HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Hiro Miyazaki, a professor of anthropology here at Cornell. I'm also the Director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the 2018 Lund Critical Debate. It's a beautiful day outside, and we appreciate your coming to this important debate.
The Lund Debate is always a highlight for our international studies community here at Cornell. The Lund Critical Debate Series is made possible by general support of Judith Lund Biggs, from the Cornell Class of 1957. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Judy for her foresight in creating this series and supporting it since it was launched in 2008.
We are proud of the fact that we always choose a big and good topic for the Lund Debate. But today's topic is particularly big and timely. North Korea has dominated the headlines for some time. Given the upcoming summit between the leaders of South and North Korea this week and the currently actively negotiated meeting between President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, I can feel your interest in this debate and topic is very high.
The question for today's debate is, which of the two leaders is more unpredictable-- sorry, that's not the debate topic-- how to engage with North Korea? So I'd like to start debate as soon as possible. But I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Center's Programming Committee, Professor Anne Blackburn, from the College of Arts and Sciences, Professor Sherwin Tennyson, from the College of Human Ecology, and Professor Muna Ndulo from the law school, and Associate Director for Programming, Heike Michelson, for helping plan and organize today's event.
It is my pleasure to welcome and introduce two distinguished guests who have joined us today. Dr. Sue Mi Terry is currently Senior Fellow for Korea at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Dr. Terry holds a PhD and an MA in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, at Tufts University, and a BA in Political Science from NYU.
Dr. Terry has had a distinguished career in intelligence and foreign policymaking. She served as a senior analyst on Korean issues at the CIA from 2001 to 2008. Dr. Terry was the Director for Korea, Japan, and Oceanic Affairs at the National Security Council, under both President George W Bush and President Barack Obama. From 2009 2010, Dr. Terry was Deputy National Intelligence Officer for East Asia at the National Intelligence Council.
From 2010 to 2011, she served as a National Intelligence Fellow in a David Rockefeller studies program at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. After leaving the government, Dr. Terry served as a senior research scholar, at Columbia University's Weatherhead East Asian Institute, and a senior advisor for Korea at the BowerGroupAsia. Dr. Terry joined CSIS in 2017.
Ambassador Soo-Hyuck Lee is currently serving as a member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, and is on its Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee. Before being elected to the National Assembly, Ambassador Lee was Chair Professor at Dunkirk University, Seoul. Ambassador Lee has had a long and distinguished career in diplomacy. He served as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, First Deputy Director of the National Intelligence Service, Secretary to the President for Diplomacy and Trade, and the Ambassador to Germany.
Most notably, Ambassador Lee participated in the six-party talks, from 2003 to 2004, as the head of the South Korean delegation. He has written numerous books about peace and unification issues on the Korean peninsula. He is not new to our community. Ambassador Lee was a visiting scholar in our East Asia program from 2012 to 2013. Thank you, both, for joining us today. Please welcome [INAUDIBLE].
So I'm going to serve as the moderator, as well. So as you all know, the situation surrounding North Korea is evolving rather rapidly. When we conceived this debate, we were not sure what was going to happen in that region. But now, the South and North Korea are talking, and even President Trump seems willing to talk with Supreme Leader Kim.
So I'd like to invite each of you, Ambassador Lee and Dr. Terry, to offer some opening thoughts about the current state of affairs as starting points for our conversation. And I'm sure you all would like to know what is likely to happen this week and the meeting between the two leaders of the two Koreas, but also, anticipated meeting between President Trump and Mr. Kim sometime later this summer. So I would like to first invite Ambassador Lee to initiate our conversation.
SOO-HYUCK LEE: I'm very pleased to be here with you today. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies of Cornell University for giving me this opportunity to speak here on this beautiful campus. I also want to thank Professor Miyazaki and Dr. Michelson for organizing this event. I consider it my honor to be here to speak with Dr. Terry on North Korea's nuclear issue at this critical juncture.
Recent developments on the Korean peninsula have been extremely dynamic and remarkable. Last year's war of words between President Trump and North Korea, Kim Jong-un, had many fear of a real war. However, through Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February, we have been able to [INAUDIBLE] turn this tide. South and North Korea agree on a summit meeting on April 27, in South Korea side of Panmunjom. Also, the US and the North Korea announced that they will hold the summit meeting there of their own in May or June.
Now we are being flooded with different predictions regarding inter-Korea summit and the US-North Korea summit by experts and the media. [? There are ?] [INAUDIBLE] just both optimistic and pessimistic views on the prospects of the outcomes. Optimists argue that, with North Korea de facto in position over nuclear weapons and the ICBM, it must be contemplating on how to use those weapons in negotiation. If North Korea wanted to use the nuclear weapons and the ICBM as a safety valve for its raising the security, it would not want to wage war, but negotiate. Pessimists would point to how North Korea has been so focused like a racehorse wearing blinders on completing its weapons program. They would just say that North Korea would never give up its nuclear weapons, given how it withstood all economic sanctions and the criticism blames from the international community.
As a person who has dealt with the nuclear issues since 1992, in constructing four-party talks and serving as the fourth chair negotiator to six-party talks for two years, I have maintained that there is no other option but negotiation. The agenda will be quite similar to that of the four-party talks and the six-party talks. four-party talks dealt with building peaceful regime and reducing military tensions on the Korean peninsula. six-party talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues. The kind of agenda currently being discussed seems to be a mix of those agendas. Although it will be more expensive, if there is a political will, a peaceful outcome is possible.
Recently, there are talks about declaring an end to the Korean War. It will be followed by a peace treaty and the denuclearization of North Korea. Denuclearization on the Korean peninsula is not a question of a possibility. We must reach denuclearization. Without denuclearization, threat of a war will persist on this peninsula. As a former diplomat, the premise that denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is possible is something that I keep close to my heart. Thank you.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: Thank you, Mr. Lee. Dr. Terry, would you like to [INAUDIBLE].
SUE MI TERRY: Yes. Thank you for having me here. It's a pleasure to be here. Let me just speak a little bit from Washington's perspective. Wow, what a change of events, right? I can barely keep up with the news. So just to remind you, in 2017-- I mean, let's just go back when Kim Jong-un came to power.
Since Kim Jong-un came to power, he conducted four out of six nuclear tests, including a hydrogen bomb test, with a yield of, was it, 150, 200 kilotons-- 17 times more powerful than the one that flattened Hiroshima. He conducted 90 missile tests. That's double the number that his father and grandfather have tested combined.
Last year, he conducted three intercontinental ballistic missile tests, of which showed a capability of their missile reaching, basically, all of the mainland United States. So the raising question at the heart of the debate in Washington among the Korea watchers was-- because North Korea looked like it was bent on-- Kim Jong-un looked like he was bent on completing the nuclear program, perfecting the nuclear arsenal-- and what does that mean by perfecting the nuclear arsenal? It means achieving the capability to attack mainland United States with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.
