tv Former President George W. Bush Discusses Human Rights in North Korea CSPAN January 1, 2017 10:30am-11:37am EST
>> what do we know that the direction of fema in the incoming trump administration? >> trump administration have not said any about who the next fema director would be. they have offered some takes on climate change. they do not fall in line with the obama administration on whether or not humans are involved in climate change. ae next epa administrator, clear sign of where the trump administration will come down on change. means ima not that will continue to serve resiliency project, it is not. . >> what is congress saying about each of fema? sure it has to make boots on the ground without we
have seen just this year. problems with wildfires in tennessee, i think one and people are waiting for is to see , there has been a mystery of sorts around how the trump administration will deal with this. we've got people selected who are very much understanding the topic of the agency. a little background on the mission of the agencies. many things require a level of the areas and technocratic knowledge. i will be curious to see whether or which direction the agency ghost in picking someone who does not have a background in this or somebody who perhaps doesn't. >> we will leave it there. thank you for your time.
[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] in-depth on the pratt -- the presidency of barack obama. of "the presidency in black and white." an associate editor of the washington post, author of over barack obama, the story. watch live noon to three p.m. eastern today on c-span two. >> tonight. >> people were starving and van buren had the spurs at the white house.
here was this rich man in washington. he had thousands of acres in the state and he was very wealthy as event -- a very wealthy man but portrayed as a champion of the poor. it was veryeaches shocking. they were criticized by the democrats. >> how the campaign changed presidential elections forever. tonight on c-span's q&a. >> now, former president george w. bush on north korea. his remarks are followed by a on theiscussion
foreign-policy priorities of the trump administration in the 115th congress. this is just over an hour. >> good morning. i am the director of global initiatives here at the bush institute. thank you for taking time to join us for this forum on freedom in north korea, and welcome to the bush institute, where we focus on developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today's most pressing challenges. behind me as a satellite image of the korean peninsula. it shows a startling contrast between north and south. while south korea is alive with light, north korea is shrouded in darkness. more than 24 million people live under the tyranny of communism in the cam regime. in recent years, free societies have focused attention on the plight of korean people, but more must be done. since 2014, the bush institute has held consensusbuilding meetings, commissioning additional research and
understanding one of the worst human tragedies of our time. the result has been a call for action for governments, the private sector, and societies to work together in a bipartisan way to improve the human condition in north korea. we believe this includes advocating for a new u.s. policy that integrates the cry for human freedom with denuclearization. we also believe that means supporting the north korean escapees who are building new lines and freedom here in the united states. all of you can be a part of this call to action. if you visit bushcenter.org/nk, you will find several concrete ways you can help. learn more about the human rights security nexus by downloading original
infographics, videos, and research, including what will be discussed today. let members of congress know how you feel. we know the national leaders like those in the audience today care deeply about these issues. find ways to support north korean escapees and other refugees in your community, and support the ongoing work of the bush institute to advance human freedom, including our north korea work, with your contributions. the will for human freedom cannot be tamped down forever. north korean society is changing and growing more independent. since the late 1990's, more than 30,000 north koreans, men, women, and children, have managed to escape. most live in south korea today. some have made the long journey to the united states. one of those brave souls is joseph kim. in 2006, joseph escaped north korea into china and eventually made his way here with the help of an organization called
liberty in north korea. today he is a hard-working college student and a voice for north koreans who still do not know freedom. joseph visited the bush institute in 2014, and we are thrilled to welcome him back. ladies and gentlemen, joseph kim. [applause] >> hello, everyone. my name is joseph kim. today is my second time meeting president bush. what i was offered an opportunity to meet him three years ago, i thought about it and i decided to accept the invitation. as a student, i thought it would be a good thing to meet the president, because how many college students can say i actually met president bush? someone suggested that i should
thank him because he signed the act which allowed the north korean refugees to have an opportunity to come to the u.s., including myself. that day when i met him, i thanked him with my brain, the best i could, but not with a heart. during the meeting, president bush asked me how i escaped from north korea, and what it was like living in china, and what my dream was. i struggled so much answering questions, partially because i was nervous, and mostly because i was not sure what my dream was. i talked on and on without really answering his questions. everyone in the room was probably wondering when this kid was going to stop talking.
