tv Korea Economic Institute of America Discussion on North Korea Negotiations CSPAN September 25, 2018 5:15pm-6:46pm EDT
his entire sense of obligation not to necessarily be a president in his own right, but to hold the presidency up as a charge to hand off to the next person. >> jeffrey engle, the drek or the of southern methodist university president shall history discusses his book "the when the world seemed new" sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's q&a. and now a look at the u.s.-north korea relation, and we will hear from kathleen stevens a former ambassador to the north korea, and an adviser who was part of the negotiations between the u.s. and north korea. the korea economic institute of america hosted this event.
good afternoon. my name is troy, and i'd like to welcome you here no the korean economic institute. we are fortunate to have a distinguished panel with us, and we are talking about a very important issue, how do we develop a negotiation strategy moving forward with north korea. and we have fortuitous timing. i will be honest that we did not know that the summit would be ending when it did and to take place, place, but it is well timed for us. but i want to sort of move into things quickly, because we have substance today and important issues, but first, everybody a has the speaker bios but which want to introduce everyone. to my right we have ambassador
chin yung wu with which is a think tank in seoul and previously he served as the prime economic adviser, and served as south korea's lead negotiator in the six-party talks. and next to the ambassador is a senior fellow at the german marshall of the united states, and before joining gmf, she was partnered with hillary clinton for messaging strategies, and nex tot her is lauren who has the nsc drirector for china and korea relations at the state department. and also, ambassador kathleen
stevens. as you know she had a distinguished position of am s ambassador of state and served as ambassador to the korea, and so we will turn to the summit, and work with ambassador chung and if you could give me some of the thoughts of thou inter-korean summit went. >> well, it has not done good than harm. and with the u.s. negotiating leverage as a whole, but the message that it sends is that the rok puts great importance into the inter-korean relations, and so this is one that is sending a message that could be sent out and if you are looking at the specifics, and some specifics that i think that, you
may have had attention to is what they agreed on denuclearization, and what it mentions is the nuclear faci facilities, but that should be part of the denuclearization of course. and i don't see much in addition to what was already declared in singapore or earlier in pe jo peyongjong. and it is part of the denuclearization. and if you rare looking at the formulations very carefully, it demands some corresponding measures, and what it is, and so
what north korea means is that what u.s. has done in the way of suspending u.s./rka joint exercises to submit a full declaration, and so we have to see what that i am mend in order to begin the dismantlement of the nuclear a facilities in pyongyang and that could be an indication of where they are g going to start when they start, and if they start the denu denuclearization process. the dismantle mement of the nucr test site, and the nuclear
missile test site in north korea saying that when kim jong-un declared on december 12th last year that the international nuclear forces completed, they no longer need the tests. the tests have beenm completed. so they don't need anymore tests. they don't need test sites. so, on the -- and in the central committee of the party on april 20th, they admit ted that nucler test sites for instance have served out the intended purpose, because now that they have comple completed their nuclear force. so they no longer need nuclear tests.
and this is very easily reversible. i don't know how many weeks to rebuild even if they have to test again, i don't think that it will be take months or years to rebuild structures to rebuild a test site or engine test site. that is not irreversible step, but it is easily reversible, and of course, they don't need to rebuild, but even if the they decide to do it, it does not take long. and the most disturbing element of the agreement is in the military agreement. i don't think that it is noticed in washington, but the no-fly zone of not only the fixed-wing airplanes, but drones and even
balloons. so these are essential assets to monitor and to verify what north korea is up to. then when they prepare surprise attacks or artillery attacks, and to preempt, we need the best of what the military people call the isr capability, intel is jen -- intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. are rko has developed a weapons system to destroy artillery, long-range artillery within ten minutes, and in the process of deploying. and actually, north korea is not a big threat anymore, because they cannot inflict thousands of casualties anymore.