North Korea is not 100% there. I think intelligence community basically assesses that they are about 90%, 95% done, but not 100%. They have a couple of technical hurdles that they have to cross before they get to complete the program, which is to really showcase a successful reentry capability. But the raging debate was will we ultimately be able to live with a nuclear North Korea? Because it looked like they were on this path, and they were not going to get off this path.
And many Korea watchers, including myself, ultimately had to come down on the side that, if we have to-- it's not ideal-- then we have to live with nuclear North Korea. After all, we did live with nuclear Russia, nuclear China. We used to say Mao Zedong was crazy. We ended up living with nuclear China, nuclear Pakistan, nuclear India. But why can we not live with nuclear North Korea? But some Korea watchers-- well, very few, but actually, in the administration, there was thinking that we couldn't live with nuclear North Korea.
And their rationale was-- because somehow North Korea is different from Russia or China, or even Pakistan, that it's not a status quo power; that because Kim Jong-un is bent on completing the nuclear program, not only for deterrence-- this is how the rationale goes-- not only for deterrence and region survival, but that somehow he had the more aggressive design-- that after North Korea achieves this capability to attack mainland United States with a nuclear-tipped ICBM, somehow their actions would become more aggressive; that their ultimate goal is to decouple US-South Korea alliance, to evict US forces of South Korea, to even, over the long term, potentially try to achieve unification on its own terms, for a whole [? host; ?] and the fact that North Korea is a serial proliferater, there was a serious proliferation risk, that the administration was going down this path of talking about we cannot live with nuclear North Korea.
Now, if you make that decision that you cannot live with nuclear North Korea, and sanctions don't-- you can continue to pressure the Kim regime with sanctions and other pressure methods. But ultimately, if that fails, what options do we have? This is why you might have heard, through press and towards the end of last year, all this talk of potential military strike or bloody nose. Now, the administration backed away from saying that, saying, oh, we haven't said it. But they were absolutely thinking about this as a potential option to be considered, if you have decided that you cannot live with nuclear North Korea.
Now comes January 2018, and New Years editorial, and Kim Jung-un claims that he has now completed the nuclear program. And then you saw what happened with the charm offensive, with the Olympic delegation, North Korea sending a delegation of 230 cheerleaders with the 13 athletes, and all the peace offensive that came after that, and all the summitry. Right now, Kim Jong-un has gone to China, had a meeting with Xi Jinping. Now he's going to meet with President Moon. He has even said he's going to meet with Putin, he's going to meet with Trump, he's going to meet with Abe-- the whole thing.
So where are we with this? From my perspective, Kim Jong-un has decided to make a tactical shift here. He has decided that he's going to suspend the program. He's going to buy some time and wait out the Trump administration. He has, both because of sanctions-- we can argue whether sanctions are biting or not biting, but he sees where that's headed. And also, all this talk of military strike and bloody nose-- I think that did unnerve the Kim regime. They watch everything that comes out of Washington very, very closely, and they have decided that we can do this.
It's not a new strategy necessarily. Kim [? Jong-un-- ?] his father used to do this-- this whole provocation and a test, and international condemnation usually follows. They up the ante, and then they, at some point, turn to charm offensive. They have a negotiation. They get some sort of concession. Some time passes, and provocation, and all of that cycle continues.
Now, I'm not saying that Kim Jong-un is going to go back to that cycle. I do think there's something different about this, I think, particularly, because they know that, with this US national security team in place, with Ambassador Bolton and the others, that they don't have that kind of space, that this administration is not going to play around. So I think he has made a tactical decision to hold off, and I would say even a couple of years down the road.
And I will say, inter-Korea talks-- they're going to be successful. Even Trump-Kim Jong-un meeting, I think, will be successful, a meeting that they will come out-- Kim Jong-un and Trump will be able to both come out of the meeting and be able to say, oh, Trump is going to be able to say, oh, look, I was able to get North Korea to do xyz, that no other predecessor was able to achieve. There was something that's going to be deliverable.
Kim Jung-un might even say, you know, hey, [INAUDIBLE] blow something up visually, because he knows that Trump needs that visual, just so that there's a CNN effect. So I think it'll be successful. But will that truly lead to denuclearization? Did Kim Jong-un just woke up one day and say, I'm going to absolutely get rid of everything, with people like Bolton in place, who's not going to even believe you, if you actually did? I think that's a stretch. But that's OK.
If you decided to manage the North Korean crisis, rather than truly solve it, even 80%, 70%, of something is better than nothing-- I mean, certainly better than where we were just a few months ago, when we were talking about military strike and bloody nose. So in terms of my prediction of this year, as I said, I think at least, it's superficially, or appearance-wise, there is going to be a success in the inter-Korea talks and certainly, also success. And Trump and Kim might even hit it off. There is a certain chemistry. I can even see that happening.
But does that lead to, as I said, denuclearization in the North? I mean, that's probably where Ambassador and I will disagree. Call me a cynic, but I have a really hard time seeing that.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: OK, so we have one point of disagreement here. And Ambassador Lee, you characterize yourself as an optimist. And--
SUE MI TERRY: I'm an eternal pessimist. What do you want to--
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: So how do you see this issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula? Do you and also the South Korean government see it as a really possible future, albeit of a distant one?
SOO-HYUCK LEE: Before entering into detail about possibility of denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, I'd like to mention my hypotheses, three hypotheses, which I made about six or seven years ago. My first hypothesis is that North Korea will not collapse; the second-- China will not open to North Korea; the third-- North Korea will not dismantle its nuclear program. But among these three hypotheses, the first two hypotheses came true. But the last hypothesis that North Korea will not abandon its nuclear program said-- I am suspicious whether North Korea will abandon or will it keep its nuclear program.
When I made these hypotheses, I argued that these three things should be analyzed in a total manner. I mean that these three hypotheses are interlinked, interrelation, interrelated. So the only one thing, one hypothesis, could not [INAUDIBLE] as a main subject or a main condition for the situation on the Korean peninsula. When I was talking about the possibility or impossibility, improbability, of denuclearization, I said that only China supported North Korea or supported [INAUDIBLE] and stability on the North Korea side. Then North Korea might abandon its nuclear program. Otherwise, North Korea regime sustained, then North Korea might abandon its nuclear program.
So now the situation got different nowadays, after North Korea declared that it completed its nuclear program. It completed its nuclear weapons. It completed its ICBM. Then North Korea entered into a different phase. I mean, until now, up to now, North Korea tries to make WMD, Weapons of Mass Destruction. And then, after the completion of this WMD, then North Korea should try to how to make some way, I mean, how to use them. From the phase of a how to make it to how to use it, the situation is totally different.
