tv CSIS Forum on U.S.- South Korea Relations CSPAN June 24, 2019 6:29pm-6:52pm EDT
force for good. but, you know for those of us who believe in that role. president trump and the foreign policy that he is instituting is forcing us to argue and think about those first principles and the way we have not done before, i hope, my fervent hope is that after this near death experience with american foreign policy perhaps under a more sober future president we will rediscover the importance of the basic ten tenets, stand up for america since 1945 around the world. and certainly stand up for the value of alliances which of course the u.s. -- bed rom alliances with the u.s. alliance, nato relationship. u.s. and canada, u.s. and australia, so many alliances out there and a lot of repair work that need to be done after
the damages we are seeing today. we have certainly come a long way i would say since 2009 and i wish i had more positive things to say about the direction we have come. it is not overall a good news story. >> thanks, max. that was tour deforce around the world. cathy around the peninsula, general brooks tour deforce through asia. max victor your night, it's 10 years, you get to bring this altogether. i want to read to you though one quote from the -- the article which your picture is associated. it says, victor cha appointed korea chair at u.s. think tank. the c -- following japan and china chairs in the belief that issues regarding the korean peninsula are becoming more and more important. a korea chair has been
launched, cha will take charge of research and policy making concerning interkorean issues. so given where we are. given that it's your night, given that we have the peninsula, asia and the globe. bring us together, where are woe on this 10 years and set us up where we might look out into the future. >> well, thanks mark. first, i feel obligated to say a couple things about tonight and korea chair. and then i will offer some quick remarks. first is i really want to i think we should all thank john korea chair could not have been possible without any personal commitment to developing a permanently endowed program on korea in washington d.c. and we did it largely because he believes that korea is critical to u.s. interests in asia. global power.
and it was that commitment when i first met him that just genuinely he exuded in the end he came. i didn't leave another job, i had another job at georgetown. he was so committed to 0 this i said i have to work with and for this man. i also want to thank -- there is a lot of people who have been involved in making the chair successful including kathy the ambassador and host for us in corey y general brooks was always willing to provide us -- to get his time and host a group when we came to town. steve perry, terrific addition. bob king, tom -- the list goes on and on. mike green. all the staff associated with
the -- lisa colins who is now working at the pentagon. dana kim newest addition. joe bermudes who has gotten a lot of attention. it's not been possible without all of these people. when you ask us to think about 2009 to now. there are two thing that come to find for me with regard to korea. the first of these on north korea is that we're actually no place better off in 2019 than we were in 2009. in 2009 i remember essentially the efforts through the 6 party talks with kathy and i and others worked on, ground to a halt after the stroke. we later found out to be a stroke by kim jong un in august of 2008 and essentially the
talks broke down after that. and so and then north korea did eventually did some more tests. so, i fast forward to today. and while the atmospheric and optics may be better, substantively speaking we are no better off. if anything we are worse off because north korea's programs have grown in many different ways since 2009. and then on south korea and the alliance, i too remember that statement that president obama made with barometer alliance the best that it's ever been. i agreed with that at the time. i felt like the alliance had a broad base to it. in terms of focusing not just on north korea but on strengthening the alliance. with people like general brooks, general sharp and
others, also a global general da to advance democracy were concerns. there was no more obvious reflection of that than when mark was president obama's ambassador because he really pushed forward with an agenda that focused on the global scope of the alliance. yes, the peninsula is important. there is a world out there that key korea and the united states could help shape. that was a fantastic message about the alliance. i'm concerned if we talked about present day and the alliance has lost some of that it's become more -- before it was a broad based pyramid. it's like an upside down pyramid now. where all of the alliance left on difficult and contentious issues which are north korea
burden sharing, transition section 232 trade issues. so i agree with what tom christianson said in the panel, strongest asset the united states has today are allies and partners. i think looking over the past 10 years that we all need to do more to enhance and improve and grow those alliances and relationships. >> maybe just one follow-up to general brooks and then i will come back to ambassador stevens. general brooks, you sounded relatively optimistic in your assessment. but, you know, you've asymmetric got 3 or 4 things on the security side that get at the heart of the relationship in terms of victor mentioned the burden sharing agreement. you have opcom coming up and cma that is new. and how does that impact the un
command, usfk, all of that. can you talk us through where you see the security leg of this relationship going. >> i will take a run at it. you know, the -- if you think about the outcomes of the singapore summit, one of them as was mentioned earlier today is repatriation of remains. that required a military channel of communication to be activated. that is about the time we changed the senior member of the united nations from being an american to a south korea and -- we when that long without general officer dialogue, general from the two sides, un command and from the korea people's army talking to each other. in the period of time follow
the olympics in early 2018 and a military component to the condition of the olympics an the environment around the olympics was very important, i won't go into detail here. on the subject of repatriation. we had to go through the usual dance insulting one another, not coming to a meeting that we said we would be at. generally was the un command was sitting at the meeting at the point and place of time and north korea would take advantage of 30 minute time zone difference which existed at that time but since been eliminated where now literally on the same time zone as everyone else in the region especially south korea. and so this change in environment lead to military to military die log beginning between south korea and the north korea's people's army to
