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tv   State Department Official on Nuclear Security  CSPAN  December 6, 2019 5:25am-6:31am EST

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christopher ford is the assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation. he talked about nuclear security policy at the stimson center. some other of the topics included nuclear terrorism prevention, efforts to denuclearize north korea, and china's role in fostering nuclear security in the region. >> well, ladies and gentlemen, a very good afternoon to all of you and welcome to the stimson center. my name is brian finlay. i'm president and ceo here at the stimson center. for those attending this very event for the very second time, many apologies. it was not, as you may have assumed, our speaker's agenda that caused the cancellation, but an exploding manhole. we started paying our bills yet the stimson center again and were back in business and very pleased to be welcoming dr. christopher ford back to the stage. chris, for those of you in the know, is of course the assistant secretary of state for international student and nonproliferation. chris previously has done a tour on president trump's nfc. he worked previously on capitol hill at the hudson institute, naval reserve, but most important like he's just an all around great guy and after this conversation will be a lot of fun. he hails from cincinnati, right? what we thought we would do, chris is going to give a few frame remarks and then leave a little time for us to ask some clarifying questions, but with that chris, i'll come back to the
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stimson center. [applause] >> thanks, brian. it's great to be back here. i applaud your persistence after last time, and rescheduling this after the explosion. it sounds so dark. it's not that bad. those of you who been around washington that long i have remember there was a series of exploding manholes in georgetown back in the '90s. and for keeping at it and thanks for all of you who were willing to come back notwithstanding all the rescheduling. it's been nearly ten years since the last nuclear security summit -- since the first nuclear security summit was held in washington, d.c. there were three more after that, and they brought many world leaders together to declare their support for improving security practices. we all know that. while my own view, some of the objectives declared at the outset of the process were more ambitious than the facts would justify but the summit deeply about the role and drawing attention to the challenges of nuclear security. participating countries were encouraged to come up with or to cite up to gift baskets as they
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were called up promised nuclear security improvements. the meetings did elicit some important pledges to address nuclear security challenges. but a decade after president obama made his promise in 2009, to secure all vulnerable material around the world, a decade later all too much remain still to be done. despite that, within 4 years rhetoric, the world has had a lot to do. where the summit's played a valuable role in jump starting the tensions to these, in other words, we must do together the work of making sound nuclear into a habit rather than a pledgement in a world in which terrorists do seek to acquire materials, nuclear security is too important not to be scrutinized.
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and a summit akin to a new years resolution, if you will, that so many people make in order to lose weight and get in shape, that kind of thing.
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promises that may catalyze one to go to the gym and eat right and work out every once in a while and then fade back to the status quo. in the nuclear security arena, we need something much more akin to a long-term health program. we need a new normal that establishes healthy patterns that can and that will be sustained indefinitely. to be sure, the day-to-day, routinized promise keeping involved in ensuring nuclear best practices and institutionalizing these practices worldwide is not easy. it also lacks the intuitive political draw of clashy summit promise making, and there's far to go before such practices are routine everywhere, but bringing that outcome about is or should be, i would argue is the core of our nuclear agenda. and one of the ways, the nfcg. improving nuclear security worldwide and gather notes and encourage each other and coordinate their own sovereign national efforts to promote effective steps forward. i will admit even among the members, progress is lower than one might have hoped in generating energy that the challenges require, but there's a good deal going on and we're proud of it. as can sometimes happen in such well intentioned international
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groups, there is sometimes too much assumption that simply being there demonstrates a commitment to the cause and too little meaningful action. members of the group are also making limited progress against the toxic political narratives of disinterest or antagonism that still exists in in some quarters, narratives that hinder security practices and can threaten the cooperative nuclear sharing, depends upon the reassurances that are provided by good security. but we have, as i've indicated, seen signs of progress. thanks in part, i believe, to contact group interventions and consciousness raising from like-minded states, they've gradually increased the regular budget for nuclear security. the agency also continues to increase the profile and activity levels of its nuclear security work as suggested in the 2013 evolution of its office of nuclear security to a division of nuclear security. the general conference has made
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a modest, but significant step forward in 2018 with adoption of a nuclear security resolution. language emphasizing that nuclear security contributes to the positive perception of peaceful nuclear activities. thankfully, the gc retained this language in 2019, in it, signaling that nuclear technology sharing is getting more sustained attention than before. the iea is now focusing more on nuclear security and looking at ways that compliment and reinforce the agency's ongoing work on nuclear safety and technical cooperation program as well. this new focus is making sure that tc efforts are not derailed by the risk that they might lead to unauthorized access to sensitive technology or materials. the contact group released a statement of collective commitments related to nuclear security. this document, which is now available on the nscg website, is not a concensus negotiated
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lowest common denominator text that one usually sees nor is it a summary of group deliberations. instead, it's an informal food for thought statement designed to pull useful strands of thinking together in a constructive way to help move -- help channel efforts to move forward on the nuclear security agenda more effectively. i'm proud of the role the united states has played in bringing this document together together and helping to lead the group in this respect and hope this will indeed prove useful with constructive thoughts how states can play more effective roles in promoting nuclear security, both within the the nscg and broadly. focus in about the paper. many of you may have seen it, it available on the website and our commitment to a great deal of a great many things, i should say, that are important and hopefully can contribute to a national agenda in this respect. to begin with, it reiterates our