only if we have the right monitoring habits about the north korean artillery tapes of showing the enriched a areas where the ar the till ris can reach. and they can be done in 60ks but the coordinates are known, and very easy to destroy. and you know, they have to reload, and they have to go back to their tests to reload once they have spent their ammunition, and so very vulnerable north korean artillery, and only if we have the right monitoring surveillance capability. and you will not be able, and we
give up, and we give up the capabilities to monitor north korean military preparations when they plan any surprise attacks or when they try to harm seoul with their artillery. there is no way of, well, we will have to severely limit our capabilities to find out what they are up to. that is a big problem for our nation. and there are many other controversial elements there, and think they this is the most disturbing element in the agreement. in that regard, i am not very optimistic about that result. >> laura, what is your take? >> i am not going to inject more optimism than ambassador chung just rightly pointed to in the
military agreements. i agree with you in the commentary that i have seen in the u.s. so far, it is not part of it, and i want to read actually the line from the declaration itself which introduces this. it says that the two sides agree to have ses session cessation o think that is significant imply kags for thele allian -- implicd certain certainly for the koreans about their placements and activities and what they may be able to do in the north koreans' minds. i saw president moon's comments about that no discussion of removal of the troops are from the korean peninsula, would happen until after the denuclearization is complete, but when we see the language
like this, it is important to understand that is what president moon is saying, how do the north koreans read this and understand it? it is a lesson from the past has been that kind of the ambiguity about the words of that kind of the weightt can be significantly pr problematic. for me that relates with the concern that i have about the drive of the declaration toward the end of the war which everybody in the room would well kovmt i worry that it is an opportunity for the north koreans to create leverage and say, okay, we have ended the war, but now you can see the activities conducting over there or or the u.s. is conducting or the troop movements or the exercise small as it may b it is not conducive -- may be, it is not con ducive to tend oof the war. and so that is worrying to the me. and two other quick points on the summit. one is that the very, very quick
momentum that we are seeing on economic development without seeing any other meaningful progress on the denuclearization in any meaningful way is prob m problematic especially when we couple it with the coup of economic zones that the chinese are starting to set up with the north e krkoreans or the intent being with the north koreans ash and we have so we have to have discussion of what are the things to be in that space. and on denuclearization, i think that ambassador chung has hit all of the main parts, and there is a loose interpretation, and the loose interpretation out of
the words of the trump administration in the peyongjam declaration. and there is nothing in the agreement as i read it that is akin to the expert beings invite fod the destruck is shun of going back in time to the cooling tower implosion. there is absolutely nothing in here along those lines, and i think that it is incredibly important that while the united states might be trying to push the north koreans in a particular way in that front, because that is what we would like to see, it is very important to understand that there are very big gaps in the interpretations here as well. which leads many kn s me to thet which is a broad wer un, which is the north koreans are masters
to try to split different parties to the each other, and try to split the rko from the u.s., and frankly split different members of the administrations from each some in the past. it is clear that the north koreans on the first day of the summit talking about the forces around and the trump administration is taking the hardline position, and that denuclearization is coming fi t first, and the idea of splitting is very front and center to the north korean strategy here. >> ambassador stevens. >> well, first of all, as i would expect from my long friendship and the long work with laura and ambassador chung, they have presented a series of thoughtful points and analysis that we need to take out oserious just coming out of the summit concluding yesterday. so i will take a false slightly
optimistic and hopeful approach to the first question which is what we see coming out of the summit. broadly speaking, we refocusing as we tend to do as the policy people on the joint statement. overall, i would say it is positive in the sense that itt moves the process forward. i think that you can sort of take the glass half full and half empty approach. and as we are looking at this, i will try to be a little bit more glass full. i thought this there was an ambitious set of economic steps that were laid out, a about and i believe it is important that president moon jae in made clear that many of the steps were going to only going to happen when the time is right, and most people determine is when the sanction regime allows that to happen. and also i believe that the fact
that there were so many south korean global companies that accompany them to sort of the show what is possible, and temper the possibility of the great economic engagement, and i do believe that i am more convin convinced of the kim jong-un's development of the conviction and the commitment toward full denuclearizati denuclearization, and that is something that we can work with, but i don't believe that a major korean companies are going if go full wise with a regime, and moon jae in was quite forceful in not promising that. and these are hopeful step, and there have been promises made before, and they are require more cooperation on the part of the rko, and i hope that happens. the point that has been made about the military, and the
nonnuclear security confidence-building measures, as they are state ed ind in the statement, and the tension reduction measures, and i agree, they have not gotten to a attention in the united states, and they are significant and i take seriously the kinds of points that you is made. and with that said, i want to talk about the end of the war statement, and you have to actually take some steps that indicate that the tensions are reduce and the challenge, and the statement that came out yesterday is to really look at this thoroughly within the rko itself, and the u.s. forces deployment there, and the nees s over the period of time, and to secure and protect the containment of the security of the republic of korea whatever lies ahead. and finally, in terms of the statement, on the denuclearization issue, i take the points that you made that there is more that could have been there or might have been
there, but i do actually welcome the fact that the trump administration has indicated it is enough to start the negotiation, and i hope they respond to it. i agree with laura that we show the background in the drafting the statements like this, and that the statement from mr. pompeo needlessly that he used the old-fashioned expression over egged the pudding, and needlessly saying things that are not entirely clear coming out of any of the public declarations so far, but nonetheless, they say that there is enough to start the negotiation and i hope to make that start and i know it is important to the start, and i hope that we leave time for it about the negotiation, and in a way that is sustainable, and serious and is behind the scenes as well. there is a lot, a lot of hard
work to be done to take to a more optimistic view, and the other point that i would make briefly is outside of the joint statement i think that what we have seen in the past couple of days is something that i don't think is enough perceived and understood here in washington. i think that the ground is shifting on the korean peninsula, and the plates are moving in ways that you have to step back and take a little bit of the historic perspective to see. i am not saying whether it is a a plus or the minus, because there are opportunities and dangers in this, but north korea is no longer treating south korea luke the puppet state of the united states, and denuclearization is very much on the agenda between the two koreas. kim jong-un has promised to go to seoul. this would beb a big thing and it has obviously very important implications for the united states, for the alliance, and for the future of the region,
but i think that we even as we talk and try to draw the lessons from the past negotiation, and past experiences, and you know, to the use another metaphor, i feel like sort of the gravity is shifting in terms of who is taking the lead on reshaping the korean peninsula, including the nuclear issue from this side of the pacific to the other, and we have to be mindful of that and think about, that and certainly think about the implicatiomplicd the management of the u.s. okay in the alliance. >> and so jumping off, ambassador stevens, that we will move into the talks and pompeo said that he is ready immediately. one of the questions that coming into the process was or the summit rather is would enough be done to get into the second u.s./north korea summit.