[laughter] joseph: except president bush. he listened so patiently and tried his best to understand. i think that really touched me, that his interest in care really move me. later on as i learned more about the bills he signed into law, i started to realize how significantly affected life of so many north korean refugees including myself. as a result of the act, over 200 north korean refugees have had the opportunity to come to the u.s.. today, some of these individuals are running their own small businesses, and some are studying in college with the help of helping to change their motherland. it may sound silly,
[indiscernible] [laughter] joseph: they are not weird people though. to north korean people, the inconsequential lives they have in the u.s. are the lives they have dreamed of for so long. that is not to say that everything is fine living in the perfect u.s. we definitely have and continue to face new challenges, and i believe that is why we are here in this room together. we are still in the process of moving forward and making an impact that comes from our words today. in the small but collective ways in which we are able to. this is why i would like to take a moment to thank president bush sincerely, and with all my heart
this time. not only for making this reality possible, but also for his ongoing care and commitment to the north korean people. ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to introduce president george w. bush. [applause] pres. bush: thank you all. thank you all for coming. we at the bush center think this is an important conversation to have. after all, we are focusing our attention on freedom, freedom
for the people of north korea and south korea. first of all, it brings great joy to my heart to be introduced by joseph kim. this guy is one incredibly courageous person. he has seen the full horrors of oppression in north korea. he was orphaned during the famine. he scrounged for food on the streets of north korea. he eventually escaped to china and came to america. he attends bard college. he has written a book. if you are interested, it is called "under the same sky." i am thrilled that joseph came back to the bush center, and i want to affect him for keeping the promise that someday korea will be whole and free.
you are about to hear from grace joe as well. she too is a north korean refugee. she goes to montgomery college. she is a sweet soul, and we are honored to hear grace. thank you for coming. there are other north korean refugees here. we thank you for coming. we appreciate your courage, and we look for your input on how those of us of the bush institute can help you. i know there are some distinct people here. laura. [laughter] pres. bush: joe lieberman, the great senator from connecticut who is one courageous person when it comes to doing what is right for freedom in the world, and we are thrilled you are here, joe. retirement ain't all that bad a deal, isn't it? you look refreshed being outside of washington. the other one is not refreshed,
but is doing a fabulous job as senator of colorado, cory gardner. we appreciate your service, and i want to thank you for being one of the architects of tougher sanctions on north korean officials for human rights violations. ambassador robert king, special envoy for north korean human rights, has joined us. robert, we appreciate you coming. you will hear from robert and the other two i introduced soon. we've got members of the korean-american community. part of the purpose here is to encourage all americans, but the best leaders will be korean americans who have benefited from living in america to help those who have sought freedom. we have some notables with us, the great kj choi, golfer, dallas area resident, cocaptain of the presidents cup international team that came in second to the americans. [laughter]
pres. bush: anyway, a really good guy, as is chan ho park. had a great major league baseball courier, actually played for the rangers for a while. he lives with three young girls in los angeles. we thank him for coming. and my great friend roy ru, south korean citizen. cares deeply about the people from north korea. he married a woman from north korea. he is a great friend of mine and 41's. we appreciate you being here. ken is a smart guy who has really brought a lot of energy to this building. we appreciate it. holly, operating officer, is with us. my friend tom bernstein is the chair of the freedom human advisory council.
we thank you for helping a lot. amanda spitzer, who you heard from. lindsay lloyd is the deputy director. and the moderator of today's conversation is mike gerson, former speechwriter for president bush and a strong advocate for american freedom. we do a lot of things here. we think they are very important. for those of you who don't know what we do, please look it up, and i think you will think it is important. people ask, why north korea? of all the places, why should the bush center be thinking about north korea? there are several reasons. one, north korea is a remnant of the last century.
