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tv   CSIS Panel Discusses Russian Perspective of U.S.- North Korea Relations  CSPAN  April 19, 2019 5:25pm-6:39pm EDT

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brooks on his book "love your enemies." saturday night on american history tv on c-span3, at 10:00 p.m. eastern, on reel america, the 1942 u.s. department film "democracy at work and puerto rico, profiling the island's history, culture, and challenges." then sunday at 4:30 p.m. eastern, former u.s. secretary thetate condoleezza rice on changing role of u.s. democracy in foreign policy over the last 100 years. watch this weekend on the c-span networks. a discussion on the perspective of u.s.-north korea relations. the center for strategic and international studies hosted the event which featured a csi s russia and eurasia program fellow who talked about north program, and the influence of russia and china on the korean peninsula.
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in addition, a george washington university nuclear weapons professor provided analysis of the u.s.-north korea talks. this is about one hour and 15 minutes. professor provided analysis of the u.s.-north korea talks. >> good morning, everybody. welcome to csi s. i am a senior fellow. i will be moderating our discussion today on u.s. dprk normalization which is not a topic i normally moderate discussions on. but in this case, it is very relevant for what our program does. our presenter is anastasia barannikova, a visiting fellow. a reports working on on this exact topic which we while. publishing in a
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role, honestime asia is a research fellow at the admiral maritime state university in russia. she is an expert on north korea and north korean security policy. she will be talking to us about u.s. dprk normalization and the role of surrounding powers including russia, giving her perspective and the view from russia about what this relationship looks like and what the potential for normalization is. then we have our discussion today, sharon squassoni, who many of you know, a research professor at the elliott school of international affairs at gw. she is a well-known expert in washington on nuclear energy, arms control, disarmament. and among a long history of senior positions in this role,
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spent a lot of time here at csis as well. anastasia's presentation, on the screen, will be about 30 minutes, then we will have sharon provide a little bit of discussion and context, and then we will open it up to all of you. you can see the cameras, we are being recorded, this will be available on the russia eurasian program website tomorrow. it also means that we are on the record. please silence your phones and other noisemaking devices. if there are no objections, let's go to anastasia. anastasia: good morning, everybody, thank you for this
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event. the issue between the united states and north korea has been topical for years. last year, a real chance to move forward, but even the second summit with donald trump and kim jong-un finished without any significant results. there is still no progress an ongoing dialogue. nevertheless, the dialogue should be continued. otherwise, the tensions can be renewed and caused threats to regional security. on the first one it is clear, north korea has nuclear missile technology, experience with conventional weapons sales, and has gray and black channels which are being used currently for things to be directed toward proliferation. north korea can be pushed to proliferation by internal and external factors. internal factors include renewed military threat by the united states or pressure by china.
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internal factors include economic development which require huge resources. north korea does not have many. the second threat is possible degradation of united states rok alliance. one of the biggest concerns was normalization between the countries would inevitably lead to withdrawing the u.s. troops from south korea and ultimately the degradation of the alliance. it is a lack of progress in negotiations that can lead to this collapse. inability to achieve progress in negotiation with north korea is more likely the cause. in the position of nukes by north korea, it is not an -- not so dangerous as hostile relations with north korea. the united states image of the superpower can be tarnished if it is unable to come to an agreement.