do you think that given what has happened so is far that we rare pretty much on that road, and that you are going to be getting ambassador chung in on this real quick. >> i don't see a problem with secretary pompeii can owe's statement which tries to put a look at the development. and so whatever pompeo feels in his heart, i think that the right response would be to are respond positively for that, even if it is not clear, but to give it is a chance, and engage north korea in a more intense negotiation, serious negotiation. so i think that, you know,
regardless of my pessimism, i think that secretary pompeo took the right approach in responding to the summit outcome. second from et, i think it is very important to hold a well prepared summit, because an ill-prepared summit can sometimes create more problems than solve them. as in singapore, it takes more time to agree on what was agreed in singapore than to prepare for successful summit. that would occur if you agree on the princeiple of holding a
summit with a situation without preparation. i would advise very careful preparation, and some things have to be decided after the negotiation, and whether or not the summit, and the leaders will endorse going forward in providing a roadmap and verification of what lies ahead. and so at the moment to push things in that way, and without that, i won't do much good. that is my advice. >> and we have a special
representative who is responsible for preparing the summit summit. >> so it won't surprise you that i second ambassador chung's em a fa sis on a well coordinated and well prepared summit if there so to be a second summit. i will essentially accept the reality of where we are right now, and whether or not this is sort of the way that i would have laid this out if i were in a different position. we are with where we are. we have the loaders that we -- we have the leaders that we have, and given that i think that the second summit is likely to happen, but what we will see is something that we saw much different than the run-up to singapore. i worry that it is a challenging endeavor for a couple of reasons. one, going back to my erl earlier point on the north
koreans' ability and focus on splitting. they have read our domestic politic, and the line has been used in the administration pretty well, and even if you look back inned a varns of the si -- back in advance of the singapore summit, ambassador boldin was talk about the libyan model, and there was a big blast to essentially hold down the summit, and making clear that the whole libyan model thing that it needs to be jett tisonned and that john boldin should not be guiding the administration, and what the administration did is to essentially without saying it do exactly what the north koreans wanted in pulling back on the rhetoric, and sort of who is in control. and kim jong-un's goal is to really make it about him, and president trump, alone.
i think that he is into some of the personalities traits that the american president is into. and we can see that successful negotiations with the north koreans is being lock step internally there. is no perfect record on this, and many of us lived through the bush years when there was a lot of division within the administration that caused problems, and again, it is really, really important that internally we are on the same page, and both in terms of what we are actually trying to achieve as well as in our messaging. and the coordination also has to include our allies and partners, all right? so us/rko coordination is
essential, and also, we are in a trade war with china, and so that is going to make it difficult to do the work there with china, but we have to try. it is incredibly important on that front. and so i think that those kinds can of preparations are going to be challenging. i think that assuring that negotiator to encouraging the north koreans is the power that president trump conveys to kim jong-un that he needs it to be taken seriously by the north koreans and the interlocketers.