So now North Korea is trying to enter the kind of negotiation with the United States, as well as with South Korea. They will use these weapons as a negotiation chip, or they are trying to buy time for the more, for the development of the nuclear weapons or ICBM. But I'm confident that North Korea has completed its nuclear program. North Korea possess the nuclear weapons, as well as ICBM, then they don't need to further test of the nuclear weapons, as well as ICBM.
Then now, what North Korea should do is to negotiate with these weapons. So from that point of view, I [INAUDIBLE] a bit optimistic than before, when they didn't possess the nuclear weapons. So based on this analysis, I am a little bit optimistic that North Korea will negotiate with the United States, as well as with South Korea, in achieving some kind of quid pro quo from both of countries. That's what I'm thinking about the situation-- why North Korea entered the negotiation with the United States.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: So but do you think this negotiation will lead to North Korea's eventually abandoning nuclear weapons? Because I mean, if you follow your logic, they have to have nuclear weapons, [INAUDIBLE].
SOO-HYUCK LEE: Well, you are talking about eventually, eventual dismantlement or eventual [INAUDIBLE]. What, how long that time span-- one year, two year, 10 years, 20 years? I don't know yet. I don't know yet when they are ready to dismantlement. But negotiations [INAUDIBLE] negotiations [INAUDIBLE], then we can control the situation. We cannot talk about the possibility of the Korean War or on the Korean peninsula. Then, as far as we managing the situation, control the situation, then the dismantlement could be regarded as real possibility in some time. But I don't know when.
Eventually, eventually, North Korea must dismantle its nuclear program. So I could not say when. But I believe that North Korea is prepared for the negotiation, for the peace on the Korean peninsula.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: So to what extent this current situation is different from where we were 10, 12, years ago, after the six-party talks? And I mean, many of us feel that perhaps North Korea made lots of promises in the coming weeks, but they may not deliver.
SUE MI TERRY: Well, we have a different leader. So you can say maybe Kim Jong-un would be a different leader. But I have to say, I don't disagree with the Ambassador in this regard. I'm also optimistic that there will be an agreement. I'm pretty sure there will be an agreement. Kim Jong-un will bring something to the table, and we're even willing to give up something. In that regard, there is no real difference.
We have-- I want to remind everybody-- we have agreements with North Korea. That is not the most difficult part, right? We had a bilateral agreement, 1994. We had multilateral agreements, six-party talk agreements. We have agreements in 2005, 2007. Every single time, it fell apart for verification, implementation. You can argue who did what, which side did what, to make it fall apart. But getting to an agreement is not the hard part. So I agree with Ambassador that there will be an agreement.
The question is, is Kim Jong-un so fundamentally a different kind of person than his father and grandfather was? Is he such a transformative person with a strategic vision and that wants to really take North Korea on a different path, give up the nuclear weapons? I feel like he's going to reach-- at some point, he's going to have the same problems and the same crossroad, that he has that difficulty that he has to cross that his father did. If he truly open up, give up nuclear weapons, and truly be trying to become a normal country, would he be OK with not only-- because we keep saying region preservation is important.
Does he still care about dynastic preservation? There was a Kim family. Because at some point, we're going to be asking for more and more. When you give us that kind of opening, then it's going to be human rights two years down the road. Take down the prison camps. You've got to open up more. And there's going to be more and more pressure. Try to get information more into North Korea, which means eventually, you will have to really change the system.
And that's the question. That will require an extremely transformative, a different kind of leader. And I don't know if any of us can truly answer that question. But if he's not, and if he wants to-- he just cares about region preservation and dynastic preservation and keeping the North Korean state as is, then he's going to have that same challenge. So I don't have an issue with agreeing to North Korea agreeing to something or even giving us something. I think, in fact, they're going to offer us a deal, and they're going to give us or offer us a deal that's going to make the Trump administration put the administration in a difficult spot.
What if they offer us a deal on intercontinental ballistic missile, saying no more long-range missiles that's going to hit-- that's going to threaten US homeland, but we get to keep short-range and medium-range missile-- which is actually a nightmare scenario for Japan? What would happen then? What would we say? Because to Trump supporters, president can spin that into, look, it's a win. I have saved our homeland being threatened by North Korea, right?
So again, the question is-- I don't think we know enough to say Kim Jong-un is fundamentally such a transformative leader. And my inclination is they will come to an agreement. But again, I do think, in five years down the road, if I have to put my money down, they will find a way to back out of this agreement, when we have a totally administration. That has been the pattern. And I don't bank on, put my money on, the fact that Kim Jong-un, this guy, is that kind of transformative leader with a vision.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: So Ambassador Lee, what's your thought on that issue? Do think Kim Jong-un is a transformative leader for North Korea, or this is once again, we're going through the same old process?
SOO-HYUCK LEE: Well, as you know, Kim Jong-un was educated in Europe-- Switzerland-- when he was in the primary school, as well as the middle school. So he knew about the European environment, political environment, social environment. So I think that Kim Jong-un is a little bit different from his father. When Kim Jong-il died six years ago, many people analyzed that Kim Jong-un regime, Kim Jong government would collapse within three years. But now he has been in power for six years, double.
Then how could he survive? And I think he could survive, I don't how long, but he could survive easily, safely. What's the reason? Because he's young. When we were talking about a possible collapse of the government six years ago, we used to say that he's too young to be a leader of the country, even though it's a small country, but the 27-year-old-- he's too young to be a leader. But he now became a very perfect leader. He's regarded as a perfect leader nowadays in North Korea's economy-- quite a different out of some hardships.
What's the reason? Under the serious, very severe, sanctions by the Security Council, UN, the United Nations Security Council, they have all been surviving. What's the reason? Then my comparison is that Kim Jong-un's leadership might be different from his father. So he can manage the North Korea. He can manage a nuclear program. Then with that kind of a capability, Kim Jong-un came out to the international community, sending his sister to Seoul, to Pyeongchang. And he invited our special envoy to North Korea. And his wife appeared at the dinner. Quite a different situation has developed in North Korea.
So we would like to take advantage of a situation, a new development. So that's the reason why South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggested, or proposed, a direct contact with North Korea. In four days time, we may see the South-North Korea summit meeting at Panmunjom. I hope that they make some kind of a political announcement [INAUDIBLE] joint statement. Then it could open the new time to the international community. And they may make some rules, some way, for President Trump to make some kind of agreement with North Korean leader.
So the situation in North Korea became very different from his father time. So we can expect that there might be some big deal there between South and North Korea, as well as United States and the North Korea.
SUE MI TERRY: Could I respond?
