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tv   Washington Journal Abraham Denmark  CSPAN  November 4, 2017 10:32pm-11:03pm EDT

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denmark, the director of the asia program at the wilson center. he is here to discuss the goals and significance of president trump's trip to asia. thank you for joining us. briefly explain what the wilson center is. is a: the wilson center congressionally created think tank. we were created in the 1960's as a memorial to president wilson. we are a public institution focused on research on international affairs. asia-pacific, which goes all the way from afghanistan to hawaii. it's a broad -- host: a big region. what is the significance of this trip to asia for president
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trump? guest: it is a very significant trip. the stakes are very high. there are many important issues in the region. he will be addressing a lot of them. it is also a long trip. the white house is saying is the longest trip by a president to asia in 25 years. he will be traveling to five different countries. south korea, japan, china, vietnam and the philippines. and addressing a wide variety of different issues. the main ones being north korea and international trade with the broader overly of what many see as a general competition between the u.s. and china on who will be leading the region in the future. host: the wall street journal today as the headline, "north korea to dominate the agenda." president trump's anticipated trip starts on saturday.
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pyongyang's desire to be considered a global nuclear power. the rest of the developed world attempt to undermine been envisioned will be the theme of every bilateral. meeting -- bilateral meeting. guest: it will be on top of the agenda for every meeting, especially for the first few meetings in tokyo and beijing. the other key actors in this drama. we have seen in recent years north korea conducting more and more nuclear tests, ballistic missile tests, and the pace has accelerated which is pushed this to the top of the agenda. host: talk about that. what are the potential risks of the president and going over there? we know he is not planning to go to the demilitarized zone. are the risks about what might happen in north korea does another test while the president is over there? what is the potential pitfall? guest: to answer your question,
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there is always a risk of north korean provocations. the motto of u.s. forces in korea is fight tonight because of that ever present risk. the primary that falls the president is facing are mostly political. while in tokyo he and the japanese prime minister abe are very much on the same page with these issues, there has been a lot of disagreement behind the scenes between president trump and south korean president moon, who initially saw to engage north korea and seems to prefer a much more engagement oriented approach to north korea, different than president trump's more hard-line approach. although president moon has endorsed president trump's pressure strategy. and then and beijing there is seeking to restrain american action as concern about american use of military force.
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there is a lot of concern and pitfalls for the president when he talks about north korea. host: we are talking with abraham denmark, director of the asia program at the wilson center. we are discussing the president's trip to asia, which he left for yesterday. democrats can call (202) 748-8000. republicans, (202) 748-8001. independents, -- (202) 748-8002. you mentioned the south korean president. paper -- the new york times, it talks a bit about that. it says he won the presidency promising a shift towards dialogue with north korea. he argues sanctions and pressure alone would never persuade north korea. no to the to say americans if necessary. six months after south korea's -- return the nation's liberals
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to power, his plans to ease tensions on the peninsula have gone nowhere. president trump is doubled down on sanctions in the standoff with the north. he dismissed talk to the waste of time and stepped up military drills that rattled the region with five ignatius threats. talk more about the role of south korea. how do you expect that the play out over this trip? guest: south korea is a very important ally. it hosts 28,500 american service people. it is a treaty ally of the united states. president moon -- i thought it was a good article. he came to power just a few months ago seeking more engagement with north korea. unfortunately for him, president trump was more oriented toward a more hard-line approach. at the same time north korea has
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not been terribly interested in engagement with the south. they are seeking engagement with the united states. there is a difficult position for president moon to be in. theas emphasized despite theological differences he and president trump are on the same page or committed to maximizing pressure for now on north korea. there is certainly a wide gulf. president trump has criticized president moon publicly on twitter for his approach. president moon has expressed a lot of concern about unilateral american military action. states saying the united should coordinate and consult with south korea before launching any sort of military attack against north korea. that is right now one of the main concerns in south korea, that the united states would either intentionally or unintentionally begin a conflict without consulting with south korea first. host: landed on the republican
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line from williamsburg, virginia. good morning. caller: i'm glad to be able to speak to mr. denmark. is how does south korea feel -- host: can you meet your tv -- mute your tv? caller: yes. good morning. host: you are on live now. caller: how does south korea -- yes.ut the threat how does south korea feel about the possibility of japan militarizing? host: talk a little bit about japan and how it plays in well linda deals with your tv. guest: japan, as you probably know, had a very difficult history with korea before and
