tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 12, 2016 12:30pm-2:16pm EST
administration's pivot to asia's was nuclear tensions on the korean peninsula at the risk of conflict in the south china sea. they talk for about an hour and a half. >> good evening, everyone. i'm steve orlins, president of the national committee on u.s.-china relations, and i'm thrilled to welcome you all to the first special program of the national committee 50th anniversary. for 50 years we have been educating americans about china, and chinese about america. from inpo diplomacy to today's program -- ping pong -- we've strengthen the bilateral relationship by fostering exchanges and informed discussion. today's program is the first in a series of seven programs
throughout the next year. into much we will gather the former secretaries of the treasury, and two months later the former secretaries of commerce and united states trade representatives, including our chair carla hills who is here with us today. later in the year we would gather national security advisers, and an american business leaders who have blazed trails in china. our final program this year will gather former secretaries of state, and next year we will hold a similar program in china with many chinese leaders, some of whom are alumni of our programs. to begin the celebration today, i am joined by former, for former secretaries of defense who also happen to be for great
americans. all four of them have served our country above and beyond the call of duty, and have contributed to peace in this world in ways too numerous to enumerate. if i began to list their accomplishments, i would have no time for questions or discussions. so let me go right to questions. i will start with dr. harold brown it was secretary from 1977-81, then go to william perry who was secretary from 1994-97. bill, can you hear us? we couldn't hear your response. >> i can hear you fine. >> terrific. and we will go to senator william cohen who was secretary from 97-2001.
and, finally, to senator chuck hagel who was secretary from 2013 to less than a year ago. i and the american people cannot thank all of you enough for your service to our country. and i'm honored to be here with you today. secretary brown, you were secretary when we established diplomatic relations with china, and i was a young lawyer. the chinese are fond of saying a small potato, and the state department. tell us about the relationship with china in those early days when you were secretary, and the dealings you had with the chinese. >> the situation then between the u.s. and china were very different than they are for what they are now, or were for the 10 years of the others as secretary
of defense who will be speaking here today. the chinese were then very much worried about soviet possible attack on china, and looked to the u.s. as an offset essentially and as a way of ensuring chinese security. moreover, they were very far from their present military capabilities. and that's quite different from the situation, not only today, but during the tenure of the others here. bill perry was in a somewhat different position because he was my undersecretary at the time, and, in fact, went to china as a way of exploring some cooperation in terms of research and development, and even
perhaps, well, it didn't happen until quite a bit later, even some transfers. so that's a very different situation from the present. i've watched, and to some degree participated, and the subsequent evolution of the relationship of the strategic relationship of a military to military relationship. and i must say that it's become at first a cautious relationship, and now has turned into a peculiar combination of interdependence and disagreement and, in fact, controversy, and even, well, it hasn't approached and witty yet but it could get
there. -- amity. that's to some degree i think limited by the mutual dependence of the two economies. and i know i will offend bill perry by saying this, but it's also limited by the possession of nuclear weapons on both sides, and the devil's bargain that is mutual deterrence. that is to say, besides are greatly inhibited from armed conflict by the possibility that they would escalate to thermonuclear war. but, of course, if it happens it is an unimaginable catastrophe. now, maybe there's an intermediate step that is created by cyberwarfare, but in any event, that's going to be a big worry. the relationship is very
different, both in nature and in relative position of the two sides from the way it was when i was secretary of defense and when i first visited china and saw the military displayed that largely consisted of troops mounted on icicles. >> secretary perry, it was about 13 years later that you then became secretary of defense. talk about the relationship with china been, and, obviously, you've experienced quite a dustup so to speak over the taiwan issue at the point. >> will, at the time that bill clinton was a candidate and running for president, he took a very negative position on china. and as a consequence of that, when we came in office we had no
real significant relationship with them. both secretary -- [inaudible] -- to allow a close relationship. about a year, i had an opportunity with the commission of president clinton to make a significant visit to china. this was my second visit. the first one having occurred at the request of the secretary, as he mentioned. this was about one week in duration, and was, i would say, interesting and useful but not really productive. we had a cordial relationship but not a close relationship. and then about no more than a year after that, just about the
time that the minister of defense of china was scheduled to return visit to the united states, we had an incident in the taiwan strait, where chinese in the course of the military exercising the street -- straight that fired missiles that landed about two tins landed about two tens of amount of time one. obviously, a very provocative action that occurred about the time the taiwanese were conducting the presidential elections and i think intended to intimidate the taiwan people not to vote for the candidates who are promoting independence from china. both president clinton and i believe that this innocence violated the agreement, and we felt there was a very dangerous
situation. so i requested and received permission to send to carrier groups to the taiwan strait. along with a message to china that we thought that their actions during the exercise, we could not tolerate those, and we were sending the carrier groups there to ensure they were not needed. that had the desired effect. the military exercises stopped. there were no more military missiles fired. but, of course, as strange our relationship, i had to return -- [inaudible] happened a few weeks after that. and i feared this would be the end of our relationship with china during the clinton administration. but as it turned out, about a year after that, the last year
that i was secretary, we were able to get back on a positive track again and again the defense minister of china did make a return visit. it was friendly but not close. and in terms of substance relations, nothing was accomplished your so we were in a very tenuous relationship at that time. later on in the clinton administration, relationships grew quite a bit more. that period right after the taiwan strait incident they were very tense. >> thank you. secretary cohen, you followed right on i guess bills stewardship. tell us how the relationship kind of evolve, our defense relationship evolved with china during her tenure? >> well, secretary perry pointed out, a year after he left office, the situation improved.
i'd like to think it was because the republicans were ahead of the defense department. [laughter] but really i all great deal to secretary perry. he took a tough stand, time when one needed to be sent at the time that we wanted to see a peaceful unification of taiwan with the mainland. and so i inherited really a much better situation certainly than secretary perry had at that time. and i would like to think that my tenure during that period was, it was closer and i think friendlier. and i have been going to china since december 1978 when are just about to be sworn in as a u.s. senator as a member of the house of representatives and a delegation of senators were sent to beijing. senator nunn, senator hart, secretary clinton myself and on the way over the three of them
decided that being the youngest member of the group that i should raise the issue of human rights with dashing being. [laughter] so that was my first experience. i met with the then equivalent of a defense minister at that time and asked what the defense budget was and as was we don't have one. as well as a different china at that time. then certainly years later. what i witnessed a good defense. so my tenure there was positive. it was for the four years that i was there i would say very gratifying. would've the first things that i did was to set up a hotline between the defense department and the military departments in china. it didn't take place quickly. it took 10 years. that was not actually as stupid until 2007. but nontheless, it was a very positive relationship then.