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it can potentially push its asian allies to seek their own stance. excuse me. it should be remembered that both rok and japan conducted their nuclear programs in the past and have all of the necessary economic, scientific capabilities to create nuclear weapons in the short term. they just need political will to transfer their nuclear programs to military. the next threat is further threatening of china's monopoly. china has almost restored its afternce on north korea the execution of someone who was considered [indiscernible] after the adoption of united nations resolution 2375, china almost monopolized trade ties. south korean experts dealing
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with relations between china and north korea for a long time raised concerns that china could ultimately make north korea its economic province, political protectorate, or even annex. these assumptions are controversial. on the one hand, even when china's economic influence grows, records suggest north korea maintains an independent foreign policy. on the other hand, china could impact the foreign policy of north korea, including is dialogue with the u.s. and rok. along with north korea, as a result, it is now considered the most influential country in the region. the next threat is decrease of sanctions used as a tool of foreign policy. sanctions imposed on the latest
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resolution to 375 have certainly affected the welfare of ordinary people in north korea and activities. but sanctions produced no impact on the things they were targeting. north korea experienced and unchanged position, could become another encouraging model for other countries which are under u.n. or u.s. sanctions. it certainly decreases the efficiency or perception of efficiency as sanctions as a tool of foreign policy. at the same time, it brings some results and a number of prospects. first, both south korea and japan consider the removal of so-called north korean threat by peaceful means the most optimal path. it is not surprising considering the country's proximity to north korea and the presence of the united states on their
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territories. this could become a target for north korean missiles. if the united states could establish peace on the peninsula by establishing normal relations, it would help. the alliance between the united states and rok has been a successful one because it never remains static. in response to the changing security environment, changes are made to military exercises and number of troops. these changes not lead to the collapse of the alliance. the same would not hold true for u.s.-dprk normalization. any future government in full regard with a policy ideology would be interested in an alliance with the united states in some form as a source to hedge against an and china. -- japan and china.
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the bilateral alliance is in need of update for its structure to meet the new geopolitical environment, otherwise, it risks destabilizing the peninsula. modernization would maintain its relevant value and would be appreciated, and would help to strengthen its position in the region. today, the main purpose of an alliance is deterrence of china, so it doesn't make sense to put this alliance at risk. as for united states troops in the south, north korea made it clear in the past, it is ready to accept their long-term presence. the position of north korea will hardly change as they also consider the united states presence as a geopolitical hedge against chinese and russian influence. modernization of the alliance would lay the groundwork for new security mechanisms in northeast asia. it is not about the special
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advisor to south korean president, told during the last meeting that north korea can ultimately become a military ally of the u.s. north korea made it clear there are no enemies. the idea of the level of cooperation may seem fantastical but it is not new and has already attracted the attention of experts, particularly one who served on the korean peninsula energy organization. this idea of building united states-rok-dprk relationship. they also recommend the united states to shift from the current lines. rather, united states should be friends and working to empower both north and south korea to battle against china. in this way, united states could more positively shape the future
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of northeast asian regions. to make it possible, the united states should not just make peace with north korea, but also build a constructive relationship with pyongyang. the refusal of united states normalized relations with dprk could lay the groundwork for the china-dprk-rok triangle. the next prospect is participation of the united states in economic projects on the korean peninsula. it is no secret there are businessmen in the united states, rok, european countries are waiting for sanctions relief to start business in north korea. now it has been transformed. regular normalization of the united states and north korea would make it possible for american businessmen to work there constantly, and would allow the united states to
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spread soft power and serve as a security guarantee for north korea. indeed, the united states will not attack north koreans if there are americans in the territory. another option is participation of united states in so-called korean projects of korean economic cooperation. this project not only has economic importance but also can promote inter-korean rapprochement and have peacekeeping potential. participation of united states in this project was not only helped both states of the korean peninsula but also would become one of the few influences along with russia. now let's look at normalization. first of all, the different positions of the main participants. the position of north korea can
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be considered as proactive. north korea feels an urgency for change, or storing its diplomatic and foreign relations. the results to date are impressive, including numerous summits. kim jong-un has skillfully played the opposition of interest between the u.s. and china. north korea sought rapprochement with china as leverage to bring trump to the negotiating table. in the same way, north korea uses the dialogue to put pressure on china. along with dialogue with the u.s., north korea is also developing inter-korean relations a red this forced china to intensify its diplomacy. north korea has reminded china of its energy. -- of its strategic importance. china seem to take a reactive position. north korea is of particular interest to china as a territory and cheap negotiations with the united states. faced with an american president, we need to talk with the north korean leader, china felt its need to restore its
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influence over north korea. at the same time, while china considers the peninsula's influence, it is not interested in any significant changes. it benefits from maintaining the status quo. for this reason, china would not favor north korea establishing closer ties with the united states or rok. it would seek to control or interfere in the current process. experts say even during the first summit of trump and kim, the third virtual participant in the negotiations. agreement reached in singapore was fully in china's interest. the same could be said about the second summit which finished with no result but the door open for dialogue. as for united states, their position also seems reactive. current dialogue with north korea appears to be a reprise of the past, when inter-korean
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rapprochement and change in the region resulted in the u.s. opening a dialogue with north korea. north koreans always responded to these signals but these efforts failed. with the trump presidency there is the possibility of changes. it is possible that donald trump has his own vision of development of relations with dprk but it should be remembered he does not -- he may not have the same power in the united states as kim jong-un in dprk. another obstacle to achieving agreement between the u.s. and north korea is the divergence between the official and real goals in dialogue. official, clear goals are well known. it is denuclearization in exchange for security guarantees for dprk.
