Skip to main content

tv   Washington Journal Dean Cheng Discusses Tensions with North Korea  CSPAN  April 16, 2017 8:30am-9:16am EDT

8:30 am
comprehensive framework of a settlement between the arab countries in israel instead of failing again to forge a peace between israel and host: we appreciate you being with us. we are going to turn our attention to north korea, yet another missile test that failed after a few seconds, that confirmed by u.s. and south korean officials. dean chang is going to be joining us to talk about north korea. he is with the heritage foundation. later 2018 politics, not too early to talk about the midterm elections. david wasserman. a reminder, this weekend we head down to charlottesville, virginia. home to thomas jefferson's onticello. >> if you had visited 20 years
8:31 am
ago, you would have come up to about and just have seen jefferson's beautiful neoclassical villa. but what we wanted to do was change that. we wanted to restore the landscape. if you had come up this mountaintop in jefferson's time, the first thing you would have seen would have been enslaved people. there would knob no place on this mountaintop that slavery wouldn't be. we wanted to restore that, make that known to visitors who come ere today. we are now restoring dwellings along the main plantation street, as well as rooms attached to the house just behind us. so all of this is part of an effort to sort of shift the
8:32 am
focus away from jefferson and talk about the dozens of other people who essentially made his life possible. , our hope you tune in cities tour heading to charlottesville, virginia, home to thomas jefferson and the university of virginia. you can check out all of our programs online anytime. we want to welcome dean chang, with the heritage foundation. good morning. thank you for being with us. we begin with this show of strength. this is from "the washington post" this morning. yesterday in pyongyang millions in the main square watching the parade of military arsenal. your reaction to what you saw yesterday? guest: not surprising. this is a major holiday.
8:33 am
it's commemorating the 105th bifert day of the founder of the regime. north korea has ruled through a dynastic succession. this is actually the grandson of the founder, and this is always an opportunity for them to display their latest military equipment and hardware, both in order to try to intimidate the united states but also aimed at, in a sense, reinforcing the image of strength that the kim family has always tried to project. host: since a few hours after this show of strength, there is confirmation of north korea launching a ballistic missile sunday morning and that test failed just a few seconds after its initial launch. what do you know? guest: i know what has been reported in the press, which is that this was apparently a failed test. it is part of an ongoing series of tests that north korea has
8:34 am
been doing as a much accelerated tempo over the last few months. a few weeks ago, you had this image of them sim tainously firing -- time tainously firing four missiles. it is part of the larger effort to project the idea we have very capable weapons and we have -- we are testing them and you, the west, you, south korea, you, the united states, should be aware of them and hope any afraid of you. host: what does the u.s. need to do differently today than it has done over the last 60 years in trying to deal with the father and grandfather, how they approach their missile testing? it seems to have changed because he wants to show strength. he wants to be a leader, a power. guest: actually this is
8:35 am
consistent with the efforts of both his father and grandfather. what has changed is the tempo, the pace. his grandfather started the korean war, both as a measure of strength and also in the belief he could conquer the south. we need to keep in mind that the kim family has never given up the idea of reune fiing the en-- reunifying the pen ensla. by attacking the blue house, their version of the white house, assassinating the entire south korean cabinet by blowing it up in burma. so we have seen a lot of very, very scary actions by previous north korean leaders. what the united states unfortunately now confronts is a north korea that has not only demonstrated nuclear tests but
8:36 am
they are demonstrating they can reach the united states. that of course is brand-new, so this is one of the reasons why tensions are so much higher now. host: we also saw another picture that seemed to be dimp n north korea, the skyscrapers dedicated ki kim jong-un. how does he pay for them and who is going to live there? guest: how he pays for them is probably by starving the broader population for your audience that has looked at the famous picture of asia at night, you see japan lit up. you see south korea lit up and even china lit up, but north korea is dark except for one little dot. it almost makes south korea look like an island, and that is how north korea pays for all of its projects, whether it's nuclear missiles or new apartments, by
8:37 am
starving or denying the rest of the population. who is going to live there? it's in pyongyang. to live in pyongyang requires special permits. you have to be reloyal. you are a member of the inner party structure or a friend of the kim family, so to speak. this is not going to average workers. host: let me go back to some video. this is from "the washington post" yesterday just to give you a sense what it was like in pyongyang. we will get your reaction. [video clip] host: the full video available online. as we watched this, very highly choreographed and very colorful. guest: the north koreans have demonstrated this capacity many times through the various parades and things. to be fair, they have a great
8:38 am
deal of experience in choreography. thousands and thousands of workers, troops, fishermen, students marching, all displaying their placards, flipping them at the same time to produce new pictures. it's very impressive. if you think about it, you have a lot of people, many of whom are not well fed, spending their time not working, not growing food but practicing flipping placards and marching in step. this kind of choreography doesn't occur without a lot of practice. host: our conversation with dean chang. you can check out his work online at her ur phone lines are open. we have a line for those of you watching outside of the united states.