i should say that i've a bit of a conflict of interest because i've been going to china now for many, many years, and actually i have two offices in china, one in beijing. so i have made it a part of my career as such to try to foster better relationships between the u.s. and china. but it also gives me an opportunity to meet with chinese officials and to indicate to them very frankly usually behind closed doors what the issues are ththat are important to deny states and to our relationship with china. so i would say during my period of time there, with one exception, and that was the sale proposed by israel to china of a sophisticated radar system. i was very much opposed to it, was able to persuade the administration that it was worth opposing.
president clinton agreed, and the sale didn't go through. but i must say it did not make the chinese government very happy with that. it was a deal they thought they had concluded, and felt that i had intervened in a very negative way. other than that, one incident i would say the relationship was very positive, and since that time it has remained so. >> secretary hagel, very reason obviously, post we balanced, tell us about the relationship that kind of you had a secretary with the chinese, the experiences you had with them. >> steve, just as my three predecessors have noted, each of us inherit a different situation at a different time in a relationship. and as i was listening as i always do to my elders -- [laughter] -- on this, i will start to because i think the three of
them have developed a pretty good base to work from. from the time bill cohen left office until i came to office, was about a dozen years. and in the intervening 12 years, as everyone here knows, a tremendous amount of dirt in china. let's start with the development, economic development. and with that came an expedition i think of a pushing out in their defense capabilities, as i think we've seen clearly, all their capabilities, technological capacity. and so when i became secretary of defense, i think relations were very much on the upside. now, there were some issues during the two years that i was secretary of defense which i'll
mention in a moment, but i think generally what i inherited as a good defense was very good, very positive. that was a result i think of something harold brown said, and we all know, the common interests of our two nations that was prosperity, peace, stability, security. it was in our interest. it was in china's interest clearly. and i also think it's important that our uniformed military get a lot of credit. admiral locklear is here. those who served, admiral pruitt is here, others who have served in the military, particularly in the navy, and he would responsibility for pacific command, did a tremendous amount i think in those waters in particular because they had some opportunities your more operatives i think than a military uniformed leaders did during my three predecessors time, to build those military to
military relationships. and for two adults here with us tonight did really tremendous work as well as their colleagues. so i was fortunate when i became secretary in particular with what already has been built and was building out. and what i thought was exactly the right thing at the right time. and vision of president obama to make very clear that defined, pronounced we balancing of our interests. and i used to say in the sixth long asia pacific trips i took him and as you all know, every trip you take is long to the pacific, or anywhere in asia, that the rebalance was not to crowd out china or to contain china or in anyway inflicted any
damage, economic, security damage to china, it was to engage china as well as all the nations in the pacific, and asia. we all know that the united states has been a pacific power for more than a century, clearly a pacific power. in fact, the entire western hemisphere from north to south borders of the pacific. so our interests are very clear. china's interests are very clear. now, how we managed to those differences like the east china sea, south china sea, which really developed and came to a head during the time i was there, i think are the more defined, critical examples of managing through a very difficult set of circumstances. and i think what we've seen in the markets and it will probably get to some of us so i will hold any particular, i have on this, but the reflection of what's happened in china's markets the
last week and how that has reflected on everyone's markets, consequences, reactions come and to think if we needed any other reminder, clearly remind us of begin something that my predecessors have all mentioned, the interconnectedness of our interests in china's interests, and all the nations of the asia pacific. so to sum it up, my time at the defense department was a time of really more i think continued engagement as our military to military leaders have done, as i did in the six trips i took the effect that because asthma initiative to do more and more about, develop partnerships, relationships. and also a time of more and more, i wouldn't say conflict. i would say differences in that
i think of going to continued to grow out as china expands the economic growth, which they been on his rocket ship the last 20 years, have not been able to be sustained. it cannot be sustained i think for all the reasons i think we know, but we surely want a stable china and we want a secure china, and it's our interest. so all of that was bubbling the time i was there, but overall i think it was a time of management, of relationships. >> short follow-up before go on to my next question, which is that we balance is designed to engage the chinese, is designed to strengthen our alliances with our traditional allies. there's virtually no chinese who believe that, that any time you speak with the chinese they say it's directed against china.
it has kind of allowed the philippines and vietnam to kind of poke the chinese eyes because they know the americans are strengthening their alliances, and we are selling coast guard ships to vietnamese wide to kind of confront the chinese in their near shores. so why do you think the chinese universal don't believe what we are saying? let me first as chuck and then i will ask dr. broun. >> well, i concur with your premise that the chinese, at least leadership and i suspect represents most of the people have that feeling about the rebalance. we are going to have to work through that for obvious reasons, i'm not particularly surprised by that.
ino china expert, no asia-pacific expert, but i recall my first visit to china as a business than in 1984. and what china was event, and i was all over the country, five different cities, in those days there was only one flight a week from new york-jfk into beijing. we landed on january 1, 1984, got off the plane, walked inside, being escorted by mao suited submachine gun carrying leaders. welcome to beijing. now, 30 years later it is a different world. but what i saw, i was in different cities, shanghai, beijing, was this great suspicion of western interests, of western culture, of manipulation. and i think we've always got to
remember, to focus on a framework of history when we are dealing with countries. where did they come from? where did we come from? now, that doesn't excuse come in my opinion, some of the chinese behavior that we are seeing today. but that said, i think that's part of the answer. i do this and other things but in the interest of time here, let me hear from -- >> dr. brown, i know you want to comment on this. >> a country that for 150 years with week -- was weak and imposed upon, naturally feels aggrieved. the chinese feel aggrieved. the united states was not prominent among the at readers come as a matter of fact, but we
represent the agree first to the chinese. of course, the government of china uses is as a way of getting support, patriotic feeling. i think a reasonable way of looking at this is to say it's not what china thinks are what u.s. thinks that should count most. what should count most is how the other countries in the region deal. and they essentially look to the u.s. as a way to avoid being dominated by china. all of this is natural. it's not very helpful, and i think from our point of view, the chinese have perhaps overused their legitimate past grievances. at the same time i think what's
happened is that the chinese have looked on the u.s. recent stumbles, both geopolitically and economically, and concluded that indeed the u.s. is a power on the decline and that they are a rising power, and that dispositions in the region should reflect that change. well, i think maybe they're going to find that they are not without economic difficulties as well. and i worry that instead of making them rethink and say, okay, it's time to negotiate as equals, or as the existing power and the rising power, it may actually increase their sense of grievance. that's a big worry, but things are changing and are going to be
affected by the fact that the u.s. is recovering, and china may be in some difficulties. >> may i just add one parenthetical point to harold's point? the united states of america's seven treaty obligations in the world. five of those seven or in the asia-pacific area. so we've had those treaty obligations for a long time. long, long time. >> secretary cohen? >> if i could follow up. i think we're to be concerned what china thinks we are up to, and also be concerned about what the asean countries believe is necessary. asean, china is their number one trading partner replacing the united states. we are number four. so to say that the u.s. is trying to contain china would be to say that all the members of asean are trying to contain china, which is not the case.