it is one of the last cold war conflicts. it is the last gasp of totalitarianism, the last fortress of a kind of tyranny that is beginning to leave the earth. one such tyranny tyrant that left the earth happened last week, fidel castro. like the north korean leaders, he imprisoned his own people. like the north korean leaders, he ruined his country's economy. like the north korean people, the cuban people deserve better. north korea represents a great security threat. it shows how proliferation of a deadly technology can allow small leaders, failed, cruel, and criminal leaders, to threaten and disrupt the world on a grand scale. but every successful missile test advances, from seoul to tokyo to across the pacific. there is no easy policy solutions. but any serious response must begin by accepting reality. there is no way to detach ourselves from events in east asia. our future and the future of
that region are closely linked. eventually, there is no isolation from proliferation, no safety and distance. north korea also presents the greatest sustained humanitarian challenge of our time. the whole country is a prison run by sadistic -- the north korean people have suffered decades of oppression and famine and violence. i controlling access to the broader world, the north korean government has tried to make this nightmare seem normal to its victims. some argue that the spirit of the north korean people has been beaten into submission so that, so total that opposition is unthinkable. we don't believe that here. the desire for freedom, like the dignity of the person, is universal. a place in human hearts by god
cannot be removed by kim jong-un. the regime attempts to control every mind, every tongue, every life, but the refugees with us today demonstrate that no oppressor can control the soul. the north korean people are pleading in their silence for freedom, and the world needs to listen, and the world needs to respond. these two elements, the security challenge and the humanitarian challenge, are closely linked.
the threats we face arises out of the nature of the north korean regime itself. the lesson of history is clear. a country that does not respect the rights of its people will not respect the rights of its neighbors. this is one of the main arguments of an excellent report that victor and bob have put together. thank you for coming. these men are two of the foremost experts on north korea. one is a democrat, one is a republican. they make a strong case that security and human rights are inseparable.
they make a strong case that the promotion of human dignity is not a distraction from security policy. it is a distinct advantage in pursuing that policy that was the theory of the north korea human rights act of 2004, which i was honored to sign. we sent out help to expand north korean refugees, and to expose the horrible conditions sustained by their countrymen. over the years, but tightening of sanctions has complicated the work of what is essentially a criminal enterprise. and the groundbreaking united nations commission of inquiry report has further isolated the north korean government by focusing global attention on its brutal and aggressive nature. victor in bob's report sent out a range of options for a renewed north korean policy, reassuring allies in the region, integrating nonproliferation and human rights sanctions, going after slave labor exports that fund weapons development, encouraging information flows into the north, and expanded
diplomatic pressure. they put together a good roadmap. this is a timely moment, and our country is about to have a new administration which has every right to choose its own direction. they can take advice or not, but there is one option that can't be chosen, the option of drifting, because that would lead to disaster. denial provides only the shallow and temporary illusion of security, and leadership on this matter cannot be delegated to
others. a successful response will require unprecedented global cooperation, but it can only be led by one country, the united states. there is another way to show our commitment to human rights for the north korean people, by supporting the refugees in our midst. the bush institute's given freedom initiative is issuing a second report today, based on a survey of north korean refugees who live in our country. it shows a small but highly motivated community of exceptional people. it also reveals real need in the areas of education and employment. this is a set of problems where the private sector, including the korean-american community -- by the way, we have young korean americans from new york city who helped fund the project laura announced and have flown down to be with us. coming to the aid of the men and women who have fled the worst tyranny in the world is in our national interest. it is in the interest of the
korean-american community. it is in the interest of those that have hearts for those who suffer in our country. the warm welcome of refugees is one of the truest expressions of our national character. it shows a broad reach of american ideals and a good heart of our people. refugees often risk everything, including their life, to come to america. whatever their background, they deserve our sympathy. not our contempt. free nations cannot accept a future on terms set by this brutal and unstable regime. technology is bringing closer the threats of a dangerous world. technology can also carry a message of god given rights and dignity in the other direction. that is a form of power as well. the untamed power of freedom to reach the darkest corners of the world. it is not foreign-policy realism to ignore the deepest aspirations of humanity.
yes, we defend ourselves in a demilitarized zone and we are grateful to american and korean troops to stand guard on the last rampart of the cold war. but we also defend ourselves by taking the side of the north korean people. they deserve better than brutality and tyranny. they deserve to determine their own future. that would bring real peace to the korean peninsula. the only true and lasting peace, a peace founded on human freedom. thank you all for coming. god bless. [applause] >> please welcome the human
rights and security nexus panel, moderated by michael gerson, columnist for "the washington post." michael: good morning. i'm honored to be with you at this forum on freedom in north korea, and to be with this distinguished panel. there is a portion of president bush's second inaugural address that leads, we are led a common sense to one conclusion. the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.
