tv North Korea Nuclear Program CSPAN June 9, 2017 11:29pm-12:31am EDT
years and one of the fathers of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and cares so much that he's here decades later. so we'll take a short break between our two panels. the next panel will be on one of the threats of the nonproliferation system. the north korea missile threat. we'll begin that in ten minutes and you have a chance to take a quick break. please find seats up front and we're briefly adjourned until 10:40. c-span where history unfolds daily. thanchts same vent also included a discussion on north korea and threats posed by the country's nuclear development program. this is an hour.
>> okay. we're going to get started. thank you all for sticking around for our second panel. i'm sure it comes as no surprise that we would be discussing north korea today given the increase the tensions on the korean peninsula and the north korean policy review that president trump has just completed. so for north korea watchers, 2017 has certainly been an interesting year. president trump decided to review policy towards north korea shortly after his inauguration. and he came back with a policy that emphasizes maximum pressure and engagement. but there has been some mixed signals on what exactly the united states might be looking for from north korea before entering into negotiations. south korea also has a new
president. he expressed an interest in talking to the north koreans. again under what conditions, you know, still remains somewhat of an open question. and then, of course in, north korea, i've seen a number of ballistic missile test lrz in 2017 including some new systems. and all of there is leading up to the summit that trump and the president will hold in washington, d.c., later this month. so to help make sense of all of these developments. we're very fortunate to have us with today michael aliman and suzanne demagio. we're going to start with mike. he's a senior fellow from the institute of international and strategic studies. spent time at booze, allen & hamilton. i would be remiss if i didn't add that he also has been in several thesises in arms control which i would encourage you to take a look at. his whole bio is available. and then we're going to move on to suzanne damaggio. suzanne is a director in senior
fellow at the new america foundation. she has years of experience working on track two diplomatic initiatives and range of issues including nonproliferation and international security with countries like iran, myanmar and north korea. she's formally been at the asia society and most recently with pyongyang in february and she has met him next month for a dialogue. so i'll turn it over to mike to get the discussion started. >> great. thank you, kelsey. thank you to the arms control association for the opportunity to speak here today. i'm going to try to keep my comments as brief as possible and kelsey agreed to kick me if i go over my time. it will be good entertainment for tv anyway. so i want to focus on making three essential points instead of rehashing the different systems and such that north korea is currently developing. i want to highlight them for a reason.
i hope this comes out at the end clearly. we've seen this new pattern of missile testing under the regime of kim jong-un. his grandfather, under his reign from 1984 to 1994, i know he began before 1984, but they started missing testing in 1984, he conducted a total of, i think it was 15 tests. about 1 1/2 missile tests per year. kim jong-il under his reign, there were 16 or so tests. this includes a few satellite launch attempts. but they came in clusters of 1998 you saw the one and then in 2006, ii and a number of other missiles were fired in a single
day and then in 2009 you saw a cluster of testing. this is inconsistent with testing to develop nuclear systems. even though they were attempting to develop the satellite launch as it turns out to be. it seemed that rational for testing was to train troops, you know, to create operational readiness and for political purposes. especially the july 2006 testing. under kim yojong-un, we've seen the ramp up of testing. i think he's now done 78 missile launches. there may have been more that failed. i don't know. i think the numbers are right around there. that's 13 to 15 tests per year. that's xiconsistent with the missile development program. compare that to say what iran is doing. iran tests maybe three to five missiles a year. they make minor modifications
and test them out. they use others systems. that is far less and it's not enough testing to develop a new capability in a short period of time. i'm talking three to five years. so it's clear to me what we've seen is a number of new systems emerge and i'll talk about them in a moment. but what is clear is north korea is trying to create new capabilities and they're going about it in a reasonably technically valid way. the second point i want to make is that we've seen north korea move beyond the legacy scud technology. all the missiles up until kim jong-un came to power were basically powered by the scud or the nodong engine. this includes the space launcher which uses nodong and scud technology. you can see it results in a very large system.