they want to continue to do business with china. that's their primary source of a change now, but they don't want to be dominated. and secretary brown has said. and that is the reason why this strategy on the part of the united states make sense and dissents about its being pursued. so to say that we have 2500 marines in darwin, in australia, it's not exactly a containment strategy against china. although the marines think so. [laughter] to say that we're going to rotate for literal combat ships through singapore is not exactly a change in the balance of power. as you look at the steps that up and taken company been pretty modest but also set aside to say we understand china's power is rising. it's inevitable. this is something that was talked about years ago same the fourth reform is going to be that of the military. so it was inevitable that is going to get bigger and stronger. what the united states is saying
with allies in the 70 relationships we have is yes, china is going to be a power in the region and beyond. but we want the power to be exercised consistent with international norms. answer the steps that are taken should not be seen by the chinese notwithstanding the feelings, but this is a containment strategy. but rather saying usual power in a way that benefits all of us. used about in a way that does contain the prosperity that's been generated. and when i first wa was in the pentagon i had to go to the national academy of sciences and speak to the young officers coming up. there were papers being written at that time saying time for asia to take your patients. at the united states to get out. i asked the question, do you really wanted to take place? if we were to get out now, who replaces as? isn't going to be you?
>> more than anything, china's had this remarkable economic growth that they've had. so in a way which may seem insane to chinese, the american military presence in the region has been indispensable to their achieving this remarkable economic growth. some chinese sense that. very few chinese are willing to say out loud that their economic well being has been a direct function of america's military presence. i think you can say it's sort of pax americana in the last few decades. >> so it's fair to conclude from all four secretaries' comments that you think the existing architecture with the five alliances in asia is something which should survive for the
next -- >> but the chinese will not like it. >> exactly. that was going to be my point. and i think they believe -- [inaudible] and secretaries of defense opined and then the chinese say but we've never had a president who pined on that -- opined on that. when you were secretaries, the philippines and the vietnamese built stuff on islands in the south china sea. and we didn't make a big deal of it, but now that the chinese are doing it, it's a big deal. so one can understand where kind of their views are coming from. >> well, from their point of
view that's a reasonable argument to make. other than, what they are doing is -- on the other hand, what they are doing is completely disproportionate to what the ohs did. the others didn't build islands and start flying airplanes into them. the chinese would say, well, that's them. we're different and bigger, and we were always in charge of there. >> there's also the point of the world order that the united states helped build and led during that ten-year period after world war ii. and that world order was all about coalitions of common interest that established international law. and what the chinese are doing here is they refuse to acknowledge international law to resolve these disputes in international bodies that were set up to do this.
and that's another dimension of this that's, i think, very important. if we see a world that now starts to unravel international law, then where are we going in the world has done pretty well the last 70 years. no world war iii, no nuclear exchange. conflict, problems, disasters, yes. but when you consider that over a 30-year period we had the two most horrible wars in the world and we've had nothing like that because of this world order, it's imperfect, it needs to be adjusted like any agreement does, and it has to adapt to the realities of a rising china and of the other issues. but when you start disregarding international law, then we're running into some real difficulty. and i, in my opinion, the real issue here as much as anything else on these disputes in the
east and south china seas. >> of course, the chinese can say, well, we weren't part of the making of those laws, and i think that's a reasonable point to which we could invite them to help us and the rest of the world bring them up to date. i'm not clear that that's happened. >> well, that too. but also i'd say, harold, the chinese took a seat on the u.n. security council a long, long time ago and had, did have a role in helping build a world order that was much to their benefit which all three of you have noted, and bill perry talked about it as to our u.s. military has done an awful lot to help the chinese in this regard. >> speak of disregarding international law, let's talk about one of the headlines in the last few days which is north korea. if each of you could kind of talk about your experience with
north korea during your tenure, what lessons you learned and what you would tell ash carter about what -- or, i guess, president obama. it's not fair to pin that on ash. what we should be doing about north korea today. >> i think bill perry should answer that -- [laughter] >> i think, bill, you won on this one. >> well, we had in 19 -- my first year as secretary we came very close to a military conflict with north korea. and this was, happy my, resolved without -- happily, resod without conflict be -- resolved without conflict with the agreed framework. but the agreed framework by which the north koreans agreed to freeze their activity in pyongyang, their nuclear facility, and did freeze them. but that agreed framework was terminated early in the administration of george w.
bush, and there's been nothing constraining, no such constraints on the north koreans since then. i think it was a mistake to give that up, but that's history now. the, we have two, three administrations now have said they would not tolerate nuclear weapons in north korea and then proceeded to tolerate them. and we are now faced with a sizable, a modest but dangerous nuclear arsenal in north korea. i think the mechanism being used to deal with this is called the suggestion-party talks which, in my judgment, have been spectacularly unsuccessful. not based on any subject or judgment of what they're doing, but just based on the objective
results. so the situation is very dangerous, i think, in north korea today not only building the nuclear arsenal, making it bigger and stronger and farther reaching, but making very aggressive comments about finish i would say outrageous comments about how they may use this nuclear arsenal. now, i think it's urgent that we get a serious diplomatic effort going to try to deal with that problem. and the six-party talks might be the right mechanisms for doing this, but they have not had the right strategy. i think primarily because the united states and china have had a different assessment of the threat and, therefore, have never been able to agree on what to do about the threat. perhaps with this latest adopt in north korea -- development in north korea the chinese may now come to believe, as we do, that this is a serious problem and needs serious action. so i would think that our next step in the united states would
be to try to formulate a program on which we can base new negotiations and then try to get agreements with the chinese and the other members of the six-party talks to get agreement on those goals and that strategy and proceed forward. the best basis i can think of for a negotiating strategy with north korea now is what the stanford -- [inaudible] los alamos laboratory has called the three nos which means no new nuclear weapons, no more nuclear weapons and no transfer of nuclear weapons. that's not the same as what the goal has been in the past which is to get north korea to eliminate, give up their nuclear weapons which is a pretty heavy barrier to try to get over.