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these are well known. united states insists on its models. north korea insists on their own, providing for the korean peninsula. managing deterrence, this approach is not aimed at the elimination of nuclear weapons in north korea, but different limitation. the roadmap offers not denuclearization, but demilitarization of the north korean nuclear program. the model proposed by chinese scholars, which provides leading -- leaving north korea with a
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small amount of nuclear weapons, considers an approach, some weaknesses and strengths, but they have a common drawback. only north korea is considered [indiscernible] it should be noted that none of these approaches takes into account the motivational factors for north korea to possess nuclear weapons. and it's strategic goals. there are different approaches to motivation behind the north korean nuclear program. an isolated state, revisionist state. in my opinion, north korea, if we compare statements of its leadership, official statement in state media with the main basics of approach to foreign relations, political values, we see there is much in common.
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as for motives, motivations to possess nuclear weapons, researchers dealing with this issue single out the following factors motivating all countries to develop nuclear weapons. security considerations, prestige, technical progress. for north korea, the full set of motivating factors would look like this. we see the more flexible approach of denuclearization does not consider this factor. they provide compensation for north korea nuclear weapons as a means of security only, but what about other functions of this weapon, what about prestige, ideology, ability to counter a potential enemy? how can that be compensated, will it be compensated? since nuclear deterrence has been created to achieve certain geopolitical goals, it is
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logical north korea can only do this after achieving goals. what are these goals? let's try to understand it. reunification, absorption by another is impossible and technically unfeasible. this is well understood in south and north korea. north korea has its own idea of reunification. it sees coexistence of two independent countries rather than reunification. however, there can be integrated processes, establishing one political system on the peninsula. the important moment, the korean peninsula should be neutral in its foreign policy. kim jong-un, while studying in
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switzerland, got interested in historical experiences of this country as a neutral state. the status of neutral state in the past century. the korean war and the division of the korean peninsula could be avoided even though both states are actively involved in geopolitical gains of big powers, and korea has been a strategic pond in confrontation of powers. thanks to nuclear weapons, north korea got the opportunity to become a strategic rogue. those who play chess know that a rook is considered one of the stronger pieces. of course, north korean chances have increased but in order to achieve strategic goals, it needs nuclear potential, which has showed.
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what are the real interests of these powers? recent data shows countries -- refusal of north korea to make unilateral concessions without any reliable guarantees also was acceptable. these approaches could be justified in the beginning of 2000 when north korea didn't have nuclear weapons but serious problems in economics and could make some concessions. now using old approaches, looks strange. there are two possible explanations. first, big powers ignore the shift, ignoring unipolar, bipolar.
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important point, north korean regime and its de facto nuclear status is a part of the status quo. that is why denuclearization cannot be the goal. consequences would be more serious than those of nuclear states. another problem is the dialogue format. bilateral dialogue seems the most efficient for normalization or bilateral relations but its implementation is difficult due to interest of the third parties. dialogue between the united states and north korea has brought no results. one of the reasons is active interference of internal and external forces. in the u.s., hardliners of trump may not let him make concessions to kim and make him make decisions in the last moment. as for north korea, it is more
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complex. there is no domestic political struggle for the moment, just external factors influencing their position on negotiations. there is one country which could do it, china. china's interference was difficult to prove. it certainly took place. in this case, bilateral talks are not bilateral. in order to achieve progress of one at least interference factor is needed. negotiations with a mediator could be another option. excuse me. if the north korean government has already played a role in improved as a mediator, which we saw in the winter political games. importantly, the south korean government is interested in
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normalization of united states and north korea. no country in the region is really interested in normalization except neutral countries like mongolia and russia. mongolia has much in common with north korea from the point of geopolitical position, maintaining good positions. the mongolia position itself as a neutral from different -- and efficient international negotiations. as for russia, on the one hand, russia seems to take a passive hand. on the other hand, with dprk, taking an aggressive hand. there may be certain advantages. russia does not have much leverage on north korea. pyongyang does not consider russia as an external threat.