the best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. america's vital interests and deepest beliefs are now one. north korea is really the test of this assertion, and could be its demonstration under the right circumstances. can freedom really grow in the rocky, assaulted -- rocky, salted soil of north korea? but what long-term solutions to the problems of a peninsula can even exist without that freedom? these are some of the questions we are going to explore today. by way of background, historically, there have been two groups of north korea watchers, those that focus more on human rights, and those who focus more on security issues. the bush center has been a force working to bring these groups together, and the paper authored by victor and bob is a milestone in that effort. it outlines a new approach for a
new administration which will face the north korean challenge from its first day in office. it brings together human rights and security concerns, and argues that cannot be separated. this is a notoriously difficult and high-stakes policy matter, but our national discussion begins with an advantage. it is a rare foreign-policy issue in which there is broad bipartisan agreement represented on this panel today. but turning consensus into policy will require leadership, and much of that leadership will come from the u.s. congress. so, let me start the introductions which i will keep brief to allow a maximum time for our discussion. senator cory gardner has spent just a few years in the senate, but he has already become a respected leader of north korean policy.
as chairman of the subcommittee on east asia, the pacific and international cyber security, he has pursued strong sanctions and focused parallel passions of the north korean human rights abuses. senator joe lieberman served 24 years in the u.s. senate and was the vice presidential nominee of the democratic party in 2000, which did not turn out quite as planned. [laughter] michael: over the years, he has strongly and sometimes single-handedly defended the great internationalist tradition of franklin roosevelt and john kennedy. the four freedoms and the new frontier. he is defending those ideals at aei as cochair of the american internationalist project. victor cha has a long legacy of
service. he is the asian director at the nsc. he is the author of several books, including "the impossible state." he now serves simultaneously as the director of asian studies at georgetown university, the korean chair at the center for strategic and international studies, and the human freedom fellow at the bush institute, which sounds exhausting just saying all those things. [laughter] michael: and ambassador robert gallucci is perhaps the most respected diplomat in this area, going back to his work as chief u.s. negotiator during the north korean nuclear crisis of 1994. he is the former dean of the school of foreign service at georgetown. now, he is a professor at georgetown and a consultant to the bush institute on this project. welcome, all of you. let me start with the authors of the paper released today. victor, you are making the claim
in this paper that "freedom and security are indivisible." why is that true? victor: thank you, michael. first, i think president bush actually put it best. our thinking going into this is that, as a security problem, this has been really unsolvable for the united states for the past quarter-century, despite the efforts of numerous administrations of both sides of the aisle. part of the reason it has been unsolvable is because we have not acknowledged that at the core of the security threat is the nature of the regime. a regime that treats its people as poorly as it does cannot be trusted to keep agreements, cannot be trusted to treat its neighbors fairly and respectfully. in that sense, we thought any
new administration looking at this cannot look at this in one dimension. there is more than one dimension to the security problem, and at the core of the security problem is the question of human liberty in north korea. michael: bob, as a basic manner, -- basic matter, what do you see is the nature of the security threat to the united states and our allies today, and where is it headed? bob: i think we would all start with the nuclear weapons issues and say that north korea has been a problem for u.s. national security expert for decades going back to the korean war. but that situation materially changed when north korea acquired nuclear weapons, and then went about to acquire ballistic missiles to be able to attack not only our allies in northeast asia, japan, and the republic of korea, but also is now on its way to reach the continental united states.
if we were talking about a security threat, that is the first and principal one. let me just quickly add that we worry everyday that the regime in north korea, which has a history of doing provocative things off the coast, will do something that could spark another conflict on the peninsula. third, which is for me personally one that rises to the top of the list, is the north korean propensity to transfer both ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons capability. people know in the business that
this is a no done for north korea. what they may not recall is that in 2007, the israelis were executing their own version of a nonproliferation policy and flattened a facility that was really a plutonium production reactor being built in syria -- which you recall was a country once. that was being built by the north koreans. the idea that they would transfer this technology to syria. suggesting they could transfer it anywhere. that opens up our own vulnerability to the possibility of nuclear terrorism. the source for that would be north korea. we have a range of concerns here from conventional war to
attack by a ballistic missile to us or our allies, and there is the transfer issue. there are more, but that's of my list. michael: senator gardner, we have seen strong consensus between republicans and democrats on capitol hill on this issue, and strong leadership from the congress in the last administration. what are the most important priorities on north korea for the new congress? sen. gardner: thank you for that question, and thank you for the institute for putting this together today. i think the new congress has to first of all make sure this is not one of those forgotten issues during the transition. we have seen over the past several years, as issues in the middle east have rightly taken a place and role in our foreign policy, but that does not mean that we can turn away from what is happening in north korea and what has happened on the korean peninsula.