if we could agree on that as a negotiating strategy, we might be able to make some progress in north korea in at least containing the danger we face now. then if we could succeed in that, we might go farther to look at negotiations that actually eliminate them. but i see the history of just 15 years of just complete failure in the so-called six-party negotiations. it's not because we don't have the right people at the table, they are the right people, but we don't have the right strategy for trying to deal with north korea's problems. we need to put some serious attention on this problem, because it is a danger to our proliferation problems, the danger to -- [inaudible] and the asia-pacific region, and it's a danger really of nuclear conflict or a nuclear terror, a terrorist group using nuclear weapons. all of these dangers are aggravated by the developments
going on in north korea today. by the way, i think this most recent test most likely objective of that test, in my judgment, is a test to make the nuclear weapon they have smaller, more compact so they can fit on the warhead of a missile. now, whether i myself am highly skeptical, it was a hydrogen test. even if it was not, that was not the main danger. the main danger is to make it compact enough to get on a nuclear warhead. >> dr. brown, you had something? >> i think bill perry's proposal is certainly a reasonable one as an objective for us. the question is what do the north koreans get in exchange. and that will be a very difficult negotiation. moreover, the chinese, i think,
will always be very reluctant to put a lot of pressure on north korea because if north korea collapses for whatever reason, the prospect of an extension northward of south korean influence and prospectively u.s. influence will worry the chinese. so it's a good proposal, but it's not clear what the quid pro quo will be. >> secretary cohen. >> i agree with both secretary perry and brown, but secretary brown raises a good question, what do the north koreans get out of this. well, what have they been getting out of this? they've been engaged in nuclear extortion, nuclear blackmail. feed us, fuel us before we strike again or explode again. so one thing they've been getting is more food and fuel.
certainly from the chinese and perhaps others. and so i would hope that the chinese would look at what they are subsidizing and find ways to moderate that or modulate it in a way that sends a very strong signal that they're up happy with what north korea's -- unhappy with what north korea's doing. so i think that's something we could do or they could do. secondly, we should pursue, as bill perry has said, a multilateral whether it's the six-party talks or another forum and try and get a multilateral agreement on what needs to be done long term in dealing with the north koreans. but we also should be prepared to act unilaterally. i think we should take action on the financial side, putting a much tougher squeeze on some of the north korean elite and reimpose some of the sanctions that were imposed previously. i would hope also that we would consider and have the south koreans and the japanese
consider having -- [inaudible] on their territory. this should be of concern, i know it would be of concern to the chinese, but nonetheless, this is something that is important to us and to our allies to have a defensive capability that would be able to at least knock down that kind of missile technology that they're trying to develop. and finally, i think that we should go back and insist that the inspection regime -- because what bill perry has been talking about is the danger of proliferation. the danger of nuclear proliferation. north korea's one of the principal sources of that proliferation working at times with pakistan, working at times with iran. and as iran now is in the agreement with the united states and others, there's still a danger that north korea could still be a source of some of the testing that otherwise would take place in iran or elsewhere. so i think we should look at ways of saying, no, no, shipments coming out of north korea that are suspect and are
going to various ports, we should insist that our allies open those cargoes for inspection and not make it optional, but make it mandatory. make it mandatory and those who don't, they would face sanctions from the united states. because i don't think we can afford to have the north koreans trading in nuclear materials. not only nuclear weapons, but nuclear materials itself. because there are groups out there who are desperate to get hands on a nuclear device or nuclear materials and explode it in an american city. i know that's what secretary perry has been worried about, has written about. he writes about it in a factual way. i write about it in fiction. but we're both concerned that that is something that would be a terrible, terrible thing in the world no matter where it takes place, that a nuclear bomb is exploded in an urban area causing hundreds of thousands of deaths. so it's something we need to take action, we haven't been
taking action to it multilaterally, to it unilaterally as well. >> secretary hagel. >> well, i'd just add a couple of things. i think my three predecessors covered most of the issues. but it was just a few days after i took office in february of 2013 in that the north koreans launched long-range missiles over the top of japan and other countries in the pacific. that, obviously, precipitated some new attention, and that within days had me out at a press conference announcing that we were going to build out another eight ground-based interceptors in alaska down the coast. now, that alone was not going to deal with the problem, but i say
that because just a reminder that wasn't very long ago. and then with the latest incident that bill perry mentioned that we all know is another reminder. but just a couple of other points i would make. harold's point about the chinese, i've always believed that there will be ultimately very little progress made on north korea without chinese. and it won't be because the chinese are supporting our policies for any benevolent reasons, but for their own reasons. it's very clear when you look at the chinese situation, the last thing they need is millions and millions of north koreans fleeing across that border. more to the point, the south koreans are hair triggered on this. and as joe and sam and others in
this audience who know who have been to korea and had responsibilities, working with the south koreans on this to keep them from doing something here that you can't recalibrate, it's too late that could start something is a big deal. third part of this, i think, and just another point, i have heard from third party sources, credible sources in the asia-pacific when i was there and when i've been here in the united states and also from various chinese leaders off the record that this north korean problem continues to perpetuate american military presence in the region. even more and more. and that we keep using it, the united states, as an excuse. to keep more of our military, to protect our allies and our alliances and our treaty obligations with japan and south
korea. so the interesting part of that is it's, if they say that, the chinese believe that or some of them, then why wouldn't that incentivize them to some extent? plus their own self-interests to try to resolve only of this? i think it's going to be a continued manage this process, but i do think we'll get a breakthrough, and it's for the reasons i think, again, my three predecessors noted; working internationally whether it's the six-party talks or another forum, working with the chinese as close as we can. i think what the japanese are doing as they are changing some of their constitutional responsibilities for national security, the south koreans have been very good as the economies build out in the asia-pacific. more and more awareness and more and more interests here are becoming more and more acute for every country in that area. and it's going to take all of
them. >> let's move from an incredibly frustrating subject, north korea, to one where there has been extraordinary progress since the days of harold brown which is taiwan. where we have seen kind of peace across the straits in a way and kind of social and economic integration without political integration in a way that probably when we established diplomatic relations was not easy to predict. yet we still have obama administration recently notified a $1.83 billion arms sale to taiwan. so how does this issue from the perspectives of your service play out? does it just we maintain the status quo of continued arm sales, continued chinese objections, continued distrust created by this, or is there something else that can be done?
