidential phone call. they are going to have to be in this process in a bigger way. but in a way that also ensures that from i think from the us perspective, that we are not seen as, and not in actuality, somehow forming some kind of great power condominium that overlooks the interest of south korea or for that matter, north korea or of course, other very concerned countries like japan. no 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 clearly a critical part of this process but in one that we have not spent too much time talking about in their prepared remarks. i want to ask about japan but also russia. both of them were discussed in the report, i think steve's was in japan today and i was there just recently. the big meeting between kim jong un and vladimir putin, opened up to the panel, if someone wants to say more about the role of japan and russia in this process . >> thanks jennifer. like everything pertaining to north korea, it is complicated. so, from japan's point of view, on the one hand, it is most directly and eminently endangered from north korean missiles and potentially from nuclear warheads. attacking japan, of course metaphorically, is the one
thing that all koreans seem able to agree upon. so it has 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 with some justice. and that is reinforced by the fact that kim jong un declared a moratorium only on long-range and medium-range missiles not on sort range missiles and what we saw over the weekend were projectiles that landed in the sea of japan. so there is something real there. secondly, japan has long festering issue of japanese citizens who were willfully abducted by north korea in the
70s and 80s which has a tremendous political importance in japan particularly under the abbe government. thirdly, japan right now and the addition to being isolated and in the kim jong un round of parties, round of summits, has real concerns about the, the erratic, spasmodic, and unpredictable quality of the us statements pertaining to north korea. and feels that it is important, number one, to not be excluded, and number two, not to allow the trump administration to rush headlong into some ill advised deal that might compromise alliance efforts. and japan's interest in particular.
on russia, i would say simply that we see what we see is characteristic 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 mischief for the united states. in the past, russia took a pretty firm view on traditional nonproliferation issues and pushed hard for denuclearization consistent with its global equities and policies . that seems to have really dissipated over the last several years. and right now, although russia may harbor hopes of economic benefit in the future along the lines of what the president has been proposing, first and foremost i think that there is
a technical opening that the russians see. mike let me just add an additional point to danny's very good points. the end result of denuclearization, we cannot just stop there. the goal of both cynical reservation and if ever we can consider korean unification is to create a more stable situation in northeast asia. to get into a more stable situation in northeast asia, that means that any denuclearization arrangements have to have a buy-in of all the major powers who are interested. and you make an enormous error if you think that 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 interest. so i think you have to take into account the strategic issues. and that is one of the hopeful things, is that as we saw in the six party talks, the five with the exception north korea, were united in their desire to push forward a non- denuclearization process because this was before north korea had successfully trusted a nuclear device. that was a very important factor and again showed 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. mike all right thank you. we will open it up to the audience for questions. we have a lot to talk about
today so i think we will take a few questions at a time. when we acknowledge you, please way, we have folks who will bring you a microphone. at that time please stand up and identify yourself, and ask your question. again i think we will have a lot soaks try to keep questions short if possible. we will start over here. >> i am gentle with the voice of america. soon after north korea launch date project, secretary pompeo told media that at no point was there ever any international boundary cross. they landed in the water east of north korea and did not present a threat to the united states or to south korea or japan. this sounds really different from previous us government responses which criticized not only long-range but also short range missiles. projectiles as a threat not only to united states but also as allies. soon after, official responses from japan and south korea and the united states is that this is not a threat to any of the countries, all three countries
seem to maintain loki to the latest projectile lunch. my question is, how is the latest response from secretary pompeo different from previous responses and what is your take on that? and are three that and are thre condoning north korea's bad behavior to keep diplomacy alive? thank you. >> i will contradict what i just said and instead of taking a bunch of russians i think this is one everyone will want to talk about because of the events over the weekend. maybe we will stop right now and let the panelists comment on the question but also perhaps the development and what that means for the process going forward i'm sure folks have more to say and what that means for china's role which is still the focus of this report and also how that might change the dynamic in the coming weeks and months. >> thank you. maybe i could have a crack at questions. i think we must remember there is an important between short
range missiles and long-range missiles. especially short range missiles, practice trained with international you know -- and outside. i think that is an important distinction that secretary of state mike pompeo made . second is the reality that there have been two summit meetings between the presidents and three summit meetings between south korean president and north korean leader and four between chinese and north korea. i do think in the interest of the region to keep the current engagement alive. i think what you said is partly true. they do want to give diplomacy a chance.