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: Dr. Terry? Yes.
SUE MI TERRY: So there's aspects of what he said that I do agree with. I do think Kim Jong-un is a very different kind of leader than his father. But first, just a few words on this Western-educated thing, I just wanted to remind people that Pol Pot was educated in the West. Maybe you are too young to remember the killing fields. Assad was educated in the West. So I don't put too much weight on him having eaten a lot of Swiss cheese in high school to have a fundamentally different vision.
Now, that said, Kim Jong-un is a different kind of leader. He wants clearly-- he's a young man. He wants to be a modern leader for his country. His style is very different from his father, Kim Jong-il. He's trying to emulate his grandfather, not his father. His father was a strange guy. I mean, the guy was strange. He was introverted. He was not out and about.
Kim Jong-un clearly is an extrovert. He's actually a charismatic, appears to be warm and charming. When you see all the footage of him actually meeting with foreign leaders now, the way he received the South Korean delegation, the way he behaved with Xi Jinping. He seems warm and affectionate. And he's been out and about, going around the countryside, holding babies, smiling, showing off his young, modern, attractive wife, with her designer handbags, and so on.
No doubt about-- he has built a water park, dolphin aquarium, his horseback riding club, a ski resort, amusement park. And he wants all the modern trappings. And he wants to be a modern hero. And I don't doubt that. I don't doubt that he wants to develop his economy and he wants to be treated normal.
But my question fundamentally, as I posed before, was that's fine. And I think he's going to even offer that deal. He's still going to have to cross that road eventually, as he tries to open up. And will he be able to fundamentally really transform North Korea into a different direction? Because that requires potentially risking recent preservation or this dynastic thing that they had.
I mean, North Korea is-- come on, this is no other country in the world that's like this, right? It's the only, the sole Confucian Communist hereditary dynasty in the world. Is he going to be able to drop that and take North Korea into different direction and truly also give up nuclear weapons program? That's the question. So I don't disagree that he is a different kind of leader than his father was, that he's a young man who has aspirations to bring North Korea into modern world and modernize the country to some degree.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: So I also would like to talk about this whole issue of unification and where our thinking is about that. And Ambassador Lee, you've been deeply involved in the debate about that. And what's your, and also the South Korean government's, approach to that issue? Where do you see that as an even remote possibility? I mean, given that you were an ambassador to Germany, you know quite a bit about what happened in German, as well. Would that be a potential model for Korean peninsula?
SOO-HYUCK LEE: Well, the unification issue is very tricky on the Korean peninsula, where the division of the Korean peninsula has been how long? More than 70 years. When the Korean peninsula was divided, most of the experts or diplomats believed that the Korean peninsula would be reunited, much earlier than Germany division, German division. But Germany was reunited 25 years ago, 27 years already, 27 years ago. Why the division of the Korean peninsula continues so long period?
The situation in Europe was quite different from the situation in Northeast Asia. The [INAUDIBLE] to Germany came from England and France. But on the Korean peninsula, the big four powers have divided into two parties-- I mean the United States and Japan, and China and Russia. So the balance of power has been maintained on the Korean peninsula.
So it's a little bit tricky to allow the reunification on the Korean peninsula, because it's a matter of whether China rules the influence of the Korean peninsula or United States will lose its influence over the Korean peninsula-- but in Europe, a totally different approach. In particular, due to Gorbachev, their reunification was realized. But in Northeast Asia, there is no Gorbachev. Trying to [INAUDIBLE] is totally different from World War II. Still Xi Jinping maintains the one-party government there.
So none of the big powers want to see the reunification at this time, because it means the reunification could be regarded as a way to unbalance the power in the Northeast Asia. So for the time being, reunification seems to be a little bit remote. So my government has been maintaining that we need some more time until the time when a conciliation between South and North Korea could be fully realized, and the economic situation in North Korea has been developed up to the level of the South Korea.
So I don't know how many years it will take to realize those kind of conditions. So for the time being, we try to make conciliation between South and North Korea, and we try to persuade North Korea to abandon their nuclear program, because the position of the nuclear weapons by North Korea could be the biggest of trouble for the reunification. So when the dismantlement of their nuclear power, nuclear weapons, would be realized, then we could foresee the possibility of that reunification.
So for the time being, we try to continue the conciliation politics towards North Korea. And we hope that these relations, the relationship between the United States and North Korea, could be normalized. And the peace treaty could be made among four parties, including China, United States, and South and North Korea. Then, after then, we could foresee a reunification.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: So Dr. Terry, I think some in the Trump administration have advocated for regime change in North Korea. And that is somewhat separate from reunification issue. But what's our meaning, or US government's strategy, towards the future of the Korean peninsula and in the context of East Asian regional dynamism?
SUE MI TERRY: First, I know the director of CIA now, the Secretary of State [INAUDIBLE] Pompeo said, at one point, we can change. But right now in this talk of peace, we're not going to do a sort of decapitation, because that's an act of war. So that kind of regime change is not what we are looking for.
I think, when people are still now talking about regime change, they're saying over the long run, over the longer term. If we cannot get North Korea to really denuclearize, the only way is, if North Koreans-- if there is a regime change, but not necessarily because we create that decapitation or regime change, but try to get [INAUDIBLE] into North Korea. And we are hoping the North Koreans bring about that change eventually, like Arab Spring case and whatnot. And that's why I said one of the hypotheses is that there was is no region collapse. There's different views on that.
In terms of unification, I think there is a popular theory, and particularly in South Korea and various academics, that every power wants to see unification and one united Korea to be divided. You don't want a [INAUDIBLE]. But I don't know if that is really the case. I think a case can be made-- and I think there's enough discussion now-- that unification is that-- there's a lot of benefits to unification, even two regional powers.
First, you get rid of the major source of security, insecurity, in East Asia, with the nuclear weapons power, with human rights violations, and everything else that's happening with North Korea. So I don't know if we are necessarily looking for that continual, perpetual division of the Korean peninsula, as I said, from security, human rights, to everything else. And even potentially, even though it's going to be hugely costly-- and I think that's why South Koreans are very worried about the costs.
And by the way, I would say, in South Korea, there's also a generational divide on how they view unification. And the longer they wait, I would say, the younger generation, who is more disconnected from North Korea as they grew up, why would they want unification? The younger generation have no memory of even North Korea-- who are these people? Even my grandparents, who are actually North Koreans-- my entire paternal side of the family are North Koreans who came from North Korea. I mean, their dying wish, my grandparents, were to see unification. Of course, it didn't happen, and they passed away.