nobody wants that one. [laughter] >> i'd say it falls in the realm of trying to diminish the strategic distrust that exists between china and the united states. i don't think you just focus on taiwan and say, well, we have got elections now, it's changed the scenario in taiwan that was maybe more pro-independent than it currently has been for the last six, eight years. i think that the strategic distrust overrides this. it was not an issue, frankly, for me during the time that i was there because we were building better relations, we were getting closer economically, we were starting to talk militarily. and so it wasn't a major issue, and i was able to deal with this as i'm sure that secretary hagel and secretary perry and others have done over the years, to say that, yeah, the taiwan relations
act. we recognize a one china, and the shanghai communique, but we also have something called the taiwan relations act, and we are committed to providing defensive equipment to make sure that when there is a unification if it's to take place, it takes place peacefully and not through the force of arms. well, that has been our policy. can we maintain that for the next 20 or 30 years? probably doubtful. can we find a way to reduce the amount of distrust that continues to exist between the united states and china? that's the challenge. and so i think that there has been great, great progress made actually in the last eight years in terms of establishing cross-strait flights. hundreds of thousands of taiwanese working in the mainland, and that has been seen as a nonissue in terms of the kind of intensity that is now
surface -- that has now surfaced. so it goes back to strategic disthe u.s. of the goals of the united states. these most recent sales, they are not of such a significance that the chinese should find them threatening in any major way, and so i think part of it is not rhetorical, but verbalizing their objection to this relationship which we will have to continue. and second point on this or the third point on is this is that other allies are watching how the united states handles this. because if we have a commitment to taiwan and fail to take measures that will reinforce that commitment, then other countries will start to doubt those treely obligations as well -- treaty obligations as well, and that wouldn't bode well for us either. >> i take it that these transfers, given that admittedly they're part of a congressional band-aid, but from the u.s.
point of view they are a signal to the prc that they can't count on us, on the u.s., being passive if there's an attempt which might well be successful of the prc to take over taiwan by force. in other words, these transfers don't really affect, would not really affect the outcome of such an attempt, but they signal that the chinese can't be sure that that would not be a major and perhaps a conflict-provoking reaction from the united states. so it's a signal. >> bill, anything you want to add on that? since you had ordered the aircraft carrier?
>> you know, when i was -- >> the taiwan strait? >> when i was secretary, i ordered aircraft carriers to taiwan. i think at the time that was the right thing to do, but it was not an act i was very happy about. when i left office, i spent quite a bit of time in meetings with china and with taiwan trying to see if we could find some way of avoiding the need to have to do something like that. and the best i could come up with, i could think of no way of trying to dole with the fundamental -- deal with the fundamental disagreement about ownership, but the best i could come up with was a way of try toking to reduce the likelihood that that disagreement would lead to some kind of a military conflict. and ended up by working, promoting to have greater and greater economic interface and social interface, travel
have mutually assured economic destruction. billions of dollars of economic, each month actually. and taiwan -- >> secretary brown is correct that the sales are symbolic and secretary coven is correct that one of the seeds of truth strategic mistrust is the current u.s. policy supporting the status quo, and the right one, or should we be more
actively advocating for a peaceful resolution. not saying peaceful reunification but peaceful resolution where you would have gradual reduction of these kinds of arms sales which suffer now. >> i think the current administration's policy is correct and i say that because i think in this situation not unlike most of these kinds of geopolitical dynamics, this is different. everyone knows the history here. these things have to evolve on their own, their own way at their own time with the right environment. i said something earlier about another part of the world, we've been the most powerful nation on earth with many responsibilities with our allies doesn't mean we dictate, impose, but we beat.
we need to help everyone manage through this without some conflict occurring through some miscalculation, some pushing or accelerating of dimension the old architect used to say if it doesn't fit don't force it. you get into a lot of trouble in all affairs of life when you try to force things and this is one of those and it has to evolve. what bill perry said was exactly right. it is imperfect, still dangerous, i am hopeful that if there is a new government that election is coming at an end of this week, that new government doesn't start to unwind some of the progress that i believe is the right progress towards the right end, toward the right kind
of agreement gets china and taiwan where they need to be, for that part of the world and as bill cohen pointed out doesn't put the united states in a position where then we have to make a tough decision on whether we are going to support obligations or not. >> close on the eternal optimist and i got my start in his business when president nixon went to china. i always think the election gives them the ability to compromise more because their flank is protected but that is one for the secretaries of state i think. >> fortune tellers. >> let's talk about the economic relationship. secretary brown, when you where
there it was virtually nonexistent and now it is a massive. i wonder how can you have earnings and revenues, my guess is last quarter is somewhere in the neighborhood of $17 billion of product, u.s. companies selling that amount, that talks about how deeply the two economy is are tied and as we talked about the disruption in the chinese market certainly had an enormous affect here. how did it affect your thinking when you wear secretary? and how do you think it affects policy today going forward? >> in my case when i was secretary it had almost no affect. now what each country depends
substantially on the other and of course a lot of fact apple's sales consists of pieces that were made in the u.s. actually, not a lot of them, not the of bulk of the product, the value of the product. a large portion, most of it is made outside of china so it is parched of a world trade system in which trade with china by the u.s. is a very large part. that does not automatically produce peace before the first world war, the trade between france and germany was massive so by its self it was not ensure
peace, it would make war more disruptive and in that sense it may act as partial deterrent. >> i would say again during my tenure that i call upon the business community frequently and pointed out, you had secretaries of state at the end of this year but i would point out our ambassadors were the business community. every business was investing in china, chinese investing in the united states they become ambassadors of good will. they have an economic interest, something at stake, jobs are at stake so the business community in the united states is investing in china and i serve -- these are issues that we discuss on a regular basis. how do we continue to promote
better relations? most americans are not concerned about what is happening or what island is artificially constructed in the south china sea? they are worried about their jobs. we depend upon the business community to say we are ambassadors of goodwill, forge these links together, secretary brown said it doesn't mean you are going to always establish peace through economic prosperity but you have a better chance of maintaining it than you do if there were no such strands of economic interaction. i think the economic issue is the butterfly effect, it there's a little bit of bad news, destruction of the chinese stock market, pretty big one and it has an effect locally. all of the markets are then affected and so this is the consequence of globalization. we are all in to reactant and
what happens in a remote place at a remote time may seem inconsistent but it has major consequences, all the more reason why we have to look at trade investment as a stabilizing force. >> might be interesting to find out what chinese business men do in the way of telling their government how important there be peaceful relations between the u.s. and china and some of these meetings does that come up? >> the pens and whether the anti-corruption list i suppose. >> also address is there a negative side to this? allegations that i see, selling out the united states in terms of our defense readiness. >> i come at these things, and i
always try to no matter what job i ever had as a businessman, with as wide a scope based on as wide a frame of reference as i can and narrow it down. i say that to answer your question because there are violations of everything everywhere, that is not new, people take advantage of technology for the wrong reasons. is there some risk of high technology doing business in areas of totalitarian dictatorships, yes. i also believe you have to keep in the wider scope that a president, is not theory.