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during the second world war, with a lot of terrible human rights abuses. korea has the years thought to address and overcome. most recently between japanese prime minister abe and south korean president parpk. -- park. those historical concerns and animosity remain strong and certain parts of the south korean public. yet if you look at public polling, japan pulls quite well in south korea. in south korea, the public is a better perception of japan then it doesn't china recently -- then it does of china recently. there is concerned with some revising itsjapan constitution and expanding military power, which is one of the objectives of prime minister abe. it is not a broad and widely
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held view in south korea, rather the view of a certain part. generally there has been efforts more recently to enhance will be called trilateral military cooperation between the united states, south korea and japan. es couldtari cooperate against a potential north korean threat. previously deputy assistant secretary of defense for east asia during the obama administration. we are talking about the president's trip to asia where he is en route right now. a very big trip, his first major trip to the region. democrats, (202) 748-8000. republicans, (202) 748-8001. independents, (202) 748-8002. we remind you all you are waiting on the line to listen through your phone and mute your television. reporterster briefing
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about what to expect from this trip and touching on whether the president's fire and fury rhetoric still stands. [video] reporter: will he be meeting putin on the sidelines and will he be bringing up human rights? h.r. mcmaster: the president will use whatever length which he wants to use. what the president has done is clarify and all of his -- in all of this statements on north korea our determination to ensure north korea is unable to threaten our allies and partners and certainly the united states. he has done that with a great deal of clarity in the past and i'm sure he will do that during the trip as well. a great been reassurance to our allies and partners and others in the region who are literally under the gun of this regime. reporter: do you expect modulation in the language? h.r. mcmaster: i don't think the
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president modulates his language. have you noticed him do that? he has been very clear about it. i have been aware of the discussions about his -- what is inflammatory is the north korean regime and what they are doing to threaten the world. would be a great danger if the regime did not understand our resolve, the president's resolve to counter north korean aggression. and the president has made it very clear. host: what is your reaction? guest: i think they are speaking about the president's remarks in south korea. he will be addressing the south korean legislature, the national assembly. it's really an opportunity to explain and clarify the administration's approach towards north korea. i think general mcmaster is right. north korean actions and statements have been very inflammatory and problematic. the president is in a difficult
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position when it comes to north korea. this is not a crisis of his making. this has been a building crisis for decades. especially for president trump, it is coming due during his administration. north koreans are closer to developing a nuclear capable icbm. it has been the policy of several administrations the u.s. without accepting north korea capable of striking the united states with nuclear weapons. ont i disagree with mcmaster is that the president's administration has been clear in its approach to north korea. if you look at statements for the president and other senior officials, there have been various endorsements of diplomacy, criticisms of diplomacy, saying the united states seeks regime change in that it does not seek regime change. when he speaks with the national assembly, is a key opportunity for him to clarify his position
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and make the case for time we need to find and other way towards denuclearization. host: andy from kansas? caller: good morning. how are you? host: go ahead. you are on with abraham denmark. caller: i am sitting back and seeing all this and i'm wondering to myself if it is not just one big trigger to start world war iii and everybody is scared about that. who is this a north korea is not scared, too? ok. my advice to president trump would be to tread lightly. i will tell you one thing about mutual self assured destruction. it is not mutual. host: what is your reaction to the advice? guest: i think he makes a good
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point. first being that it is a scary situation. the congressional research service came out with an wa onsis and a general a the korean peninsular could lead to the deaths of up to 300,000 people in the first few days. our military leaders have talked about how the conflict on the peninsula would be something to be concerned about. north korea, if you look at what is motivating them, is also concerned about american attempts to undermine their regime. fact, north korean officials will often refer to saddam hussein in iraq and qaddafi in libya as examples of what happens when a country abandons a nuclear program and cuts a deal with united states. a few years later the united
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states either a taxable or allows the regime to collapse. they see nuclear weapons as essential to preserving their regime, preserving kim jong-un's leadership. the concern is that with nuclear weapons a north korea would be able to act more aggressively against south korea, against japan, against the international community. demanding withdrawal of american troops, demanding a reduction of sanctions. potentially demanding unification of the korean peninsula. complicated in these scenarios. that is why american presidents for a while have saw to avoid the situation we find ourselves in. host: mike from charleston, west virginia. caller: hi. love c-span. thanks for the guests today. i live in japan during the
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1980's and south korea during the olympics in 1988. i would like to comment on the historical question, even though we don't live in the cold war anymore. the signatories on the armistice, china was a signatory. i believe they are playing very coy and have been because of their interest in the region. so, could you comment on china's agreement?kering an the other comment i would like to make is america nuclear rise the korean peninsula. i think the armistice originally said there were no nuclear weapons on the peninsula. when i was in south korea the snuckans stuck them on -- them on.
