tv Senators Told Diplomacy Must Be Exhausted First Regarding North Korea CSPAN April 25, 2017 9:32am-12:00pm EDT
i'm pleased to welcome today our panel of expert witnesses all with deep knowledge and experience in the region. victor who is the senior adviser at the center for strategic and international studies, aaron who is professor of politics at princeton university. kelly -- help me. maximum secretary of defense for security affairs and ashley tellis, senior -- i'm having trouble with my anunciation this morning. for the past 70 years we have worked with our allies to uphold
a rules based order based on principals of free peoples and free markets, open seas and open skies. the rule of law and a peaceful resolution of disputes. these ideas have presented peace and prosperity in the asian pacific. now they threaten not just the nations as the asia pacific but the united states as well. the most immediate is kim jong un's regime. they have thrown its full weight behind the means to deliver nuclear weapons. unfortunately the regime is making real progress. a north korean missile capable of striking an american city is no longer a distant hypothetical but an eminent danger. like forward hearing about u.s.
china is doing all of this to stop defensive system. i welcome the trump administration on the issue of north korea. as these discussions continue the united states should be clear while we earnestly seek cooperation we do not seek such cooperation at the expense of our vital interest. we must not land not bargain over alliances with japan and south korea. as its behavior towards south korea indicates china has acted less like a responsible take holder and more like a bully. its rapid military modernization, provocations in the east modern sea signals an
increasively pattern of behavior. despite efforts to rebalance u.s. policy has failed to adapt to the scale and velocity to rules based order. that failure is called into question the credibility of america's security commitments in the region. the new administration has an important opportunity. for example, i believe there is strong merit for an asia specific which is similar to the deperns initiative over the last few years. this would enhance commands credible combat power to realign u.s. military force in the region, improve operationally infrastructure, fund additional exercises, and build capacity with allies and partners.
it incorp. rates all of national power. i hope our witnesses will describe their ideas about what an apsi should fund and how they would articulate a strategy for the asia pa sif tick. i thank all of the witnesses for being here today and look forward to their testimony. >> thank you to all of the witnesses for agreeing to testify this morning. it could not come at a more critical time as north korea enganled in tests for its nuclear programs. i look forward to hear wlg china will pu pressure to denuclearize and with f not what are alternative is. is a military strike given the scope and retaliation and nature
of the regime? i would like to hear about how we should coordinate options in the region. we have also had concern that they have not articulated. what is the strategy to deal with unlawful clams? how will it balance with economic engagement to cover that china is the economic partner of choice and how will it balance cooperation with china especially given issues ranging from north korea? i look forward to hearing testimony on all of these issues and more. thank you. >> before i call any witnesses we have housekeeping. i would like to say -- what's
that? all right. we just lost one. we'll wait. welcome. >> thank you chairman mccain and distinguished members of the committee. there used to be a time when north korea and their actions were considered isolated acts by a lonely dictator who was harmless and looking for some attention with really bad hair. i don't think people think that way anymore. between 1994 and 2008 north korea did 16 ballistic missile tests and one nuclear test. since january of 2009 they have done 71 missile tests including four nuclear tests. the leader in north korea has made no effort to have dialogue with any other country in the
region, not just the united states, but that includes china, south korea. all of this translates to, and a dark strategic cloud, starting to dominate the skyline with regard to east asia. having said that i think there is a silver lining to every dark cloud. there are four that could help to inform asia pacific security initiative. first, the north korean threat between the next government and south korea and washington. new government cannot afford indulgences in a new engagement
or sunshine policy. it would be unwise for a new president on may 10th presumably with possibly a sixth nuclear test to declare they are reopening the industrial complex. it would only as the new government would lose steps with the united states and even china. the u.s. is not a verse to korean engagement. for it to be effective such engagement will be coordinated for negotiations and denuclearization. second has to do with tri lateral communications. it is presumably before the scheduled trip to the region in the fall. the goal of alliance should be a collective security statement
among the three allies. an attack on one constitutes an attack against all. the third silver lining relates to china. beijing is unlikely to let off on economic pressure on south korea over the defense system i think for at least another one or two financial quarters. this will hurt south korean businesses and tourism even more but should also spark strategic thinking in the united states and south korea. given the energy revolution and removal of export the two allies should think about bilateral energy partnerships that could reduce dependence on china in the middle east. they can work together to map out south korean strategy for
quorum now. nominations so senate all in favor -- the motion carries. welcome. >> senator mccain, i appreciate the ability to express my views. in the time available i would like to make three main points. first, as senator mccain has already indicated i don't think the united states has integrated national strategy and in particular for dealing with increasingly powerful klichina. we have a strategy first put in place over two decades ago. it is a set of goals and
policies intended to achieve them which are largely discontadi disconnected from one another. second, china does have strategy for the continental domain. the goal has become increasingly clear in the last few years. it is to create order that's very different from the one we have been trying to build. third, just because beijing has a strategy we and our allies have many strengths. i think we have reached the point where it is essential we review our strategy and adjust our policies accordingly. the start of a new administration would be the time to attempt such review.
let me try to expand on each of those poinds. the united states set out to expand the scope of the constitutional order by integrating the pieces of the former soviet empire and by accelerating china. the united states pursued two-pronged strategy on one hand seeking to engage china but diplomatic and others and at the same time working with partners and maintaining our own forces to presaev balance of noour was favorable to the security of our allies. the goals of that policy were to preserve stability, to deter the possibility of aggression while waiting for engagement to work its magic. the hope to ultimately transform china, to encourage leaders to
see as lying in preservation of that order and to set in motion processes that would lead to the economic liberalization of that country. as in europe and also asia our ultimate aim was to build a region whole and free, an open liberal region in an open world. since the turn of the century it has become apparent it hasn't worked. engagement has not achieved intended results. it is more repressive domestically than at any time since the cultural revolution. it relies heavily and impose costs on other countries including ours. and external behavior has become aggressive most notably. and meanwhile engagement not
working balancing has become because of the growth of china's military capabilities. so second, what accounts for this recent shift? the short answer to that question is beijing's increased assertiveness is on arrogance on one hand and also deep insecurity. for roughly the first 15 year ors so china's rulers followed who advised in 1991 that china should bite its time, build up elements of national power and advance towards achieving a position of reestablishing china in the region. things began to change in 2008 with the onset of financial cry says and these changes have accelerated and become constitutionalized with the exception of the party in the
state. basically the financial crisis caused strategists to include that the united states was declining more rapidly than had been expected more quickly than had been hoped. it was time for china to step up to become clearer in defining its core interests and more assertive in pursuing them. at the same time, however, the crisis also deepened the chinese leadership's underlying concerns about their prospects for sustaining economic growth and preserving social stability. china is behaving more assertively both because its leaders want to seize the opportunities presented to them by what they see as a more favorable external situation, and because they feel the need to bolster their legitimacy and rally domestic support by courting controlled confrontations with others who they can present as hostile for forces including japan and the united states. the chinese actions aren't
limited to pursuing its claims and trying to extend its zone of effective control in the maritime domain. along its land frontiers, beijing has unveiled a set of one belt one road initiative which aims to transform the c e economic geography. leaders have begun to articulate their idea of new order. new rules written in beijing and mechanisms for political consultation with china at the center and the united states pushed to the periphery. u.s. alliances would be dissolved or drained of their significance. maritime democracies would be divided from one another and relatively weak and china, meanwhile, would be surrounded on the continent by friendly and
subservient authoritarian regimes. if the united states try today make the safer for democracy, in the 21st century china is trying to make the world safe for authtorianism. they're using and trying to coordinate all the strults of policy to achieve these ends. military domain, building up both conventional anti-access capabilities and they're modernizing their nuclear forces in order to deter possible u.s. intervention and raise questions about the continued viability of our security guarantees. and also developing other instruments, little blue men, maritime militia, island construction to advance towards their goals, create facts without provoking confrontation. economically, they've been using the growing gravitational pull of their economy to draw others towards them. they're becoming increasingly
open in using economic threats and punishments to try to shape the behavior of others in the region, including u.s. allies, such as korea and the philippines. china has been engaging in political warfare. attempts to shape the perceptions of both leaders and elites and publics by conveying the message that china's growing wealth and power present an opportunity rather than a threat to its neighbors while raising questions about the continued reliability and leadership capacity of the united states. and i think it's important to note, also, that china is waging political warfare against us. holding out the prospects of cooperation on trade and on north korea, which i think is now going to be, again, a part of that process. even as they work to undermine and weaken our position in the long run. finally, and very briefly, how should the united states respond.