But there is a division, is what I'm saying, because the younger generation, who is born after the Korean War, they don't have no memory of even the poverty or democracy movement or anything else. They're just born in [INAUDIBLE] and live in this affluent country. Why would they have to pay for this cost, right? It's $1.9 trillion it took for German unification over 20 years. All economists say it's going to be much more costly for a unified Korea. So there's very much of a concern in that.
But I don't think, from US's perspective, it's necessarily a huge concern. Now, potentially, what everybody will be worried about, if there is unification, is what would be unified Korea strategic orientation? Right? So the US would be concerned about that unified Korea standing, at least, somewhat pro United States, even if we have to pull our US forces, kind of like a Germany model, right? So we still-- unified Korea is pro United States or lean towards US. We would not like a unified Korea to lean toward China, right? And obviously, China would want. So there's some of that kind of strategic consideration of how, which way it leans.
But unified Korea can try to stay somewhat independent in between US and China rivalry. And they're already pursuing sort of a hedging policy between United States and China to some degree. So it's not all bad now.
Japan-- the way Japan looks at unified Korea will be interesting, because they both see it as a threat and a competitor. On one hand, there is no North Korea, which is obviously a major threat as far as Japan is concerned, with the missile threat and everything else, abduction. But to some degree, would they actually want see unified Korea? Because again, it will be a competitor. And unless the history issue is resolved, they will be concerned about that.
So there's some conflict, some pros, some yes. But overall, there's also a lot of Korea watchers who also lean toward unification and do a lot of study on beyond the cost. And there will be a huge cost. There's no doubt about it-- fiscal and social challenges. There's also opportunities that unification could bring. And there's a lot of people who have studied on that. So there's some work that you could read on that. But I think, all in all, from US's perspective, if he fundamentally takes care of the North Korean crisis, we would be in support of that.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: Ambassador Lee, do you have anything to add?
SOO-HYUCK LEE: Well, I don't have any further comment on Dr. Terry was talking about. We have only 10 minutes time, so.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: OK, so maybe we should open the floor to discussion. And so we're going to collect a couple of questions at a time, and then we're going to ask the panelists to respond.
AUDIENCE: Hi. You mentioned that you would want North Koreans to bring about regime change, and you wouldn't want the US to be a part of that. And you compared it to the Arab Spring. But I know that a large part of the Arab Spring's movement was motivated by social media. And I don't think social media has that same presence in North Korea. So how would a regime change come about in North Korea without social media or that kind of interaction?
SUE MI TERRY: Good question. And by the way, I didn't mean that we do nothing. I'm actually a huge proponent of information warfare in getting information into North Korea. I actually testified in Congress and so on, on doing that, the United States doing more working with technology companies, like Google and Facebook, to get information and internet access to North Korea, and so on. So what I mean by us not actively causing regime change, I meant by kinetic action. But in the long term, I think that's something that everybody should be able to promote, is to get information into North Korea, where the North Koreans are, in general, more aware of what's going on in the world.
But you're absolutely right. There is a significant challenge in North Korea. There is no internet access. So in the case of Tunisia, the fruit vendor putting himself in the fire-- I mean, there is Facebook. There's Twitter. There's social media.
North Koreans do not have access to internet, except the elites, not the public. And even if they did, they don't have a way to-- so right now, they don't even have a way to get mobilized or organize themselves. Security services are extremely severe. In every group setting, there is a security service, a person who was is always monitoring you. They're constantly monitored, so how do you even mobilize?
So getting information into North Korea is one thing. Let's say they're aware of it. Then how do you get mobilized to bring about action? It's a long road. So I'm not saying that it's a popular uprising. Is anywhere remotely likely in North Korea? There's a lot of things that need to happen before that occurs. And I'm not also saying that we shouldn't help people of North Korea. I absolutely think we do. I'm just saying we should not be sitting there, trying to look-- take kinetic action to kick Kim Jong-un out, for example.
AUDIENCE: Sorry. Do you think we should actually try to mobilize people in North Korea? Is that good for?
SUE MI TERRY: Try to what?
AUDIENCE: Should we try to mobilize people in North Korea? Is that good for them?
SUE MI TERRY: Is it good for them?
AUDIENCE: Yeah, is that something that is desirable? Do they live a happy life? Do we do field work in [INAUDIBLE] or in North Korea, and do we have any information about how people there live?
SUE MI TERRY: Well, I think we have very good information how North Korean people live. I think pretty good information-- there's about 130,000 people in political prison camps. I think we have pretty good information on the human rights violations that's going on in North Korea. United Nations, a commission of inquiry came out with [? 400 ?] report, talking about North Korea and human rights violations. And it said there's no other country in contemporary world that's parallel to what's going on in North Korea, except Nazi Germany.
So I'm just saying I do think we understand. No, do people live happy life? Yes, because it is-- I mean, in the sense that, if you don't have a lot of information, even if you are suffering, you're not comparing yourself to some other country and some other, right? You can still be happy and have your immediate family, and so one. Because you don't know what's going on.
Now, in terms of mobilization, I don't know how we're going to get mobilized. Except what I'm saying is try to get information into North Korea, so people are more aware of the outside, and then they can do what they want with that information.
AUDIENCE: Sorry, I'm asking a more normative question, which is why should we even think about waking people up? Like, if they live a happy life, and they are unaware of what's happening-- what's going on outside of the world, outside of their country, and they are happy with their leader, and they really admire him-- so--
SUE MI TERRY: How do you know that North Korean people admire Kim Jong-un?
AUDIENCE: I've seen foreigners in China-- I come from China-- where people come to go overseas studies in North Korea. They write really long stories about themselves.
SUE MI TERRY: OK, we have to agree to disagree, because there's no dissent there. So I don't think it's really easy for us to know whether they truly worship Kim Jong-un and they think so highly of Kim Jong-un or not, because they are blocked from information and from outside world. So with that, sure. But I do think, from what we know, that what they think of Kim Jong-un is not what used to be with [INAUDIBLE].
More and more people are aware actually of what's going on in the outside world. I mean, you might have spoken to a few North Koreans, but there are a lot of defectors who say something else about North Korea. Right? So you cannot speak to pockets of people and then draw a larger conclusion. Right?
AUDIENCE: I don't think it's about drawing a larger--
SUE MI TERRY: I'm not debating you. So is there another question? Otherwise, the whole thing is just to be between us, and we have to agree to disagree.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: Maybe, we'll have the next question.
SUE MI TERRY: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: So thank you very much, Ambassador Lee and Dr. Terry. My question is for Dr. Terry. So I'm fascinated by this idea of waiting out the Trump administration. It's the first I've heard of it, and I think it's really intriguing. I guess my question is on that point. We're looking at a couple different shadows of the future, or discount rates, to use a horrible political science term. So on the one hand, Trump just wants to bring something back to his base to say, hey, this is what I did.