i think the new congress has to make sure that the new administration focuses and police services policy north korea as one of its most important foreign-policy priorities. to understand that right now concerns and south korea are significant about what the new administration is going to the continuing policies that we have to make sure the new congress reiterates our commitment to defense security of south korea that are deterrent in all of its various means and ways, continues to extend stronger than ever to south korea. that strength through show of force operations continues. in matters that reflect that commitment the united states has. and to make sure that, as provocations for north korea will undoubtedly service, we have a cohesive and well thought plan in place to address them.
i think the new congress has to address what is coming out of the united nations tomorrow, it looks like, in terms of a resolution. make sure that is enforced, continued to reiterate the commitment that we have been enforcing strong sanctions against north korea and other nations that may facilitate their nuclear programs, working with china to ensure they are enforced. and then making sure that we have a policy of strength, something the senate has focused on particularly over the past year when it comes to strengthening and reinforcing the trilateral alliance between japan, korea, and the united states, which is absolutely critical to any change in north korea. michael: senator lieberman, can you explain why it is important for this to be a bipartisan issue. what does that add to north korean policy? mr. lieberman: i am glad to. thank you for convening this group, particularly through the
bush center. their principle of public service, which in my opinion is based on the ideal of freedom, which is the mission our founders gave us in the declaration of independence, and our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which clearly were not just given by our creator to americans. it is a declaration of universal human rights. we forget sometimes that that's our mission as americans, but it also happens to relate to our security in a very real way, and that can be lost.
why is it important that support for human rights in north korea and for a change of regime in north korea and the unification of korea? because it comes from our basic values. this ought not to be a partisan matter in any sense. the discussion we have had, when you think about it, it is easy enough for somebody to say, "oh, north korea, that's too bad. well, in this slave state, he is treating them early. that's too bad." but now he has built this nuclear missile capacity and now he is touting it to the iranians, the pakistanis, to the syrians, and inevitably to terrorists, and he is also developing now literally the capacity to hit the western part of the united states. so, what may seem like a kind of
idealistic pursuit of human rights for people far away from us is not only directly related to what we are in our hearts as the americans, but it is also related to our security. i think that's why we have achieved bipartisanship on this matter. why it is so important we go forward. havet cap one more word -- one more word going forward. we are at the change of an administration in washington. this is an administration whose foreign policy in detail really has not been sketched out, so that unsettles people including our allies in korea and all-around the world. but it also creates an opportunity, to put it that way,
to try andlike this speak the truth about north korea to those who will exercise power in the next administration, because the reality is that north korea will be in the face of the next administration whether it chooses to look at it or not. michael: victor, you are recommending a new approach to your security strategy and human rights. how will it be more different from what we are doing now? and what will the objectives be? victor: first of all, one of the big differences is we are making a statement. making is that how security right -- security and human rights are dependent on each
other. this is not something that has been done in the past. we have seen the sanctions regime moving in a direction where there is more targeting of some things that might be related to human rights, but i think it is very important for the president-elect to come out very clearly and make a very strong statement about the grave north related to human rights, but i k with human rights, and about the need for a policy that is not just focused on one dimension, but is focused on several dimensions. we have bob king here, the ambassador for human rights for the obama administration, and he and the administration have done a good job at trying to target some of the areas where revenues from human rights violations may go to fund the development of nuclear proliferation. but there is a lot more that can be done. we go through some of the areas where a new administration or sanctions regime can target additional businesses, additional activities by both
companies, state run companies, front companies, and others that provide funding for proliferation in north korea. of course, with the new administration we will also have the opportunity to renew the north korean human rights act that president bush signed, the first version of that. there is a lot of opportunity there in terms of modernizing the act particularly when it comes to technology and flows of information. there is a really rich menu of things that could make, as senator lieberman said, an opportunity for new policy to cover new ground. michael: bob, what should china's role be in influencing the situation? does it have a role to do this, and can we have a broader relationship with china? robert: it would seem to me than