it could in principle be converted into an icbm and still have to be tested as an icbm to profit has a missile but also to validate the re-entry technologies. and wore head survivability. but this would be an immobile missile. it will be launched and prepared to launch from a fixed site. it would be vulnerable to pre-emption. you would have few in number. the preparation time is on the order of days, not hours. in 2016, we've seen the emergence of three new propulsion systems. i think this very important. one, we have seen the musadan. this say very dink engine. much more sophisticated than the nodong technology. it is derived from the old soviet era technology. it's a retired system now. but it appears that north korea
was able to import the engines if not more technology. all this technology by the way comes from either the design bureaus. the builder of russia's submarine launch missiles and they make the engines for almost every missile. they had a very close working relationship. that's up until a few months ago, i thought that was the primary procurement network for north korea. with this new engine that we see in the musadan, even though that missile failed a number of time, i think it's out of six to eight launches it had one apparent success and one partial success. it uses a different type higher energy fuels. it's a much more sophisticated engine. with that type of technology, you can now build a road mobile
icbm. in fact, the presumption has been that the engines would be the main power plant for the kno 8 or kn 14s that have not yet been tested but paraded by the north koreans. we've seen ---en that is very puzzling to me. i still haven't quite been able to figure out exactly what new engine this is. but in september of last year, they did a ground test of a -- what they called an 80 ton thrust engine. the statement that's came out after the test, wlhether it was destined for use on a satellite launcher. earlier this year they tested the same engine but they attached four steering or very near engines to it that operate in parallel. and they suggested that this would be use fod for a new
capability and they said be prepared. lo and behold two weeks ago they tested an intermediate range system. it flew to a very high altitude of i think 22, 2100 kilometers. but only about 500 kilometers range. if flown on a standard trajectory this missile would reach ranges of 4,000 to 4500 kilometers. in other words, it's a real intermediate range missile. it's not clear if that was the first test launch of this particular missile. there may have been one or two that occurred before that failed. it's uncertain at this point. mostly because the intelligence agencies around the world have been less than forthcoming for us poor souls that rely on open source literature. i'll talk about why this new missile is really important along with the musadan. i also want to note, we've seen
north korea expand beyond liquid propel anlt technologies. we've seen them employ solid propellant motors for one and two. this is a submarine launch missile and thent n the new lan mobile system. i think they're in the first steps of mastering the production of solid propellants. i believe this is indigenously produced. it was probably designed locally. it is not a copy of any known system although it shares the central features of all first generation submarine launch missiles. it is two stages. it's about one 1/2 meeters in diameter and about nine meters long. there are technical reasons why you come to that design solution. i don't think they copied this from anyone. but it's a worrying trend that if they master fully the solid propellant technologies, they can make any missile of any size
and any range that they want in the future. it will just take a lot of time. i'll zhaus a bit on time lines for icbm. this hs-12, the engine that powers it, it's a little unclear to me. it's certainly not from the design bureau. it appears to be consistent with the rd 250 engine developed by gluskow. it's another russian concern. it's the premier engine manufacturer for space launch vehicles in russia. this engine was used for a number of medium lift space launch vehicles. but also for the r-36. i think we called it the ss 9 icbm which was produced in of all places ukraine.
back when they were part of the soviet union. this means that north korea probably has an expanded network for elicit procurement. this is really worrying to me. this efrpg anyone particular could be the basis for an icbm. but, two, we now know that they probably have expanded their procurement capacity beyond these two. therefore, we don't know how large it s we don't know what else they may have. so predicting what systems they could develop in the near term to midterm is now complicated by this diverse fiction of sources of technology. the other thing i would note that because hs 12 is a new system and it's important, the outrage that we always associate
with any missile launch, i think that we need to stop -- or start looking at those launches which are most consequential versus those that are just standard and politically oriented. i don't worry if they test a scud. i do worry and i do think it's important when they test the hs 12. i would express sanctions or other punitive measures or sprentive measures and reserve those for the missiles that matter like hs 12 and musadan. i think we should rethink how we express our concerns about what north korea is doing. i want to wrap up with time lines for icbm. that's what everyone seems to be interested in these days.