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from this point, russia seems an attractive mediator with north korea. at the current stage, this role is hampered by the tension between the u.s. and russia. the stronger of it support of china on the korean peninsula. for more active involvement of russia facilitating the dialogue between the u.s. and dprk, most relations with washington is needed. to sum up, normalization between united states and dprk is not only possible but also meets the interest of both countries. it would require revision of the current agenda and strategy of the united states. these changes are good but not limited to.
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you can see them on the slide. the first one is it is necessary to revise the strategies. north korea cannot only play the role of a buffer but can also act in the interest of the u.s., if the latter would take into account its interests. the second one means, different approaches should be applied to the citizens of north korea. denying its right to peaceful programs not only violates international laws but does not build trust between countries. normalization before denuclearization. denuclearization of north korea is possible only as a result of inter-korean negotiations and security with the u.s. in order to achieve or at least to start achieving this goal, motivations should go first to bilateral negotiations.
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engagement instead of pressure. it is clear, understanding and trust is a natural result. in order to start normalization, development of human cooperation is needed. instead of concessions, that word is negatively pursued by countries. adjustments seem more harmless and allow countries to adjust their strategic goals. for example, freezing united states-rok concessions is an option. bilateral reason instead of multilateral reason. it is clear. at least neutral mediators. finally, managing risk instead of avoiding risk.
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experts point to united states diplomacy, calling it reactive, avoiding risk. it is true for united states north korean policy. refuses to be proactive and change strategy on the dprk. if the united states continues , in particular. thank you for your attention. [applause] jeffrey: thank you, anastasia. let me plot -- let me pass the floor over now to sharon. : i don't havei
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any prepared remarks, but i do have tons of questions, because your presentation -- so interesting and provides such a different perspective than we often get here in washington. first, full disclosure, i do believe the mongolians are a good mediator, because mongolians actually introduced anastasia and me a couple years ago. thus started some of this collaboration. i have, instead of repair -- prepared comments, some big questions. i hope maybe i can ask them of you, we can have a little bit of a dialogue, and then open the floor to all of your questions, because this looks like a pretty expert audience to me. so i have a few big questions. one is, is denuclearization
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really possible? you seemed to suggest that the chinese do not believe -- at least the chinese scholars think that we may be able to reduce risk from north korea's nuclear weapons. in your big points, one of them was normalize, not denuclearize. looking through a u.s. frame, -- another full disclosure, i'm a nonproliferation person. i view these issues in a particular way. i think the trump administration has been fairly clear that denuclearization has to happen, if not yesterday, then next week. most of us understand that is unrealistic. but somewhere there is a range.
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do you think denuclearization is really possible, if north korea has, as you say, has a lot of motivating factors, have put nuclear weapons in their doctrine, they see nuclear weapons as pretty much changing the northeast security environment? could you elaborate on that? anastasia: of course i think it's possible, but maybe not in our life. it will require the inter-korean reintegration, which will be prevented actively by different countries in the region. cooperation and security with the united states is very difficult. it will take a lot of time because two countries which opposed each other will have to find ways to cooperate in such sensitive spheres as security. working with both korean states is needed in this case.
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as for the chinese, they do not believe in denuclearization, maybe because they do not believe in reunification. the opinion of chinese scholars is that a stable north korea is more preferable to a denuclearized north korea. if it needs nuclear weapons to guarantee stability, china can get used to it. prof. squassoni: so, one of the challenges in my long career of nonproliferation, is convincing other countries, you don't need nuclear weapons for security. certainly, some of your comments about further proliferation, the fact that south korea -- more is the case for japan -- has a
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latent nuclear weapons capability. they have uranium enrichment, processing. not a huge jump for them in terms of technical capabilities. politically, it would be a huge jump. maybe the u.s. is not doing such a great job -- but japan and south korea are examples of countries that have strong alliances with the u.s., no nuclear weapons. it seems hard for me to understand that north korea would want to live in a northeast asia where south korea and north korea -- sorry, south korea and japan suddenly develop nuclear weapons. that is one point. the other point is, here are two to view a countries that are economically successful more or less, strong alliances with the u.s.