as i stated at the outset i think the time has come for a fundamental reexamination of our strategy towards china and the asia pacific and the entire eurasian domain more broadly. a serious effort along these lines would look at the various instruments of power, the various aspects of our policy which i think are largely fragmented and dealt with separately and consider the ways in which they might be better integrated. it would also waive the possible costs and risks of alternative strategies. a useful model would be the solarium project, a review of possible approaches for dealing with the soviet union that was undertaken in 1953 during the early months of the eisenhower administration. to my knowledge, there has been no such exercise regarding our policies towards asia and china. we're effectively running on the fumes of the strategy that was put into place a quarter century ago. congress can't do such an
assessment itself, but it might wish to concern mandating such review as it did in requiring a general statement of national security strategy in 1986 and the quadennial review in 1997. i'm afraid my clock isn't working, so i'm sure i've already gone over time. i can't claim to have conducted such an exercise myself, but i'd like to close with a few thoughts about issues it might address and some of the conclusions towards it which might lean. first and most basic is what is it that we're trying to achieve? if an asia whole and free is out of reach, at least for now, and if a region reshaped according to beijing's vision would be threatening to our interests and our values, as i think it would be, how should we define our strategic goals? part of the answer here i think is likely to be that we'll need to rededicate ourselves to defending those parts of the
asian system that remain open and liberal, including our allies, the rules in which they abide and the comments that connects them. it's sometimes said in order to accommodate china's rising power and avoid conflict we'll need to compromise. that's certainly true. but there's some issues where it will not be possible to split the difference. we need to be clear about what those are. in the economic domain, if we don't want others to be draw increasingly into a chinese co-prosperity sphere we need to provide them kw the greatest opportunity to remain engaged in mutually beneficial trade and investment with us and with one another. whatever its economic merits, tpp had strategic benefits in this regard and it's not clear what, if anything, will take its place. in regard to military strategy, a great deal of energy has been devoted recently to figuring out to respond to these chinese initiatives in the so-called
gray zone. as important as this problem is it's subordinate to the larger question in how we and our allies can counter china's evolving strategy. we're in an odd position of having raised this issue in a very visible way back in 2011, with the creation of the air sea office. then seeming to back away from it. there's a limit of what we can and should say in public. we're at a point where we need to be able to explain to our allies and ourselves how would we fight and win a war in asia, should that ever become necessary. finally, there's this delicate issue of political warfare, what is, as senator reed mentioned, what's our counter to the narrative the chinese are pushing across much of asia as we're portrayed as unable to
solve our domestic problems, as inward turning, and potentially dangerous, while china presents itself as the wave of the future. economically dynamic, efficient, unthreatening, non-judgmental, loaded with cash, and eager to do business. in this regard, it seems to me it would be a serious mistake strategic as well as moral to drop the subjects of human rights and universal values from our discussions with and about china. our commitment to these values and our demonstrated willingness to defend them are among our greatest assets. and being seen to abandon them in the face of china's growing wealth and power will embolden beijing and other authoritarian regime regimes. thank you very much. >> chairman mccain, ranking
member, reed, other distinguished members thank you for convening this important and timely hearing today. i want to commend the committee for its steadfast bipartisan leadership on all matters of peace and security in the asia pacific. it's extremely important as well as your steadfast commitment to our men and women in uniform and the civilians that serve alongside them. so thank you. also thank you to my fellow panelists here who counsel i drew upon while i was in government. let me try to quickly summarize my testimony i've submitted for the record. bottom line up front, while some may prefer to discard the rhetoric of the rebalance, we need to follow through on its strategic intent. if we don't, american primacy in the most consequential region in the world is at risk. mere continuity of american effort is not going to be enough to stem the tide.
we need to encourage the new administration to present an affirmative vision and strategy for the region as the other panelists have discussed and to avoid ad hoc approaches. this needs to start with a clear view of our interests and the necessity of preserving our position with any means necessary. i'd like to highlight what i see as the top three challenges and opportunities facing the united states in the asia pacific. of course, the first most urgent challenge is north korea and its relentless pursuit of its ballistic missile program. the bottom line is we need a new play book. we need to increase the pressure on north korea as a necessary predicate to any other option. china is central to that but we can't rely only on chinese
pressure. we also need to be realistic. kim jong-un is not going to back off because of pressure. military options should remain on the table, but they're extremely high risk and should be a last resort. we should not kid ourselves here. a conflict on the peninsula would be unlike anything we have seen in decades. north korea is not a syria. it's not an iraq. the consequences could be extremely high. so where does that leave us? after and only after a sustained period of significant pressure and deep coordination with our allies, we need to ready a diplomatic play. for diplomacy to succeed, however, its goal has to be achievable. this won't be popular, but denuclearization is unlikely at this point. at least in the near term and at least under this regime. we need to have some realism and
develop some diplomatic creative. we in close cord nagordination our allies should develop a road map that would limit the threat in a meaningful and verifiable way. we really need to turn up our defense game. we need to accelerate improvements in regional defense of our allies as well as our homeland so we're better prepared in the event diplomacy fails or succeeds. this brings me to the second challenge, and this is the most conconsequential challenge. china. china's intent is to chip away at decades of american security and primacy in asia. some are going to get squeamish over the idea of u.s./china great power competition. to ignore the fact that china is already in competition with us
would be tantamount to strategic malpractice. i agree with aaron on his comments earlier about the need for a big look at our china strategy. i do not mean to suggest we should enter a new cold war with china nor can we cast aside areas of cooperation that benefit our thefinterests. we need to be clear eyed about our position. to do so the united states needs to invest in our strengths and by extension our credibility. we need to get our own house in order. to address this pure scale as the chairman mentioned of this challenge. necessary budget investments, human capital investments. which is something that is not talked about enough. and overall strategy. and we need to move to the next phase of increasing u.s. presence, posture and capabilities in the region. that next phase is going to be a lot harder. in this regard i'd like to thank you chairman mccain for your idea and propose on the asia pacific stability initiative
which i hope the trump administration will support. it will not only improve our ability to fight and win wars, it will improve our ability to keep the peace. this brings me to the third challenge, and enduring persistence one which is terrorism. the terrorist threat in southeast asia is evolving and we need to get ahead of it. we have time to get ahead of it. we need to address terrorism in south and southeast asia. let me talk briefly about opportunities which tend to get lost in all of the noise. i'd say the biggest strategic opportunity is india. and here, the united states and india increasingly share a common strategic outlook on the asia pacific, especially a mutual concern about chinese military militarization. can we reach a new level of cooperation to place limits on chinese ambition? i believe it is possible but
only if the united states and india together persist in overcoming the suspicions of the past and build stronger habits of actual cooperation. and this is going to require the u.s. and indian systems, which are not naturally compatible, to demonstrate mutual flexibility as well as ambition. the second opportunity which is a near term and high reward opportunity is southeast asia. as the chairman knows, the demand signal in southeast asia for u.s. defense engagement is on the rise. and we need to meet it. while can and do more through defense engagement we also need to do more on diplomatic, economic, private sector engagement in southeast asia. whether it's in vietnam or burma or sri lanka, there are countless ways to built strategic depth. i would recommend secretary mattis continue efforts of his last two predecessors to most
the defense ministers in the united states at the earliest opportunity. finally, this committee's leadership on southeast asia has been essential. whether it was by your engagement every year at the shangrila dialogue, or whether it's following through with action as in the case of the southeast asian security initiative, an american effort to fill a critical capacity gap. finally, the big one. the long term strategy. the real opportunity for the united states. to retain our primacy the united states needs to weave together its disparate security and economic efforts into a broader strategy. we need to fashion a networked security architecture with ally and partners to help all of us do more over greater distances with greater economic of effort undergirded by a shared set of principles in support of a rules based order.
we need to present a vision for an equivalent economic architecture that includes inclusive economic growth for all countries, including the united states. in the absence of american -- of meaningful american state craft in the region, china is filling the void. that has dangerous implications for our relationships setting up false choices for our allies between their security and their prosperity. besides these strategic implications, the lack of a serious u.s. economic conditions in china. for some the challenges of opportunities for the united states are significant, but without urgent american leadership and investment, the united states will not be able to rise to them. and decades of relative peace and prosperity that american leadership has enabled are at risk. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, senator, mccain. good morning.
thank you, ranking member and members of the committee for inviting me to testify this morning on the challenges facing the united states in the pacific. i have submitted a longer statement, i would be grateful if that is entered into the record. in my opening remarks this morning i want to highlight five themes drawn from my written statement. first, the challenges posed by north korea and china, obviously remain the most dangerous problems facing the united states. the challenges emanating from north korea and obviously real, dangerous and in the near term. the challenges emanating from china, are long term, enduring, and aimed fundamentally at decoupling the united states from its asian partners. in my remarks this morning, i want to focus primarily on china. i want to thank my colleagues for spending time on speaking
about the issues relating to north korea. the first point i want to make is that as we think about china as a strategic competitor, it is important not to think of china as merely a regional power. but increasingly as a global challenger to the united states. china is already a great power in pacific asia. it is increasingly active militarily in the indian ocean. it is seeking facilities in the mediterranean and along the african coasts. and within a couple of decades, the size of chinese naval capabilities will begin to rival those of our own. it is likely that china will begin to maintain a presence both in the atlantic and in the arctic oceans as well. we've got to think of china in a new way, not simply as an asian power but as a global power. the second point i want to make is it becomes increasingly important for the united states
as it deals with the emerging chinese challenge to reaffirm its own commitment to maintaining its traditional preeminence both globally and in the endo pacific. the u.s. commitment to this preeminence is now uncertain in asia. the asian states are uncertain about whether washington can be counted on to balance against china's quest. and whether washington can be lured away from the attractions of condominium of china, which may threaten the security of our friends. the president, therefore, should use the opportunity offered by his appearance at the east asia summit to clearly affirm america's commitment to maintaining its global primacy. but words alone are not enough. i think it would be very helpful for the administration to spoert your initiative, senator, mccain with respect to the asia pacific stability initiative.