it's always challenging to forecast the future. a lot of things can change. but if they want aid near term solution, meaning, something that would be operationally viable at the end of 2018, 2019, they could try to transform the satellite launcher into an icbm. stlad they'd have to replace the upper stages and test it and validate the design and he entry technologies. so you could see something for what i call emergency use probably 2019 or so. a more practical approach is to use the hs 12 to create a road mobile icbm. they need to continue testing and more fully develop the interimmediate range capability.
when think create that capacity and operationalize it depends on the requirement that's north korea imposes on their systems. you know, how reliable does it need to be? 50%? 75%? 99% like u.s. and chinese systems? or russian systems? that's an open question. and that's why it's difficult to project a time line with any real fidelity. but assuming they want something that's at least as reliable and successful most of the time, you can define most as you wish. i think that you would have to -- you would see a dozen flight tests with 75% of them being successful. then they would be operationally viable in my view. granted, it would be under a more relaxed criteria. that could occur in 2020 at the
very earliest, 2021 is more likely date. they could be used for emergency use if tacked by 2020. the third option they have is to use this new solid propellant technology. now it's one thing to make solid rocket motors the size that you see in candle or in one and kn 15 or it's quite another thing to build a 25, 30 ton rocket motor for first stage for an icbm. typically it takes countries five to 12 years to move from the size you see in the kn 11 to an icbm size. so it's a long term project that north korea could have to embark
on to create an icbm based on solid technologies. therefore, i would be very surprised if they had something that was operational by 2025. i think the more likely date would be 2030. it would result in a lot of embarrassing mistakes. so i think that will be a long term project, the most likely and viable system they can develop would be based on either the musadan or hs 12 technology. we can see that as the next president takes office after 2020 if it's not trump it's someone else. so i'll conclude there. i will leave time for question and outrage or whatever. >> those of new suspense, dinlt even have to kick him. he stayed on time. so now to talk about how we might be able to address the rising tension and to think about some of the actions for
engagement with north korea going forward, i'm going to turn it over to suzanne. >> please kick me if i go over. so darrell, kelsey, king ston, everyone, it's such an important organization at this moment. it may be more important than ever f you're not already supporting them, i urge you to do so. that's my pitch. i want to focus first on mostly on the policy options for the u.s. so as kelsey said, the administration now has completed its policy review and for all intents and purposes, it seems like it was fairly cohesive interagency review. it declared the end of strategic patience is over. i think actual funeral was held
here. that a policy of maximum pressure and engage ment was replacing it. frankly to me, it still seems very unclear if this new policy is really much different from the old policy or if it's just been given a new wardrobe. that being said, there appears to be several key elements to this policy as far as i can see. one is that it puts back on the table all options including military action. more aggressive action. for example, just today we know that there are naval maneuvers happening in the area of north korea. and for the first time in two decades it includes two usair craft carriers. also, the joint rok-u.s. military exercise that's just happened in april included navy seals, especially op team that
reportedly was focused on so-called decapitation exercises. so this does seem like a little bit of a ratcheting up on that side of the equation. and then during his visit to the region in march, secretary tillerson statements hinted at the policy of a preemptive strike. he also stated that all options are on the table when questioned about a military option. opening a door to the idea of preventative war. the problem with this approach if we rely on it exclusively is that when you threaten the use of force, you have to be prepared to use it. it's a major risk. the fact that we do not know how the north korean was retaliate, we would imagine that they would respond in one way, shape or form. and that could escalate.
it could inflict mass casualties, severe damage to our allies, south korea as well as to our other ally, japan. and potentially to u.s. forces that are based in the region. and this leaves out the question how would beijing react? could lead to a regional war, a full scale war. we all know that there is really no military solution to the north korea issue and i feel very strongly about that. the second element i see is a greater reliance on china to mount more pressure against north korea, at least rhetorically. china, of course, is pyongyang's biggest trading partner. 90% of the total trade came from -- was china including most of north korea's food and energy supplies. so it is a very unique position.