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commitment to the october, 2016 statement of principles that the circular of 899 sent around that founded nfcg. making clear that the principles are still very much at the core of where the group is coming from and makes clear that good nuclear security is required in order to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation and terrorism and in order to ensure the maintenance of a strong foundation for sharing the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. now, that latter statement, i would argue is particularly important because it highlights the way in which, rather than competing with each other, nuclear security and nuclear technology sharing actually go hand in hand. specifically, nuclear security improvements are currently identified in the paper as a crucial enabler for benefitting the pieces of nuclear technology worldwide because they help form the foundation upon which rests the global system of technology sharing that has provided untold benefits to all human kind in
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which we intend to help preserve-- and which we intend to help preserve for many years to come. that's the quote from the paper. now, to most of you, this probably seems, as it does to me, like basic common sense. and it would be difficult to imagine the continuation or expansion of today's worldwide sharing of the benefits of nuclear know how. without confidence that nuclear technology and materials would be reliable kept out of the hands of unauthorized persons such as terrorists. nevertheless, there are still some people who don't see good nuclear security practices as an enabler or facilitator for technology sharing, instead worrying that where they exist in some kind of tension with the global cooperative enterprise. thankfully, this view, of course, is wrong and i'm proud that the commitment paper makes it clear that there is not a tension here, but rather, a strong complementary. but the paper doesn't just voice
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this important insight of how security reinforces sharing, it's a number of practical themes and emphasis and points it out, points of focus for us where they can be more. instance, theor importance of each state ensuring an adequate nuclear and regulatory frame work. pointing out also the countries can play an important role in assisting each other as appropriate, in developing and maintaining capacity building. -- such of best practices through cooperative capacity building. it makes clear that states that strengthen, excuse me, should strengthen their own legal and regulatory framework by promoting addherence to and such as the convention on the physical protection of nuclear material and international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism. as well as universal
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implementation of security council resolution 1540, which seeks to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction for -- by mandating the protection of sensitive goods and know how and ensuring that relevant transfers between states are appropriately regulated. the importance -- the paper it emphasizes the importance of all states improving their own national security practices, such as through protecting against insider and cyber threats. strengthening the security of forces, ensuring the preparedness and coordinating with the nuclear security support centers and reconciling nuclear safety and security and sharing best practices with other countries. aper places a strong -- ands on increasing this expands the nuclear security efforts as well encouraging this work in its regard and stressing that the agency must undertake this work with the vigor and promoting activities with the resources and political and institutional support and encouragement in order to succeed. not least through regular lysing
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-- the regular lies -- regular regularizing iea -- of nuclear uses technology. in our view, this paper is a valuable way forward to help guide our collective approaches here and we think it will be very useful. i encourage people to read it and try to focus and spread awareness of the points that it raises. we're trying to use this as a stepping stone for our own engagement with other partners in this and hopefully like minded states in the nuclear security contact group can and will do likewise. in practical terms, the work that we're doing at the state department, for example, in addition to working bilaterally with our partners, we have a great deal of engagement with the capacity building that was referenced in the paper itself.
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our office of nuclear energy safety and security, for example, leads efforts to develop and implement policies and diplomatic strategies that are related to nuclear security such as co-chairing several u.s. interagency coordinating bodies focused on nuclear security. this group supports our engagement with the contact group and serves as the department's lead on interagency physical protection, assessment teams tasked with u.s. obligated materials abroad and efforts of that sort. our office of multilateral and security affairs implement in the offices, excuse me the efforts of the iaea's division of nuclear security that i mentioned before to help prevent nuclear terrorism. to minimize risks associated with vulnerable material. our weapons of mass destruction terrorism office against it, rather than for it, provides a focal point for our work against terrorists, acquiring nuclear or
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radioactive material outside of regulatory control, including those lost during the breakup of the soviet union. the wmpt office manages our role as the co-chair of the 89 member global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism. which is one of the bright spots of the u.s., russian cooperation. the co-chair with the russians and we recently are going to have a new iteration of that co-chairmanship that started up last year and that's quite effective cooperation, i must say. so we work with the nuclear forensics international technical working group to identify and socialize best practices and nuclear forensics, with foreign partners such as and interpol, and u.n. office on drugs and crimes. these are how we engage on these issues and through our office of export control and cooperation we do a great deal of capacity building assistance to help countries bring up best practices in ways that
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complement these goals very effectively, as well as in our office of cooperative reduction. that's just a sampler of the ways that the departments engage in these kinds of questions. but let me finish up in terms of drawing out where we see the conceptual challenges as we look ahead at the future. if you were to ask me what i think the main challenges are as we try to move from the era of promise making to this era of what i think of as institutionalized promise keeping, normalizing best practices, if you will, i might point to what some might pithely say two camps. some may fall short for adequate security. -- some countries may fall short in providing for adequate nuclear security. for one reason or another, they cannot meet the standards. they might not be aware of the need for good nuclear security in some particular context or might not be aware of what best practices actually entail.