urgent funding at levels that approximate those for the european reassurance initiative. third, the resources that i believe should be allocated to the endo pacific should focus increasingly on restoring the effectiveness of u.s. power projection. because that capability has been undermined considerably by china's recent investments and access. in the near term this will require shifting additional combat power to the theater, remedying short falls and critical munitions. expanding logistics capabilities. increasing joint exercises and training, and improving resiliency by enabling a more dispersed deployment. the longer term is just as crucial and the demands of the longer term cannot be avoided indefinitely. here i believe bipartisan support will be necessary for
developing and rapidly integrating various revolutionary technologies into the joint force. technologies that will emphasize stealth, long range, and unmanned capabilities as well as doubling down on our advantages in undersea warfare. fourth, building better capabilities alone will not suffice for effective power projection. if the united states lacks the will to protect the international regime that serves the strategic interests. protecting the freedom of navigation is at serious risk because of china's activities in the south china sea. it's time for washington to push back on these efforts by undertaking regular freedom of nav gasigation operations in mu the way we do recognizance operating in the pacific today. these operations should be
regular, and should not be constrained by the promise of chinese good behavior and other issues. fifth and finally, we will not be able to contain chinese power in the endo pacific without strengthening our friends, a point made quite clearly by kelly in her remarks before me. the diverse initiatives that are required i'll just flag a few. the united states should first beg begun to seriously think about working with its partners to replicate china's own anti-access capabilities. in effect, replicating many bubbles throughout the endo pacific, to constrain china's freedom of maneuver. the united states cannot afford to put off the aid and enhanced trading to taiwan for very much longer. just as we ought to urge taipei
to move with respect to increasing its own military spending and reforming its own concepts of military operations. as a matter of national policy we should affirm a strong support for trilateral cooperation between japan, india and australia. whether or not the united states is party to these activities. as kelly emphasized, we should not give up on the nation's of southeast asia either. they're currently at the receiving end of chinese assertiveness. and therefore, an engagement plan is something we need to reinvest in because it gives us the opportunity to provide critical reassurance to the smaller southeast asian states in ways that will limit the potential for chinese intimidation. finally, we need to reinvigorate the balancing of china by doubling down on our strategic partnership with india. this is no longer simply a political necessity, it is an
urgent operational necessity as well. as chinese military activities in the indian ocean begin to gather steam. the partnership with india becomes even more important because of the limits it can impose on china's freedom faction in the indian ocean and limiting the burdens of u.s. defense in other parts of the endo pacific. in short, managing the rise of chinese military power will be the most difficult challenge that the united states faces in the endo pacific over the longer term. managing that challenge will be demanding. but we have no choice but to be resolute in doing so. because our security, our international standing, and the well-being of our allies is at stake. thank you very much for inviting me this morning and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you very much. would the witnesses agree the abandonment of tpp was one of the biggest mistakes we have made?
>> yes, i saw tpp as not just being a trade agreement but having brought strategic i implications. it's one of the three legs inthin the region. it's quite unfortunate, yes. >> dr. dr. freburg. >> i agree. the signal that it sent, i think, was deeply damaging. the fact we place such emphasize on it, talked about it, try today persuade others to do it, encouraged others, in particular our friends and allies in japan to go out on limbs themselves to persuade their legislatures and then pulled the rug out. very damaging. it's going to take a while, i think to work our way back from that setback. >> yes, because the economic order in china is not in our
interest. i agree it was a disaster. it's actually having approximpr effects on our security. the chinese are in there lining the pockets and promising lots of investments and infrastructure, et cetera. it's making our job on the defense side a lot harder. >> i agree completeply. it was unfortunate and dangerous and i would flag three reasons for this. the business of asia is business. if we cannot engage in matters that are really important to the asian states, enhancing their own prosperity, our ability to enhance the security will also be diminished. point number two we really can not cede to the chinese the ability to create new rules for trade in asia. tpp offered us the opportunity to create gold standard rules and we have now devested ourselves of that opportunity.
three, between tpp there was every promise we could add close to 1% to u.s. gdp growth through trade. even if you believe in america first, you do need to find ways of enhancing our global growth. and trade was the great opportunity. >> right now, we have increasing tensions as we all know between us and north korea. with the most unstable ruler that they have had. and the testing of nuclear weapons and missile capability is dramatically escalated. at the same time, we have north korean artillery at place at a degree where at least they could launch one attack that would strike seoul, a city of 25
million people as i recall, and obviously, the key to some of this is china. and china taking some very small steps as far as coal is concerned. but they have never taken any real restraint, steps to restrain north korean activity. so it seems to me that we're in a probably one of the most challenging situations since the korean -- since the cuban missile crisis in some respects. certainly not exact parallels, but maybe it rhymes a bit. >> i think that's a very accurate assessment of the
situation. there is nothing i see that suggests north korea is going to slow down the pace of its testing. in fact, i think it's going to increase given the elections in south korea. china still subsidizes 85% of north korea's external trade. so china is definitely part of the solution in trying to stop north korea but it's also part of the problem as you suggest, they're not willing to put the sort of pressure that will impose economic costs on north korea for going down this path. >> china's been playing a game with us for at least 15 years on this issue. when we get especially concerned about what the north koreans are doing and we go to the chinese and ask them for their help. what they've done in the past is
to apply limited increments of pressure. they did it tin 2003 to get the north koreans to agree to sit down, what became six party talks. at the same time, almost simultaneously they're enabling the north korean regime to continue by allowing continued economic exchange across their border. the chinese have also allowed or the chinese authorities have at least looked aside as chinese based companies have exported to north korea components that were essential to the development of their ballistic missiles and other parts of their special weapons programs. i'm not at all optimistic the chinese are going to play a different game with us now than they did in the past. one thing i would add, though, aside from military pressure, which for reasons that you suggest, senator mccain, i think is a questionable plausibility. there are ways in which we could
increase pressure on the north korean regime particularly by imposing further economic sanction and financial sanctions. we did that in the bush administration. i think it was actually something that caused a good deal of pain. we backed away from it for various reasons. i think it was a mistake to have done that. one of the reasons, my understanding, that we haven't been willing to push on this harder is that it probably would involve sanctioning entities that are based in china. and i think we've been reluctant to do that because of our concerns about upsetting the relationship with china. if we're going to be serious about this, we probably are going to have to go down that road. >> military option being extremely challenging. >> yes. i was ain government 2003, and 2005. at that time my understanding was there was no way of dealing with the conventional counterdeterrent that the north koreans had.
i don't have any reason to think it's gotten better. moreover, the nuclear targets have become more numerous. north koreans are starting to develop mobile ballistic missiles. the problem with preemping pr destroying nuclear capabilities is getting worse and nothing has been done to deal with the conventional threat to south korea. >> i agree on the china front. i think there are going to be limits to what they'll be willing to do. their biggest fear, of course, is destabilizing the peninsula. now is the time to try to make china understand that the status quo is worse for them than all other scenarios. and to do that, i think we need to hold their interest at risk. and what i mean about that is something of what dr. freburg said we need to think about secondary sanctions on chinese banks. i think we should go out and do it now.
i think we should actually wait. i don't think that holding it in abeyance is going to induce cooperation. now is the time to tell china we're serious. >> i agree about the u.s./india partnership which i think has potential. >> i concur with what has been said before with the challenges with north korea. if the current status quo serves its interests, it seems to, because it immunizes china from the threat of chaos. it provides a buffer between the u.s. military presence and the chinese border. so if this status quo continues to advance chinese interests, there is a small likelihood there will be more helpful to iswith respei
us with respect to managing north korea. the situation in china is whether the trump administration's increased pressure might change the game sufficiently that the threat of war becomes real enough for china to move. and to that degree, i think creating this head of steam which the administration seems to be making an effort towards would be helpful because it might motivate the chinese to cross lines they haven't crossed before. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, thank you for your excellent testimony. just a quick point, do you suggest that at the conclusion of the election that whoever emerges victorious will take a harder line on the north koreans, they won't open up the facility across the border, et cetera? is that matched by the rhetoric? some impressions we're getting is that it's a race to who's the most sensitive to the issues,
not the most bellicose. >> thank you for the question. i think the political spectrum has shifted in korea during this seven month impeachment crisis puck further to the left of center and the leading candidates seem to espouse views that call for more engagement with north korea. what is said in campaigns is different from when the individual takes office on the first day. >> you've noticed. >> and i think in the case of south korea they'll find that they will be in a position where their primarily ally, the united states, is not of a similar mind. neither is the partner across the sea, japan. and arguably china is not in that position as well. and so while i don't think
engagement is necessarily completely wrong with north korea but now is not the time. when i was in government we were deal ing with a progressive government in south korea. we respected the fact they were interested in engaging with north korea but there was a right and wrong time for it. not just by u.s. policy, but what would be deemed effective engagement. the previous government understood that. i would imagine the next government in south korea would as well. >> let me ask you all a question, this way, there's deep skepticism the chinese will apply economic pressure of a significant degree to compel changes in behavior. a variation on that is, even if they did, do you believe that the north korean regime would abandon their missile programs and nuclear programs? >> i do not believe that to be the case. i believe the north korean
regime will continue to persist with its nuclear program because it sees that as indesensible to its own survival. i don't believe china will force north korea to make those fundamental changes. >> that leaves us at what point in the future? >> we essentially have to prepare for a north korean capability that will ultimately reach the united states. and if it comes to that point, we have only one of two choices. we continue to hope in the reliability of deterrence. which is dangerous because of the unpredictability of this regime or we'll be forced into military actions, which will be extremely costly and painful. >> no, i don't think kim jong-un is going to give up his nuclear weapons. i also agree the chinese aren't
going to go as far as we need them to go to make that strategic choice. where that leaves us is essentially what i said earlier, which is after increasing the pressure, running the china play, we do need to think carefully about whether or not we should proceed with a diplomatic effort to limit the program as best we can. we are going to face a very stark choice at some point in the future, probably in the next five years about an icbm, you know, reaching the united states. that's going to present some pretty stark choices. i think our challenge now is to find a way to avoid having to make that choice at the end. >> dr. freburg, please. >> i don't think first that the chinese will apply all of the pressure that they could conceivably apply, in part for that region i don't think it's likely the north korean regime would agree to give up their programs. it seems to me some years ago it might have been possible to put the leadership in a position where we could make them an offer they couldn't refuse where
they felt their own personal survival was at stake. we're past that point. so i agree with both my colleagues on two points. one, the question now it seems to be are there things we can do work ing with china to slow down the progress of the north korean program. if they don't test as often as they have tested, presumably that will make it more difficult for them eventually to field a reliable capability testing weapons and missiles. it's not inconceivable i think that the chinese might join with us and applying sufficient pressure to try to slow that down. i think that's the best we could hope for and the question is how do we prepare to defend against them. in the long run y hesitate to use this term because it's fallen into disfavor for good and bad reasons. the ultimate solution to this problem is regime change. unless and until there's a change in the character of the north korean regime and the identity of the current leadership there's absolutely no
prospect that i can see that this problem will get better. i don't think there's any active way in which we can promote that. but we ought to think about what conditions might lead eventually to that kind of change. >> doctor? >> i agree with my colleagues, i don't think chinese pressure will necessarily stop north korea's program. what china's pressure can do is force them back to the negotiating table. the theory of the case for that is back in 2003 when china temporarily cut off oil, the north ckoreans agreed to the si party talks. and in 2007 when assets were seized at a bank in china that put pressure on the regime. i think there is precedent there. i agree with my colleagues that
i'm not sure how much china is willing to put that kind of pressure on north korea. one could argue that the situation is a little bit different now because the chinese are desperate for some sort of diplomacy to take place. they really don't understand what president trump might do and they feel they have no control over north korea. they may be more receptive than they were in the past. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, these hearings are very significant. we get people like you and there's no more qualified panel we could have to advise us, to reflect on it. but, also, these are public meetings. and i see the other value is to informing the public of things that we assume they already know about. i'd like to concentrate on just the north korea, because there
is bias of really where the serious problem is. we're talking about their development in the technology over a period of time in developing a bomb, a weapon. and then secondly, a delivery system. and just real quickly, let me run over that. in the delivery system, north korea goes all the way back to the 1970's, they had the scud b and everybody remembers that then they forgot that. along came 1990 a missile test fire range was 1,300 kilometers. in 2006, the test fires of another long range missile that had the capability of traveling 15,000 miles. then firing the missile, which they said was satellite launched
december of 2012. north korea launches a rocket that puts the first satellite into space. we watched their progress all the way through to 2016. north korea launches a solid ballistic missile from a submarine. then lastly, kim jong-un declares that north korea is in its final stage in preparations to test an intercontinental ballistic missile. you see what they've done in that period of time i have to conclude that the guy really means it when he comes out with a statement. but then going back to the bomb, in 2006 we had an explosion that was one kilaton. 2013, it was an atomic bomb with an estimated explosion of six to seven kilaton.