>> and one on the issue of internal division, we are smile, because we were involved in seoul and negotiating and laura and i are mostly in washington in the 2005, 2006, 2007 time period that the divisions were so severe that it was crippling. they had a detrimental ability on our ability to work closely with the rko, and president bush, and working quite closely together, and to have an effective negotiation, and really, really crippling, and to add with the respect of the summit, and my scenario is to have first of all, exactly what secretary pompeo laid out, and i don't think that he mentioned this, but i think that the president moon jae in is going to meet, and the summit is coming up, and that is the points that are made, and secretary pompeo is going to plan to meet his counterparts of
the foreign minister, and the call on the north koreans to meet with the north korean special representative. that is what needs to happen. the point of the empowerment is important, and the continual thing over the years is what we have heard from the north koreans, and it is that you have never seen anybody senior enough, and sending someone important enough, and the decisions are made at the top, and whatever anybody thinks of the singapore summit or the time thing or anything of it, that issue has been addressed. now, the issue is empowering the negotiators from washington and then have empowered negotiators from north korea who are able to to see what is possible. as a believer in the negotiation, and sometimes what is not possible is that the negotiation is shaking the con
t cont context of what is not in the beginning, to become possible and necessarily, and a combination of the carrots and sticks and processes, and that is what we have to get into, and i think that it did set the stage, and i hope that they respond. >> this is now top-down, and in theory, i think that one would hope that you would have interlocketing summits meaning that we hone that we had betwee president trump and president kim and then between kim and moon jae in, and so do we need a summitt between beijing and trump to the talk through the positions on this, and how do we sort of keep this in what laura touched on earlier, china and
russia are working on this not working with us. >> and the focus has been that the challenge is on bilateral and mostly summit level engagement. there is a real question of coordinating. i don't have a clear sense of what the seoul/washington coordination has been like, but it seems like it has been are pretty good. so if you get an ongoing negotiation, it is not the most fruitful or the effective way to have it all purely on bilateral bases with the occasionally checking in on each other. i am not calling for a returp of the six-party talks, and ambassador chung was deeply involved with it, but it had many advantages. the multi lateral framework give you a good platform. most of the important work i
think that it is done bilaterally honestly, but some sort of multi lateral framework i think that it would be helpful, and i don't think that -- the summits are important, but as has been suggested, whoever is doing the summit the leaders are at a level that those issues that have have to be involved in the summit level, and they can't be into the details that have to be done when we are talk about the process as complex as the verifiable denuclearization other things that go with it on the korean peninsula. >> and so looking at this then having led the south korean effort on this before, and how would you take it on to the try to coordinate and develop the south korean strategy that met south korea's needs and stayed within what you knew the challenges were with both the united states as your ally and china, an important partner? >> well, in my time, the
six-party talks, i was lucky not have to ser use problems. -- to have serious problems. but with the role of the foreign ministry, there were detractors in the blue house of the national security, you know, came in the blue house who wanted to tie my hands, but when we had the meeting with the president, somehow the president gave me a full mandate and he overruled, and he overruled his own staff's recommendations in support of mine. so i had more leverage than other negotiators in the six- r six-party talks. i was comfortable, you know, coordinating with the u.s. and
others, but, yeah, that is at that time, the difference between now and >> and that's why the north koreans wanted to help. toward the end of his term. and president mun has left from that concern that it was big mistake. because what was agreed at the time couldn't be included because that summit was held. it was reversed when the conservative administration took over. so he's now trying to -- and he actually held i summit
with kim jong-un before we had any progress in denuclearization. so before north korea froze its nuclear facilities, before that, nothing else was actually done except declaration of commitment to denuclearization. that's why what goes on now between south and north might knead negotiating -- impede negotiating leverage. north korea is losing advantage to move forward. so north korea has secured an insurance policy against some of what they consider as just optional policy or military option. so they feel less pressure to move forward now. so the situation is
personally the advantage brought forward by north korea. but i have somehow very good personal rapport, and i put -- to me the communications between north korea and other partners. because they couldn't understand what they were up to. very difficult to understand sometimes the nuances of the korean parties. when i met for one hour, he never refused to
talk to me, and i could find out very easily what his instructions are. and many americans so that jong-un is a professional liar. i could detect lies. it was very easy for me to tell whether he had to lie under this pressure. what he had in his mind, what could be a compromise. >> so you said we are where we are, and based on your own experience, in prior talks with north korea, what insights have you gleaned on what we should be thinking in terms of developing a strategy going forward? >> so i had a few sort of
notes. one is building off one another, well known figures to many of us. i think one point for me that always came through is the north koreans, because they have had the same team in place for so long, they know us better than we often know ourselves. the history of the negotiations down to every minute point, and they play that to their advantage. i think that's one of the reasons we tend to draw too many lessons in a way. we actually don't have a lot of experience negotiating. the last u.s. experience was around the leakgate deal. that came at a very challenging time internally. kim jong-un was
really taking the reins but i think we really don't understand the ways in which kim jong-un is a very fundamentally different leader than his father and grandfather. a lot of that has become clear in his short tenure. but i think we can't underestimate. and that may play to our advantage. but i think understanding that the north koreans sometimes understand us better than we understand them is certainly important. the other piece that i would say is that every negotiator uses creative ambiguity during the negotiating process to be able to find common ground and reach agreement. the three communiques are one of the best examples of that kind of creative ambiguity where it's actually worked.
negotiators have used that kind of ambiguity in search of agreements when it very clearly has come back to bite us, to put a fine point on t. so i think we have to think quite carefully about where and when to go for a more ambiguous kind of framing and where to be really, really clearly precise in what we're hearing. the third point i would say, and maybe we can come back to this, but i think we need to have in terms of developing our negotiating strategy, and i'm sure the conversations are happening internally, we really need to understand in fact what do we think is realistically achievable? we may be setting out externally what we think is
the ideal. i think we need to have a real sense of what is personally achievable. i think we've seen the signs that kim jong-un doesn't have any intention to denuclearize. i think we need to understand where we're likely to go, and have a management strategy, where things follow if we aren't able to get there. >> i'd like to pick up on that really briefly. when we think of what's achievable, we often think about what are the north koreans really able to do. and the congress side of that, which sometimes i think we don't get into, which is what is politically achievable here. and if we have a tree, that basically means what can -- treaty, what can 67 senators
agree to? so how internally do we balance what we think the north koreans might be able to do with what the senate might actually expect. and those may not necessarily match up at all. >> yeah, i think it's a really important point. and and i think speculation that there are efforts to decide the way a treaty could be concluded without senate ratification. and i would underscore that that is a very problematic political rad roadto go down. >> when is the last time the senate passed a treaty? [ laughter ] >> i've been thinking of trying -- there's a lot of treaties the senate placed on minor little things. in terms of major treaties, it's probably been a while. maybe since the late '90s since we did a real international treaty. but this is all questions.