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that's the first possible can't the second can't relates to possible failures of education . --ssible failures of education can't. the second can't relates to possible failures of education or capacity, such as where despite good intentions, a government may not know how to strengthen nuclear security in its country in order to come up to appropriately high standards or perhaps lacks the resources or capabilities that are necessary to do so, that's the second can't. the third can't relates to governmental brand width and such as where a government may not be able to address nuclear security properly because relevant leaders or personnel are preoccupied with some other pressing channing or threat in their context. as a practical matter, it's not always easy to solve the challenges presented by these three can'ts. but much of it anyway that we engage in the bureau as well as the department of energy and the nuclear regulatory commission, not to mention in the iaea as
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well, much of that work is dedicated to helping partner states handle these delicate problems. they've got a pretty good track record working with countries to improve things, where it comes to the can'ts. things are a bit more challenging with regard to what two won'ts.s the some countries choose to deemphasize nuclear security or perhaps even hostile to it. the first potential won't relates to the perceived costs of economic interest such as where parties convince themselves proper security measures will unduly increase expense of equipment or capabilities that they wish to acquire. the attitude may tempt them to cut corners, sometimes potentially quite dangerously. similarly, a supplier may see security as a needless cost that could be to the sales or market share. all such thinking i would argue is short-sighted such as with nuclear safety, if you are truly worried about cost, the worst possible outcome would be to face a dangerous nuclear incident resulting from one's
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own negligence. all the same, it can be a problem. that's the first won't. the second won't is more a pathology of outlook, if you will. believe it or not, as i indicated before, some countries may resist nuclear security measures because they feel that a focus on security is perhaps some kind of a western imperialist imposition or some such. at best, i think such a contention is simply silly. at worst, such positions might in fact smack of a sort of shameful cultural essentialism racism, as if to imply that common sense can be monopolized by a particular culture and people of the global south are incapable of them. we should resist any such nonsense and rebut it. and some have some what of i have alluded to, the spendings -- the suspicion that there may be some tension between the
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nuclear facility and the widespread sharing of nuclear benefits. the belief that promoting security is somehow intrinsically comes at the cost of inhibiting cooperation. by this point, you won't be irprised to hear that completely disagree with this approach. both safety and security to emphasize yet once again, the mantra that they are enablers or facilitators of cooperation. it would be very difficult to imagine cooperation occurring or continuing, without it being clear that safety and security were being well handled. in order to address this alternative manifestation of the second won't, i think it's important that we all, again, pay reference to the commitment paper that i referred to before. it articulates quite well, there is no tension between security and cooperation and that cooperation rests in large part on the foundation that it's provided good security. so in parallel with concrete capacity building assistance,
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to help with the can'ts, this outreach toomatic help with the won'ts is an important part what we ought to be aware of to raise the positive value of nuclear security and encourage all governments to develop the political will to follow through in the promise keeping business of nuclear security. that's the nuclear security business as we engage with it in department of state and i hope our colleagues in the nuclear that a good many of security contract group will see it in this fashion as we work together to support these very important objectives. hopefully, these remarks have given you a little bit of a taste of what we do in this area and you perhaps as experts and thought leaders in this rainy -- in this arena will be able to help contribute to this effort as we move forward together in the months and years ahead. so thanks for listening and i look forward to taking questions that i have every confidence will range across a much broader range of issues. thank you. [applause]
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>> well done. you're a seasoned veteran at this. chris, as you look in the audience, you see, i am sure, many familiar faces. >> i do. a breadthrepresents of expertise. they have opinions and they'll want to share them with you. >> i have no doubt. >> we'll get to that, but first, maybe a couple of questions to warm you up. you started by talking about the kind of relative utility of the nuclear security summit process and then ended with some of the challenges that you see and that the administration and we all, in fact, have in terms of encouraging governments around the world to take nuclear security not just seriously, but seriously in an enduring way. so i want to press you a little bit on your views of the
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relative success of the nss process, which i think is rightly debatable. in terms of, did it create a long-term set of circumstances that has fundamentally improved nuclear security around the world? what i think is indisputable about the nss, i think you'll agree, is that it raised the level of political attention around the issue that certainly drove budgets in fundamentally different ways than had been the case. it matters almost as much as what we are saying as who is saying it. when it's an office director saying it, it's one thing when it's presidents and prime ministers saying it, it's another. i guess the question i have drawing from your remarks is now that we have kind of left the rearview mirror and we have adopted an america first approach across our foreign
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policy, doesn't this make your job more difficult rather than easier? chris: well, your question as to whether the degree to which the summit process created long-term changes and circumstances, and the answer, i think, is very clearly not yet, but that's not surprising. the whole purpose of this, as i understand these things, was to catalyze commitments that will help change-- the effect of it is not to have good joint statements at the end of a meeting. the objective is to have better nuclear security practices on the ground and that process was moved forward and commitments were made that represent important milestones for trying to achieve that new and better objective of facts on the ground and it's up to all of us, as i indicated in the remarks, to go from that promise making phase to all of those best practices, just what we unthinkingly and routinely do every day. that's a work in progress. it's not done yet, but the summits contributed in important ways to doing that and now it's