registered 5.3 in magnitude, about the same it was in hiroshima and nagasaki and ten times stronger than what north korea was able to do ten years before. when we talk to the military and we'll have them on thursday i understand. i know that they'll say the two big problems to distinguish the threat that comes from north korea, from other threats, is that first of all you're talking about a mentally deranged guy who is making the decisions and secondly this country has been more consistent in both developing its weapon and the delivery system. and come to the conclusion that as i've come to, i believe that there's an argument that could pose the greatest threat to the united states.
i'd like to get a response if you would doctor, are we accurate in terms of the technicological development in that period of time and does it relate to the threat? >> thank you, senator. i think what you've just described is entirely accurate in terms of a systematic plan by the north koreans over the past decades. to develop the capability that seeks to threaten the u.s. homeland. i think there is no doubt about it, that that is what they are after. as i mentioned earlier, they have done 71 of these tests since 2009, which is a step increase from what we've seen in the past. they've done seven tests since the election of our current president. they have over 700 scud missiles, 200 to 300 missiles. and the pace of their development and the history of their development shows they
want to be able not just field one missile, but a whole slew that could reach the united states. this is a proximate threat. you're absolutely right. >> any other comments on that? >> is it unreasonable that as a result of this we could consider north korea as the greatest threat facing the united states? >> i think it certainly -- it's most imminent. i don't know it's the greatest in terms of its magnitude. i think china presents a greater challenge. certainly it's the most imminent. one thing to add, just to make the picture even worse, it's conceivable that the north korean leadership may believe, not only as they acquire these capabilities that they're going to be able to extort more economic goods from the world, and not only that they're going to be able to deter action against them, but that they might believe at some point they
really had an option for a reuniting the peninsula. they might believe that japan would be deterred by the threat of attack on bases on its soil from allowing the united states to use it as their rear area to support operations on the peninsula. they might believe the united states would be deterred from coming -- >> my time's expired. but the military also says it's the unpredictability we have there. everything else is pretty predictable. we all look back at the cold war when things were predictable. we knew what they had, they knew what we had. it doesn't mean anything anymore. unpredictability is what the military is going to tell us thursday is the major problem they have with north korea, thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. so given all of that discussion and given that the neighboring
problem, china, continues to be very aggressive, so you're advising us as policymakers, as people who pass appropriations bills what to do. so what to do to deter north korea and further chinese aggressiveness? >> so this gets back to a point earlier, you know, we really need to double down on our regional ballistic missile defense. we could consider putting thaad in japan. i think there are additional deterrence we could do with the japanese and koreans together whether it's cooperation on the
air and sea. we should consider a whole range of options, including potentially strengthening our extended deterrence commitments to the koreans by potentially rotating dual capable aircraft to the peninsula. i think there are additional things we could do that would be relevant and applicable to the threat. >> you don't think that that would deter the north korean leader, do you, from continuing this development of nuclear weapons, missiles, and then marrying a nuclear weapon to a long range icbm? >> no, senator i do not. i do think it would help reassure our allies and also put us in a better position in the event diplomacy fails. >> and do any of you have any reason to think that diplomacy would succeed with this north
korean leader? >>. >> even if it doesn't, we cannot do anything else without exhausting the alternatives offers by diplomacy. because dealing with north korea at the end of the day will require a coalition effort. we have to satisfy the expectations of our coalition partners that we've made every effort in the interim to deal with the challenge. and so we have to think of it in terms of a multistep game. as the doctor highlighted, the immediate objective should be to get the north korean regime back to the negotiating table. the ultimate objective must be to hope that there will be evolutionary change in the regime. but between those two bookends, we have to think seriously about what is required for deterrence, what is required for defense, and what is required for denial. >> anybody else on --
>> senator, i would -- the only thing i would add to the list is that those sorts of posture moves and strengthening of deterrence and defense they're good for our allies. certainly they increase the cost for china, allowing the situation to continue as it is. in the end, the problem we have is that north korea feels no pain for the direction in which they're going. their people are feeling pain, but they don't care about their people. so the immediate tactical effort is to try to get the regime to feel the pain and that requires china to stop subsidizing 85% of north korea's external trade as well as some of their leadership's funding. so that's the approximate tactical goal to try to get some lerv leverage on the issue, because right now we have none. >> describe the aftermath that
we saw that he was readying an icbm that could reach the u.s. alaska? hawaii? and we decided to ptake out the assets which we knew where they were. which is more difficult because they're now movable. what would be their retaliation? >> well, we don't know for sure, but i think the assumption for several decades has been they would begin with a massive artillery barrage against seoul which is in range. the north koreans have for years exercised and tested a special operations forces, chemical and
biological weapons. the fear would be they would unleash all of this. i don't know that they would, necessarily, because the next step would be the annihilation of the north korean regime. the fear is that's their capability and they might. just a note on that, i'm not a psychiatrist so i wouldn't want to judge the current leader's sanity or lack of sanity. it does seem to me that north korean leaders have been rational in their behavior. it sometimes appears odd and it's very threatening, but it's purposeful and it's been consistent. for that reason, it's important to remain focused on what it is that would probably deter them, which is the threat of personal annihilation. so the threat of we and our south korean allies would if we needed to and could destroy the regime and destroy the leadership. i think that's a message that they understand. >> just to add to the question on the aftermath, you know,
we've got 28,500 u.s. troops on the peninsula, that's just the troops, that's not their families. so there's thousands, hundreds of thousands of dependents in addition to the koreans. japan is within range, so i think japan would take a hit potentially. there would be significant economic impact, frankly, to war on the peninsula which i don't think anyone is talking about. and the regional actors like the chinese, would move in. they would not sit on the sidelines and watch, you know, the united states trying to rearrange the peninsula in their favor. they would try to intervene at some point and that could also have catastrophic consequences. in terms of an aftermath of a u.s. strike, there are particularly high costs. >> if i may just add to that, obviously the most confident thing we can say is that we don't know highway tow the regi respond. i think it would depend of
whether they saw the strike as a discreet problem, or whether it's the larger attempt to replace the regime itself. if it was seen as a discreet effort aimed at solving a problem, one would hope their response would be more restrained. if it's seen as an effort to replace the regime, i think all hell breaks loose. at this point, whichever the choices are, i agree the chinese cannot afford to sit on had sidelines. because it undermines its core interest of preventing the rise of chaos on their frontiers and keeping the united states and its military forces as far away as possible from their borders. those two variables change dramatically if the united states engages in military action in the peninsula.
>> i'll just -- senator, to add to this very quickly, all i'll say is that i think it is absolutely true that the north korean dictator's number one goal is survivor. if the united states were to carry out a strike, the north koreans may feel like the only way to survive is to respond. retaliate, as my colleagues have suggested what would follow from that. the other way to think about it is that if they don't -- if they do not respond, that could also threaten their survival of the leadership and the regime. and i'm still looking for the intelligence analyst who can tell me which of these things the north korean leader will do. i haven't been able to find one yet. >> but, senator nelson described a situation in which our government is almost certain that a strike is imminent. and in that case, if our response was a discreet strike
to prevent that, might it not be worth it? >> first i don't know the basis for the judgment. that is a danger that is imminent. but if we assume the premises of your question, it may be worth it if we could be assured two things. one that the north korean response will be limited and that the effects of our strike will be permanent. that is we will be able to cap the north korean capability at some level and not go beyond. two, that the chinese will actually intervene in ways to force the north koreans to reach some sort of a diplomatic understanding. and i'm not confident that either of those two conditions would actually obtain -- >> rather than have all of you respond to that, i'll take that
answer. d you say the united states doesn't have a strategy for asia pacific. all we've got is the remnants of a two decades old strategy, and yet the department of defense's 2012 strategic guidance said we will have necessity rebalanced toward the asia pacific region and the qdr two years earlier said essentially the same thing. was rebalanced asia pacific words only? >> well, with deference to my colleague who worked hard on making it happen, i don't think it was words only. but it was the ratio of words to deeds i think was not what it should have been. we talked a lot, we did some things, we didn't do nearly enough. for a variety of regions, i think the previous administration was preoccupied with other problems in the middle east and with russia. continuing constraints on
defense spending. >> some issues arose outside asia pacific, to our surprise. >> yes. and this continuing constraint, budget constraint. this continuing constraint, budget constraint. for a variety of reasons, not enough i agree the general concept, the idea we need to focus more of our resources on the ash why pacific was the right one. many that the previous administration started were worthy. for various reasons, they didn't or weren't able to follow through adequately. >> let me shift back to north korea. there has been mention of regime change. i would like any of you to comment about the scenario in which that might happen. dr. tellis mentioned evolution nary change within the regime. at the end of the cold war, there was certainly an evolution
nary change in moscow. which gave us hope for a little while. what do we know about the decision-making process within the regime in north korea? who has a good understanding, if not the united states, about the decision making team surrounding kim jong-un. i will start with you, d dr. freeper. >> i don't think our knowledge is very good. i think the assumption of most people is that the decision-making is concentrated very heavily in the hand of the current leader and a smul circle of people around him. as far as evolution nary versus revolutionary, in the latter part of the kim jong-il and the beginning of kim jong-un, there were people that hoped there might be a greater willingness
to open up. the chinese hoped they could get them to follow a path similar to their own. the chinese may have had some hopes that there were people around the leader who they could influence. many have been executed, because he feared they were chinese agents of influence. the prospects for evolution nary change seem grim. i think this has been a mistaken assumption that people in the outside world have made, if we offered the right kind of inducements, economic, the opportunity to join the world, to improve the lives of north korean citizens, we could influence their policies. problem is leadership doesn't care about those things and sees opening as threatening.