8:39 am
202-748-8003. let's talk about china. what if anything can the president of china do to north korea to try to keep them in line? guest: china is in this very awkward situation, where on the one hand, they are the lifeline for north korea, north korean trade, north korean internet hacking, all goes through china. but at the same time north korea itself is consistently on the brink of collapse, in terms of at one point they went through a horrible famine that killed maybe 10% of the population. so china can pressure north korea, but it has to face the real possibility that whatever pressure it imposes could cause the regime to collapse. host: which is a follow-up from this tweet from jim. how do they have trade partners? how do you get money by starving people? guest: they make weapons and
8:40 am
they're happy to sell those weapons. there is a lot of evidence from international law enforcement that north korean embassies engage in the methamphetamine trade. to export coal and others china and one of the reasons why many of us are worried about the possibility of north korea developing more nuclear capability is we think they will sell nuclear weapons on the international market. they set up a facility in syria until the sbeals bombed it a few years ago. host: it seems like they have western media presence there. guest: yes, this time around, the images from the apartment blocks are partly from foreign media. one of the really interesting things was apparently they gave an alert to the foreign media that a major event was going to
8:41 am
occur. host: let's go to penny in michigan, independent line, with dean chang of the heritage foundation. good morning, penny. caller: hello. happy easter. host: go ahead. caller: i would like to point out that issue -- let's have strength. we don't need to have a leader leading us into some war. host: thank you. comment? guest: it's good to hear that the pontiff is calling for peace. one would sort of expect that. whether or not that will fall on deaf ears in north korea, however, remains to be seen.'s go to good morning. caller: good morning. i have two questions.
8:42 am
one is, is there any parallel that could be drawn between the tension between north and south korea and north and south vietnam that took place during the 1970's? same talk of unifying both countries. and the other is, please don't laugh at me, but i am wondering if low self-esteem on the part of some country makes them want to bulk up with nuclear weapons and arms so that they don't look so small and insignificant. thanks and have a great sunday. host: two good questions. thank you, vicky. guest: is there a parallel between the korean situation and the vietnam situation? obviously, there is. to begin with, both korea and vietnam are still -- one of those interesting aspects is the cold war isn't over in asia. korea is still divided. china and taiwan are still divided by ideology. one of the things the alliance aims to do is prevent a replay of 1975, where north vietnam
8:43 am
invaded south vietnam and forcibly reunified the two. south korea of course has survived far longer, a vibrant economy, a vibrant government, a full-blown democracy. so the south koreans will be in a far tougher nut to crack. with regard to the purpose of nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons serve multiple purposes and i think in the hands of north korea it is partly aimed at intimidating the south, partly aimed at pushing the u.s. out of and off of the peninsula. low self-esteem is one of those things where we change nations into individuals. i think if anything with the kim family when you have the entire country as your own sandbox, low self-esteem is probably not an issue. host: there is this tweet. why is the biggest, baddest military in the world with the most nukes here in north korea?