if you look at the iran deal, it wasn't a treaty because the administration couldn't have gotten it through the senate. but that left it more politically vulnerable afterward. at some point, we'll have a new administrative, a new congress and everything of that nature. so if we want a lasting change with north korea, that treaty makes sense. i think there are reasons there should be a peace treaty but that's another story. then that means how do you balance the political needs of the u.s. congress and the senate with what the north koreans can do? >> and there's the very good question, what is achievable, what is acceptable in the u.s., and you mentioned the iran agreement, but certainly any agreement on denuclearization will be measured by many against the standard of the iran agreement in a very diffes circumstance with the country.
that will certainly be something that will be in any discussion in the united states about what the outcome of the negotiation is here. >> and by comparison, one question, and feel free to chime in, we think about the iran deal, they had to give up this material to basically get the money in return. in north korea's case, we're talking about getting this material, this is a tradeoff that we can do? >> yeah. well, i would say against lowering our negotiating goals. nothing short of the full denuclearization. and i would give benefit of doubt to kim
jong-un's commitment to denuclearization. and if you believe that north korea will never denuclearize under any circumstance there, is no room for diplomacy. and then those skeptics have a better chance to win. but even if there is one chance of success, we have to try. north korea will try to hold onto their nuclear capabilities. and if they can do, if they can survive without their nuclear arsenal, why not? but we also have to keep in mind that kim jong-un has planned for long game. he thinks he will be there for 40 years, 50 years. so if he's going to survive, stay
in power for five years, ten years, he has to stick to nuclear arsenal whatever the cost. he has to persevere functions or grand military actions or whatever. but if he's going to be around for 40 years, 50 years, and maintain his legitimacy to rule, nuclear armament is not enough. it doesn't guarantee his prosperity. i think we have an opportunity here how to make the best use of the opportunity, that's very important. and i think we can also think about this game of just front-loading what he wants. what he values the most, history, declaration of peace, sanctions gone.
all those things. we will reduce leverage and reduce chance of success. but as long as we deny what he wants to survive, i think there's a chance. and another element, another element that is conducive to denuclearization is the declaration for what -- completion of kim jong-un's nuclear force. what that means technically is now he has mastered nuclear technology, and means of delivery. and even if he gives up his entire nuclear
arsenal, obviously he's learned everything and gives up, he can rebuild it within one year, right? and if high can cheat -- he can cheat in the declaration of the denuclearization, and it's very difficult to verify. so if he believes that he can cheat without being detected, then denuclearization means one or two months shut down from nuclear arsenal. he can rebuild
the arsenal within a matter of months, one or two months. denuclearization, the compooegz of -- completion of nuclear force means he's choosing the latency of one or two months or at most one year. so this is not the same denuclearization we were talking about a few years ago. at this time no one knew whether it would take 10 years or 20 years to master the technology. so now they know that they can rebuild very easily. and through this latency
and all the benefits the u.s. has promised, sanctioned released, everything together, i think that would be -- i think the completion of nuclear ordinance has changed, could have changed north korea's specifications. to cash in what he meant from the u.s. side as early as possible. yes, that -- i wouldn't rule out completely the possibility that he could go for denuclearization. mutual denuclearization with the u.s., denuclearization of the u.s. on
the korean peninsula plus south korea. that's what north korea defines as denuclearization of the korean peninsula. the end of the u.s. nuclear umbrella, a promise for no future deployment of nuclear weapons on the korean peninsula. so it's not the same type of denuclearization that we were talking about five years ago or ten years ago. i think two, three months, one year retreat from nuclear potential, we have to think about the price and when it's testifiable, whether we are better off with one year denuclearization, in
return for instance all the u.s. troops and all those things that north korea is demanding. but this is something we have to think about. i think we shouldn't rule out the possibility of kim jon denuclearizing. and he's a genius strategist. he knows what he's doing, what he's talking about. >> so talking about that you could withhold some things or go for a year latency, one, we need a risk management strategy, how do we manage the risks of getting partially on this road, and maybe getting what we think we're getting but knowing we're not really getting what we think we're getting. and two, does that entail we in essence need multiple strategies?