i doesn't see much prospect for evolution na evolutionary change of this particular leader. >> any other panelists have observations about the decision-making team? >> right now, it is almost wholly in the hand of this one individual. others around him have been systematic cli executed. the level of purging is unprecedented. the military, army chief of staff, deputy chief of staff. there has been unprecedented fluidity there. there is significant turn within the system and that the leadership is facing certain challenges and he is dealing with them in one way, which is just to purge everybody. the chinese would have had the best insight into what's going on inside of north korea. after the leader executed his
uncle, the chinese have lost all windows into north korea. it is a mistake. we often here how the chinese are upset with the north koreans, that's why there are no high level meetings. we did a study looking at all chinese/north korean exchanges. the difference is that there are none, because the north koreans don't want to talk to the chinese. they are not interested in talking to the chinese, to the united states, or anybody else. that's what's so worrying about the current situation. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you all very much for being here. you have all pointed out that china is not -- does not want to see instability on the ckorean peninsula. you pointed out, doctor, that china is not willing to take
action. i think efb hverybody has made point. do you agree with dr. tellis, that the more uncertain they are about the potential for president trump and the united states to engage in war on the peninsula, the more likely they would be to weigh-in and try to help address the north korean situation? >> yes, senator, an argument could be made in terms of what is the decade old u.s. treaties for china to do more, there may be marginally more leverage today than there has been in the past larnlgely because the chine feel the situation is getting out of control and they feel like they don't have any ability to manage either side, the united states or north korea. i think xi jinping wants a good relationship with the u.s. president. this u.s. president does seem to
signal some unpredictability when if comes to north korea. we might have marginally more leverage than in the past. again, it is all tactical and not a strategy yet. >> i think i would feel better if i thought what we were doing right now was part of a strategy towards north korea and asia. in that context, what does a messup like we had with the carl vinson carrier strike route do in terms of the signals we might try to be sending to china and our allies and everybody in asia about what our intentions are? >> i would say that was a pretty big screw-up. i also think it really undermined our credibility among our allies, the fact this you are seeing south korean commentators and politicians
commenting that it shows the united states isn't reliable. i don't know how it happened and how it occurred. i would be curious to hear what admiral harris has to say about that on thursday. it had a serious effect. in texas, we have a saying, all hat, no cattle. we don't want to show up with all hat and no cattle. >> everybody i assume agrees with that? along the lines of how can we better send signals of what our intent is, what does it say to our allies that we are not able to get a budget agreement here domestically, that we have division divisions in congress about how we are going to fund defense in the next year?
what kind of messages does that send to those people for whom we want to project strength. dr. friedberg, i think you mentioned that, about what our allies are looking at in the united states versus china. >> it doesn't help. it is not entirely new. people have been watching us and the unfolding of our political process for a while. i think there is an undercurrent of concern that has been present for some time about our capacity to mobilize the necessary resources to do the things we are talking about doing. i do think those concerns have grown during our election or since our election and since the election, because, at least, in terms of rhetoric, the current administration candidate trump before he became president raised questions about all of the essential aspects of our global posture.
our commitment to free trade and universal values and so on. it may be in the long run that the policies he follows won't deviate as much as the rhetoric seems to suggest. all of that has added to the sense of anxiety about where the united states is going. >> along the lines of escalated rhetoric, to what extent does that escalation of rhetoric against north korea then produce a response that not only heightens the situation but provides attention that kim jong-un may be interested in having from the world? >> i think there is a window. there is only so much unpredictability that you can pull off. there is some leverage that may quom from appearing to do things that may seem likely than before. that's why in 2003, the chinese did step in, right at the time
of the run-up from the war in iraq. there was a perception that the united states might do all kinds of things to reduce the threat and certainly now. the chinese aren't sure. the north koreans aren't. i suspect that has a half life. it is going to diminish over time. i think that's what the chinese are playing for, waiting to see. i'm not sure that they believe for all of the tough talk we are actually going to do something as risky as launch an attack on the north koreans in the near-term. whether the north koreans believe that, it's another question. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the panel's wise council on a lot of these important issues. let me talk about the importance of our allies and globally particularly in this region.
would you all agree that one of the most strategic advantages that we have as a nation is that we are an ally-rich country and our adversaries or potential adversariries whether it is china or russia or iran are ally poor? >> absolutely. on the strategic allies, our alliances are on the asset column. >> would you agree they are trying to undermine our alliances? would you agree with that? >> let me ask a broad-based question. a number of us try to get out to the region. we go to the sang gri la dialogue on a regular basis. there is this discussion about how china has this great long-term strategic vision and they have theable to see around the corners of history and we
don't. their aggressive actions in the south china sea are driving countries away from them toward us but not just our traditional allies, countries like vietnam, countries like india. i think initially, i certainly and some of our colleagues here had some concerns whether the trump administration fully understood this strategic advantage when you watched the campaign. now that they are in office, whether it is general mattis' first trip as secretary of defense to the region or the vice-president's trip that he is finishing up here to the asia pacific, it certainly seems like they are focused on it. are we doing enough? what more can we be doing to bolster this very, very important strategic advantage we have with regard to our deep network of allies, deepening it, expanding it and making sure the chinese don't try to fracture it? what more can we be doing? i'll open that up to anybody.
>> i think we need to be doing at least two things to start. first, we need to publicly commit to protect the regime that we have built in asia over the last 60 years. in regime is not open for negotiations, the united states will not walk away. >> we need to put out red lines. the cho the chinese put out red lines on taiwan, taibet. you are saying with regard to aur alliances, that should be a strategic red line. >> exactly. the second thing, we need to think of aour alliances as assets, not ability. the u.s. needs to avoid appearing wobbly. to the degree we create uncertainties about our commitment to the region, it only opens the door for the chinese to do exactly what he
described. >> any other thoughts on allies real quick before i return to my next subject. >> certainly, consistency is key, clarity of message from the united states is key. bipartisanship on asia policy is important. >> i think you have it for the most part. >> it is actually pretty good. inib tiffs like maritime security that this committee initiated the last couple of years, those kind of physical demonstrations of american commitment and interest in the region, also, really, the united states needs to present an actual vision, a strategy. at the heart of that, our goal needs to be that we want to insure that the region is able to make choices on the economic side and on the security side independent of coercion. that, for a lot of countries in the region, is the key. >> let me turn to and doctor chow, i will let you address
this first. speaking of coercion and allies, the issues of china's action in the south china sea have been a concern of many of us on this committee. secretary carter put forward a good policy. we will fly, sail, operate anywhere the international if law allows. it was incon ses stesistent, un credibility. this committee had to push, push, push. when they did do their first, they seemed embarrassed. the secretary of defense is right here. he wouldn't admit it to the chairman. what do we need to do with regard to fawn opts. they should be regular in my view so they are not newsworthy and done in coordination with our allies and not the way the obama administration did p them with regard to innocent passage. we are nothing asking for innocent passage. we don't recognize these built-up land masses. what should we be doing to make
sure we don't fall in the trap, good policy, bad execution, undermine our credibility in my view. with the new administration, what should we be doing on our policy with regard to fawn opts. we'll start with snu. >> senator, you provided the solution right there. we need to approach these things as standard, as nonpolitical, as not big statements of policy. >> we have been doing them for 70 years. on your other question, i think i just finished writing a book on the history of the u.s. alliances in asia. they are very unique, historical assets as dr. friedberg said. we need to network better our alliances. they are largely bilateral hub and spokes. we need to build a tire around that hub and spokes whether it
is in the term of missile defense or collective security statements, things that would be great value added. >> anyone else on the fawn opts. >> i look forward to reading your book, by the way. >> i'll send you a copy. >> on the fawn ops, i completely agree, we need to make them more regular and they become a little less peeked every time we do them. freedman navigation is important to reserve but it can't be the entire strategy. we need to think about the long-game, the maritime capacity building we have. we need a real regional diplomatic strategy so that the ar by tral tribunal reading has effect. that is where we missed a huge opportunity last year with the ruling and not really pursuing a real diplomatic effort at the regional level. we backed off, tried to cool the
waters. that was important at the time. we never really followed through with an actual diplomatic game. >> i think we need to do three other things. the first is, we need to confront front op operations of the discretion of the tay come commander. i don't think they should be centrally controlled from washington. that gets you to where you want, regular unpublicized and so on and so forth. we need to stay away from innocent passage. the moment you talk about innocent passage, you are reaffirming a particular chinese view of its rights, which we have never accepted and which the western world in terms of the freedom of the seas has never accepted. we need to stay away from that like the plague. as part of the strategy, we need to provide tangible reassurance to the partners which means actually building up their capacity to stand up to them which might mean enhanced training, providing them with weapons required and ultimately backing it up with a constant u.s. naval presence in the area.