8:44 am
guest: i think it's an interesting question. who has the most nukes? i think the russians may challenge us for that title, but why does the united states worry about north korea? in no small part because south korea is an ally of the united states, because seoul, the center of economic activity, the largest city in south korea is in artillery range and because north korea has a track record of incredibly aggressive acts. attempting to assassinate the president of south via in the equivalent of the white house in seoul, that is not something that one does as a friendly gesture, part of the welcome wagon. just more recently they sank a south korean boat on the high seas, an act of war really. so northee ya is very much an
8:45 am
unpredictable country that now has nuclear capability. host: our guest has studied at princeton and m.i.t. new is joining us from york. good morning. caller: good morning. who is the number two leader of north korea and i guess what i am getting at is do we have an understanding of what the power structure is there beyond the current leader? host: thank you for the question. guest: that's a great question. host: we don't know, do we? guest: no, we don't. here is the thing. kim il sung, the grandfather, basically designated his son to take over and then spent almost 30 years laying the groundwork, eliminating all potential opponents, making sure the military was committed to kim il
8:46 am
sung's succession. he wanted his son to succeed him until he was stopped at the japanese border with a fake passport because he apparently wanted to go to tokyo disneyland, one of the more bizarre incidents in recent korean history. he gets exiled to china and the current leader was debted. unfortunately kill jong i will died only a few years after designated kim jounge-unhis successor. he is only about 33. we think he only got married a few years ago so his children as far as we can tell are very, very young, probably not suitable for taking over, and he has been steadily executing pretty much everybody else in the system who could succeed him including his uncle whom he accused of conspiring against him. host: how did he proceed with
8:47 am
executing his uncle? guest: well, apparently he was taken out into a field and more tarred to death but there were other rumors. i believe they've been disproven, but at the same time he was actually led out there and fed to a pack of live dogs. either way it's pretty horrific, whether he was killed by mortar shelling or a pack of wild dogs. what is clear, there was no humanity involved here. o whatever could succeed kim jong-unis a potential rival and he seems intent of not putting anyone up until his children come up of. host: come firmation from the defense department, the defense secretary saying, quote, the president and his military team are aware of north korea's most
8:48 am
recent unsuccessful missile launch. the president has no further comment. guest: i think that's very wise. at this point what is there left to say? north korea is openly testing missiles. we think they're going to conduct nuclear tests sometimes in the near future. they are acting in defiance of .n. sanctions, u.n. rules, international relations. so north korea tested a weapon, it failed and the u.s. is aware of that. host: let's go to dennis from south dakota. good morning. caller: yes, there hasn't been much in the news as of yesterday . 48 years ago one of our navy planes, communication planes was listen from japan to in on conversations between
8:49 am
north korea and china during the vietnam war. i am a three-tour vietnam veteran and i was one of those that was up in that area. carriers r aircraft that were sent up there and i see nothing in the news that really correlates to that and we are doing the same thing today warships up there. host: dennis, thank you for the call. what message does this send? our navy, those vessels in the region. guest: the most important message that we really hope that kim jong-un and the rest of the leadership hears is that the commitment is firm that the united states will respond if
8:50 am
north korea thinks that it can be aggressive toward south korea. we are hoping that they will tread very carefully should they try to conduct a nuclear test and the big fear right now is what happens if north koreans decide to try an icbm test, that was one of the missiles on display in yesterday's parade, because if they have an icbm and nuclear warhead that can fit on north that, north cree -- korea is announcing that washington, d.c., chicago, los angeles are now in north korea's cross hairs. host: as we look at this picture, do you think these were actual missiles or were these dummy missiles that were on display? guest: hard to say. the canisters are not the actual launch system per se. it is a way of moving them around. they're fairly delicate.