any durable arrangement in northeast asia that addresses the north korean challenge has to have china aboard. that is a minimum. others have suggested that maybe this should be china's responsibility. it is right in their backyard, and they have influence in pyongyang when nobody else does, so much economic leverage. they should take this on. but the political reality here is that the chinese do not have congruent interests with us. they fear, more than the north korean human rights situation or nuclear weapons issues or ballistic missiles -- they fear instability and american military presence in northeast asia. as long as that is true, they will be what they have been over
the last 20 years or so -- moderating sanctions so that they can't have that impact that some people have in mind for sanctions. what i am saying here is there is a role for china. i think it is right that we should be pressing the chinese to bear some of the responsibility and do heavy lifting in pyongyang. but at the end of the day, they will be limited, because of how they define their interests. second, i should say from my perspective, i don't think we should be subcontracting arguably the most important security issue in the asia-pacific region to our principal competitor in that region, and i am not shrinking from saying competitor. that being true, this is not a china problem. as the president said before, there is only one country that can lead in this situation, and that is the united states of america. michael: senator gardner, i would actually like to hear your
view on that topic. how does this relate to our broader chinese relationship? it is going to be on trade and a lot of things. could this get lost? how is it raised? what do we do to convince china to play a more constructive role? sen. gardner: in many ways, this is a defining corner piece of our relationship with china, because you have a regime that is certainly willing to launch any number of missiles to expand its capabilities, to test that . the regime currently is willing to torture its own people, 200,000 right now in concentration camps. and you've got a nation that controls 90% of its economy that has been unwilling so far to flex the full might of its ability to influence the behavior of the north korean regime. i do think this has to be a corner piece.
i think it is a corner piece in our relationship with china. we have to be willing to use every lever at our disposal in order to influence that relationship as china asked ts towards north korea. what are those things? in our legislation that passed congress, we not only put in place mandatory sanctions, but we put in place sanctions that do business with north korean entities when that money goes back, and it will go back, to proliferation activities or other sexual actions, items, businesses, practices in north korea. the administration has rolled out, i think it was around september, actions against a chinese entity, but the fact is that china was not very happy with themselves. so we were asking china to do
something against an entity that they were not pleased with, but would have taken the next step of actually going further into other areas of secondary sanctions. but we have not picked that is that -- but we have not. that is something the next congress should press for. every conversation we have with china ought to include an element of north korea. and you can't really say that we will just focus on proliferation or nuclear issues. you also have to bring in human rights issues, because as victor said, as bob pointed out in the report, a regime that is willing to torture its own people, deprive them of food while they are building a nuclear program, is willing to put that in the heartland of the united states, at's a nuclear weapon. we are to strengthen our resolve against china, and its willingness and determinations to use its powers to influence the behavior of kim jong-un and the regime. michael: but that is
-- but china is uncomfortable with raising human rights issues more broadly, right? sen. gardner: look, china has its own issues that we should focus on, too. are they afraid to address north korean human rights violations when they know they have their own? these are things we should address at the same time. but in the report that victor and bob put out, they talked about -- why don't they have reports, naming nations that import the labor from north korea? that's a great idea. let's start naming nations that are enabling north korea's bad behavior and violations of human rights. let's bring attention of this. let's make sure every american understands what is happening to be 24 million people in north korea -- what they are subjected to each and every day, the brutality of this regime. i don't think we should be afraid to use these levers of power against china and others we know who are unwilling to use those levers of power. michael: to follow-up, victor, what is the nexus between slave
labor in the -- and the military programs in the north? how do you describe what is going on with money laundering and all these attempts to get hard currency? i'm just curious how slave labor that's in. labor fits in. victor: north korea is eternally mismanaged economy. they made some very bad choices going back to the establishment of the state, some total of which is they have very little that they can trade in the open market for hard currency. one of the ways they seek hard currency is through proliferation. the other, which there has been more focus on lately, is the export of their labor, small armies, laborers that get sent to different countries, that do projects, often construction projects, other hard labor projects outside of international labor organization laws and rules. the currency that is made from