you have to realize, this is the iranian negotiations, the overall point, is any of this perfect, is any situation perfect? not that i have ever seen one but it is moving in the right direction? is it moving the world, economic development, and what has been unleashed, interconnected economic world is not going to be unwound or unleashed. we are all 7 billion global citizens in the global community underpinned by a global economy. we are not going to stop the that. isn't it interesting that the very dimensions and dynamics the united states and west have pushed since world war ii,
democratic reform, respect for human rights. and those don't always come to gather. isn't it interesting as you see the world buildup, the united states has always pushed for more trade, more development, more opportunities with trading partners or for no reason note stability. the more interconnected we are, we now get to a point where there's some debate, that is not the subject here but part of the environment we all live in, trying to push that back saying it is bad. and to prosper, what is in their
interests. the longer term future is it in our interest? and pretty clear the more you engage commercially, business is good as ambassador as we have in the world. >> anything to that briefly on this? questions to ask our panel. >> the question you asked i associate myself with the answer chuck gave. the chinese view of the south china sea is different from the american view of south china sea. we view it as international waters as part of our global
trade efforts, the chinese have bought more proprietary interest in the south china sea almost as if it is an inland sea. and the different perception sets the stage for major disagreements based on a conflict. could lead us to problems with china which we try to avoid. it seems to me that is more the focus of potential security problem today than taiwan. >> at least three, four stars that i can see here. and opened to the audience, a
few short questions first. and we be training -- for getting congressional restrictions, this is a policy question. this is a policy question. you, in washington don't like policy questions but should we be training young p l a officers at west point and other military institutions? >> yes. >> yes. >> did you worry? american command and control systems are very sophisticated. do you worry -- did you worry -- would you worried today about the command and control systems in china where we have incidents that beijing was not aware of and couldn't control? >> yes. yes. yes. >> bill? >> yes. >> this is double jeopardy.
>> what is the price. >> the greatest threat to security in the pacific is climate change? >> no short-term. yes long-term without defining long term. >> i agree with secretary brown. >> both have given political answers so i will. the leading i would say, the reason i agree with what harold brown has said is it is a threat. i wouldn't rate it as but most immediate threat but it is clearly a threat. >> security.
>> security threat. >> climate change, the catastrophe that could occur from climate change and catastrophe that could occur from a nuclear exchange are on the same power as those being existentialist. they should be addressed by immediate attention and what to do now to avoid them becoming existential threats 10, 20, 30, years from now. >> this one just for chuck hagel. on li keqiang, the chinese announced the construction of a second aircraft carrier, the first when they reconstructed, the last one they bought, from ukraine. what is the implication? should we be worried? >> i would say we should be
worried. i am not surprised they would make that decision. i think an aircraft carrier not only strategically tactically for them is important but i think the symbolism is particularly important for them. i was told incidentally when i was there when i visited that aircraft carrier, retrofitted ukrainian aircraft carrier which is not much of an aircraft carrier when you look it today's status, navy brothers and sisters don't know lot more about it than i do. the reality as the chinese reminded me the weapons systems that they have, the technology they have to attack aircraft carriers is rather significant and i don't think any of them said to me they are outdated.
i received a pretty clear implication that they are more vulnerable than they have never been. so my opinion is i don't think the chinese see this as a particularly new tactical strategic weapon that is going to give them more significant dimension to their defense capabilities but i think it is important for other reasons as well other than symbolic reasons. >> i would go further and say it is good for us if they want to spend their money on that. >> the aircraft carrier has always been important from the united states's perspective as a sign of our commitment to the security of other countries. it has been one in which we have always said basically they want
to feel us but not see us, we would be over the horizon as a presence which was reassuring. i think if the chinese develop aircraft carriers it will be for different reasons, it will be so they conceive and as well as feel them and that would be an important part of their strategy within the south china sea, east china sea etc. but a very different purpose than ours because ours has been forced projection over rising presence, reassuring allies we are with them. >> let me open this illustrious audience, let me open the floor to questions, have a few more minutes, the lights are bright enough. all right. are you media? right here. the chinese woman right here. she is not sure he's chinese .
>> i am president -- is a experts say we're closer to nuclear war than at the height of the cold war. if that happened by accident or otherwise would be to -- there are many other destabilizing factors, that we are in front of the perfect political storm for the new financial crash, the e.u. is about to detonate over the refugee crisis. >> what is your question? >> why can we not make a new timeline where we answer to president pink's offer that was made in 2014 that the united states would cooperate in a
win/win strategy and in his new year's address heat again said we must build a community of the common destiny of mankind. why can't we build an international security architecture based on common economic cooperation? >> i think to some extent we have. i think things would be much worse if there weren't economic cooperation. to say that you are in favor of peace and cooperation is just a very first set. the mechanics of the details are everything. >> can i add one quick comment. we have become too lacks in our
concern about nuclear weapons. i go back to churchill who said we may want a return to the stone age on the gleaming winds of science. i think we are seeing a proliferation of nuclear weapons, pakistan is building more and more, north korea is building more and more coming iran may be building more in the not too distant future so i think this big essential threat as to cause us as to make us think of how to survive on this planet. is much greater than today because more and more individuals, groups, radical groups are trying to get their hands on them. put that in the context of an overall architecture we need to be concerned about even more today than before because we had rational governments dealing with this issue, even coming to brinkmanship and extinction.