they produce indig noufl and they are -- indigenously and they are less dependent on things. but we know from north korea's history that it not only has had a potential willingness to but has actually proliferated. and certainly on the ballistic missile front, but of course there was the reactor that the north koreans were building in syria. so i think that ensuring that we, when a sanctions release package is being considered, i think it's incredibly important to think about how we ensure that the proliferation sanctions remain completely and fully in place and completely and fully enforced even if we're beginning to roll back some of the economic measures in a sort of step by step kind of corresponding element. and as we see china, russia, others,
including apparently south korea, even if inadvertently allowing some sanctioned goods to get through, and we see some of that pressure being racheted back, i think maintaining focus on those proliferation sanctions is really important for risk management, no. 1. no. 2, there's a whole set of capabilities that north korea has and continues to pursue outside of the nuclear space that we spend a lot less time talking about. but as the north koreans are increasingly confident in the credibility of their deterrents, i think it's very likely that we will see, if north korea decides to do so, an increased use of various metric tools, cyber in particular is one where the north koreans frankly surprise many of us who
at any time quite know that their capabilities were to that point or that they were as sophisticated as they were in their use of them. we've seen their ability to use what are somewhat deniable tools. and the sanctions that we just saw last week on chinese and russian tech firms working with north korean showing that they were trained and quite sophisticated in how they were going about building up these technologies. i think even as the strategy recovered on trying to achieve denuclearization, it's incredibly important to have in place a robust strategy to manage these other capabilities that i think we could increasingingly -- increasingly see the north koreans using. >> itied to move to the audience. there's one idea that i want to get out there.
the way we move forward is we have a declaration for declaration exchange. which is the united states makes a political declaration, presumably with south korea, north korea, and china that the korean war is over, and in return, north korea provides us with a declaration of their nuclear program, their facilities and how much materials they have and weapons. what are your thoughts about something -- do you think it's feasible or there are reasons we should be concerned about that type of proposal? >> well, i think it goes back to one of points laura made about you know, we are where we are. and there seems to be some discussions, understandings, we don't know what they are, including at the top level of declarations of peace. we think the alliance manages an aspect of it as well and how this plays in seoul. but i think that's something to keep an open mind
about, honestly. and a discussion to have if there is going to be a u.s. denuclearization. my worry would be almost by definition, it wouldn't be a complete declaration. and we might immediately find a kind of low thought because we would know it wasn't a complete one or we would have our suspicions. i have an open mind about -- maybe i'm a little more positive than maybe some of comments about being able to say something about peace, confidence-building. we said things before, they've somehow never been enough, the magic words, so if we have noble intent, we agree not to attack, washington and seoul have said a lot of things, is there something else we can say? sure! and i think we should be ready to say it. should the north koreans be more open about what they have and what they're ready
to do? absolutely. but that's what i'd like to see actually enter negotiations rather than this kind of very joint statement level where there's a lot of indecision and a lot of intentional or unintentional misunderstanding. so ambiguity but also an openness to what we say. i just wanted to relate this to the noncorporation point that laura rightly made, i would like to see maybe not as an absolute commission, i would like to see a commitment to return to the mpp. they did that in 2005. absolutely it's a different situation now, but that would make it more meaningful at least as an intent to see where we could go from there. >> real quick, you talked about
cyber, and showing up as an only kind of component, and also how this ambiguity tends to bite us. i'm curious your thoughts, the singapore statement is very ambiguous but one where it's ambiguous is building a new relationship. this is an ambiguity that maybe we could use to our benefit going forward rather than it being an ambiguity that maybe disadvantages us? >> in theory, i think it could. i think it would require us defining for ourselves what a new relationship means. i'm in the clear on that. that's been a discussion of a new relationship with the u.s., a discussion of a new era of relations between the north and the south, but a lot
of the behavior we see from the north koreans is not in bilateral terms. and it would be a new relationship that would need to be defined to include things like not using a chemical weapon to assassinate people on foreign soil in an airport where you put thousands in danger! for instance, rights? it's not clear to me. we have to make sure that things aren't justified in bilateral terms. >> yes. well, i agree with that. sometimes ambiguity is helpful or is inevitable to reach an agreement. we cannot simulate each and every sentence the same so that it's obvious
for everybody. sometimes you have to spend too much time over minor formulations. sometimes we just gloss over with some ambiguous language. that's what people are used to do. on singapore's statement, i think ambiguity is less a problem than the order of the items. and north korea has different interpretation of the statement. because they believe that the order of the statement or elements is less. so north korean has been arguing consistently that if you do that, this and that, a new
relationship, means not only diplomatic relations but sanctions are lifted, policy, and history, when all these things are done, they are in place. when the time comes that we don't have to worry about this, when we no longer need nuclear weapons to defend ourselves, we will test the order of the logic that north korea has been using all the time. and a declaration were drafted in accordance with north korea's consistent logic, they believe that you have to agree what new relations, history,
guarantees, where are they? and why are you talking about denuclearization? denuclearization should be the result of all these things. i think they believe in action for action. they believe these things should be done at the same time. and that's what they have been arguing all along. on this declaration for declaration idea, if it is a full declaration, including material holding, then declaration of the clandestine enrichment facility, all those things are included. this is very important initial step.