>> i think it is accurate and fair to say there is an effort to perhaps downplay the actions over the weekend and for the reason joe suggests. one hopes and i am not privy to this there is some effort to be in contact through private channels and try to get a negotiation going. i think that is a shared interest at this point with various parties in the region. again the part you did" was that secretary of state mike pompeo underscored the continued emphasis on very tough maximum sanctions and enforcement of those. i think we are seeing a continuation of the effort to try to get something going post hanoi and not see it derail. >> this is literally a warning shot by north korea to the trump administration punctuating the point that kim jong un made quite clearly first in his new year's address
and second in his address to the supreme people's assembly. you need to give me more, my patience is not unlimited. while assuming this was not a ballistic missile test because all ballistic missile tests are explicitly prohibited under multiple un security council resolutions it's perfectly understandable why the trump administration would seek to downplay the significance of this morning to redouble efforts to get the north koreans to engage in a diplomatic format but it also does raise the question, if the methods to message to north korea is this didn't meet the threshold of truly alarming us, is that inadvertently a challenge to north korea to up the ante ? we may see the
answer to that question in the coming weeks and months. >> i will go back to the audience questions. >> i have a simple question about china. first question is, i had a chance to attend a seminar in china so some chinese scholars said china's role -- so china cannot prevent north korea from developing nuclear weapons. how does ambassador think about this? second question is is there any possibility to revival of -- talks among these countries in
northeast asia? thank you. >> we will start here at the back. thanks. >> thank you. my name is don kirk. one thing i can quite see why we hear this term step-by-step when it has never worked before why do you think would possibly work now and in addition to what each of you insist on using step-by-step why doesn't human rights become one of the steps? thank you. i haven't heard the term human rights mentioned so far today. >> thank you. we will take one more and then turn to the panel for comment. >> barbara harvey served in north korean desk officer in the early 80s. my question is about china's
relationship now that it has good relations with south korea, how has that affected their approach to their approach through the korean peninsula and doesn't make them less nervous about unification? >> thank you we will turn to the panel to comment on those questions. 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 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 enforcing other countries to behave. if china had unlimited resources to force north korea to do what it wanted i have no doubt we would have been able to tell north korea to stop the
flow mexico to halt the flow of refugees across the hundreds of miles of mexican territory they cross at the border. we can't order mexico around. china was the first country to issue a statement condemning the north korean nuclear test in 2006 and use language that is normally reserved for the united states and accused it up blatantly violating its international undertakings. it was extraordinarily strong language. the chinese were genuinely offended by it. they are offended by the fact that north korea repeatedly has taken actions designed to their nose up at china which they said we are very important to china. if one understands this background the relationship one has a better understanding of why china believes that it is
necessary to create interest for north korea's particular declarations. i was at a luncheon in china a few years ago when the premier of china was complaining about the fact that north korea when they used to ship their fuel oil to north korea on railroad cars north korea wouldn't return the railroad cars. well china's respond he built a pipeline response they built a pipeline instead. we would've made a big issue, china just made a way around it. >> i think the good thing about this format is we can pick the questions we want to ask. i will go ahead and pick the step-by-step one. you know i agree with you i don't like it step-by-step and what i would have if i was back
out i would interim agreement. it is practically impossible to get from where we are to the endpoint of complete denuclearization which includes dismantling which includes verification. we just can't get there. they won't agree. how do you get from here to there? call it what you want step-by- step you have to do it because of such incredible lack of trust. there is no other way, we have not been able to communicate with them except in these rare meetings. really remember when i was first starting in the government in late i was at the
end of the obama administration in 2016 and i called them up and said listen shouldn't we be talking at least and the answer was we will never talk to anyone in obama administration. i don't know the reason they gave me they really didn't like obama administration. i had to wait until january 20 there is no communication, no trust, the only way we can get there is by little by little. this idea somehow that we can do a big deal in which everything will be resolved in one setting i think is just fantasy. there are two ways of getting resulting, one is through fantasy the other is military action which is another fantasy. you really do have no choice i
believe. >> i will leave the south korea china question if i may. i would like to pick up on the hard question asked about human rights because i think it is a very important question and there is no good answer but it does lie in what joe just said about step-by-step. 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 ? or does the nuclear rising north korea create the environment that allows normalization engagement 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 not limited to human rights that also includes chemical weapons, biological weapons, it includes abductees, it includes cyber theft as well as the many threats to critical infrastructure in south korea and elsewhere. it includes the drug manufacturing meth that comes out of more north korea, counterfeiting and so on. i'm putting human rights on a list of long offenses and it is central to american values and universal values. the notion that you could wrap all of this and get right to
the big deal which has been the premises of president donald trump's approach is completely unrealistic. on the other hand we know from experience that step-by-step with north korea almost invariably has led to what is called the zeno's paradox where you are always inching have stepped closer and closer but somehow you never seem to get there and step-by-step simply hasn't yielded results. i agree with joe there is no viable alternative what the report points to is keeping a clear i focus on what the objectives are and what the endgame and state will have to look like not only in terms of denuclearization but more broadly in terms of the regional environment. that includes human rights.