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good examples of countries without nuclear weapons that have done well. so how would the u.s. get at this point about prestige, nuclear weapons, the fact that this is not really going to help north korea? anastasia: i'm afraid a nuclear weapon will stop being a symbol of prestige when all countries have it. i hope it will never occur. as for south korea, there was interest in statements by north koreans, that our nuclear weapons will be for all koreans. some south korean experts say even a north korean weapon would be common for the korean nation. i have heard such opinions. sharon: that would create a huge
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problem for the nonproliferation treaty. anastasia: again, it is possible after reunification of any form. reunification is a distant prospect. sharon: i had a very narrow question. you quoted kim jong-il about the presence -- from 2000 -- about the potential presence of u.s. troops after reunification. that was pre-nuclear weapons -- their first test was 2006? do you think kim jong-un has a different view, perhaps? anastasia: i don't feel any reason for him to require the removal of united states troops. they require just removal of nukes. north koreans still do not believe that united states would withdraw all tactical weapons from the south.
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toy need a legal guarantee prevent. for united states troops, they consider it as a geopolitical hedge against the influence of big neighbors. united states troops can deter the influence of china and possibly russia. sharon: do i have the liberty to ask a few more questions? some of these are disparate. i have a whole page here. you mentioned chinese interference in the summit process. can you talk more about that, what china might have done, what motivated china in that regard? anastasia: as i already told, china is interested in the status quo, which means no improvements in the relation
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between north korea and the united dates. china has different leverage, economic leverage over north korea. i have very big doubts about the north korean envoy to negotiations. what if he was an agent of influence for china? jeffrey: do we have any evidence or indication that he is? anastasia: unfortunately, no, just my own opinion. nobody would confirm the information. maybe later if it becomes history. but there is no political struggle currently in north korea. it is proved by the fact that the leader can leave the country for several days for a foreign trip. the regime is stable, no
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conflicting factions in the country. so just external factors could influence the position of north korea. sharon: if you would indulge me, i have two more questions, not about your presentation, but more coming from vladivostok. you have a particular perspective, you are much closer to the region. i would say -- and of your comments about sanctions, let me to raise this question. the u.s. perception is that north korea is extremely isolated, but coming from the region, i have the hunch that you don't see them as isolated as we do. is that the case? you talked about sanctions affected trade, relations, the exertion of soft power on north korea. could you talk a little bit how your view from your geopolitical perch might differ?
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in your view, is north korea not as isolated as we think they are? anastasia: i think the influence of sanctions is noticeable. we have almost lost this. workers engaged in the construction sector, north korean restaurants closed. but the situation is not the same in china. there are some reports that china continues their cooperation. for north korea itself, visitors to this country notice that sanctions did not influence its economy. it affects some groups of people, maybe welfare, prices of some goods, but these goods are
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still supplied. it is difficult to track those channels. russia is the one that suffered from the sanctions. the share of trade with north korea was very small even before sanctions. sharon: one last question, since you've been in washington for a few months. what did you think was odd or strange about u.s. perceptions of north korea, the situation there? anastasia: [laughter]
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my first impression concerning the north korea, united states very isolated internationally. it's approach is the same of a cold war approach. i don't understand why it has not developed. sharon: so when you say the u.s. is isolated in information, you mean that we are not getting a lot of information about north korea? anastasia: a vacuum with north korea. maybe some people don't even know where north korea is located on the map.
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jeffrey: some people don't know where mexico is. anastasia: at the same time, experts are very flexible. the most interesting ideas that i have found here while reading articles from experts. unfortunately, experts are not listened to by governments, everywhere, not just here. jeffrey: thank you both. i think we have opened up a lot of avenues for discussion. i know there's a lot of expertise in the room, so i want to take advantage of it. at this point, opening up to questions. wait to be recognized, you will get a microphone. speak into the microphone, be brief, and please ask a question, rather than making a long statement. richard. >> hudson institute. i agree with sharon, when you have the chart about south korean and japanese capabilities.