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up to us to build forward all of those practices into the everyday neural habits and muscle reflexes of how every stake holder approaches their job in the nuclear security business and in related fields that impinge upon nuclear security. i record what we're doing now as being a natural follow on from that process. one would have had to move in that direction irrespective of administration. it's something that the obama administration as i understand it was already starting to do in the last year or so that it was in office and i hope that, between the catalytic effect of the summit process itself and the more day-to-day slog of trying to make them feel normal and every day, i hope we'll have something to show for these two facets of what i think is an important collective effort. >> does america first make it more difficult for you? >> in this context, nuclear
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security scratches everyone's itch. it's american interests and foreign policy interest to not have terrorists and rogue regimes outside of regulatory control. i think that meets everyone's security interest. so there's no tension between any of those values. i think they work very nicely together and be complimentary and reinforce together. >> i want to come back to the issue of burden sharing, it's spreading the love, spreading the list around the globe. next year, of course, the united states will chair the g7 process, including the little -- including global partnerships. so you didn't mention the global partnership in your remarks. you've mentioned, not focused on them, not saying you excluded them deliberately. the fact that you didn't raise it, the fact that it wasn't top of your mind, does that represent a diminishment in the relative importance of the
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administration's view of the global partnership? tell me what your thinking is. chris: not at all. it remains very important, we've worked very hard on this. one of the things i'm personally proudest of that we have done in the last couple of years is to try to bring the global partnership program side of the capacity building work and engagement in areas like nuclear security, together more closely with the policy engagements that we have, and things such as the nonproliferation directors group within the g7 process so that the policy and programming sides are able to have more contact, more engagement to make sure the programming more cleanly and crisply represent the policy objectives that we're talking about. and i think that synergy we encouraged in the last two chairs of the process to do is paying off and we're going to certainly keep that emphasis under our chairmanship in 2020. one of the things that g7 has been very active in doing as
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under theould say, fresh presidency, there's been a lot of outreach efforts in support of universalization in the prevention of nuclear materials and that's an effective process and one of our important goals and we're delighted to be joined with that by g7 partners. that is something you will see continue under the u.s. presidency and g7 in 2020. i think these are all, once again, very complimentary, i meant no disrespect to the gobel -- global partnership. but no, it's a major piece of what we're doing and an effective tool. in my bureau alone, 250 million is used for a variety of capacity building engagements, a critical piece of what it is. they're analogous challenges to the can'ts and the won'ts, i mentioned before across a host of engagement, whether it's getting partners to improve their capacity to meet the requirements of the resolution 1540, for example, all the way
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to improving export control and border security challenges, helping countries with model legislation how to do these things more effectively. there is a whole world of practice sharing and cooperative that we engage in all the time that works nicely and in hand with things you're describing. >> so you mentioned the amendment. let me press you on that a little as well. we have the review concerns, obviously, in 2021. can you tell me how the administration is planning on leveraging that in support of its kind of wider nuclear security agenda? chris: well, sure. i think, again, these are complementary. and i hope that the commitment paper that they have will be useful for is helping the group nscg represents to
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guide them to make the most out of the upcoming review coverages. the same thing can be said of the upcoming -- the material that's coming up in, i believe, february. you know, we are all in the position of needing to coordinate our diplomatic activity to make sure that as much is gotten out of these as possible. pushing for a universalization a major piece of this, for example, but as we get ready in is example, but as we get ready in the review conference to assess as one needs to, you know, the adequacy and success and progress of the convention, you know, having this kind of a focal point for where it is that we think that nuclear security needs to be going and trying to use the convention to achieve its goals most effectively by having this kind of collective focusing of effort. i think that is a major piece of what we're doing. >> so i want to come back to your won'ts and can'ts, is interestingly framed. -- referenced the global -- >> it sounds like a slogan. i apologize for that. i read too much chinese
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writings. >> you mentioned in your remarks, chris, i want to know how you -- when you're out and about beyond the-- my canadian accent comes through and i can interpret it for you, we can get an interpreter for you if you like, when you're around the globe, particularly in the countries of the global south, how do you effectively communicate the mission that you have on nuclear security, on nonproliferation to governments whose girls may not be being educated, who are facing famine, who are facing an infectious disease outbreak, whose infrastructure may be in tatters, who are in a post-conflict environment, so many other priorities that quite theirully, if i were in shoes, i would certainly prioritize over your mission.
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it wouldn't be high on the agenda. how do you communicate that and how does the administration conceive a strategy to engage those prospective partners in the nuclear security agenda? chris: the discussion wouldn't come up unless it comes up in the context of their own agenda. nuclear cooperation is a critical piece of many country's agendas, a way in which, as we all know, the sort of quaint phrase from the eisenhower era, the benefits of the peaceful atom. cliche as it may be, but there's a real truth there. everybody knows the dangerous side of nuclear technology, but it's not as often widely recognized in the public that there is this extraordinary beneficial side. it's far beyond the generation of electrical power and clean and carbon zero sort of way, but it goes to the ways in which nuclear technologies and their applications can help, of course, in the agriculture industry, science, medicine, basic research of all sorts.