8:51 am
if north korea has decided to display real weapons, that would be a message. it's saying we have enough weapons that we can pull a couple and put them on parade. what i think is very clear is that they do have missiles. i don't think anyone believes at this point that they don't actually have or aren't working on long range missiles and the like. host: let's go to sylvia in washington, d.c., as we look at more photographs from yesterday. good morning. caller: good morning and happy easter. i am interested to know whether guest's thought truman wrongfully fired mcarthur when mcarthur wanted to confront north korea during the korean war. guest: well, certainly the united states under harry truman and douglas macarthur was
8:52 am
confronting north korea and china, so i don't think that's quite the issue. the issue at the time was whether or not general mcarthur was insubordinate. this goes to a difference, the fundamental issue of civil military relations. at the end of the day, civilian authority rules and you may disagree if you are in uniform. then you have a choice. you can be quiet and salute which is your duty wearing the uniform and having taken the oath to the constitution or you resign and you can be very public after that. so as it turns out, both president truman and douglas macarthur basically followed along the very, very long-standing traditions in the u.s. of civil authority dominating over the military. host: carol has this treat. someone as unhinged as the north korean factor, any common sense
8:53 am
into the equation? guest: i think we sometimes overplay unhinged in the following sense. the north korean leadership, all of the kim family, has been very successful. throughout the cold war, they played the soviets and chinese off against each other. that is not easy. it's not like the soviets or chinese were led by a bunch of amateurs, and yet they managed to walk that fine line. kim jong-un is acting in ways that keeps us all up at night, but he hasn't quite crossed the line. let me just note here. i think many of us, myself included but also viewers, would say starving your own population to death is irrational, but from his point of view, if it keeps him in power, maybe it's not
8:54 am
irrational. host: for those listening on c-span radio, our guest is dean chang. we check with him on a regular basis. he is with the heritage foundation. we welcome our viewers on the bbc parliament channel and for hose of you listening on siriusxm. thank you for listening and watching. good morning from new york. caller: good morning. i appreciate this discussion. thank you very much. n terms of the massive buildings, these skyscrapers -- i am an economist and the way i look at this, and this is a cruel, ruthless, barbaric society in which the land is there. it belongs to the government. the labor is this horribly enslaved people, these terribly
8:55 am
frightening enslavement they have and the materials. these are materials that they may have somehow garnered from somewhere and put up the shot of probably only good in appearance but shoddy standards in building, only put there for appearance. is that a possibility? is that a way to look at this thing that you are a little puzzled by? host: thank you. guest: absolutely. north korea has been trying to build the world's tallest hotel, 120 stories. it sat there for decades. the department stores exist. they don't carry much in the way of goods. there is a story that jimmy carter when he visited in the early 1990's and eventually led to the framework looked outside,
8:56 am
saw folks walking in and out and remarked how come nobody is carrying any packages? the next day almost on cue everyone was carrying packages in and out of the department store, but it's not clear there was anything in those packages. absolutely corks a lot of this just be for show, for display? a lot of these apartment buildings, it's a good question. do they have running water? do they have heat and for how much of the year? but what is -- as you know, it's kind of horrifying to see all of these weapons, these missiles, all of these apartment complexes and again set against a population that if you look at north koreans and south koreans, there is a physical difference between the height of your average south korean who is much taller than the height of your average north korean. that's not due to genetics. that's dawe to malnutrition.
8:57 am
host: this is a western photograph from the daily mail in great britain. eople are smiling. guest: people know what's good for them. what is outside the frame? when you go to north korea, you have a minder. every tour group has minders. you are not going to just go off and do a man of the street interview. if you are a foreigner, even if there isn't an obvious minder, are you really going to risk saying something on your mind to this foreigner who might show up on c-span or the bbc or voice of america. think about the consequences. host: sean joining us from pittsburgh. good morning, independent line. we will move on to joe from michigan. good morning, democrats line. caller: good morning. here is the crux of the problem as i see it.
8:58 am
will china and russia to a lesser extent risk all-out war with the united states over north korea's actions? there is a much different political scene now than when we ught korea in 1950's, much different. by the way, as far as people being shorter in stature, the fearless leader doesn't seem to be missing any meals as i see it. maybe he will give them an order to grow larger. host: thank you, joe. guest: i think it's important to note here that the caller is quite correct. neither china nor russia are encouraging north korea to cross the d.m.z. there is no evidence they're giving a green light to north korea to start the second korean war. the problem is what they're not prepared to do is try and keep north korea from starving its own people and developing nuclear capabilities for a variety of reasons some of which
8:59 am
has to do with the fact that collapsed not want a north korea that would mean millions of refugees crossing into china. north korea is an independent country. it is not a puppet of china or russia, so at the end of the day it's not to say moscow and beijing are giving a green light. it's to say north korea could start the war on its own. host: bob from maryland, good morning. caller: hi. i am an immigrant from korea, my family left a long time ago, but i still keep up with the news in korea. i have lost my relatives back in korea, so this issue is very personal to me. let me get right down to the point. as wild as it may sound or what
9:00 am
trump said, i really do believe that south korea also needs to go nuclear because i don't trust this so-called nuclear umbrella that's promised by u.s. to protect south korea. south korea is a sitting duck surrounded by all this nuclear power like china, russia, and some people say even japan because japan is only a step or two away from making its own nuclear weapon. , i don't feel comfortable south korea having to rely on questionable protection from u.s. against the nuclear threat from north korea of the host: thank you. how long have you been in the snuns guest: decades.