it doesn't have to be every day. it has to be regular enough that the regional states begin to feel comfortable that the u.s. is at least on this around the corner. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> on behalf of chairman kane, senator hrono. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to focus on our chairman's focus on this part of the world. he has proposed a budget, an appropriation amount. this has to do with at sea. so $7.5 billion of new military funding for u.s. forces. perhaps this is a question for miss magasen and possibly one for dr. chau. u.s. forces and their allies could be used as the chairman
noted in his open tog boost operational military construction and increase ammunition procurement and enhance capacity building with allies and partners and expand military exercises and other training activities to help combat the movement towards chinese influence throughout the asia pacific region. miss magnason, how can this fund, money and initiative impact the u.s. role in the region? how can we incorporate this initiative in a larger, more holistic asia sfratgy that includes maintaining regional stability and improving diplomatic tie sns. >> certainly. i am supportive of the initiative in part because we need to stem the bleeding. we are woefully behind in terms of what we need to be doing in the pacific in terms of our presence and our capabilities, our ability to fill critical
ammunition gaps, prepare runways that are going to be necessary in the event of a conflict, stuff like that. this initiative is hugely valuable and fills a very important budgetary gap for the pacific. i would be supportive of it. i think it goes back to the larger point. the united states needs to be seen strategically as investing in this part of the world. there is value in terms of our commitment to peace and security in the region and our in1re6vest to make it possible. i think our allies if we were able to use that kind of funding to do more work, to network the allies and partners as victor was suggesting in this principled security network is what we called it in the obama administration. the reality is we need more funding, presence and
capability. >> senator? >> dr. chow, would you like to -- also, how important is it? you are acr korea expert. how important is it to use the whole of government to maintain stability in the region? we don't have very much information about what goes on in kim jong-un's mind. it is challenging enough regarding our complicated relationship with china. in terms of stability in this part of the world, would you also support this initiative by the way, at sea and how we can do more of a whole of government approach? >> i think those two questions are completely connected to each other in terms of our effectiveness in getting china to do more or signal to north korea the credibility of our deterrence or any of our
policies greatly depends on whether the region sees us as committing to it and having staying power. as aaron mentioned in his testimony, there is a grand game taking place in asia where the chinese are trying to erode u.s. credibility, reliability and resiliency in the region and replacing it with the fact that they are there, they are big and they have a lot of money in their pocket. >> they really do engage in a whole of government approach in this area. >> there could not be a single, more important signal of u.s. staying power than somethingic loo apse that is investing in the things that constitute the u.s. security presence in asia. that will resound positively in terms of the credibility of our north korea policy and what we say to china. >> would all of you agree that maybe our staying power is really continuing to show up? i think it was important for secretary mattis to visit japan and south korea as his first
official secretarial duties. the continue the continual aspect of showing that we have a commitment and funding and resources is important. would you agree, all of you? miss magsamen, you mentioned the carl vinson issue was a big screw-up. how is the united states viewed in this part of the world? you can respond as well as the other panelists. >> i wouldn't say the vinson issue should be determine na tiff of how we are viewed in the region. our credibility is our currency. the minute you undertake actions that undermine credibility, that has a profound effect in the region in terms of how we are
received. the vinson was just one incident. i am sure there are very good reasons for why it happened but the reality is it created a perception of lack of credibility. >> if we have a change we are viewed credibility being 1-5, 5 being we are viewed credibility, where would you put the u.s., how that part of the world views us, including the philippines, south korea, japan, australia, where would we fall in terms of our credibility, 1-5, 5 being the highest credibility? >> i think that's a question for them. i think the united states has been a credible power in the pacific. the question now is, can we continue to be one? >> anybody wants to weigh in very briefly. give me a number. >> i would say we were probably below 3. we have seen a series of trips by the administration when
secretary mattis, tillerson and the vice-president, i think have helped to send a very positive signal to the region, taking us over that threshold. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you to each of the witnesses for being here. i think the importance of the asia pacific region has been well highlighted by this testimony and also by the well justified public focus on the threat of north korea. i want to start by focusing on north korea specifically and ask the panel to assess the following hypothetical, which is if tension ws were to escalate the point of a targeted military strike against north korea's nuclear facilities, how would the witnesses assess the probabilities of four potential outcomes? one, a retaliatory strike with
north korea with nuclear weapons, two, a retaliatory strike with north korea with conventional weapons. three, the attack precipitating a collapse of the north korean regime and four, the attack precipitating direct chinese military intervention? i would ask it to any of the witnesses on the panel. >> i think it would depend exactly on the character of the strike. whether the regime would perceive it as something intended to be surgical or as a forerunner for an attempt to overthrow it. the more the regime worries that the united states and south koreans are coming to get them, the more likely it is that they will let loose. >> let's assume the strike was targeted at taking out nuclear facilities? >> i don't think the prospect in your term of collapse would be
very glreat because it wouldn't be anything done directly to weaken the regime. the likelihood of conventional response very high. the likelihood of a nuclear response somewhat lower. all bets would then be off. as far as chinese intervention, i would think that that would be unlikely unless and until the chinese leadership believed that the regime was about to collapse and north korea was about to fragment and south korea and the united states were moving forces towards their border. i don't think they would do it unless those conditions had been met. >> senator, i used to think that the response would be conventional, that they would have 10,000 artillery pieces, that they would use those. these days, looking at the character of north korean missile testing, my guess is that the response would actually
be on japan to split the u.s./korea in the u.s./japan alliance. the character of their testing recently has been focused on demonstrating an ability to target with ballistic missiles all u.s. bases in japan. flying missiles within 200 kilometers of the japanese shoreline. that's what i think they would do. i'm not clear if the attack itself as you describe it would be able to eliminate all of their nuclear facilities, because i don't think we know where they all are. >> i would agree with victor. i think they would go after japan. i disagree a little bit about aaron on the chinese intervention point. i do think the chinese could potentially try to intervene just to preserve stability on the their flank. what that looks like and how that materializes, i don't know. i don't think the chinese would sit back. the thing that would change that
might be whether or not in advance we could get the chinese to hold back. i still have extreme doubts that they would do that. >> i us is spesuspect the likela nuclear response is relatively low. we would still have the xasty to have escalation dominance in that scenario. i think a conventional retaliation is inevitable. it would be aimed both at south korea and japan in order to communicate the credibility of the north korean leadership and its determination to protect its survival as well as to split the alliance. the key question about china hinges on whether they see the targeted attack as being the first phase of air/ground action to follow. if they perceive air/ground action to follow, it is almost certain they would intervene to try and prevent this from escalating. >> in your assessment, short of
military action, how much positive impact could china have in reigning in north korean hostilities and what would it take for china to exercise its influence and power? >> well, i think what we are talking about, china going some place it has never been before. unfortunately, i think the only way that's going to happen is if they think the united states is going to go some place it has never been before. i think based on my experience as a negotiator on this issue in the previous administrations, i feel the only time china ever responds r resmonr responds is not in response to anything north korea does but the variation in u.s. behavior which is what i think the current administration is trying
to leverage right now. >> what u.s. behavior do you see as maximizing china's beneficial influence on north korea? >> i think the united states right now is trying to signal a combination of muscularity, unpredictability and decisiveness all at the same time, largely because they feel like the past administration was eight years of predictability and indecisiveness. that's a hard thing to manage. it is hard to manage all those things, because they are conflicting signals. they seem to be trying to walk that line right now. >> if you ask what would be the out ter limit of what china could do assuming it was willing to do almost anything, it could bring the north korean economy to its knees. it is pretty close to that already. it could cut off the flows of funds that go across the border into north korea partly from the so-called elis sick activities north koreans engage in. it could intradikt components
that flow into north korea through china that support the special weapons programs. it could do a lot. what might induce them to do that? it seems there are a number of possibilities. one is the prospect that the united states was, as victor suggests, going to do something really drastic that could have catastrophic consequences, they would have to believe that. i don't think at this point they do. another possibility would be somehow to persuade them that the entire relationship with the united states was on the line including in particular the economic relationship. we were willing to do things that imposed costs and pain on china that would be so great that it would be a dang jury ere chinese regime and, therefore, they might do something to press north korea. i don't think we are willing to do that. it is theoretically possible. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
thank you to our panelists for a very interesting discussion. i want to pick up on the comment about the economic relations between these two countries. it seems to me, between us and china, this is a new paradigm when it comes to international relationships. we are dealing with a country we have very close economic relations with and it is not a situation where you can impose sanctions on china and not have some of that blow back on the united states. we're not talking about unequal partners here in the equation. when you think about the conflict with the soviet union, we had a closed economy, not really tied to the u.s. that has a completely different dynamic. some of the thinking, i heard about a change in strategy from each of the panelists, we thought about engaging in trade and engagement, that would libberallize the chinese culture or society. that has not been the case. that theory didn't play out. the theory is, if you are more
engaged in trade and more engaged in engagement, you are less likely to have an armed conflict. is that theory not going to play out? if you could talk about how we have this mutual dependence between china and the united states and how that limits some of the tools we have to engage with the chinese with some of these behaviors that are becoming quite troublesome to our national security? >> i think you are right it is a new paradigm but it is not unique historically. what was usual was the situation during the cold war where we engaged with strategic competition with the soviet up yun but traded very little with them. historically, it is more typical for countries to have both economic relations and strategic int actions and it hasn't always prevented war. before the first world war, britain and germany were close
to leading trading investment partners but in the end, geopolitics overwhelmed economics. the other thing i would say, the economic relationship between the united states and china is not entirely equal. in certain respects, it appears china has been getting the better side of that deal. the chinese have also been exploiting the relationship to promote not only the growth of their economy but the development of their military capabilities. the last thing i would say is that in the long-run, the chinese hope to diminish their independence on economic reaction with the united states so as to increase their strategic independence. they can't entirely eliminate it. i think they believe they pass through a period when, in fact, they were so dependant on american capital and american markets that they were constrained strategically. they would like to move away from that. >> i just had a couple points. i think would be a mistake to
set the bilateral relationship with china above our interests. we can not make the preservation of that relationship our objective. first point. it has created complications for american policy for quite some time now. the second thing i would say is that we should avoid issue linkage in the relationship. i think that is very dangerous. for example, getting the chinese to put pressure on north korea. we back off on the south china sea or another issue like taiwan. that would be a tremendous mistake. the region is watching that and looking for signs the americans are going to sacrifice their interests. in the context of the broader relationship, i think are point is right. it is a big relationship that has a lot ovelements of competition and cooperation. we have to be clear-eyed of what our actual interests are in the context of that. >> let me just add one other point to that. security competition is
complicated in the context of economic events, there is no getting away from that. the fact is the balance of risks that north korea poses to the united states and china are different. the risks to the united states as the result of north korean behavior are far greater. the balance of interest are concerns, china has an interest in avoiding an explosion on the peninsula. the united states has a comparable interest. because the balance of interests are greater for us, it behooves china to do whatever they can to push the north koreans at least in the near term to the negotiating table and give diplomacy a chance to figure out what can be put in place to buy some time to get our hands around more permanent sorts of solutions. >> the only thing i would add to these very good comments is you mentioned the role that potentially greater economic
independence could have in mol phiing state policies in the region, while many of us teach those theories in the classroom, what's been very clear in asia is that china's growing economic interaction in the region has not had a mol phiing impact but made them leverage that economic tools to their benefit in very draconian ways, whether it is economic sanctions against south korea with thaad or tropical fruits from the philippines or rare earth minerals to japan. a very clear pattern of how china uses economic leverage, uses economic independence in ways that one o nwould not consr very productive for overall peace and security in the region. >> nathank you very much. >> dr. chow, if nothing changes, is it just a matter of time until north korea has an icbm that can hit america with a
nuclear weapon? >> yes, sir, i think that's true. it is just a matter of time if nothing changes. >> why do they want to achieve that goal? >> i think there are a couple of reasons. one is a desire for their own domestic narrative. this current leader has none of the mythology of his father or grandfather. he has nothing else to point to. it is part of military strategy to deter the united states from flowing forces and aiding allies in the region. >> do all of you agree with that assessment? >> let the record reflect a positive response. >> so in any ways, the crow yan war is not over for north korea in their minds? >> that's right, sir. >> they literally believe we are going to come in on any given be day and take their country away from them? is that fair to say?