while tackling those issues that are of highest priority tackling those issues you can get your arms around. >> i have to pitch in because -- this question of how do you structure a negotiation agreement of course is the hardest of the frustrations we've had over the years. i agree step-by-step doesn't sound like the right phrase. we should maybe come up with another one but when i think about in a way why the agreements with north korea never held up. if you look at other parts of the world the agreements we've had and i could cherry pick but i will say the dayton accord, the agreement, none of those were exactly copperheads of agreements but they were kind of comprehensive. actually be joint statement of principles was kind of
comprehensive. then the question becomes implementation. maybe step i step in a way is implementation. i think it is a good idea to get as much of front as you can but you can't get everything. i can't think of a history of diplomacy where we've had one agreement big deal that just took into account absolutely everything. they keep things it touches on them in some ways but implementation certainly is slow and uneven and every circumstance. when i would like to see is where the whole agreement doesn't collapse which has tended to happen with respect to rights international community could do. i think the trump administration should appoint someone to these be special representative of human rights and i think we could look at things, is not a long list but
things like suggestions if you like that become eventually part of agenda for adjustments that it would need to do to encourage the kind of economic growth of the 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 can be basic human rights issues that we used to have with south korea like the law on guilt by association. that wasn't eliminated in south korea until the 1980s. simply getting rid of that would be a huge step. i think putting out the agenda we are all waiting for an agreement on other things being the right thing to do. harbor it is great to see you again. your question about this burgeoning relationship with south korea and china that has developed over the years economically and also in other
ways, obviously tourism has gone back and forth and much influence of course over the deployment of the missile defense system in south korea and other issues and china is putting economic pressure because of it. i think you see over the years i mean since the 90s the improvement and normalization of relations great hopes on the part of the south koreans that china could be brought to understand the previous president was very focused on this. he was ready to irritate washington and could tell you more about that to try to build that kind of relationship with china with the expressed goal, she was very public about this. kind of culturing them to the kind of career 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, particularly in that its fundamental interests seem to go more to sustaining north korea been south korea . the efforts continue and certainly on the agenda any south korean government. >> back to the audience for questions. in the back with the blue shirt. >> as clearly stated he would like to hold a summit with kim jong un but my question is, does kim jong un have any interest in meeting with the prime minister , does he offer anything incentivized with the summit? thank you.