try to lower the tension, the military tension that was quite evident in 2017 but was in some ways a potential disrupter. we had the season of summit row was beginning to open in the bring spring of 2018 only a few mondays earlier we have a defect to run across the demilitarized zone. in november of 2017, a few weeks later we had the final inter-continental police particular missile launch. in between we had the visit of president trump. a lot of things happened in that period of time. suddenly the door opened to dialogue. so this comprehensive military agreement is the fruit of dialogue between the united nations command and the south korean military. to ensure there was conversation about thing that needed continued to enhance
armistice. decreased potential for war and carried by the south koreans into meetings with the north koreans. so it was triangular relationship that unfolded. we got to a direct dialogue with the korea people's army on the transfer of remains. we got to the point of agreement on a date, a time, a place. they insisted it not be where we had historical done transfers of remains. they wouldn't tell us exactly how many sets of remains they had. but, we wanted to get whatever we could and to brick those bring those home. our discussions quietly without fanfare led to the point we had a u.s. c 17 cargo aircraft,
u.s. air force jet aircraft fly into north cor, landed at the air field there which is a major air base and had been the scene of numerous missile launches, by the way. and there we met with the north koreans. this is u.s. sovereign tee flying into north korea, that is united nations command and un command representatives aboard to have a conversation, have a meeting. to show that the relationship can change and was changing and kpa released 55 boxes of remains. we think that that's somewhere between 100 and 190 different people in those 55 boxes. but they fell under the un flag and brought them back under the un flag. the moral of the story is when north korea feel that there is some foundation of mutual respect and conversation and a that they see a change of relationship, they will move in the direction that they say they
are going to move. not going to move in the direction you want them to move necessarily. but the direction they say they are going to move. and i happen to hold out the view because of that experience of that north korea will move toward denuclearization because they said they would. kim jong un said he would and he is committed to this. he doesn't like to lose face. the road to get there though is where the work is to be done whether that's through a series of summits, background work or both, or just thing that build confidence as that transfer remains did that we both can be trusted at our word. and we can move forward in ways that can show that there is a chance of progress. there is a fundamental challenge out there and i will stop on this point. and i don't think we've completely addressed it. but first it's the eastern view versus the western view how to approach the problem.
how do you get to denuclearization? in simple terms, there are three things involved, relationship, trust and did he nuclearization, simplifying significantly here. what is the sequence here? show me something i can believe in denuclearization then i can trust you then we can have a new relationship. the eastern view of that is exactly the opposite. show me a new relationship then i can trust you and then i will take steps regarding denuclearization. so this dialogue, this exchange of letters that we've seen is really important because it's mart of that foundation of conveying respect even if it doesn't seem to fit. our western way of looking at the problem. it's important. it's timely and it has the potential to lead to a new relationship with which can lead to a new set of actions.
i may stand alone in that view. i have seen proof of it. that is something we to pay attention to. >> thanks, general. good stuff. we are about out of time, i want to go to the dean of this panel, kathy. you've heard a lot tonight. you've seen all these ups and downs. you have seen it from many different levels. any closing comment in terms hurricane force winds you think one the u.s./uk alliance is headed. any predictions on the future is headed. >> well, -- >> being the resident expert. >> it is the way of saying i am the oldest, very korean of you. i guess i fall a little bit optimistic of general brooks and pesto similar of victor. i guess when it comes to the mechanics of the way that the u.s. and south korea work together, that's quite
well established and developed. we have a kind of a resilience, i'm looking further back than 2009. you know i think -- >> allowed to do that. >> i stipulate i think that is given the alliance a resilience which we need to acknowledge. and i think it's also just inevitable and natural, right now we've turned our attention back to the peninsula and northeast asia and that has to do with north korea's increasing capabilities and the ambitions of kim jong un. i mean whether they are aggressive or not, his own desires. and the changing role of china and the changing role of the u.s. that is where we are going to be focused i think the kind of initiative that has been increasing over the years, not so emphasized by the trump administration, although some elements, climate change in an area that work with south korea's i hope they will work
again. some areas we do. focused on i call it the unfinished business of the korean peninsula. the status quo has never been u.s. policy. and you know, sadly coming now to the 69th anniversary of the beginning of the war, you know, i never thought, you know i think many koreans in this room, we never thought we would still be where we are with a divided peninsula and corey with the capability. despite the challenges i think we are going to work together on them. i feel pretty optimistic about that. my concern as i mentioned earlier and mr. -- much broader and he will went context are the big questions of our time and they do relate to values, to i think the u.s. sense of what our role in the world is, to what our korean
colleagues are calling strategic -- i don't want to put words in the mouths of my korean friends, but who value an alliance but recognize china is a neighbor. and the u.s. has become at least in the short-term less predictable. some might say less reliable. those are thing that worry me. so you can never be pessimist, but it's that broad strategic context that worries me. i have confidence that we built mechanisms over the years to work, try to work out our immediate issues on the peninsula and hopefully it's a broader one as well. you know, for all the ups and downs, south korea is in far better shape on trade issues, we managed to keep going along. so modest optimism. >> thanks kathy great comments to end here. victor, do we have time for a
question or two from the audience? you know, we started this panel a little late. it's getting late. i don't want to keep people from their families or libation or anything of that nature. you're doing to make the final decision whether or not we are going to take a final question or two. >> andy has a sign up that says 0 minutes that means we have to stop. >> well thanks everybody. thanks for a great panel. thanks for a great >> joy and pleasure to host you today, we are now adjourned. al.