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the north koreans may see things in a different light. i'm looking forward to hear in the comment of the expert here. guest: you bring up two very important issues. the role of china on the korean peninsula is absolutely critical. china represents 90% of north korean trade. acted as a defense attorney for north korea. watering down international sanctions and making sure whatever sanctions are placed through the un security council, there is enough loopholes and openings so as to not cause too much economic pain and north korea and potentially triggering a collapse of the regime, which is one of the things china is concerned about. i expect this will be the top of president trump's agenda when he meets with chinese president xi jinping. recently china has been doing
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more to book our pressure on north korea. they have been enforcing andtions more aggressively allowing stronger sanctions to go through in the un security council. there is more they could be doing. more of the united states will be looking for them to do to maximize that pressure on north korea. you are right. china is essential to any resolution of this issue. it called for what they referred to as a freeze re-freeze, in which north korea would freeze the nuclear and missile testing. united states an the south korea would freeze military exercises. becauseon rejected this they see these exercises as stabilizing and legal under international law, were north korea's actions are neither stabilizing or legal. china is seeking a doubl
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diplomatic way out of this. in terms of nuclear weapons on the peninsula, north korea did join the nonproliferation treaty before it broke out and started building a nuclear weapon. there is a growing discussion in asking the about united states to deploy nuclear weapons to the korean peninsula. there is concern that this reflects diminishing confidence in the american alliance and american extended deterrence guarantees. southis also concern korean discussion about american nuclear weapons coming to the peninsula would also be a bit of for south korea developing their own nuclear capabilities, which would be a concern if north korea did develop a credible weapon. those are two challenges very much on the front of everyone's
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minds in washington. host: in today's wall street journal it ends by saying mr. trump's message should be the u.s., south korea and japan will ramp up military spending and cooperation as long as kim jong-un retains his nukes. the u.s. will consider applying tactical nuclear weapons to the peninsula. they could also challenged china to more directly in the south china sea -- challenge china more directly in the south china sea and increase contact with taiwan. u.s. does not letting confrontation with china, but only the cold logic of national interest will change calculations in beijing. do you agree? guest: somewhat. somewhat. logical pieceis a to enhancing ourselves in defending her allies. as the north korean threat increases we would naturally do
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more to enhance our ability to defend ourselves and our allies. towards the end of the obama administration the united states and south korea deployed terminal high-altitude air defense system, a missile defense system to the korean peninsula. on effortseflection to ensure we are able to defend ourselves and our allies. i think it makes perfect sense for the united states to work with its allies to ensure it has what it needs to defend itself. abouther part of talking the south china sea, it becomes complicated and dangerous when you start making issues together. -- linking issues together. our policy with north korea is linked with china's actions in the south china sea. we have tried to deal with these issues individually, but it does
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speak to a broader issue. below the surface in this trip i think it colors every interaction the president will be having, especially in china but also in vietnam in the philippines. that's a broader competition between the united states and china. south china sea, taiwan, north korea, trade issues. there is a lot to be done. speaksn issue is when he in vietnam only present a vision for what they call an open and free pacific. the future of american trade strategy. these are the things asians will be watching to see whether the american vision for the future. host: independent line from orlando, florida. caller: good morning. prevail aser heads far as north korea goes. millions of lives are at stake.