>> i certainly think that's the justification to their own audience of what they are pursuing, yes. >> how would you say the regime treats its own people on a scale of 1-10, 10 being very bad? >> 100. i think it is the worst human rights violate tore in the world today. >> here is the dilemma for the united states. we have the worst human rights violator in the world about to acquire a missile to hit the american homeland. do you trust north korea not to use it one day? >> i think there is always hope that deterrents work as it had worked during the cold war but that assumes rationality on the part of all actors and we can't assume that in north korea's case. >> in terms of threats to the united states coming from asia, what would be greater than north korea with a missile and a nuclear weapon that could hit the homeland? >> i can't think of a more approximate threat to our
security at this point. >> do you believe that if the north koreans believe that military force is not an option to stop their missile program, they will most certainly move forward? >> i will be happy to give my colleagues a chance to answer. >> dr. ellis, is that true? >> i believe that is true, sir. >> everybody believe that? >> i believe that is true too. if i were them, why would you? >> if you get there, you have an insurance policy for regime survive ability. all of you agree china has the most leverage of anybody in the world regarding north korea? is that a fair statement? is it fair to say they have not fully utilized that leverage up to this point? do you believe that if china believed we would use military force to stop the military from maturing, they may use more
leverage? >> confirmed as an answer. what do you believe that north korea's view and china's view of the trump administration is regarding the use of force? is it too early to tell? what's you initial impressions? >> i think it is too early to tell from the point of view of china. this is part of a larnlger set questions they pose for themselves. they have two views. one is it is a reckless administration that's bound to get into conflict and even conflict with themselves. on the other hand, there are those and i think this is now a prevalent view who believe that the president of the united states is a deal maker, interested in business and it is possible to get along with him but they have to get there. they are concerned and uncertain. >> i would also add that i think, i hope that the chinese also understand that the structure of in situation is very different now. north korea, as you said, senator, is now approaching a
capability that compels the united states to make choices it has never had to make before. whether it is president trump or anybody else who was president, they would all be forced into a situation today when they are making choices they never had to make before because there is a homeland security threat. my hope is that the chinese understand that the structure of the situation is very different regardless of who is president. do you believe that north korea's missile technology, if not changed will mature by the time of 2020? they will have a missile if nothing changes? we are all going to the white house tomorrow night to be briefed. no good choices when it comes to north korea. do you all agree with that? would you agree that there was a war between north korea and the united states, we would win? do you think north korea understands that?
>> we would win ultimately but it would be extremely costly in the near-term. >> more to them than us? >> not where regime survival was concerned. >> more costly to them where regime survival is concerned. >> i'll end with this thought. no good choices. today, it is over there. if there is a war in the future, it comes here? thank you for your time. >> may i add one other thought, senator. >> we ought not to forget the prospects of further north korean outward proliveration beyond just issues. >> i didn't get there because that bothers me as much as the missile. they could give it to somebody to tuesday in a different way. on that cheery note, we will end. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to thank all of you for being here today and for your very helpful an informative
testimony. right now, we have nuclear submarines in south korea. dr. friedberg, how persuasive to the north koreans are that kind of gesture or show of force for lack of better terms along with the carl vinson being in the area? do they matter? are they simply more provocative because it provides a larger platform and more visible show on their part? >> i think the north koreans have shown a great deal of sensitivity to our military activity in conjunction with the south koreans around the peninsula. they get very upset with military exercises and so on. they are paying close attention and they notice what we do. the question is, how do they interpret that and does it cause them to change their behavior. i think in the short-term,
probably these gestures have caused them to pull back a little bit. maybe they would have gone ahead with the test a week ago if not for all the talk of u.s. force flowing into the region. in the long-run, i'm not so sure they actually believe we are going to use those capabilities? >> i think they do have an effect on the north koreans certainly. this morning, you saw that they had a big artillery exercise, live artillery exercise. they are reactive to some of what we do. i do think, though, that the accumulation of it over time can have kind of a numbing effect on the dynamics. so they do react. it does get their attention. they have also gotten a little used to some of these moves. >> dr. friedberg, you made the point that the chinese have played us, i think, to paraphrase what you said to quote you at least the last 15 years. is there any prospect of these
military exercises changing china's view? >> i think if the chinese became persuaded, convinced that we actually were on the verge of initiating military action against north korea, anyone they might behave differently. they might apply greater economic pressure, for example, to north korea. i don't think they are convinced of that. they are uncertain. >> i also think that if it is perceived that we are making a big bluff, that has really serious credibility impacts for our strategy. >> sending our fleet to exercises with australia rather than to the area where we said they were going to do might undermine our credibility, correct? >> it was not a shining moment, senator. >> there is another aspect to this. dr. cha would be an expert on this. that is how our actions are perceived in south krae ya aoree
extent to which people there become fearful that we might do things that would cause a war that would produce great suffering in south korea. we have to be very careful we are communicating our intentions and people in the south kra ya, the leadership and public, perceive that accurately. otherwise, we will do damage to our long desh te-term relations one of our most important allies. >> doctor cha? >> i agree. for many, it is sort of a dual-edged sword. on the one hand, they would like to see a stronger u.s. pot ystu but they don't want too strong a posture, because it looks like you are preparing for something else and not just deterrence. >> whether it is the submarine or the vinson strike group, these things either as part of or related to the two sets of exercises, the major exercises
the united states does with the rock in the region are good. they show must ccularity. they do have a numbing effect and then you are compelled to think of other things that would negate that or create more of a sense that there is more than just posturing here. one of the things that i have heard talked about is flowing more forces to the peninsula. as i said, that could be a dual-edge sword. it could be seen as strengthening deterrence or seen as preparing for something else. so there are a lot of very difficult angles to the problem that i think the current administration must deal with. >> behind all of it, there is the danger of miscalculation, which is most frightening, because it means that any kind of military conflict would not be on the ferms thterm that is it, not consistent with the plan that we may prepare. it is precipitous and unexpected and, therefore, even more
dangerous than military conflict would be otherwise? >> i entirely agree with that. >> thank you. >> on behalf of chairman mccain, senator warren, please. >> thank you and thank you all for being here and for this detailed and very helpful hearing. i just want to probe a couple more points in a little more detail if i can. dr. telllis, the u.s./india relationship has evolved from one of distance to a close strategic partnership. in the past few years, the department of defense has named india as a major defense partner and established the defense technology trade initiative. india famously values its nonalignment in foreign policy and it has a long standing relationship with russia. even today, russia is india's
primary arms sfupplier. where as the united states emphasizes restriction on the use of force, russian arms come with very few strings attached. some have recently suggested that india is playing the united states and russia gets each other for its own benefit. do you think that is true? do you believe that this is something that the united states should be concerned about? >> i think india will always have a relationship with russia independent of the united states. for a very simple reason. the russian vhave been far more willing to provide india with strategic capabilities and technologies that we would not, either for reason of policy or law. our objective with india has been more subtle than i think has been expressed often in the public commentary. the u.s. has approached india
with a view to building its own capabilities, rather than seeking to forge an alliance. the reason we have done that is because we believe a strong india aids in the preservation of a balance of power in asia that serves our interest. so our calculation has been, if india can stand on its own feet and help balance china independently, then that's a good thing for us irrespective of what they do with us bilaterally? i think that's sensible. one other thing about russia. the indians have come around to the recognition that russia today no longer has the kind of cutting-age capables it did during the days of the soviet union thand the russians are not particularly reliable with respect to providing advanced conventional technologies of the kind the u.s. has. while they want to keep the relationship with russia in good repair, because they have a
substantial human military capital. they want to diversify in the united states as number one. >> that is very helpful. i very much appreciate your perspective on this. india is the largest democracy in the world and an important partner for us in the region. i think it is incredibly important to continue to grow the relationship in the years to come. thank you. i have one other question if i can. that is, ms. magsamen, earlier, you mentioned the missile defense when we were talking about korea. that is clearly a critical part of our layered missile defenses. what are the additional military measures specifically that we should be taking with our allies in south korea and japan in order to deal with the north korean threat? >> actually, i think the most important thing we can do is encourage tri lateral
cooperation specially in the mara time spacial and the regional defense space. we have been doing some of that over the last year. we have made a lot of progress. south korea and japan still have historic concern was each other that have inhibited a lot of progress. i think that's changing. the think the more the united states can get south korea and japan operating together, getting our systems talking to each other, it is only going to improve our ability to defend ourselves. i think that's the most important thing we can be doing right now. you saw the carl vinson is doing exercises with the japanese, getting ready to hand off to the koreans today. there is sequencing there that is important. we need to move past the sequenced set of cooperation and we would be doing more together on the water in particular. >> that's very helpful. >> i af few seconds left. would anybody like to read to that, dr. friedberg, dr. cha? >> the only thing i would add,
we need another thad on the peninsula. >> i see lots of nodding heads. i take it that's a consensus position. that's very helpful. i think we need to signal to our allies that our commitment is firm, that it is unshakeable and that we are going to pursue appropriate ways to demonstrate that. thank you. >> senator mccain. >> i want to follow up on senator warren's question about the u.s./india relationship. two of you mentioned in your opening testimony the importance of the relationship. senator mccain echoed that. one of you only talked about the endo pacific, not the asia pacific. dr. tellis, i thought that was interesting. you used the phrase indoe pacific. about two years ago, virtually all of our dod witnesses squiched ovsquic switched over to using indopacific.