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they are much further behind in some respects because that was just to build a weapon. they have not been able to practice concepts. more importantly, they don't have the incentive. the u.s. has been good about giving them other means to ensure their security. that was my comment. my question for you is, russia and china have been promoting this three-step peace plan. first, you have a cessation of north korea nuclear missile tests, cessation of large u.s. exercises. the next phase is the series of bilateral meetings, particularly between the head of the united states and north korea, and also between north korea and russia, and so on. we have gone through those. we will now need to go through the third phase, according to this model of rebuilding this
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multilateral structure, to embed some of these processes. i was curious how you would assess the implementation, that peace plan, do you think this is what we are following? and what do they may come further? thank you. anastasia: you asked about multilateralism? yes, multilateralism may be useful in some cases, but i see a negative example, six-party talks. every country, when there are more than three countries, they see their own interest and ultimately negotiations turn into a platform for putting claims in different questions. bilateral relations between the united states and north korea should be improved bilaterally, at least neutral mediator, but
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not in the same format as the six-party talks. otherwise, they can become crawfish, sword and bike. it is a russian fable. of course, there are different layers and levels. it would require participation of all countries. a concluding peace treaty. china also took part in the korean war. russia unofficially. all of these countries unofficially but they took art. so they should take part in the final draft.
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as for normalization, your question about -- i will make it clear later. normalization between the u.s. and dprk for bilateral reasons, in my opinion. >> global peace foundation. two questions. one about korea, one about mongolia. you mentioned differentiation rather than reunification of korea. also talking about a distant thing rather than immediate possibility. recently, kim jong-un talked to regional party leaders, military leaders, and said reunification has to happen by 2020, the matter what. also, the south korean government asked scholars to study about confederation ideas,
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like the european union, that kind of way of scenario reunification. what if both sides want to go that way. how serious are they, what would be russia's position on this? neutral platform for people to convene. mongolia wants to do that. however, the former president went to north korea, tried to promote democracy there. he wanted to see mongolia as an example for north korea and transition to democracy without nuclear weapons and promote the whole regional region. how do you see that kind of
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transition into a nuclear-free democracy, that kind of possibility, and under what conditions can that happen? thank you. anastasia: i almost forgot the first question. sharon: reunification by 2020. anastasia: the end of the world by this year. bits -- it is the same. it is very difficult to predict. to take this basic concept of reunification -- not reunification but cooperation, it's already been implemented now. the next question is who will replace moon jae-in.
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if a new president comes to south korea, foreign policy turns very sharply, including north korean policy. not so many countries interested in the inter-korean rapprochement. i don't use the word reunification. as for mongolia, it's very interesting. as you know, mongolia has their own concept. north korea could borrow this concept. maybe it has already done it because it tries to play between big powers. nonnuclear status, it is only possible if the concept of no nuclear weapons is implemented. there are too many opposers to
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this project. it is not north korea who should start disarmament. >> thank you, james, sky news arabia. i'm not an expert, just a journalist. i wanted to ask with regard to -- in america, we see things differently perhaps from people like you or people closer to north korea. the perception here is that the north korean leader is completely off-the-wall, megalomaniac, no one controls him.
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with that in mind, -- and some people may argue in america we have a similar situation. but in america, there are people around the president that do have influence, whereas in north korea, the perception from here is it is one man rules all. how serious is it to believe one can negotiate with the leader of north korea, that he will follow through on promises? are there people that he is accountable to? anastasia: in this case, negotiations would be affected if just two leaders negotiate leader to leader. that is why north koreans take seriously just trump, not his advisers. other persons can be replaced. they are not something constant.
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if it is kim jong-un who negotiates, he should negotiate with trump only. of course, they understand the reality is different in the u.s., trump is not the only person that makes decisions. but they still want to talk with trump only. jeffrey: i think the question was, if the u.s. does negotiate with kim, how much constants can it have any agreement that it reaches will be implemented? i'm translating. [speaking russian] anastasia: i see.
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[speaking russian] jeffrey: [speaking russian] anastasia: i hope i understand the question. i don't that kim jong-un is less reliable than the american president. i think they have much in common. if they agree, all agreements could be implemented, if the position is not influenced by other forces.