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there's a whole world of benefit out there that i think many leaders, even from which the countries to which you're referring, are very focused upon. they want those, whether it's desalination, or sterilize fections that cause debilitating disease, cancer treatment, whatever it may be, these are all what the countries around the world want to take advantage of and our message on security is to simply point out the basic fact that our agenda on nuclear security is not separate from their agenda of cooperation, which is ours as well. we're a massive supporter of the technical cooperation program. we provide enormous amounts of u.s. assistance bilaterally as well through the department of energy, for example. making clear that the agenda on cooperation on these kinds of prosperity and health furthering projects is not a separate question from that of nuclear security. and without it being clear that nuclear security issues will be adequately handled in any given
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context because it varies, but without that linkage being clear, it's possible there would be less sharing. the odds of a sharing system surviving in the world where it is not clear that materials and technology would not be misused, are pretty low, and so what we try to do is point out that these agendas are not different and they compliment each other and that paying attention to nuclear security is a way to help ensure that the kind of sharing that these countries and their people so very much want and that we wish to provide will be possible and remain possible. complementary things, and it's a -- emphasizing that complementaryness is a big piece of our diplomacy in this regard. brian: i want to bring the audience in, and we'll get some microphones out here. but i am going to ask my korea question. kim jong-un has given us until the end of the year to kick start discussions on a deal between the united states and the dprk. can you tell me what more we can
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to get them back to the table and move this discussion along? chris: i will defer those questions to steve beacon, our negotiator on office matters. certainly for the rest of the --artment, we are making it for the denuclearization we're hoping for. we are simultaneously implementing a pressure campaign to incentivize coming to the table while working with steve and his team to make sure that we, and the u.s. government as a whole and our interagency partners, as appropriate, are prepared for a yes answer. we need to be in a position to effectively implement negotiate threat elimination in north korea, if that comes out of negotiations, which hope that it will. and the pressure campaign we're implementing can be turned off, and we're looking forward to the
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day when we can do that, because we've achieved the goals that the president has set for us in his repeated meetings with chairman kim. so we're trying to be as prepared as we can for that outcome, and we wish our negotiators well and will provide all the details, technical support, that they need to do this, but i would defer to them on exactly where we are going with all of this, because it's very much a work in progress as we speak. brian: very good. so let me turn to the audience here. ma'am, we'll get one to you, if you would kindly just state your name, your affiliation, and make sure that your 15 second intervention ends with with a question mark, i'd be grateful. >> it will definitely end with a question mark. i am samantha from nti. i want to turn back to the tpp review conference and get a little more specific than the previous question. this is obviously a unique instrument, the only international legal treaty that requires physical protection,
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it's almost universal, not quite -- we're working on that -- but it also has a mechanism that if countries will take advantage of it, can be a tool for sustainable dialogue, sustainable attention, and for sustaining the regime itself. i wanted to get your views on what you believe the role of the rev con can be, the future rev cons, and also your view on the timings of future rev cons and whether countries should, in fact, agree to those rev cons in 2021? chris: sure. i know there's a lot of debate about details of how this should be built out. we are, as i've indicated, strongly supportive of the convention and its universalization. the rev con is coming up, i think can and will be a very useful opportunity for everyone to sit down and assess where things have come, where they should be going, how adequate the convention is to the goal that we all espouse in this respect, so we're very much looking forward to that and making sure it's as successful
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as it can. as for future rev cons, we should all collectively play that by ear rather than committing in advance to any particular given institutionalized cycle of things. we should sort of see where we are, and we'll know a lot more once this review conference occurs, and i think that that additional information about how and where everyone has been going on these issues will be an important data point in trying to figure out where to go in future rev cons. but we will attempt to make those decisions when we know more at that time. so specific timing, we should make that call when we're wiser and better informed, and we all will be as a result to this conference to which we are all looking forward to very much. brian: we'll come and get you in a minute here. >> liz kim from voice of america korea service. following up on the north korea question. six months ago, you said that a long time solution is what the
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united states is pursuing with north korea. is the united states still aiming that solution with north korea? and could you tell us in detail what long-term solution would mean? in detail? chris: well, our objective is final and fully verified denuclearization that president trump and chairman kim have talked about and to which chairman kim has promised to move. our policy hasn't changed in that respect. as to the details of what it actually looks like, i certainly wouldn't want to get out in front of specific negotiations before they begin in detail, but, you know, such as i indicated before, we stand ready to, you know, implement that vision and that agreement and hope that we hear agreement from the north korean side as soon as possible. brian: you mentioned the global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism and our collaboration with russia and how well that is going, one of the few areas of open collaboration between the two countries. i wonder if you could give us a little bit more color what
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that looks likes and what your collaboration with beijing looks like. chris: on nuclear security? brian: nuclear security. chris: it's principally bilateral in engagement. i actually had an interesting visit over to -- i think they call it their nuclear security of excellence, which is a little outside of beijing. taken there a couple of years ago on a frigid winter day. had a great tour of the facility. they're beginning to play a role regionally in training, folks in that area of the world in nuclear-related skills and techniques, part of a capacity building effort that hopefully will have good results. we've engaged closely with them in those endeavors. they are -- i am trying to remember. i think they have been part of our discussions as part of the contact group to help reduce the global stock that i was referring to earlier. so we've actually had pretty
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good engagement with the chinese on this, and certainly hoping for, you know, to see more come out of this. the russian engagement continues to be pretty good through g.i.n.c.t. and i was happy to be at the argentina meeting last year, and thankfully, it was agreed we should continue to co-chair with the russians, and it was quite strange and unusual for this day and age. i read a congratulatory greeting to the group from president trump and my russian counterpart read from vladimir putin. thate does not hear things way in most international forums, so it was a pleasure to see those signs of cooperation as the group continues to work, and we're looking forward to continuing our role and cochairing it with our russian colleagues. brian: very good. >> thank you. hi, chris, joe kimbell. i did not know you're from cincinnati. and i'm from oxford, and we have things to share. chris: oxford, ohio.