But then you've got Bolton, and particularly Pompeo, who is quite a bit younger, who have a much longer political future. And it seems to me that maybe in the short term, after such a summit, that they might be in agreement. But I think what might have been happy-- what might be satisfactory for Trump may well not be for his team. And I'm wondering of how that tension might play out in your estimation, as far as anybody can estimate what's happening or what could happen within this administration.
SUE MI TERRY: Well, actually, I think you are right on, spot on, with that. I think Ambassador Bolton might have a different game plan than Trump necessaily. They don't always see everything eye to eye. I think Ambassador Bolton has to go along with this. I'm sure this is not exactly what he desires. His views are very well known for all of us for many years. He has one of the most hawkish stance on North Korea. I mean, from 15 years ago, he's talking about striking North Korea and regime change.
So I mean, I don't know. I'm not speaking for Ambassador Bolton, but I think his perspective would be something like this. Let this try out. When there is a deal agreement, or let Kim Jong-un to commit to denuclearization or give up nuclear weapons, and so on, I would think that what he would want to do is expedite the time frame, like Libya style, like OK, you're ready? Let's go in, and let's start doing this. Because-- and then he'll be looking to intelligence community, and say, hey, give us information. Is North Korea cheating? Is North Korea cheating, to undermine the deal?
Or from his case, if the deal works out and Kim Jong-un is truly giving up everything, great. That works fine. If he doesn't, it also works fine for him, because his views are a little bit more aggressive on North Korea, right? So I do think there is going to be that conflict, where he's going to be looking to undermine the deal. But President Trump will be looking for that win, that success, or at least till the November election, where he can sell, has this success, that I brought this success to you.
So I think there will be that, and we'll see whether how influential he's going to be as a national security advisor to Trump. That will remain to be seen. But I think that potential conflict within the administration, I think that's an excellent point. I think that's something we need to look out for.
AUDIENCE: Yeah, thank you for the thoughtful talk. I have a question for both of you. So as we said, there were negotiations before. The most prominently is the six-party talks. But now they choose the [INAUDIBLE] bilateral talks between the US and North Korea, or between the South Korea and North Korea. Do you think that these bilateral talks will be more efficient than six-party talks? And since now Beijing is offering to resume these six-party talks, do you think that they will go back to these cooperative negotiation, or they will keep in these bilateral forums?
SUE MI TERRY: I think Ambassador will be a [? good ?] person.
SOO-HYUCK LEE: I call this situation, this phase, as a season two. When I'm talking about season two, it means season one, we had bilateral talks between the United States and North Korea and then bilateral talks between South and North Korea. Then three or four years later, we had four-party talks, which dealt with the peace regime on the Korean peninsula and the military [INAUDIBLE] over the military tensions on the Korean peninsula. And then a few years later, we had the six-party talks, which [INAUDIBLE] with the North Korean nuclear issues.
So this kind of the two-party talks, bilateral talks, four-party talks, and six-party talks, the agenda, agenda of these talks, this formality, were totally different-- bilateral talks, for the bilateral issues; four-party talks, peace regime or peace treaty or [INAUDIBLE] issues; and six-party talks, only nuclear issues. So we may see the same kind all of the talks in the phase two.
So now, after the bilateral talks between South and North Korea, and the United States and North Korea, then there are may be the four-party talks, including China, United States, and North and South Korea, in order to talk about the peace treaty for the declaration of the war and the relationship among four countries. Then for the nuclear issues, there may be six-party talks, six-party talks will resume some time, because the bilateral talks between North Korea and United States is not enough to get the finer agreement, because China should have been involved and Japan should have been involved for the economic assistance to North Korea.
So we may be having the six-party talks sooner or later, after the bilateral talk. But the agenda is for the nuclear issues, and maybe four-party talks for the peace treaty issues. China should be involved in the peace treaty issues. So for the time being, United States and North Korea may make some kind of agreement, initial agreement, for the peace treaty.
SUE MI TERRY: I mean, that makes sense to me. I don't have further to add.
AUDIENCE: And can I have a very quick, quick follow-up question? Because we know that the six-party talks is moderated by China, because most of the meetings are in Beijing. But now North Korea seem to choose to do the bilateral talks first. And do you think that, in this case, Beijing's role in the Korea issue is weakened?
SOO-HYUCK LEE: You know, when they had the bilateral talks between the United States and North Korea in 1993, they discussed in general terms. They made the agreement, which is called the [INAUDIBLE] framework. And then later, South Korea and Japan was involved for the implementation of the [INAUDIBLE] agreement. But later, when the nuclear issues became very serious, after the second nuclear crisis, the six-party talks was formed.
Like that, even though they start-- I mean, the United States and North Korea start negotiations, then anyway, eventually, six countries should have been involved for the finalization of the agreement. And the detail of the way to dismantle the nuclear weapons is very difficult and sophisticated. So anyway, what level meeting should be realized?
For example, the dismantlement of the nuclear weapons-- do you think there's an easy way to dismantle nuclear weapons? First, North Korea should submit their list of their inspection, where they write down the location of the weapons, the size, specification, et cetera. And then they should be very closely screened. And then [? IA ?] inspection team would visit North Korea, and they seal the facility weapons, then install the [INAUDIBLE]. And then the situation should be totally different.
In that situation, the nuclear weapons cannot be regarded as weapons, because if North Korea tries to open the seal, and then [? IA ?] immediately knows through the cameras, then United States may make the military strike on that place where the weapons are sealed. Then is it easy to agree to the inspection on the nuclear weapons? So that's the reason why I was saying that it may take time. It's not a matter of one or two years for the finalization of the denuclearization. So this is why we need further talks among six countries how to dismantle the nuclear weapons. Is that enough?
AUDIENCE: Yeah, thank you so much.
AUDIENCE: So my question actually relates to Trump's behavior. For me, I think the best way to view how he would approach this situation goes to how he has dealt with the Iran nuclear deal. So the two things I want to ask of both of you is-- the deadline for renewing it, for renewing the deal, comes in a few weeks. And based on Trump's past behavior and what he said, he said that he probably will not renew it. So one of my questions is, does that at all hurt our credibility when it comes to nuclear deals, and whether it questions our commitment to them?
And the second thing I want to ask is the fact that when Trump talks about aspects of the Iran nuclear deal, he seems very tight about it, and he's not very willing to negotiate. And he wants a lot of concessions from the other side. So do you think that will make it difficult to negotiate when he has more demands than other leaders might have?
SUE MI TERRY: So there are a couple of things here. I think it's true that, if he scraps the Iran deal, that makes the credibility issue more difficult. But we already have a credibility issue with North Korea. North Koreans have already said this. I mean, they've said this to me personally. They've said, OK, we get it. You're a democracy. They had this experience where they had, in 1994, agreed framework. Madeleine Albright came to North Korea, met with Kim Jong-un and so on.