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sorry, my english is not so good. maybe i did not understand. the other thing. sometimes north korea has purported to make promises, which it never made. for example, when north korea was talking about denuclearization of the korean peninsula, the media wrote about the denuclearization of north korea. it is not good because it creates false expectations. when these expectations are not met, it creates tensions in relations. sharon: so the question of whether leaders will follow agreements is a good one. that is why some people think we should have treaties. even then, some countries do not always adhere to treaties. that is why we have this rule of law.
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it is a funny situation where you have a leader who we believe, kim jong-un, is very much in control of his country, can make decisions, but in the past, that country has reneged and violated agreements. we can argue whether there were misunderstandings over those things. i used to never issued for the u.s. government. that is why you have negotiate histories. obviously, some things can fall through the cracks. on the other hand, we have a u.s. president who has other constraints on him, but is capable of turning on a dime and decide to do good things are bad -- good things or bad things on any given day. in the end, dialogue, i believe, is really critical as we go forward, but not enough. it is not enough for north korea
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to take certain transparency and confidence building steps, for example, shutting down its nuclear test site. that is very nice but that does not guarantee that it will never test nuclear weapons again. right? so both sides need to see it in their interest to adhere to, or write agreements, have some sort of verification, monitoring. more than bilateral is useful, as we have seen with iran nuclear deal. even though the u.s. has decided for whatever reason to get out of it, the other parties see a need to stay in the agreement. where we get there with north korea, that is a good question. but that rule of law is critical, in my view.
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just to make a comment on the previous question, this issue of confederation. however unification, whatever form, if it happens, or a confederation happens, the swiss republic is a confederation. when you have a confederation, you have a lot of agreement on how things happen. at this point, i just cannot see south korea, which has quite a vibrant democracy, and north korea -- and i take your point, democracies are -- there are no perfect democracies. but north korea is just so far away from that. i don't know if i could trust kim jong-un's points about unification. i think he would have a heart attack when he saw exactly what accountability means. i hope he gets there. but we are not anywhere close. sorry for going off.
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jeffrey: we have to think about historical examples of confederation's with countries with such radical he different political systems. over here. >> i have a reporter from eurasia. i have a question about the kim jong-un visit to russia maybe next week. can you tell me what is the main purpose of russia and north korea having a summit at this moment, when negotiations with the united states and north korea have been deadlocked? what do you think about that? anastasia: thank you. this issue is very interesting. we traditionally have good relations with north korea, so i wonder why the visit is so late after so many summits with other leaders. i would not expect practical results from this summit.
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russia's strategy, as i already told, is not so active. north korea currently needs to balance china. the only country that can do it is the united states, not russia. some observers point to north korea after the summit with no results, look to russia. but i don't think -- what can be discussed is a possible mediator roles in russia in the current dialogue between united states and north korea.
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i don't think there will be practical results. it will be discussed for the future because now we can do nothing in this sanctions condition. >> thank you. i am a scholar from korea. i have two questions. you mentioned a new kind of regional security system. the triangular relationship and also the china trade relationship. in my view, at least for northeast asia, to think about any kind of multilateral
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security mechanism, at least both the u.s. and china should agree. in that context, do you think china and russia has some intention to work with the u.s. to create such a mechanism? second question you mentioned , nuclear weapons. maybe weapons for both north and south korea. even some south korean people have argued that. how much do you think that you can be endorsed by others like u.s., china, russia? anastasia: first security mechanisms by these three countries, i don't believe it's possible. too many contradictions and relations. this rivalry between the united states and china, between the u.s. and russia, no points of contact.
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even six participants could not create security mechanisms and i do not think these three countries who are in a rivalry can create something like this, they have different interests. as for nuclear weapons, for koreans -- it is not my opinion, it is the opinion of south korean experts. and it is considered radical. >> [indiscernible] but we do not, know the strategies of the south korean government for the future. the korean nation has a 5000 years history. maybe they have strategies for hundreds of years. we cannot know it.