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>> yeah, oxford, ohio -- the real oxford. chris: i've got to be careful with that one. [laughter] >> last week, it was reported that russia formally proposed the five-year extension of new starts, and, as you know, your fellow officials in the administration have said at various points that they're interested in a new deal with russia, possibly one that also includes china. but putting aside the question of whether such an agreement is desirable or necessary, my question is whether you believe there's even time for such a negotiation of a new agreement before new start is due to expire in 13 months? yes or no? and, if there is time, who is leading the negotiation? what's the plan? when is the next round of talks? because 13 months is not very much time. and if there has been time, don't agree that extending the treaty would provide the president with more time for his agenda? brian: darryl kimbell with his 14-part question. [laughter] chris: no worries.
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i would say on the issue of the new start extension, as my colleagues have made very clear, this is something that is certainly under consideration. we haven't made a decision one way or the other. we are approaching that question in part through the prism of how and whether and to what degree the question of new start extension can contribute to what we think is, by far, the more important objective, and that is to find a framework for arms control that is capable and will help nip in the bud the emerging three-way arms race in the nuclear arena that i fear that russian and chinese nuclear posture and regional strategies and threats to our allies is threatening to create. finding a way to get our arms around that problem and find the trilateral to the arms challenge is our cardinal objective, and we're looking at issues, such as, not exclusively, but include new start extension from the perspective of how we can most contribute to finding that long-term answer. and i do stress that we need a
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long-term answer. a longer term answer to these challenges, because even if it were extended, new start only goes for an additional five years. already, the russians are buildings things outside the new start context. we see them, you know, this remarkable new best area of strategic delivery systems that vladimir putin was bragging about in his video production in march of last year, you know. this is including a new super heavy icbm, the infamous flying chernobyl, the nuclear cruise missile, there's an air launched ballistic missile, of all things -- most of that will presumably not not be covered under new start , under any scenario, so they are already building things that are not under the new start framework.
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the chinese, of course, are on the trajectory to at least double the size of their nuclear arsenal within the next ten years. of course, that's leaving aside the issue of russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons. those have been around washington for a while will remember, when the new start treaty was ratified with the senate, it was made clear that it was essential that nonstrategic weapons in russian hands be parts of any future arms control agreement. these are all challenges that are sort of coming together at the same time, and it's really imperative that we find some way of addressing the russian and the chinese challenges in an arms control framework, and there's no way to do that at present. our goal is to engage with them to bring that to fruition is the cardinal effort. >> you did not answer my question -- if you could answer my question, is there time to negotiate a new agreement with russia before february 2021? chris: i think there's plenty of time to engage with them and to move that objective of a
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trilateral framework forward, and we are looking forward to doing that. brian: we will get a microphone up here and to the bearded and mustached man on the other side. >> thank you for your comments. i could have probably made 90% of your speech showing that there is a lot of important continuity on security. curious to hear more about the administration's approach to making the most of the upcoming international conference on nuclear security. as you have rightly said it's , time for nuclear security to the muscle memory and it is every three or four years by the iaea. and it is also a chance to have ministers in place to have them say something consequential in their statements, and since the vast majority of the pledges made in the summit area have been achieved to make future commitments and identify progress made. what steps is the u.s. government making to get other
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countries to show up at the ministerial level with the progress report and new pledges in the icons meeting? chris: well, we are certainly working very hard to encourage high-level representation this is a major part of the engagements we have had with the nuclear security contact group, for example. there's a multiplier effect in multilateral approaches here that i think you'll be familiar with. we are trying to use our work with the contact group to help catalyze that. to bring as many to the conference and at as high a level as possible for the same purposes that you're describing. so, you know, this is a work in progress. this is coming up, actually, i think in february, if i recall correctly. we are getting down to the wire and making sure we push these buttons as effectively as we can, but that's something that we're actively working on with our partners, among other things, through the nuclear security contact group. their most recent meeting, i think, was a couple of weeks
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ago. brian: very good. here, and then we'll go up to the far side as well. >> thank you. michael, stimson center. welcome to stimson, chris. a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. we remember these words of mikhail gorbachev and ronald reagan. are they worth repeating? do they have utility, at the present moment, with this nonproliferation treaty review conference coming up? chris: potentially. this is one of the many topics that people are chewing on as we get ready to try to make the review conferences as productive as we can. setting the appropriate atmosphere for it is certainly an objective for all sorts of states. that's true amongst us in the p-5. i think, you know, my own personal inclination is that while slogans like that are
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often useful, concrete results and pragmatic efforts to actually address the security problems that make movements towards nuclear disarmament more challenging would be an even better signal to send, which is one of the reasons why we're so pleased to have countries coming together through, for example, but not exclusively, creating an environment for nuclear disarmament initiative, that we've been proud to be working on for the last few months. the second round of that engagement happened, i think, just a couple of weeks ago, in the u.k. the working groups in that group, under that initiative, beginning to build out lines of inquiry and terms of reference for their work to try to help answer some of the questions that need to be addressed in finding ways to ameliorate conditions in the security environment. it's that challenge of conditions in the security environment that i think is the real crux of the problem here. and if you will refer to ronald
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reagan's words, i would refer you to the remarks i think he made in may of 1989, in moscow polytechnic, if i recall. anyway, there was a comment that we do not distrust each other because we have arms. we have arms because we distrust each other. something to that effect. there you have reagan pointing to the underlying challenge of how it is we affect or improve the environment in a way that will make movement forward on all these fronts more feasible rather than less feasible. we didn't get to the dramatic arms reductions in the post-cold war period by any means other than having the underlying tensions and stresses of that relationship with the soviet union, at the time, wane. we shouldn't put the cart before the horse and try to pretend that we can address the challenges presented by the nuclear tools unless we're able