that preserves it word for word. but a partial declaration that we already know, a declaration that we can get, i don't think that's worth that much. and i think the first mistake that president trump has made was to give away person political exercises for nothing. north korea is claiming that what they did in terms of shutting dun their nuclear cat fight and missile test flights, they tried to shore up that part of their action spot. this is actually useless for north korea. they served out their purposes. they don't need them anymore. so i don't think that's
deserved. those military exercises, i think it's worth at least freeze and declaration together. but now that they have stopped these joint military exercises, they're selling what they don't need anymore. so u.s. officials for long have been claiming that they will not buy the same horse twice. but they ended up buying a dead horse now. [ laughter ] >> good point. [ laughter ] >> buying a live horse twice is like that, but buying a dead horse, this is worse!
so now i think the u.s. has squandered our most important negotiating assets in return for a dead horse, right? and that gives hope for north koreans to demand more. if it is a partial declaration, then we are being fooled again. so we have to think very careful. and the declaration to end the war for north korea means an insurance policy against return of military option. the military exercises one's commitment that
also implicitly includes a military option. these are already unilaterally done. but they want to lay down in a bilateral or multilateral agreement that there'll be no more use of force against north korea. even if they procrastinate, they do not move forward enough toward denuclearization. they want an insurance policy to protect themselves. even if there's no progress. it's not just one president that said the korean war is hereby declared terminated. that's not what. they -- what they want. they also want a termination of -- indefinite termination of joint
military exercises. no use of force in north korea. all those things. as an inherent peace treaty, it would be previously effective until legal history comes into force. this is not something that we can stick away for a partial declaration. >> i'd like to turn to the audience. we have about 15 minutes left. if you could please keep your questions short, we'll start with chris. >> great discussion, couldn't be more timely. thank you for the best sound bite so far, we bought a dead horse. [ laughter ] >> a 2-parter, you made a really good point about the npt.
but i think it's more important than you really wanted to stress it. >> right. >> that would i think the aaea back in it, which would be a critical part of any of the sanctions building. so it is a the idea to destroy that link? that's the first question. but something that really surprised me, maybe i've missed something, you said that for kim, denuclearization is about the peninsula and about u.s. fores and weapons and thing -- forces and weapons and things in the peninsula. is it really that clear? i think most of us have said we need to know if denuclearization he's talking about the end of the us/japan nuclear alliance, the us/japan nuclear umbrella, the whole u.s.
military structure in north asia. but the way you said it was he's only looking at the usfk, and maybe the u.s. nuclear umbrella over south korea. did i misunderstand that? or is it clear that they're not actually looking at getting u.s. nukes out of north asia? which obviously impacts japan a lot. >> all right. very briefly, i would like to see the expressiff threat readiness return to the mpp. that is a commitment of denuclearization. and that's in the statement about the permanent nuclear dismantlement.
so i think they would have to agree that there are inspectors there and that the permanent dismantlement take place in an observed and complete way. so that language is okay with me. and i think it gives us room to do what we need to do. >> north korea's position on the denuclearization of the korean peninsula is very clearly defined in north korean government's statement. it is i think july 6th, 2016, they see what's different from cgie from the north korea peninsula. in
addition to north korea's denuclearizing, as no nuclear development of the rok. it should give up its nuclear program. they believe it for the future. they also include that one. they also mention the foregoing of the u.s. nuclear deployment of u.s. nuclear weapons and the strategic aspects that they are capable of nuclear weapons. the end of extended nuclearization, of course. so they don't mention about japan. they only mention the korean peninsula and the surroundings. they don't mention the surroundings, how far, i i
don't know. they haven't so far mentioned japan in their official statement. but they mentioned the u.s. troops. you have to pay attention to the reason why they mentioned withdrawal of the u.s. troops. they say because u.s. troops in the rok have the power and control, chain of command in using nuclear weapon. and that's not true. so on the basis of reasoning with north korea aides, i don't think withdrawal of the u.s. troops is included in the context of denuclearization. but that's part of the history. history means withdrawal of the u.s. troops. and in my conversations with my north korean
counterpart, he asked me whether this treaty means the u.s. of the -- withdrawal of the u.s. troop. i said no. and they will sit in as a stabilizer on the region. and what he said was that we don't need -- that's a piece of paper that can be made at any time. but in different conversations, i know between u.s. and north korea, the north koreans said that they can live with the u.s. troops in south korea. but i don't know. in who -- what context they said. it's useless to talk about u.s. troops at this time. so in terms of arguing what they couldn't achieve, they might have decided
to show at least they are flexible, making a big concession of tolerating u.s. presence. but now, i don't know. they have different negotiating leverage now. and i don't know if they can live with u.s. troops when they intend to denuclearization. i doubt it. >> okay. i'm gonna bundle some questions because we're short on time. we'll start with mark here. >> thanks to you all for a great presentation. two quick questions. the first the brief statement between the two militaries that was agreed to separately from the leader's statement. anything that you see that the north koreans gave up