that goes back into state coppers, and we believe it then goes to activities related to proliferation. fromying dual use items the chinese or centrifuges or other sorts of activities. that's one element. the other element is that north korea does a lot of exporting of coal. it is about the only export they have with the chinese. one of the organizations involved in that is an organization that has already been sanctioned by the north korean enforcement sanctions act and other acts. they are already a sanctioned company for violation of proliferation. the revenues for that are going back to supporting the program. so, we believe there is a direct link there. there is still a lot more research that could be done on this. the amount of money -- there is
a lot of speculation between 80 -- between it being $80 million and $200 million a year. for the most part, we don't suspect when that money comes back that it will go to fund afterschool programs or other things in north korea. [laughter] we are pretty certain that is going to the weapons programs. michael: senator lieberman, talk about this issue in the context of u.s. leadership in the world. why is it important for the united states to lead on this and not to delegate? mr. lieberman: well, the first reason is that this matters to us. it matters, as we said earlier in terms of our national values, our purpose, but it also matters quite directly in terms of our security. there will be a debate as the new administration takes office as to what our role will be in the world. the president-elect said certain things in the campaign that suggested we would go back -- i don't like to use the word
isolationism, but that we would withdraw from the world and concentrate on america. but the world does not allow you to concentrate on america. our freedom and prosperity depends a lot on what happens around the world. the example of north korea is a powerful example, but the other thing to say is that we live in a world of instantaneous communications globally, so that what we do in one place is immediately known elsewhere. for instance, whatever position you took on the iran nuclear agreement, the fact that the agreement was signed and it appeared that our allies in the world -- both in the arab and israel, were very upset about it, i think unsettled people. i had conversations with allies
in asia, wow, if china moves aggressively on us or if kim jong-un proposes some kind of compromise deal again. what i am saying is -- what we do with north korea will establish a very important precedent for what its leadership will be in the world, and it will, to be explicit, either encourage or discourage or unsettle our allies, and it may also encourage or discourage our enemies. the way we handle this is important beyond north korea, but north korea, in my opinion, is probably the most urgent, immediate threat that the new administration will face to our security. i think we have to acknowledge,
as president bush said at the outset, this is not easy, but whatever we have tried so far has not worked, because people continue to live in terrible conditions, totally repressed, enslaved. and kim jong-un has increased his nuclear and missile capacity. to get toughtime on the freedom agenda. support opposition groups, try to get the people of north korea more access to the internet and knowledge on what is happening around the world. get top -- tough with the sanctions which are very important. this man is not going to make an agreement, as everybody seems to agree, unless he thinks the survival of his regime is on the line. we've got to convince him that is how serious we are including
the potential for military action, which none of us want to take. but if all else fails. michael: senator gardner, how strange or insecure are those relations right now with japan and south korea? sen. gardner: i think one of the constants we have tried to focus on is building a strong relationship between japan and south korea, because as i mentioned earlier, that trilateral alliance will be an important part of enforcing action from china and enforcing the sanctions against north korea. we have made great strides over the past year in terms of helping build that relationship between the two nations, issues of japan and south korea over comfort women -- having some movement on that issue, historical issues that we have not seen in the past. i think it has helped build the relationship between the two. we have seen in the past two weeks the signing of a nuclear -- of an agreement to share intelligence.
in the legislation we put forward in the senate, one of the keys was really focusing on high-level coordination of our administration and the trilateral alliance. that has been a constant focus to make sure those high-level opportunities to converse what needs to be done with north korea continue. obviously, intelligence sharing is a critical part of that. in the past, we had situations where japan might have critical information -- they would have to go to the u.s. military air force to give the information to the air force, but the air force would give it to korea instead of the two countries working together. so that has been some very good advancements. of course, we have issues in south korea now in terms of the government that are going to be worked out and resolved in some fashion or another. but we can't let what's happening in south korea today within the administration impact or effect the relationship between japan and south korea, and that is an important role for the united states to play.