>> i did want to ask about the economic growth that came up in the last question. the trump administration seems to be pushing the idea perhaps as a carrot or more of a fleshed out idea of making north korea into more of an economic economically developed country. is there possibility for cooperation from china on this? could chop china possibly get interested in this idea as well? thank you. >> i have two questions. what role does the u.s. and china in terms of peace agreement -- second question focuses on the denuclearization in north korea . how -- in
] >> all have the first choice this pipe. time. let me talk a little bit about exchange of embassies with diplomats and so on. this will be a fundamental part i believe of any agreement we reached with north korea. we were very close. we were very close in exchanging the diplomatic liaison offices, i would say in the mid-90s when we had a number of people and our colleagues were in training to go to north korea to open a diplomatic office there . we came quite close to it, probably near 2000 when secretary albright when. i believe we would have had in hanoi an agreement to exchange liaison offices had it not
broken off on how much sanctions and how much denuclearization issue. we are very close to that. the fundamental question is we have a liaison office which is the first step and we have normalization which is the last step in diplomatic recognition, in the case of vietnam i think it was a very long from the liaison office to diplomatic office. in the case of china it was a little longer i believe. i think these things can happen. i am optimistic as we go towards something like a step- by-step or interim agreement this would be one of the first measures we would take. >> [ indiscernible - low volume
] >> whether you use the term step-by-step or not here is your problem. north korea begins the process of denuclearization and we begin the process [ inaudible ] removing sanctions etc. if you don't go that road how do you sustain and negotiate in this process, which has to be based on denuclearization as the end result, when you're not going to be able to get significant progress on denuclearization as part of that process? 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 because we have an embassy and a competing
government. we don't have a problem with north korea and south korea. they could open an embassy in washington. you still haven't an peace agreement have a peace agreement. there is a whole series of steps that can be taken, i won't call them steps i'm sorry, there are a number of stages you can go through in trying to work your way. the idea is you need to show enough progress to sustain when you're trying to do which is two-step to a point of mutual confidence which is efficient so north korea can consider denuclearization as a realistic prospect. i am surprised that people don't seem to understand this. how many americans think with china building up its naval and missile capabilities in the western pacific that we should start drawing down our military forces in the pacific because we can trust china that it will try to abuse its power
position? north korea spends how many years developing nuclear weapons in order to fend off a potential attack from the united states? we want them to suddenly decide that we will get rid of our defensive shields because the united states is a trustworthy country and we don't have to worry about whether we have inferior weapons or not. know that is not realistic. at the moment there is insufficient trust between the united states and north korea sustained a big deal, that is why all four of us of your are skeptical a big deal as possible. on the other hand it is the best outcome. i myself think that if president donald trump has floated that idea to the north koreans i'm glad he has because it enables the dreams of purple balloons and things to float around in north korean heads. the idea of having trump hotels on their riviera there, not a bad idea. it is not realistic.
therefore we have to think in terms of what are the steps 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. if you try to do things in the wrong order you impede your ability to move in the right direction and that is where diplomatic skill comes into play. you have to organize things in the best way to get where you want to go bearing in mind all of them have to be part of the final resolution. >> maybe if i could comment. has been shinzo abe has been meeting with north koreans for a long time now and of course they have and i think this is more of a statement of kim jong un than anything else. he's had two meetings with the u.s. president, four meetings
with the chinese president and three meetings with south korean leader and he took one year for putin to beg him to have a meeting with putin. how long will he take? i think he will take a while longer. >> i will address the other half of that. what does north korea want from japan? while i am gauging 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. it is reasonable to believe the north koreans calculate if they can make a deal with president donald trump then japan will be forced to follow. what north korea wants from japan is pretty
straightforward, money. the north koreans expect they would receive reparation from the war some modern-day currency equivalent of the reparations that were made to the republic of korea back in the 60s. there is more i'm sure they hope they can squeeze out of japan in the context of a deal but they are seemingly convinced they are better off cutting a deal with the united states forcing japan to follow. i would also just say on the other question relating to the possibility of cooperation on economics development in north korea, i think 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 process or settlement. we should remember north korea has and will continue to insist on economic cooperation on its own terms. it is highly improbable 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 rights and interests in the context of doing business in north korea and just keeping their business men and women citizens in north korea . i think instead we should expect if given the opportunity north korea would pocket lifting of sanctions,
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 safety. >> we will take a few more then do a lightning round. >> thank you very much. my question is for the ambassador and secretary, yesterday president donald trump was certain he would increase the tariff on chinese goods by the end of this week and i am wondering what is going on here. does it have anything to do
with the talks on the north korea issue? secondly, secretary russell has -- possibility that the the -- between the u.s. and china could effect the willingness to cooperate -- my question is on the u.s. side, how does the result of the north korea talk how it may affect the united states strategic to compete with china in northeast asia or how it will effect the mindset to have big power competition with china? or how the strategic competition was -- approach to deal with the north korea issue? >> thank you.