today the u.n. security council is considering a new resolution, additional sanctions while japan, u.s. and south korea are pushing for more sanctions. china is resisting sean pushing for dialogue at an emergency meeting of the unsc that happened last week and is continuing today. >> president trump recently tweeted that china is trying hard to reign in north korea and u.s. ambassador to the u.n. nikki haley recently stated that bay ying r ji beijing is trying to use a back channel. this indicates to me do they not have direct channels? we've heard rumors of worsening relationship between the two, the fact that kim jong-un since he gained power has not visited
beijing. he's not met ping. we really have to question whether or not a reliance on china to help sol of thve this is a wise approach. i'm very skeptical about it. and china's national interests are not necessarily aligned with ours. we can go through a whole litany of things, everything from a fear that the regime's down fall could lead to a mass refugee influx, a collapse could allow u.s. troops to have direct access to the chinese border. and, of course, the recent implementation of t.h.a.a.d. threatening to the chinese. the third element of this policy is an emphasis on more sanctions. president obama also focused on sanctions as well. so it's not necessarily new.
the fact is that this approach hasn't worked so far. in fact, i would argue as outlined in the previous presentation that as we, you know, layer it on more sanctions against north korea, we see them steadily accelerating the progress on their nuclear missiles program. in the face of increased sanctions. there was a study done by researchers recently at mit, that found u.s. sanctions imposed against north korea have been largely unsuccessful at curving the country's i will lice it procurement because of in part north korea has been able to adapt. there's a growing capacity to work around sanctions. so could sanctions and pressure on north korea alone resolve nuclear issue? it's very unlikely. i think even if we look at the case of iran, extensive
sanctions on their own didn't bring the iranians to the table. there were other factors we can talk about them. and this is even less likely in the case of north korea because pyongyang is not as reliant on the global financial system as iran. so in this new policy, it also leaves room for engagement. so that's the fourth element that i see. and my thinking on this is with the new u.s. administration comes an opportunity to try to forge diplomatic path, especially whether it's clear that current approach is not working. relying on a pressure only approach is dangerous because it is inherently an approach of escalation that either leads to conflict or backing down by one side and not necessarily to a potential political agreement, political solution. so we risk falling into a cycle
of tit for tat escalate with real potential for conflict either by design or maybe more so by accident. so we need an off ramp. the trump administration has left open room for engagement. still remains to be seen if that will be pursued. president trump warned in an interview in late april that a major, major conflict with the north was possible. he also said he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute. although the u.s. has explicitly ruled out talks with pyongyang unless the government took verifiable action to freeze its weapons program, the president then said he would be honored to meet with north korea's leader kim jong-un under the right circumstances. i think these are very mixed signals, mixed messages that
urgently need to be clarified. that being said, it's interesting that following that senior north korean diplomat wi also their lead nuclear negotiator recently said that dprk is open to dialogue with the u.s. under the right conditions. south korean president moon has said something similar. so i think the task now at hand is to find out what those right conditions are and the best way to do this, of course, the only way to do it, is through dialogue. so what is needed now is what i would call aggressive diplomacy backed up about by the leverage that maximum pressure that i just talked about brings. now when we talk about a diplomatic approach, i do think there are some lessons to be learned from the iran deal that might be worth considering for negotiating with north korea.
of course, both cases are completely different. i've traveled to both countries. i've experienced it firsthand the biggest difference, is of course, north korea has nuclear weapons, iran has never possessed a nuclear weapon. and, of course, iran is a member of the npt. the differences go on and on and on. so i'm not advocating that the jcpoa is a model for north korea, it's technically quite different. but i do think the process of diplomacy that the u.s. pursued with iran could offer some insights on how to begin engagement with the very strong adversary whose leadership is extremely distressful of the united states and, of course, vice versa. there are three elements of the diplomacy with iran that i think we should be looking at. first is initiate a low key diplomatic channel authorized at the highest level. prior to the start of official negotiations with the iranians,
both diplomats from both countries engage in the series of meetings that were held secretly. there were 12 such meetings convened in geneva and new york over a period bf 16 months. this eventually led to the multilateral five plus one talks and an interim agreement called the joint plan of action jpoa in november of 2013. i think given the level of mistrust between pyongyang and washington, i think it would be a good first step to try to have dialogue without preconditions to find out what is possible. we can call them talks about talks to help clarify what those conditions that would be acceptable, what are they? how can we identify them? how to meet or overcome them? what are the nonnegotiables and then move ahead with the negotiations with our allies and