9:01 am
came here when i was a kid, around 10. host: thank you. guest: the issue of the american nuclear umbrella, the issue of american credibility, this is a very real issue. this is true in europe. it's why we wanted to deploy a cruise missile against the soviets. this is an issue today throughout asia as both north korea and china are engaged in nuclear development and expansion efforts. how credible is the united states nuclear umbrella? this is something that again is the core of u.s.-japan discussions as well as u.s.-nato discussions. could south korea go nuclear? there is no reason to think they don't have the ability to do so, but ultimately that's a
9:02 am
political decision. it's a decision that would have wide ramifications because it would imply a lack of trust in he unand it's not cheap. and it's cheap. but profits of developing warheads, that would be a very significant budgetary decision on the part of the government in seoul. host: i have great confidence that china will properly deal with north korea if they are unable to do so. the u.s. with its allies will, u.s.a., basically the president saying we will work with china or do it ourselves, following the meeting that took place last week with the president of china and the defense secretary in turkey was asked about north korea. here is that. [video clip] we are working with international partners in order to defuse the situation. but the bottom line is north
9:03 am
korea has to change its behavior. that is an agreed position among the international community nations that are working together. thank you very much. host: let me go back to our initial conversation. what options are on the table? guest: i think that although obviously having the defense secretary make comments implies it's going to be about military issues, the options that are on the table are both broader than that but none of them are great. north korea is self-isolated. it's not like it has a huge tourist trade. it doesn't trade with that many countries. what we can do and what we have done is put the remaining banks off the financial transaction system. so now the kim family can't really move their bank accounts around very much. that makes them vulnerable. we can pressure china in that gard because north korea's
9:04 am
ports, its telecoms do run through china's internet systems. at thened of the day there is always the military force option on the table. body wants to go down that path, but a north korea that develops an icbm is declaring it intends to hold the united states at risk. host: you mentioned that photograph. it is worth repeating. north versus south korea. you can see the distinct difference between the capital city and the rest of north korea. how many people live there? guest: i have to admit, i don't know that off the top of my head. i think it's something on the order of 14 million, 12 million to 1 million. south korea is --
9:05 am
host: 22 million people live in seoul alone. guest: north korea is about 50% the size of south korea overall. i think my estimate is off. host: i think the population is 24 million. let geas to steven in ohio. -- let's go to steven in ohio. good morning. caller: good morning. was in the second infantly pa talon. -- battalion. we were north of there and we saw like the whole propaganda village every morning. you wake up and do your run and it's used it scare the heck out of me. that whole mountain is loaded with artillery piece that is got you scoped in and also got seoul scoped in. if you have a president, like a kid with cherry bombs in his
9:06 am
pocket, it scares the pants off me that cooler heads sometimes do not prevail. host: thank you. we will get a response. guest: well, the artillery in place are still there and probably been reinforced. the issue of the north koreans having weapons -- the caller indicated he was there in 1976. n 1976, two u.s. soldiers were killed because they went out to basically clear a tree and the north koreans showed up and literally axed them to death. eventually we had to send three b-52's, put the entire d.m.z. on alert, sent in several hundred troops, put a carrier group off the shore and south koreans mobilized as well, all so that we could cut down a single tree that was blocking the line of sight to a key watch tower. this is the kind of regime that we are confronting, so whatever
9:07 am
you may think of american presidents and american politics, at the end of the day, our system of checks and balances allows us to have that cooler head, unlike what might exist in north korea which could goast you in front of -- get you in front of a mortar. host: what else it we not know about kim jong-un? guest: who are his main advisors? what is the relative importance of the military compared to the korean workers party which he seems to be trying to revive? does he have close advisors, cooler heads that would give advice? and at the end of the day, once he does have nuclear weapons and presumably an icbm to deliver it, can he be deterred? we are used to thinking about us, the chinese and soviets. we are all fairly status quo
9:08 am
powers. north korea, it's much less clear whether they think of themselves in a position to finally complete the grand effort that grandpa started to reunify the peninsula. host: let's go to john in delaware. good morning. caller: thanks for taking my call. my question is really -- has to do with their weapons technology and whether or not it's a system, when you think about modern warfare, you think about precision manufacturing, very significant infrastructure to support that manufacturing steel, gasoline, to move tanks around, etc., etc. i am wondering -- i realize they could be devastating in a first assault against seoul, south korea, but considering it takes about three times as much money