>> i don't know what lies behind president donald trump's tweets , that is much farther than your question and i don't know what lies behind any of his tweets but first i think it had nothing to do with korea, i think it has to do with trade negotiations taking place between the two parties. i think it is characteristic of president donald trump when trying to get over hurdles is to put pressure on the other side. both sides are being dishonest in terms of the effect of the tariffs on their domestic economies. my perception is both economies are hurting badly. which one is hurting worse is what both governments are trying to disguise. we know our agricultural secretary has been hurt badly.
if president donald trump raises from 10% to 25% tariffs on chinese imports to the united states that is a tax on the american people and the danger is that he precipitates a sharp downturn in the u.s. economy. in some ways china has to evaluate whether he is bluffing or whether he is prepared to take a step like that. on the other hand china is probably disguising the degree to which its economy is being hurt by the tariffs. it certainly has constrained exports to the united states and quite frankly we are the best supplier of soybeans and other products that china needs and it's awkward for china to have to find alternative suppliers. this is your problem. it is a pressure tactic designed to try to get an outcome that 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 that 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 very worried that they will come on the u.s. side that they will end up with an agreement where they have been saying, we are going to get something no previous administration was able to get. it will end up with people saying china is stealing our intellectual property and doing this and that. it is no different. i think they are trying to get beyond that and we will see. >> there is mistakenly interplay between the u.s. china relationship and the growing friction and strategic rivalry and the north korea
problem although i certainly china and the united states approach the problems of the korean peninsula from the perspective of their respective national security interests, not as a manifestation of the greater strategic rivalry. because of the conviction that we all hold that u.s. china cooperation is indispensable ingredient of any satisfactory outcome to the situation on the korean peninsula it would stand to reason that building a u.s. china relationship that included strong policy and strategic engagement, discussion and collaboration ought to be a priority. right now given the exclusive,
almost monomaniacal focus on trade issues the traditional mechanisms of coordination, exploration, cooperation between the two governments have largely shut down, there is no strategic or diplomatic security dialogue. none of the normal processes and i think that is certainly a problem that makes it even harder to get to the prospect of practical cooperation. conversely if and as the u.s. china relationship continues to deteriorate, and it is not all clear that a deal on trade
would stop on the downward spiral towards strategic rivalry. that relationship it with it were to deteriorate it would stand to reason we would see a further acceleration in the strategic competition between the united states and china for dominance in the asia-pacific region generally and in the korean peninsula in particular. that is a trend that should be very worrisome to us, absolutely no good can come from moving in that direction and among other reasons because north korea has honed over the decades if not centuries a genius for playing powers against each other. it would increase our
vulnerability while strengthening north korea. >> i want to throw in a comment on the asia. geography is different in different parts of the world. some regions are subject to hegemony by powers some are not. in europe for hundreds of years various have tried to develop hegemony over europe and failed whether it was napoleon or hitler they lost. east asia is not subject to hegemony by single power. china never had it. it never controlled the maritime portions of mid east asia, it was a land power and it affected the land powers there. japan try to establish hegemony in east asia and the precipitated a terrible war and they failed. china will not be able to establish hegemony in east asia. you have big powers like japan,
you have korea, you have me and mark, defining their existence of not being controlled by china and you have the united states was has been a permanent factor in the security situation of east asia for decades and decades and it is not going to change. why are we talking about chinese hegemony in east asia? the chinese i talked to don't think in terms of establishing a military hegemony such as you might see in other parts of the world but they would like to have more depth of their interests in regional countries. that is something we had helped to balance off. countries don't want to be under china's thumb but they want to cooperate with china and if the united states is properly engaged in east asia that is exactly what the dynamic will be. it will be a question of homage emily hodge and many it will be a question of catering to china and that is the perfectly
normal type of diplomatic contest but does it require hostile rivalry between the united states and china? people keep talking about hostile rivalry and in my opinion they are bad strategists or bad asian history students and are bad policymakers. >> unfortunately we have run out of time but this has been an absolutely wonderful conversation. i couldn't have asked for a better conversation to launch our report. these download it or take a copy outside. thank you all for joining us today this has been a great conversation and we appreciate your participation. thank you to cspan for covering this event. thank you to all of the senior study group members that helped in this process and a final