>> we haven't mentioned terrorism today. are we working with the chinese too little? too much or just right in our counterterrorism effort? >> i am of the most recent secretary of defense. the real terrorist threats have been defined since 9/11 in ways we have not seen before. i would say we are working with the chinese, working with all nations of the world in areas where we can. to assure our own self-interest, the chinese have cleared self-interest, the russians have
self-interest, that this scourged of terrorism is a plague on all of is and is a threat to all of us and israel for all of us. it varies with the area, dimension, threat in all the variabless that are in this and there are different views by each nation how to handle that. not easy to resolve either. we are working with the chinese on this and i think we have had some success working with chinese. >> it depends on where you sit. from the chinese point of view, one big terrorist threat is it is not clear we want to cooperate in suppressing terrorism. >> it is the different tissue.
another issue involved. that is the reconciliation between dealing with the threat of terrorism and protecting privacy and rights to privacy. china me have a different view of privacy for their citizens compared to what we in the united states might insist upon. not to mention the europeans so this will present, chuck was talking about this, a real challenge in terms of how do you reconcile different philosophical view points about the need to confront terrorism in a way that doesn't turn you into basically a stalinist stage where even some of our candidates suggest we should start employing everybody to look at everybody else, you suddenly start worry about listening to conversations and looking at individuals for their signs of misconduct so be careful. we got to deal with terrorism
and what identifiable groups are promoting terrorism, and protecting what is left of privacy in the digital world. >> let me recognize the women here. >> thank you very much, very nice to meet you here. i would like to know what will be the most challengeable position you have made when you are secretary of defense, how do you comment on the current situation? thank you very much. >> i didn't have an issue. it did not exist at that time. there were no reasons for the chinese at that point to be concerned about the u.s. presence and transferring any threat to its sovereignty.
what has happened over time because china has grown as an economic power and they are now growing as the military power, the claim of jurisdiction over the south china sea or east china sea or parts of it has become much more of a prominent issue and i think we are going to have to really insists -- we see the chinese rising as a military power. we recently had the foreign minister of singapore say we have to recognize more power in the region and that is true. the united states can't stop that and shouldn't stop the that. we won't be able to dominate as we have in the past. india may have issues about freedom of navigation in the south china sea. they have a lot of traffic going through so it is not just saw covers is the united states. japan, all the countries of the region have an issue about freedom of navigation.
what is most important is we be clear about what we are saying and not send mixed signals. we can't say it is innocent passage we are requesting that it is freedom of navigation, if we state it ambiguity we are confusing our own allies and enduring the chinese so we have to be very clear on exactly what our position is and this is something that goes back to sun soo hoo said be prudent but not hesitant. we can't beat prudent about what the issues offer us and what they have to be for the chinese in the region. >> secretary of defense, the national -- unknown document in the archives of the shanghai czech regime. >> one quick question and we go to a final question.
are we doing enough? is there anything specific you can suggest the we are not doing to improve the military to military relationship? or are we doing basically everything we possibly can? secretary brown, anything? >> you mentioned one. >> sending chinese cadets to west point. >> we should do more to encourage military to military relationships at senior levels. you can't have 1-sided force to do that. so far i think it is the chinese who have limited that. i think i would push again. >> william perry, anything? >> we should continue to promote minister to minister dialogue which all of us have done. we should continue to support
the chinese cadets' which all of the agreed to. beyond that i think the most significant relationship would be that which the commander in chief would make with china, they are closely tied to this with military issues in that part of the world's, could make an ambassador and the most single most important relationship we should nurture. >> one thing we should consider although it carries some liability is including the chinese to some of our exercises so it doesn't look at is -- as it is the united states, australians and japanese, which are aimed at the chinese indians
or japanese, to the extent we can find ways in which they can become more integrated, aren't we educating them, i think that is a way of trying to build more for us even though it raises questions about security. >> admiral locklear would have a lot to say about this issue. he has recently come out of that job, he knows how much our military has invested in military to military relationships, so many things our military leaders have done and are doing to build that military to military relationship most people never see. which i said earlier in my comments tonight much of what i
inherited was a result of contind good work on this but it is a continuation of reaching out and we are doing more and more military exercise training with the shiniest. as harol . as harold pointed out is a 2-way street -- i think this is critically important. that is going to fix the issue. the other part of that as someone who has walked both sides of the street, the political side and the administration's side, politician has to listen more to our military. i don't mean changing the constitution.
i mean listening to the military. they get it better than most politicians on things like this. some of the finest statesmen i ever met in my life our military uniform people. this is not a paid political advertisement for the military. >> old army man. >> you know what i mean, across-the-board. it is a universal use of america's assets and government resources in leadership that i think is the biggest part of this, to use them all more effectively with a broader policy and strategy as to what is it we want to accomplish? >> final question, january 20th, 2017, at 7:30 in the morning. and president-elect trump -- the
president has given -- has given you one minute to give her advice, give a person advice on the u.s./china relationship so in 60 seconds what do you tell her? 60 seconds. >> the promise you made it. i would say rerun this program. >> let me be serious about this. what is happening in the political system is we are witnessing the polarization in our politics which is settling in and becoming much more cemented as opposed to in the past and when we make promises to appeal to our respective bases we find once you get in office you have got to think about the consequences of what you promise in order to get
elected. i urge all presidential candidates don't make promises, if you do make sure you break and because you have to. president carter when he was running a pledge to pull 5,000 troops out of south korea. i fought that was a bad mistake and he came to the conclusion was a mistake as well but that nonetheless was a pledge during the campaign. we have to be careful and on the chinese side the chinese have been much more mature today then ever before about the political system. ten years ago when bill perry or 15 years ago the chinese were reacting quite differently to our political system than they do today and much more mature in looking at what we are prepared to do. second thing, get a fiscal policy in place and consult with congress, a coequal branch of government. >> we have to keep it.