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somehow to address the underlying challenges presented by just a fraught strategic relationship. it is by addressing those kinds of security concerns, and that is why i go back to the trilateral issue in particular. because the security environment is one that, unfortunately in a , sense, one in which the challenges of traditional bilateral approaches to arms control mechanisms are no longer adequate to the at least trilateral challenges that we face in the world, and that is not even counting the incipient arms race or the full-blown arms race, i should say, in south asia. there are many problems we need to figure out to address, and the way i would get that and focus on ways to try to solve or at least ameliorate the challenges of that security environment, and from that, real concrete results, i think that history shows, can and will follow. but i'd be more inclined to focus upon trying to get the countries together on trying to address the problems than to -- than simply to find, you know, the ways to describe them.
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brian: what is the single biggest obstacle to an nbt review? chris: i'm not sure there is a single biggest. there are multiple scenarios which do not help. we have had review conferences blow up before because of some parties' insistence in trying to use npt mechanisms to brow beat countries to the table with which they are not willing to negotiate at all and to use mechanisms to try to achieve outcomes in the middle east, with respect to the idea of middle eastern zone free of mass destruction and delivery systems. there have been attempts to force countries that are not willing to engage rackley amongst themselves. that has derailed conversations before. that's certainly one scenario. our hope is that we can -- well,
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our diplomacy on the mpt front is trying to focus on, especially at this 50th anniversary of the mpt, to try to draw people's attention to the ways in which the treaty has, in fact, served the interest of all parties. aspect of the treaty are controversial, one way or the other. article to look back on a half century of its being in place is a great opportunity to remind ourselves of what has brought in terms of security benefits to all countries, and i don't mean just security benefits -- well, the framework of the mpt is a reciprocal exchange of security commitments, so that every single state party, including perhaps especially the nonweapons states, gain, in a security sense, from the treaty. because i know as a nonweapon state that you're not going to go weaponizing, and that's a framework for mutual nuclear --urity that should not be it's not just in terms of that security benefit. the treaty provided just the
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kind of foundation that i was referring to in the nuclear security context, through its safeguards approach. the idea of nuclear safeguards and nonproliferation has been essential to facilitating the world of cooperative benefit sharing. when it comes to all of the benefits of nuclear technology to which i was referring before. without that framework of the the regime, you would not see the kind of powerful, effective sharing of all of these benefits , from power generation to agriculture and whatever else it may be. all of that rests upon the foundations that the regime, the nonproliferation regime, provided. reminding people of that is important. the issue of disarmament. you couldn't imagine the disarmament agenda moving forward were it not for the nonproliferation regime in place to prevent newcomers coming into place in the vacuum that was created. so in all of these ways, the treaty has been incredibly important to providing foundational structures that we all depend upon for really important pieces for our
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day-to-day policy agenda. and we need this opportunity to remind all-state parties of that, so they can recommit themselves to making sure those benefits are available to all of us around the world, the global south, the east, the west, whatever it may be, to keep these benefits available for another 50 years. so that when they have 100th anniversary of the conference, they can set around and talk about what a relief it was all of those people back in 2019 and 2020 did not mess it up and kept folks to the structure of this treaty that has been so profoundly beneficial to so many. brian: i think we had a question. one last question we could squeeze in, with your permission. chris: fine. >> yes. chris, you just addressed my question, which was end. perhaps you could provide a little more detail about how it's going? i understand there are three working groups. how is that going? what's the relationship between
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send and the ipndv? and are you trying to achieve some results from send that could play into next year's mpt rev con? chris: okay. the creating the environment for nuclear disarmament initiatives that you were saying, recently their second round of meetings in the u.k. as i indicated before. this was a series of meetings of working groups, which designed -- each of which are designed to explore a particular line of inquiry. int the plenary meeting washington, d.c. last summer was defined three lines of inquiry that the participants felt was important to pursue in order to find -- help find creative answers to some of the challenges that have kept disarmament from moving forward more effectively in this very challenging current security environment. one of those lines of inquiry has to do with what institutions need to be developed and dealt
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or augmented or whatever it may be in order to help provide a framework for the international community's efforts to move towards and to sustain the achievement of nuclear disarmament. that's the institutional piece. another working group is looking at the challenges of incentives created by the security environment, incentives that could, for various reasons, good or ill, either create reasons for countries to wish to acquire nuclear weapons or not wish to. create incentives to retain or not to retain such weapons. and trying to think through the questions, the challenges of how to set the security environments that shape the possession related incentives and what we can do to nudge those incentives more in the direction that is conducive to disarmament movement. and the third group relates to what you may call risk reduction. which is to say there will be, of course, some period of time, long or short, between the
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present day and the day at which all of this hopefully comes to fruition in a world that's safely and sustainable free of nuclear weapons. during that time, we'll have to continue to manage the nuclear challenges that exist in the world in ways that are as safe and as manageable as possible. that goes to arms control, crisis stability, transparency, and that sort of thing. so the third group is looking at what we can do during that interim period to manage the multiple deterrent standoffs and dynamics in the world as effectively as we can. so this most recent meeting in the u.k. was designed to sort of set terms of reference for how each of those lines of inquiry will be pursued over the coming months and, perhaps, years. we do hope that it would be possible for the send participants, the chairs of the working groups, for example, to brief the rev con in the progress they are making where they see their particular working groups going.