that is useless there? and then secondly, it's clear that for the two koreas to move forward on some of the economic cooperation projects and other projects that they have, they're gonna need agreement from at least the united states if not the permanent five to waive certain sanctions. so given what we have gotten so far, right now, the current status, what would you say would be okay to approve in terms of north/south cooperation? for example over the summer, the u.s. blocked the transfer of some rail equipment, railroads to north korea. is that the kind of thing that we should now allow or continue to tow the line on that until we get more? >> okay, and here. >> beyond all the statements and everything, i was struck in
the wall street, i think it was, in the -- they had these crowds out chanting reunification, reunification. it may seem farfetched, but in september, 1989, nobody was talking german reunification either. this is eye circus thing by kim or this is a serious object on his part? in south korea you don't hear much about reunification these days. >> and a lady back here that had a question. did you still have a question? okay. then the lady in the back. >> school for conflict analysis at george mason. in addition to
what you mentioned on changing, what about also other strategies like what's the underlying topic about, and also addressing some variation of the truth and reconciliation issues, or some public ritual recognizing the trauma from the devastation that can shift the energy in the process. >> what we'll do now is maybe start with you in the back, ambassador chung, and start with the ones that you think are relevant. >> on the military agreements, i couldn't find anything useful
from north korea's pundits. and i think the fatal flaw of the agreement is that there is no verification. even if you can trust north korea, there should be verification. so the mantra that verifies, on this case, even if north korea is not trustworthy, can be verified will. so whatever north korea agrees to, any means to verify whether north korea is complying with its own agreement or not. i wouldn't attach much value to that agreement. on the progress i'm not very much worried because wherever they agree what
has to be consistent with the security council tensions, and also i think u.s. tensions, and they are going to maintain a smooth policy formation with the u.s., i don't know how it can be done without going against u.s. sanctions. it may go against the spirit of sanctions. the primary step will be there when north korea can move forward, when north korea makes progress in denuclearization, and the sanctions are eased or lifted. that's how i would understand. otherwise i don't think the government is willing to defy
international rules in order to move forward into korean relations. on reunification, yeah, i think north korea and kim jong-un is giving lip service to reunification. but i don't believe that he intends to use reunification. and reunification by force means the end of his regime. the end of his survival. i don't think he's ready to take that risk. he will
keep preying on the offer of reunification. but i don't think he will use force at the risk of his regime's survival to achieve reunification. >> i'm gonna pick out two good points. on the question of sanctions relief, and what would the appropriate order, i think my skept simple came -- skepticism came out earlier. i don't think we should be lifting any sanks until we've seen some meaningful progress on at least some metric. there's the denuclearization metric, the other piece you talked about, the military, a whole other host of commitments that north koreans can make in tangible
terms about use of capability, giving up abilities. absent those, i think it's very ill-advised. and again i would just put down another marker on the need to differen anything that has implications in the economic space. on the reunification point, i share ambassador chung's skepticism. an agreement to reunification, is it worth it by a contentional process, where's other things require both north and south korea to revise their constitution. that is no small lift in particular. i would think in the south, both north and south korea in constitutions define the entire peninsula as the rok or the
dpro. so just one example of some of the principal things that would have -- practical things that would have to be addressed. >> and the last word? >> well, yeah, there's that too. [ laughter ] >> other impediments. my final comments on these questions, kind of in the context of the way -- a question that laura raised earlier. what is essential, and i think one thing that's essential for the united states, and i think for south korea, is to manage and keep in good shape the us/rok relationship. kind of obvious but i would just underscore that. and i think one of these comments including today or yesterday, he made that pretty
clear. and i take him at his word there. so within that context i would say on the question of what kinds of things might go ahead after the pyongyang summit that would not run too awry of sanctions regime, and the u.s. desire to keep the sanctions on north korea. how do you build a process of reconciliation that may eventually lead to reunification? but how do you actually build a peace process? whether it's in the balkan islands or the middle east. i would personally not mind the earlier movement on areas like family reunification. the health issues. the humanitarian issues. and attach to that in this shifting atmosphere on the korean peninsula, some work in this peace and reconciliation
area. it may make people feel a lot more comfortable, or even very cynical. but i think that's a process that even not with standing the fact that we have grave doubts about how far we can get on denuclearization, that's a process prs that given where -- process that given where we are, maybe we can see it go forward a bit and see where it takes us. >> well, thank you. this has been a really great discussion. we're gonna have to have this discussion a lot more. join me in thanking all of them. thank you. [ cheering and applause ] >> agreed to testify this week before the senate judiciary commitmenty about her sexual assault allegations against supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. judge kavanaugh will also testify at the hearing.
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