whatever is the current in south occurring in south korea, the united states must continue to bring those two nations together as the three of us work on this issue. i do think the fact that they signed the intelligence sharing agreement in the midst of what is happening in south korea right now was a very important indication that they realize the importance of that relationship and the improvements they have made, and they are not going to let go of the advancements they have made between the two nations. michael: bob, if the north gets a reasonably accurate icbm, how does that change the diplomatic balance of power in asia? the military balance of power? what would be the effect on the regime's actions? what they would you willing to do? -- they be willing to do? robert: michael, that is a great
question and lots of folks are struggling with. some have said things like, when the north koreans actually have a deliverable icbm with a nuclear warhead that can reach with some confidence american homeland, it will change everything. that's one proposition. i think what people mean by that is that our allies will be vulnerable to a ballistic missile threat, but it will be different when we are so vulnerable. while most of us believe deterrence has worked over the years, decades with the soviet union, now russia, and china, that there is something different about this north korean state. we should not have such confidence of deterrence when our ability to defend by denial is quite limited to ballistic missile capability. this is a long way around saying -- to saying i don't think we are quite sure what this will mean. my own view is that deterrence
will work even with north korea, but the new thing that will happen is that north korea will become vulnerable to preemption in a way that is not now. -- that it is not now. i recently had an opportunity to meet with north koreans six weeks ago, and since their proposition is everything will change when we get this capability, i suggested that one might really change is their vulnerability. they will become eligible for preemption. i don't believe a president or administration would tolerate the launching of a north korean ballistic missile at the united states of america if he or she could do something about it. preemption would be on the table in ways it is not now. that would be new, and not what
-- and not, from the north good news.spective, we do not know what the north koreans think of their current nuclear capability. today believe that if they get an adventure again that the united states and the republic of korea will hesitate because north korea now has nuclear weapons? from our perspective, of long decades of dealing with the soviet union, russia, and china, we would not expect nuclear weapons to have that kind of influence over another state's activity, because they are not usable in the same way. but thinking this through, one wants to ask the question, what does kim jong-un think about his nuclear weapons? i actually don't know the answer to that. this is a very long-winded answer, i fear, that is going to the issue of what a good question it is that it is on people's minds.
it is something to think about. but there are two ends to this stick. i am suggesting that the north koreans may put themselves in a position where it they figure it out, they will not be too pleased about it. michael: answer that question, if the back of the president's mind determines that this is a real red line or not? victor: first building on what bob said -- let me try to crystallize it even more clearly. north korea in the last year has basically said, demonstrated, or shown photos messaging that they have standardized nuclear eyes .- design
that they have mission tested ballistic missiles that put guam within range. they have demonstrated solid fuel rocket propellant, demonstrated mobile launch capabilities, and they are trying to develop the message of a submarine launched ballistic missile. i think everyone in the audience has seen at one point or another a cnn story where they say that north korea is stacking another rocket on launchpad. what is different this time is that they would be doing this when they have already said that we have a miniaturized warhead now. if you are a u.s. national security planner and there is footage from cnn showing that they are stacking a missile, you have to wonder what is on top of that missile. they can say it is a satellite , which is what they would probably say, or a dummy warhead or something, but you just don't know. maybe there is a 5% chance they are lying and there actually is a nuclear warhead.
do you want to take that 5% chance? most will say no, they don't want to take that chance. it also has impacts on u.s. declaratory policy, and how we think about these things militarily. the other way it raises a question is with allies in the region. to the obama administrations credit, they have created an extended number of dialogues. north korea continues to have difficulties that hold cities hostage, but at the same time there is not a insignificant group in south korea that says, "well, maybe we should have our own nuclear weapons?" sits on thousands of pounds of plutonium.
reprocessed plutonium. there is a clear nuclear allergy in japan but as the situation changes dramatically with the north korean ability to target the united states, we do not know what the political and strategic conversations in these countries are going to be. despite the united states's best effort to say "we have your back." michael: one last question. do you think americans are prepared to do difficult things on this? it was pretty apparent in the syrian intervention that it weighed on the president's decision. is america at a point where it is willing to do large things? >> the first time i had the opportunity to visit korea in august 2015 as chairman of the east asian subcommittee and i remember going up to the zone went up to where they
had the reeducation facilities and the freedom house. as we approached the line to look over into north korea -- there was a group of students on the second story of the building in north korea. i did not know who they were so i asked the colonel who was showing us, who was that? he said they were most likely students who must be fairly well-situated in the area to be there. i could not help but wonder, do those students looking over at us with hate in their hearts? i wonder if we can change that? can they look over to south "rea and think,