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i want to stress that the cnd is separate the mpt process. we hope it's complementary, but we need this discussion of the disarmament issues to be done independently of purely mpt processes, insofar as, clearly, the situation in south asia and elsewhere, suggest the challenges cannot solely be addressed in the mpt, and we do not want to get snagged on the political rocks there. we hope it will be possible to insert wisdom into the mpt process and demonstrate, through cnd, that there is actually serious work being done to try to address the many challenging questions. but we envision this to be complementary to and in parallel with the mpt process, even though we hope they will usefully inform and enrich each other. that is sort of where we are at the moment. as to where we are ultimately going, i am trying to avoid being prescriptive about that, because this belongs to the
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participants themselves. we didn't sort of dictate an agenda for where this should be going. these lines of inquiry rose out plenary -- out of plenary discussions from countries with a diverse range of perspectives. we had people from the north, the south, industrialized, nonindustrialized world. we had members of the treaty for prohibition of nuclear weapons as well as nuclear alliance part is offense. we had the p-5 there. we had people from both sides of all the major political and economic and ideological fault lines in south asia, europe, the middle east, and elsewhere. bringing that group of people together and having the discussions as upland plenary is where those lines of effort emerged from. this was not directed by anyone. so i cannot, and all honesty, describe exactly where it will be going, because each of these lines of effort will work as they feel they need to work. and they will work to develop answers and, perhaps deliverables and points of
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, emphasis as they feel their particular line of inquiry requires. i don't know where that's going to go. and, in some ways, that's a strength of the process not a , weakness. i know it's frustrating not to be able to predict end states and outcomes. but this is the kind of engagement it needs to be if we are to address some of the security challenges. you don't know the answers in advance. if we knew the answers, this wouldn't be hard. it would be simple. precisely because we need to develop these answers and because the traditional disarm discourse has been, in my view, poor in providing an answer to some of the underlying security challenges. it's for that reason that we allow the participants to engage in really candid, thoughtful, and, hopefully, live discussions with where to go with these groups. i wish them luck and look forward to where they're going myself. brian: chris, your willingness to come back at this stage and other stages like it, to listen to divergent opinions is commendable. thank you for being here today and thank you for your service. chris: thank you for having me.
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[applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> live friday on the c-span networks, the house returns at a resolution regarding the israeli-palestinian conflict and a bill on voting rights. at 5:30, presidential candidate --buttigiegdge speaks to students at grinnell college.
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and a conference looking at fisa and intelligence gathering. looking at the impact of artificial intelligence on capital markets. at 12:30, retired army general on defenseson speaks and diplomacy in afghanistan. the house judiciary committee meets monday to hear evidence in the ongoing impeachment inquiry against the president. the chair, jerrold nadler, ranking member doug collins, and other committee members will hear from democratic and republican counsel. 9:00ive coverage begins at a.m. eastern on c-span,, or you can listen on the free c-span radio app. featuresend, book tv three new nonfiction books. saturday at 8:45, scott adams, creator of the comic strip
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"dilbert." >> we are all elevated in our opinions, because the news model is sent us towards more provocative stuff. so where before they would have just said here is the news, there's my news, now it has replaced entertainment. retired navy stavridismes discusses his book "sailing true north." >> i would go into afghanistan helmetcked out with my and everything, guys to my right and left with the big guns. i was actually pretty safe. next to me would be someone like richard engel from nbc news in an ill fitting bulletproof vest which would not stop a bullet. he is risking his life to tell us what is happening.
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you think he is serving us? i do. >> sunday at 9:00 eastern on "after words," the "me too" witches and book "the are coming." >> people are always asking me -- i am sure the sq constantly -- what is the path, the path to redemption? i've been trying to come up with an answer, because people keep asking me, and i realized the how about you workshop it, you troubleshoot, keep trying stuff until people forgive you? how about you figure it out? >> watch booktv every weekend on c-span 2. at her weekly briefing, speaker pelosi talked about her decision to


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