>> i don't think -- specifically with respect to china the advice i would give is this is in the long run the most important bilateral relationship, take it easy, don't take big steps, we don't take big steps without thinking it through much more than most of your predecessors have most of the time. >> much more important than you realize to get the u.s./china relationship right. secondly much more difficult than you realize to get u.s./china relationship right. >> chuck hagel, last word. >> one word, listen. >> to the chinese too.
>> listen. >> i want to thank everyone on behalf of the national committee on u.s./china relationship for joining in the beginning of the celebration of our 50th anniversary and our four secretaries of defense, this was the great program, take 90 minutes out of your day and you will learn a lot about u.s./china relations but join me in thanking the four of them. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
>> the senate in recess until 2:15 eastern time. then take up legislation from senator rand paul known as audit the fed allowing the government accountability office to review the fed reserve private communications about setting interest rates, a procedural vote on the measure is scheduled for 2:30 eastern time. at 8:20 p.m. tonight senators will gather in the senate chamber and walk to get it to the house chamber for president obama's last state of the union address. the speech is at 9:00 eastern live on c-span2 followed by reaction from members of congress. >> tonight we welcome the president of the united states for the state of th union address. his final address and gives us cause for reflection. many of us recall the moment in boston when a state senator became aational stock. is rhetorical gifts was undeniable. it was a soaring elocution that
promised a new and more inclusive beginning. inspired many. it propelled barack obama to the highest office in the land. americans said the campaign would come to a close and the serious work of governing would eventually commence. it is now many years later and the obama president campaign never really ended. speeches will substitute for substance, strong army stands in for serious debate, slogans for governing, we have been promised even more campaigning tonight. this time for the candidate president obama would like to see succeed him. he leads americans to wonder, when is the serious work of governing ever going to begin? governing isn't easy.
governing often requires serious engagement with the congress, the american people, not the one the president wishes they had elected. but here is the simple fact. you don't make change through slogans. that is something president obama once said. i wish he had taken his own advice because here is what we know as we entered the twilight of his presidency. he has presided over a sluggish and uneven economic recovery that is failing too many of our citizens. health premiums end ed up continuing to shoot ever higher. wages have flat line for too many. inequality has grown. manufacturing has shrunk. poverty scene is too and french. the middle class has continued to collapse to the point that it no longer even constitutes a majority of our country.
the obama administration says it wants to help the middle class that his policies often tell a different story. we have seen the negative impact obamacare has had on so many middle-class families. we seen this administration declare a war on coal families who just want to get ahead. tonight i have invited a kentucky minor as my state of being in guest. he has watched as the obama administration's heartless approach has contributed to devastation in his community and to the loss of thousands of jobs in kentucky. one of which was his own job. here is what his message has been to president obama. we are hurting and we need help but we don't want to be bailed out, we want to work.
many of kentuckyans feel the same way. many americans feel similarly too. today only 20% of our citizens think things are headed in the right direction in their country, three quarters want the next president to take a direct, totally different approach from the current one. these are the simple facts and they present the president with a choice. president obama can try to blame others for it, try to convince americans they are wrong to feel the way they do or pecan take responsibility and chart a new course. americans iron losing faith in the future, they watch challenges known in the world like those from isil, iran, russia, al qaeda and pepper
aggressive china, north korea, and the taliban. this administration seems to have no plan to deal with any of them. this heard in our country and failing approach from the white house should be disheartening to all of us. perhaps the worst part is it didn't have to be like this. it really didn't have to be like this. i believe when the american people elected government they are not telling us to do nothing but they are telling us to work together in areas where we can agree so we can make progress for our country. this congress has racked up a growing list of bipartisan accomplishment for the american people, some thought the major reforms we passed in areas like education and transportation and medicare and tax relief were all impossible in the current political climate. we proved those pundits wrong, show how significant bipartisan accomplishment can be achieved
with a good policy. perhaps we have inspired the president to try his hand at bipartisan achievement as well. we will see tonight when he delivers his last state of the union address. if he proposes real plans to do things like defeats isil, grow economic opportunity and strengthen the middle-class, plans actually designed to pass this congress, not just provide talking points for the next campaign we will know he is ready to join us in meeting the challenges of tomorrow. because republicans are not afraid of the future and we don't think president obama should be either. we want him to join us in recognizing the challenges of today while working for the solutions of tomorrow. it is from the we as that nation have a lot of challenges to confront. the pain and the worry in our country is real.
it is palpable. but none of it is insurmountable. that is a hopeful message i expect governor haley to delivered tonight. i expect her to contrast a failing presidency stuck in the past with a republican party oriented to the future. nikki haley knows the american dream, she has lived the american dream, believes in the continuing promise of our country and understands the importance of opportunity and upward mobility for our middle-class. when governor hilly talks about hope and change she means it because she actually worked to deliver it. there is nothing wrong with inspirational speeches. we all need to be inspired especially in trying times like these. soaring rhetoric matched with the right policies and hard work to actually achieve them is good
for our country. just ask ronald reagan or jack kemp. but empty eloquence wrapped in left-wing ideas of yesterday that hurt the middle class, it is time to leave that behind. time to look for the future. we will see tonight if president obama is ready to do so and move beyond the failed policies of the past. >> mr. president lee >> democratic leader. >> this is not a card game. what i would do is trump -- the republican leader has said. mr. president. my friend lives in a world that doesn't exist. let's talk about this person
named barack obama. what has happened under his time in office, his seven years in spite of the unheard of, and recognizable senate republicans have created, the 5500 times because they set out to block everything he wanted. in spite of that, in spite of that, the state of the union now reflects the last seven years, 14 million private sector jobs have been created. during the obama years the economy has grown. private sector created jobs for 70 straight months, the longest stretch in the history of our country. unemployment is at 5%. 5%. when barack obama took office, it was in some states as much as
14%. during the years of barack obama, 17 million uninsured americans were given access to health care, 17 million and the number is climbing. renewable energy production has increased significantly. you drive across america today you see wind farms in the middle part of this country, farmers make more money from producing energy on their farms and harvesting corn and soybeans because of the president's suggested list >> we breakaway as the u.s. senate is gaveling back into work on legislation from senator rand paul known as the audit the fed bill which would allow the government accountability office to review the federal reserve's private communications about setting interest rates, a procedural vote on the bill is scheduled for 15 minutes from now, 2:30 eastern. now live to the senate floor on c-span2.