But from their perspective-- US has a different perspective-- from their perspective, the whole thing blew apart, because the Bush administration came in, and he pursued a party line policy, started calling North Korea axis of evil, and all of this. So they already have this experience, where they say, you know what? We know, even if there is a deal, it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be there forever, that different administration can come in and scrap the deal. So Iran case, it you scrap it, that's going to just reconfirm their thinking on this. That's why there's already a credibility issue. It's going to worsen the credibility issue, from that perspective.
AUDIENCE: Thank you. This would be maybe a question for either of you. How important do you think China's approach is going to be in deciding what course of action North Korea takes in this situation? Because obviously, much of the kind of legitimacy or viability of North Korea as a state depends on China. And it seems like we've almost reached a point where China may be changing the strategic considerations, where the strategic cost of having potentially a US-aligned Korea on its border may not be worse than the instability that's currently being caused by North Korea's actions. So I don't know if we've reached a tipping point in China's considerations, but I'd just like to get your thoughts on how you think China will play into this.
SUE MI TERRY: OK, so absolutely, I think that was one of the key questions that we keep asking over and over. How much influence does China have over North Korean behavior? How much leverage does it have? It was never truly tested, because China never went as far as that we wanted, the US wanted, China to go, in terms of pressing North Korea. They finally acted more on sactions since the fall of last year. Because again, China's interest was fundamentally not quite aligned with the US interests-- not that China wants nuclear North Korea. I don't think it does. They absolutely don't want nuclear North Korea, and that we are in agreement of.
But as you mentioned, our priority is different. US's number one priority is denuclearization. China's number one priority is stability, buffer, and sort of preventing that unified Korea that's pro United States. All of those reasons, they have never-- they [INAUDIBLE] do incremental implementation, and then they will never really press it, because they don't want regime instability, region collapse, and so on. So US is now saying maybe China has reached that point, because they have done more on the sanctions front.
I still think China's strategic orientation has not voiced its interest and priority and how they see North Korea has not fundamentally changed. Just even recently, we're seeing some slippage in terms of sanctions implementation, just recently, after Kim Jong-un went to China. So I think that, as we move towards negotiation, we're going to see them doing less on the implementation part. I still think China's strategic interest, the way it sees Korea, North Korea, has not fundamentally shifted.
SOO-HYUCK LEE: Yes, well, I'll make it short. I would like to say that China's influence over North Korea is very limited, less than expected. Regarding the North Korean nuclear position, China objects. China doesn't want to see North Korea possess the nuclear weapons. Second, China does not want to see North Korea collapse.
Those two conditions seem to be contradictory, but that's why-- and the relationship between China and North Korea is unstable. Sometime their relationship seems to be strong, but the other times, the relationship is very fragile. So with those two contradictory conditions, China has tried to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program. But the division on the Korean peninsula seems to be beneficial to China. That's what Chinese analyze regarding the division of the Korean peninsula.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: Next question.
AUDIENCE: Yes, I want to ask a question about humanitarian crisis happening in North Korea. There have been numerous news reports, both in media, both from media in the United States and South Korea, that the President Trump and President Moon Jae-in would not bring up humanitarian crises happening in North Korea, because that's one of the critical issues that Kim Jong-un would not want to talk about. So do you think they would ever bring out this issue to the table when they're having a summit? And if they do not, do you think the both countries should resolve the nuclear crisis first and then address this issue, or should they address this simultaneously?
SOO-HYUCK LEE: Well, the humanitarian issues should be addressed anyway eventually. But for the time being, it's very difficult for the United States and South Korea to address this issue at the negotiation table for the time being. But we know that North Korean humanitarian issues, human right issues, should be addressed eventually, but that time to the really last moment. Because this is a very political issues in North Korea. Maybe the human right issues could relate to the regime issues. So it's a very tricky issue. So maybe, for the time being, Trump will not raise the human right issues in North Korea.
SUE MI TERRY: This is a very difficult question. So in terms of policy, it's always been difficult. You know, human rights proponents are never happy with this, because just you saw how difficult it is to deal with just the nuclear crisis. It's been going on for 25 years. So it's so difficult. So it's so hard to then add yet another component to it.
But of course, I understand the concerns of the human rights folks, who are saying, you know, it's a travesty what's going on in North Korea. Some people say it's not. But I think it's a travesty, is what's going on in North Korea. But I don't think it will be addressed, other than maybe with just getting some Americans released. I don't think this administration is ready to put that on the table.
I know the Japanese would want to at least put the abduction issue on the table, and maybe President Trump will talk about the abduction issue. Because I think the Prime Minister Abe, I'm sure, through 18 holes of golf, said, abduction, abduction, abduction issue. And I'm sure President Trump is going to try to get some of the Americans released. But unfortunately, the larger humanitarian issues and human rights issues, I think they're going to try to sort of shelve that, because it's such a sensitive spot we are in. It's so difficult. Just nuclear negotiation is difficult enough. But I take your question at heart, and I understand those concerns.
AUDIENCE: Can I have a follow-up question?
SUE MI TERRY: Yeah.
AUDIENCE: So one of the justifications that the United States has been actively involved with the-- engaged with the North Korean crisis, North Korean issue, is that one of the justifications was the humanitarian crisis. So if the United States or the South Korean government did not bring this up in the summit, wouldn't that undermine the position that the United States [INAUDIBLE] very eager to involved in or engage in other countries?
SUE MI TERRY: Yeah, no, I mean, in fact, the administration-- and people [INAUDIBLE], people who are-- also the hawkish are very hawkish on human rights issues, too. President Trump might even bring it up as a sentence, as a conversation. But what we're saying is part of negotiations-- so what we're going to get North Koreans to do what? Enforce what? Dismantle, close down the political prison camps? They're not going to do that, right? For them to do exact-- so it's hard to have asked for a deliverable. It's one thing to say, you've got to do something about those human rights stuff that's going on.
By the way, North Koreans are very, very sensitive about this. We didn't realize how sensitive North Koreans are going to be until that United Nations Commission of Inquiry Report came out. And North Koreans reacted very badly to that. That actually names Kim Jong-un by name as a person who is aiding and abetting or conducting crimes against humanity. And they responded very, very sensitively to that.
So I think it's one thing, and I think you should make all this effort if you can, if that's your big concern for the administration to absolutely address it. I'm just saying, in terms of the implementation or getting that to agreement, get North Koreans to do what? Close it down, otherwise we're not going to make-- improve on-- then we're going to be stuck with that. I don't see North Koreans closing down political prison camps, for example.
AUDIENCE: All right. Thank you.