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of course, the perfect model i described with participation between the united states and the two korean states, they will not need any nukes, but it is difficult to implement and maybe koreans will decide to go another path. >> can i just go on the record thinking that is a terrible idea. [laughter] for north korea's nuclear allons to be taken up -- korean nuclear weapons -- i would really be surprised if other countries in the region could, could agree to that. we want fewer nuclear weapons, not more. >> the ones he recommended before the mpt would have something to say about that. >> something actually like that could spell the end of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty,
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which has kept the number of nuclear weapons states very low. we can talk all week long about, um, about problems with that treaty and implementation, but on the whole has been very successful in keeping nuclear risks lower. it is going to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. i'm sure that these issues, you know, north korea continuing nuclear weapons will be raised. this is not the only country that joined the treaty as a nonnuclear weapon states and left and developed nuclear weapons. iran is not in that category. but pakistan israel, india, they , never enjoyed the treaty, so north korea from a nonproliferation perspective presents very strong challenges to, you know, what are we doing, why are we doing this.
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we need to solve this issue. my name is sylvia. i am a nuclear policy analyst. first question is for sharon. where do you situate the recent guided weapons tests from north korea in its strategic and calculated thinking? where do you think we will go ahead from here, because it is clearly an indication of the north korea's regime's frustration with washington dc's inflexibility in negotiations. that is one. my second question is for anastasia. you mentioned that russia is seen or viewed as a trusted partner of the dprk. do you think russia would take a leading role in trying to
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influence dprk to sign and treaty?he it seems one of the lowest hanging actors pro nonproliferation that they can undertake. thank you. sharon: i think you intimated in your question, north korea trying to get or poke the united states. it was not a nuclear weapons test or a long-range missile test, there are other things it could have done. but it is a reminder to the u.s., hello, you need to deal with us. and we are serious about this. they cannot be happy the u.s. walked away from the last summit. i think it is a tactical signal, a tactical test. anastasia: i think russia and north korea are rather friends,
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than partners. the relationship is specific. russia never presses on north korea, that is why they have good relations. of course, russia can persuade, but they are friends, so they do not force them to do something. it is not russian. maybe china will act more effectively. >> what are the sources of leverage russia would have over north korea? [speaking russian] anastasia: i think leverage is trust. russia never interfered in the policy of north korea. so leverage, it is good leverage. in the russia and north korea relations. sharon: on the point about the
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comprehensive test ban treaty, russia signed the treaty, right? signed and ratified. the u.s. and china have not. it seems to me it is a russia's interest, very strong interest, to get this treaty -- you know, into force. to do that, you need north korea, you need the u.s., you need china. if i were the russians, i would be on a full court press to make this happen. anastasia: i think north korea can do just after improvement of relations with the united states. they do not need tests for technical reasons. they already made all technical tests. they can make some critical tests, but the protest is demonstration. -- the purpose is demonstration. if north korea is not satisfied with the process, it can demonstrate or test something.
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i do not think they could persuade them to sign this treaty. until there is no improvement in relations with the united states. >> do we have any other questions? >> hi, my name is jack. i am unaffiliated. i live in the information vacuum. so question about north korea. well, i almost forgot it. back to unification, do we have any sense of how they in north korea view what are the characteristics unification will bring about, what expectations they have that in 2020, is that the end all, sign a treaty or begin the process? when did they expect something to be different?
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anastasia: i do not believe it will occur so fast, but maybe in 2020 some more improvement in the relations will occur because some type of cooperation will be restoring some border or trading, some border zones. but it is impossible even with reunification by this concept, one nation and to political systems, it will take decades. we will not see it. that is why some experts consider it will never occur, it will occur not in their lives. >> any concluding thoughts? sharon: i don't. i wanted to thank ana for coming to see us. for providing a really
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interesting perspective on these issues. i feel like in washington we listen to each other say the same things and if you are a north korea expert, you know the chart by heart. it anot sure i would call information vacuum, but certainly we tend to follow very kind of conventional routes for information. i just want to thank you for opening up the spectrum a little bit for us. anastasia: thanks for having me. >> of course. anything else you wanted to say? anastasia: thank you to you. sharon. thanks to mongolia, i am finally here. mongolia has made the approach. very efficient platform. >> maybe that will be the topic of our next meeting. thank you all for coming. give a hand to our panel. [applause]
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