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people are talking about world war iii. the world as we know it will end. i hope cooler heads will prevail and we step back and preserved our world for all the human race. that is it. host: william from virginia on the democratic line. caller: how are you doing? good morning. thanks her having me. i would like to say one of the problems we have is our own leadership right now. it is somewhat erratic and unstable, which does not help in situations like this. but even a broken clock can be right twice a day. in a situation like this you have to think not so much what should we do today, by 10 years from now what we wish we had done. stabilization, no indication from north korea that
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they plan on changing their approach, it may be a better decision to do military action now. which we will undoubtedly win and at a high cost, rather than be forced into a later at a much higher cost. it's an unfortunate decision. host: i want to get abe's response. guest: i think you make a very good point. the military calculations over time don't get easier. there is concern -- i have concern that if north korea believes they will successfully deter us without a nuclear icbm, they may feel emboldened to be even more aggressive and problematic. of have one answers this question turns on how you believe a nuclear north korea would act. if you believe deterrence would
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hold and they would rejoin the community of nations, if you believe we would be able to find some sort of stasis with a nuclear north korea, that does argue for deterrence. as nationaloncerned security mcmaster once said that north korea is not the terrible , it does argue for military action now rather than a worse military scenario in the future. host: i want to get to at least one more call. but first, the new york times points out today vladimir putin will be part of this trip. a second meeting between president vladimir putin of russia and president trump on the sidelines at the asian economic summit next week in vietnam. pro,about how the russian how it all -- the russian p
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robe plays into the trip. guest: the first thing is understanding where political leaders are coming from domestically. prime minister abe from japan is coming up with a resounding electoral victory with his recent election. president xi is coming very strong after their 19th party congress. yet, president trump is coming to asia with this cloud over his head. that will certainly affect the dynamics in the room. presidentfically the is traveling with a press corps that will be asking him questions and basically every stop. as always happens with these japanese press, the korean press, will be asking about local and regional issues. usually the american press will have to about domestic issues. i certainly expect that will include questions about the russian investigation, which is
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not just specific to president trump, but always frustrating but for the president and his staff who want to stay on message and keep focused on what the are doing internationally. the questions about domestic challenges continue to arise. host: peter from provincetown, massachusetts. good morning. and i: i talked to c-span am enjoying this very much. i have a couple of quick questions. the appeal a crisis -- opioid crisis is looming large for president trump. i would be curious to see as president trump arrives in beijing how he will insert a discussion about opioids and fentanyl coming out of china in such great quantities to the united states and what will be done about that. the second thing is the awkward timing. for the very first time, two
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chinese nationals have been indicted by the u.s. department of justice in the last two weeks promotion andir successful penetration. of the markets this seems to be awkward in its timing. i'm wondering if mr. denmark sees this as the justice department trying to send its own powerful statement. host: the wall street journal reports today the chinese narcotics officials are playing down china's role in distribute -- this and that ago opioid. this synthetic opioid. guest: it is an awkward position for beijing. they are very hard line against drugs, and in their statements beenolicies it is also proven difficult for them to enforce these hard-line policies. highect this would be
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on the president's agenda for a way for the u.s. and china to cooperate. it is in their mutual interest of fight the spread of drugs and opioids and fentanyl coming out of china. host: ibrahim denmark. you can find out more about the wilson center at wilsoncenter.rorg. you can then progressive activist to norman solomon will talk about the future of the democratic party. then we will focus on the role of the medical community combating the opioid crisis with primary care physician.
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be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at seven eastern south -- seven eastern. join the discussion. >> the white house did not release a presidential weekly address. here's a look at the democratic address from representative rosa delauro. >> hello. i'm congresswoman rosa delauro from the third district of connecticut. the biggest economic challenge those play by the rules are jobs that don't pay enough to live on. let alone put money in the college fund education. big corporations, millionaires and billionaires make government work for them. and republicans are their comrades in arms and

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