SOO-HYUCK LEE: May I add one more thing? Humanitarian issues, human right issues in North Korea, might be an obstacle for the normalization of relations between the United States and the North Korea. But I may make a point that the human right issues in China was not a struggle for the normalization of relations between the United States and China. That's the reason why I say that, for the time being on this issue, [INAUDIBLE] at the negotiations table.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: So two m ore questions before we have closing remarks from each panelist.
AUDIENCE: I have a question for Ambassador Lee. I think it follows a similar direct question that has been happening. But I know, in the United States here, the media often projects North Korea as very poor and, of course, mentions all of the violations in terms of human rights. And I believe that is a very big issue. But I am wondering, in your opinion, how much of that do you think is attributed to the United States political advantage in the international community? Because there are-- I believe there are people who aren't aware that North Koreans walk around the streets with iPhones or smart phones or iPads, things like that. And these are some of the facts.
I'm not saying that everybody is rich like that, but there are certain parts of the society that are not revealed. And how much of that do you think-- I guess, how much of that do you think is because of the United States trying to justify their-- or justify North Korea's-- sorry, let me rephrase that. How much do you think that is because United States is trying to project a certain image and exclude North Korea from the international community? And if you think it's not a complete picture, is there anything else that you could tell us?
SOO-HYUCK LEE: I cannot understand your question because of the echo.
SUE MI TERRY: What she's asking is how much is the United States making up this human rights stuff for our own advantage?
AUDIENCE: I'm not saying that the United States is making it up. I believe that it is an issue. But I'm wondering, how much of that is the United States using to gain a political advantage in the international community?
SOO-HYUCK LEE: Well, as I pointed out just before about the human right issues in North Korea, even though human right issues cannot be regarded as internal affairs, but still that issue could be regarded as domestic issues, internal affairs. So without a regime change, maybe human right issues could not be resolved totally. So it depends on the political system.
In China, we used to talk about the problem of the human rights in China. But none of the country's press China to solve the-- to address this human right issues. But North Korea is a small country. There could be a reason why the international community press the North Korea. Of course, the degree, the level of the human right violation is different between China and North Korea. But the human right issues depends on the political system. So human right issues is linked with the political system in North Korea.
With regime change, that's very difficult issues. From our side, we can force North Korea to change its regime. North Korea regards regime change as a collapse of the regime itself, [INAUDIBLE] himself. When we are talking about the collapse of the North Korea, there are three points. There are three points-- first, the collapse of the state, the collapse of the North Korea DPRK as a state, like the [INAUDIBLE] collapsed; second, as the collapse of the system, the political system; third, the collapse of the Kim Jong-un, [INAUDIBLE] family collapse.
So which one we are talking about regime change? It depends who's talking about regime change. But anyway, it's very difficult to force North Korea change of regime. So regime change is related with the human right issues. So human right issues cannot be resolved or addressed so easily.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: Final question.
AUDIENCE: Thank you for sharing your opinions. It's an honor to hear from you both. So one question I had was that there's been a variety of agreements and talks and summits across the past decades, but a lot of them have fell through because there hasn't been a way to assure that each part is following through. So there hasn't been much verification measures. So going forward, what kind of measures do you think are needed for there to be progress that's different from what has been happening in the past?
SUE MI TERRY: Go ahead. I think verification is going to be very difficult. And as it happened in the past, it's going to prove to be a difficult problem for us. As I said, I think there's going to be an agreement. How do we verify? There are thousands of underground tunnels. We don't know how many exactly, how many, what they have, where they have them. I know, because I come from intelligence community. I can tell you there is a lot we don't know.
There are some overt, many covert facilities. So are we just going to stomp around and run around North Korea, a bunch of US [INAUDIBLE], looking for these things? It's going to be-- and North Korea's going to let us?
Do you see what I mean? This is going to be-- I think this is going to be a serious challenge. Verification is going to be a very serious challenge for us. I don't know how we're going to get around that. I mean, you're asking how are we going to get around that? Maybe the [INAUDIBLE] And so I don't know how, personally, we're going to get around it.
SOO-HYUCK LEE: I don't have an answer.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: OK. So [INAUDIBLE]
SOO-HYUCK LEE: I want to refrain myself.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: So at this point, I would like to invite each panelist just to say a few words to conclude our conversation.
SOO-HYUCK LEE: Well, I'd like to make three or four points as a conclusion. Let's not talk about regime change in North Korea for the time being. Let's not talk about the possible war on the Korean peninsula for the time being. Let's not talk about the dismantlement in a very easy way. It's not easy to dismantle the nuclear weapons totally. So I'll like to insist-- or argue, that these three points should be respected.
I hope that you have some more understanding from my address today, statement today. But due to the short of time, I could not explain the details of the complexity of the North Korean nuclear issues. I thank you very much for your patience while I am talking about the situation. Thank you very much again.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: Dr. Terry?
SUE MI TERRY: I think North Korea is an extremely complex problem that is not the fault of any one party, any one administration, just US government's perspective. We've been talking about this, dealing with the nuclear crisis for the past 25 years, starting with the Clinton administration, two term Clinton, two term Bush, two term Obama, and now with Trump. So it's not the Republican's issue or the Democrat's issue. This is a very complicated problem. And I'm of the conclusion that we cannot solve this crisis and that we can only manage it.
So to that degree, I'm not for conflict. I'm not for limiting military strike. I'm not for a bloody nose. I think engagement is good. Negotiation is good. We need to walk in with a clear-eyed perspective, though, and not have overwhelmingly unrealistic expectation. If we can just 70%, 80%, 60% manage it, I think that's good enough. Ultimately, at the end of the day,
I got a little bit excited over earlier. But that's because I absolutely do not like this regime. I do not. I just think-- you know, I can talk about human rights for 17 hours straight. I really can. I won't. But I will just tell you, still, I do think that this regime is not ideological. It's not irrational, that we can learn to live with it. So let's manage it. Let's go through the engagement process. If that doesn't work, we still have a containment deterrence. We can find ways to live with it, and that under no circumstances should military options should be ever considered.
HIROKAZU MIYAZAKI: So as we discussed, this week is an important week for the North Korea situation. And next few weeks are probably even more important. And both of them, we see internationally and nationally sought after speakers. And they are both on TV all the time. And I am sure you will see them on TV in the next week and weeks to come. So I really appreciate your taking time to be with us today and share your wisdom with us, and illuminate the issue in a very complex and yet hopeful way. So thank you very much.
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On April 23, 2018, experts on North Korea, Soo-Hyuck Lee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea and Sue Mi Terry of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, debated how world leaders should approach talks with North Korean president Kim Jong-Un. Hirokazu Miyazaki (Einaudi Center, anthropology) moderated the discussion.