they do more joint exercises with the united states than any other nation. that is an important, recent trend. >> i view prime minister mothi being that. the party has had that alliance. talk about what we should be doing to deepen that relationship, not only militarily. it seems a similarity between china and russia, they both would like the u.s. less involved in the region and they both seem to have an interest in undermining the brand of democracies generally and suggesting that authoritarian nations are just as good? we are the oldest democracy. india is the largest. both of our nations have some motive to demonstrate the strength of democracies. there doesn't seem to be an institution in the world now that's effectively promoting the strength of the democratic model. i'm curious to have you talk about what the u.s. and india might do together either security issues in the region or
more generally to promote the democratic model against this assault from authoritarian nations to suggest it is losing its vigor? >> i would say practically speaking with the indians, we could be doing a lot more? southeast asia and asia, in particular the building capacity of our partners. the indians have taken a recent interest in getting more ep gauged in the asia pacific as part of mothi's act east. there is more we can do at the strategic level to find ways to build capacity with the southeast partners and south asia. as a way to check chinese ambitions a little bit. also, more cooperation in the indian ocean region for sure. historically, that's been india's space. there is more the united states and india could do together in that area as well. we have a very successful exercise called malabar, that we
invite the japanese too. i think going back to the point i made earlier about networking our security relationships, we should really try to press the indians to also include allies like australia into that exercise. the more we can work together to expand this hub and spoke approach to the region, i think the better. in terms of your question on democracy, the united states and india share a strategic view on the importance of a rules-based order. it is what drives our cooperation at the strategic level. the more that the united states and india are seen partnering together in initiatives in the region, the more it kind of has a bank shot on the democratic aspects. there are more ways we can speak together with a common voice about the importance of the rules-based order together. >> senator, let me start by giving you a sense of bha i think the fears and the
uncertainties in delhi are right now. they are concerned that the u.s. will not make the investments required to protect its preeminence in the u.s. and if that grows roots, then their willingness to bet on the u.s. relationship demolishes. they are also concerned that the u.s. for tactical regions might reach with the chinese and if that happens, then india will find itself in a sense losing out. so the immediate challenge that we have with india is to reassure it the u.s. remain the guarantor of the space writ large, and that i include the indian oceans and asia pacific. the second they see the challenges arising from china, so whatever we can do to help them cope with those emerging strategic challenges are those that advance our common interests, and i endorse
everything kelly said in this regard. the indian ocean area becomes an immediate point of focus. southeast asia becomes an immediate point of focus, and i would also say central asia and the persian gulf, because india has interests in afghanistan and the gulf. there are millions of indians that work in the gulf, important part of exchange, so on and so forth. so those are areas we can continue to do work in terms of broader defense cooperation. senator warren really eluded to the defense technology initiative that was started by secretary carter. i think we ought to pursue that, because it really meets an important dmeneed, and i hope t new administration doubles down on support. the final point i would make with respect to democracy promotion, the indians are actually very eager to work with the united states, but not at the high end, at the low end. they are more interested in working with us in building institutions as opposed to changing regimes. they know they can't affect our
choices with respect to how we deal with regimes, but getting the mechanics of democracy right, so helping countries conduct elections, having training programs for civil servants, helping them put together the institutional capacities to demand democracy, that's where india has in the past been quite willing to work with us, and during the bush administration they worked with us on the global initiative of democracy. it would be really unfortunate if we lost our appetite at this point when you have a prime minister in india who's actually quite eager to work with us on democracy promotion collaboratively around the world. >> on behalf of the chairman, senator king, please. >> thank you very much. there are eight other countries in the world other than north korea that have nuclear weapons, and many of them have had them for many years. they've never been used, principally because of the principal of deterrence, so the question based upon your
question today, which is that a continued pursuit of nuclear weapons by north korea is virtually inevitable, it will be very difficult to derail with anything short of devastating military confrontation, which we can discuss in a moment. will deterrence work with north korea just as it has worked with the rest of the world to keep us away from nuclear confrontation? dr. cha? >> so, i think the -- the hopeful answer is that it will. north korea has been deterred from invading the korean peninsula again with armored divisions, so the u.s. alliance in terms of conventional deterrence has worked, so one hopes to because of that outcome. when it comes to the -- two things that are different, one we're talking about nuclear weapons now, and, two, we're talking about a different leader. even if we assume that
deterrence holds, nuclear deterrence holds, we still have two other problems. one is, as senator graham and ashley mentioned, is outward proliferation. north korea is a serial proliferate tor. every weapons system they have ever developed they have sold. >> and the real nightmare is nonstate actors obtaining nuclear weapons for whom deterrence would not work. >> that's absolutely right, absolutely correct. the second concern is because if deterrence holds at the nuclear rung of the ladder, there's also the possibility that north korea will feel the united states has deterred, therefore, it can actually coerce more at the conventional level, something that is known as the stability, instability paradox, so there's concern north korea, even if deterred, will feel it has more license to take actions at the conventional level and course others. >> you all have testified about the consequences of a preemptive
strike in terms of -- and i think it's important to realize seoul is about as far from the dmz as we are from baltimore. we're not talking about nuclear strike, we're talking about artillery. but let me ask the question another way, and perhaps this is best addressed to the intelligence community, but you may have views. could we take out their nuclear capacity with a preemptive strike, or would it simply be enough left you can't bomb knowledge, there be enough left to reconstitute it and they would be even more determined at that point? ms. magsamen? >> i mean, the short answer is, i don't know. but i do think that the question of permanence is important and what the objective of the strike would be, if it was to take out the program, there is, as you mentioned, the knowledge issue. >> during our debate on the jcpoa, the intelligence community informed us an all-out strike on the nuclear capacity of iran would delay their
program two years. that was a very important part of the debate, because that really makes that alternative less appealing. particularly when you layer on the response and the danger of confrontation with china. any of the other have views on the feasibility of how far the military strike could go in terms of eliminating the capacity? dr. tellis, do you? >> i don't believe we have the capacity to eliminate the program in its entirety. which essentially means that there will be both the residual assets and the capacity for reconstitution. >> and certainly the will based upon having been struck. >> correct. >> to change the subject slightly, one of the things that really concerns me about the situation we're in now, which is one of the most dangerous i can remember in my adult life, is accidental escalation, misperception. we move the carrier group, we believe that's a message, they
believe it's preparation for an invasion. and you get a response. is that -- you're all nodding, the record won't show nods. dr. friedberg, your thoughts? >> yes, i think that's an additional danger. even if you assume a certain level of rationality on the part of the north korean leadership, they are not insane, there's a real problem of misperception and miscalculation, the view that as nearly as we can tell the current north korean leadership has the rest of the world of the united states is extremely distorted. i think they do believe that we're out to get them, and there are possibilities for interaction between things that we do and things that they do that could have unintended consequences. >> do we have any direct communication with north korea? >> the channel that the u.s. government usually uses is through the permanent mission to the u.n. in new york. but it's largely a messaging channel. >> it strikes me as that would
be an important issue when you're in a situation where you don't want misunderstandings. that's when wars start, is misunderstanding, misperception of each side's moves. >> i agree, and i think to add to what aaron said, there could be miscalculation that comes from some place completely different. in other words, we have data north korea likes to target both u.s. and south korean elections with provocations and we have an election in south korea may 9th, so it's entirely plausible the north koreans can carry out something that's not ballistic missile, nonnuclear directed at south korea that can also get out of control. miscalculation can come from a variety of different places. >> i appreciate your testimony. needless to say, we focused a great deal on north korea. we didn't really talk as much about china. graham ellison has a new book, "destined for war," that i think we all need to study. the trap with regard to china.