9:09 am
to maintain a large army as it does to build it in the first place, how much real strength do they have and is their primary goal for building a nuclear weapon simply to create the deterrence of any other major power from engaging in a battle they might have with south korea? host: thank you. guest: to begin with, it's useful to remember that we of course developed nuclear capabilities in 1945. the soviets did in 1949. there was nowhere near the level of precision manufacturing. you go and take a look at oak ridge. this was not computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing. yet we were able to make perfectly workable nuclear weapons. so we tend to assume that because we are down in the micrometer level precision that
9:10 am
current manufacturing still has to do that, if all i want is something that is going to make a very big boom, you can do that with a lot less precision. is north korea developing nuclear weapons in order to deter others? certainly that's a possibility. on the other hand, consider just what it is that they supposedly are deterring. it's not south korea that has tried to assassinate the leadership. t is north korea that sank a south korean frigate on the high seas. if you don't want to start a war, sinking other people's warships that are sailing peacefully would be a good start. host: sarin gas in syria earlier this month. there are reports that the japanese prime minister is worried north korea may launch a sarin laced weapon that could
9:11 am
strike south korea or japan. guest: if you are paying attention to the news, consider w kim's half brother was assassinated in malaysia. it is probably v.x. gas sprayed on to him. north korea has been doing research on other weapons of mass destruction including sarin gas. the other thing, the japanese, one of the things we aren't as aware of is northee has kidnapped japanese off their shores and taken them back to north korea to help train north korean spies in terms of japanese language, western habits, how to use an a.t.m. if it wasn't documented, you'd almost think you were reading blowfeltombed villain,
9:12 am
stroking his white cat except this is real. this is actual people's lives who have been destroyed because north korean commandos came and grabbed then. host: our last call is from terry. good morning. caller: good morning. good morning. host: go ahead, terry. please be brief. caller: my question is does pyongyang have hospital and medical facilities and do the people have access to medical care? and where are the physicians, nurses and staff educated? guest: north korea is a major country. it has a lot of hospitals. there was a very interesting documentary a couple years back about a western eye doctor that was doing surgery. if you are interested, i would suggest you google that because they it get some interesting footage from a north korean hospital. host: have you been to north
9:13 am
korea? guest: i have not. host: china is threatening to cut off oil trade with north korea. how real is that? guest: china has a track record of making pronouncements of cutting off all sorts of things. the problem is the chinese may suspend trade for two months, three months, and then they quietly reinstate it. so the issue isn't are they going to cut off trade tomorrow? the question is six months from now will the sanctions still be in place? if they're not, north korea know they can bull its way through. host: what is the vice president's mission as he travels to the region today? guest: i believe his mission is primarily to reassure our allies. the united states is going to be there. to signal to both beijing and pyongyang, our patience is at an end and we will not allow north korea to hold american cities hostage. host: dean chang of the heritage
9:14 am
foundation. thanks very much for stopping by. we always appreciate your time and insight. guest: thank you for having me. host: the midterm elections in 2018, what does it look like for democrats, republicans and control of the house and senate? one person who follows all of this for the cook political report, david wasserman will be at the table. you are watching and listening to c-span's "washington journal" on this easter sunday, april 16. happy easter. we are back in a moment. >> tonight washington times national security columnist bill gertz with his book which examines how modern warfare has evolved with new technologies. >> iwar is really a look at what
9:15 am
i feel is the new form of warfare that's emerging in the 21st century. i've covered national security affairs for over 30 years, been all over the world covering these issues and i think it's a reflection of the information age that we are now looking at this new form of warfare, which i call information warfare and i define that as both the technical cyberthat we have seen so much of in terms of cyberattacks from the russians and chinese as well as the content, influence type of thing which really emerged in the last presidential election with what has been called the cyberenabled influence operation. these two things i believe are going to be the dominant form of warfare. >> watch tonight on c-span 2's book tv.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on