tv Wall Street Journal CEO Council Discussion with John Bolton CSPAN December 5, 2018 7:57am-8:28am EST
presidents will be in attendance. today's their monies continue at 1:15 p.m. as the former president departs joint base andrews arriving in houston at 5:30 a.m. with live coverage of the viewing at saint martin's applicable church. thursday morning, covered resumes at the funeral service, watch full coverage of the state funeral for george hw bush live this morning on c-span, and c-span.org or listen on the c-span radio apps. in this interview with wall street journal managing editor gerard baker, national security adviser john bolton discusses us foreign policy and recent events including the g 20 summit, trade relations with china, russia and north korea. this was part of the wall street journal ceo council held in washington dc.
[applause] >> good morning, thank you very much, john, thank you very much, ambassador, for being here this morning. you just got back from when is there is at the g 20 meeting. it looked like a good and productive discussion between donald trump and president xi which was described in almost never chamberlain type way, peace in our time. >> i wouldn't say that. >> might not be the right analogy but can you explain what the steel does represent? >> this is an extended discussion of the nature of the relationship between china and the united states, the focus of the conversation was largely over trade issues. we view this as a fundamental strategic question and how
china takes steps to correct what we have seen consistently with abuses of the wto, there up session with intellectual property from a forced technology transfer, cyberattacks, espionage against american companies which contribute to the trade deficit, all of which represent a fundamental unwillingness to adapt to a rule of law for doing business. this was going to have a major effect on the relationship. a lot of the headlines are about increased purchases of agricultural products, we don't see the american future being a third world country supplying natural resources and agricultural products to china but we need to see major changes in their behavior, structural issues and these negotiations, the president enters optimistically, but no
one is under any illusions about how hard it will be. >> we go to the 90 day suspension of the proposed increase in tariffs. what did the chinese pledge to do? it seems to be a misalignment of some of the things that have been said on car tariffs with china agreed to reduce and lift car tariffs but the chinese didn't say anything about that. what pledges you got from china that they will she will try to achieve? >> they did talk about significant increase in purchases of agricultural products. .. fentanyl derivatives as controlled substance. they have to follow through on this. exports of fentanyl is an extremely dangerous narcotic amounting in thousands of death every year. they implemented that and cracked down on the fentanyl producers. i don't view this necessarily a lot oft a look at other things. i don't view this necessarily as an agreement that will say china will increase its purchases of
american products but x hundred billion dollars and we will therefore lower tariffs. we have to look at other things we might do. just an example, we were all concerned about the fifth of american intellectual property. how about a rule,ou a policy tht says there will be no imports intoto the united states of any products or services that are based on the fifth of american intellectual property? at not a tariff question mark that's a way of defending intellectual property. >> is this something the president will propose? >> this is something that should be considered.ld we may have some authority in that it already. we may need need additional legislation practice what you talking about. this dollars and since, deeply implicated in it but the structural issues that are going to be discussed over the next 87 days now are i think far and away the more important issue. >> howu do you see the long-tem strategic relationship? it seems to beenm r a staple of
u.s. policy for at least the last 20 years, clinton, bush and obama administration's, , bringg china into the world, into the international community was a good thing, helping the chinese economy grow was a good thing that u.s. would benefit from that. the world would benefit. ines the process we overlook summative excesses, some of things the chinese were doing. do you sure that you that the u.s. has a lot to benefit from a strong vibrant china in asia and also in the world? >> our view of the indo-pacific region excludes no country, but if you read the national sturdy strategy, that the trump administration put up almost exactly ami year ago and i can count this without fear of being accused of patting myself on the back because they voted for i i get into the administration. it identifies a number of problems with china, some of which we discussed butut it maks the point precisely that for years american policy was based on the assumption bringing china
into the wto would increase pressure to conform to international norms, trade and business there is. that has not happened. we had decades the people who said the modernization and economic growther with china wod produce increased political freedom and more representative government. that hasn't happened either. he simply is has not simply accepted the conventional wisdom going back to the nixon administration and the original opening to china. we're having to look at other options on china. but is there a pact forward where we could have truly free and reciprocal trade with china? sure, they need to do a lot of behavioral change however. >> how would you say china is strategicking a competitor a rival? >> i'd use strategic expert and adversaries in others.
it doesn't mean there's a trap here some academics have said. i think every situation is unique. but the fact is china has done a lot of things not just in the economic area, as in the case of stealing intellectual property but look at the south china see. where contrary to commitments they made to barack obama, express commitments they would not militarize the south china sea, that's exactly what they're doing. we talk in the middle east of the parties making facts on the ground. the chinese are making the ground in the south china sea, and they're putting naval and air bases on it. at one point i think they said to president trump these are housing projects. well qlaw, housing projects for the people's liberation army, and navy. that's not how you get peaceful negotiation and resolution of the conflicting conflicting terl disputes there. gather before we move off china
we have a poll question. do we have it? >> gerard: it's a nice cheerful way to start the counsel to start the morning. will the u.s. and china find themselves at war sometime in the next 20 years. fire up your aps, and i so far 10 percent. that's -- you're 100 percent. so far. you can answer that question if you like. that's actually pretty well 50/50, some people think we'll find ourselves at warf with china in the next 50 years. >> i can it rests with china. the poll question i would have asked for ceos and other executives here is how many of you let's do it -- >> sen. bolton: how many of you believe in free trade? how many of you believe free
trade means allowing the chinese to kick us around, steal your intellectual property and not respond to it? how many of you are willing to tell your shareholders that ripping off your intellectual property is no problem? so when people say you're not pursuing a free trade policy i say if there is going to be free trade they're going to have to live by it and doing things like forced technology transfers, discriminating against foreign companies and the court system the whole range of investment decisions they make isn't free trade either. >> gerard: let's move on. north korea the president announced that he and leader kim had fallen in love. i'm going to guess you don't quite share those emotional feelings. >> sen. bolton: look, the president has stbled a very strong personal relationship with kim jong-un. i think i have a relationship with kim jong-un, he said at the lunch we had at singapore you and i have to take a picture
together because i'm going to show them to my hard liners and tell them you're not such a bad guy. >> gerard: did you say the same thing to him? >> sen. bolton: we're going to pursue this -- sure -- if the north koreaens follow through with the commitments they made in singapore president trump will deserve the nobel peace price. he opened the door for them, now they have to walk through it. >> gerard: they haven't so far? >> sen. bolton: they have not lived up to the commitment so far, i think that's why the president thinks another summit is likely to be productive. >> gerard: so there will be another summit even if they haven't met their commitments to denuclearization? >> sen. bolton: they're going to have a discussion to how they're going to accomplish those commitments until then there's won't be a release.
i think shortly after the first of the year, january, february. will be the next summit. >> gerard: another hotspot russia, russia continues its aggression most people would agree against ukraine. last weekend we saw the seizure of ukranian vessels in the sea this continuing war going on russia is continuing to provoke and continuing to stoke that. what can we -- what can the west do, what can nato do and the united states do to deter the repeated acts of aggression. >> sen. bolton: i think the president made it clear what happened was unacceptability. he canceled a meeting with putin that putin wanted. before the g-20 he had me call my russian number. and say look, the release of the ships and the crew is very important here. this meeting is in jeopardy
unless that happens, they didn't do it we canceled the meetings. president had a few words with putin at one of the dinners saying the same thine. we need a little more resolve on the part of our european friends keeping annexations in place for the crime a, but this kind of behavior makes it difficult if not impossible to see progress with russia on other fronts. and that's something that i think the president's made clear in his conversations with european allies as well. >> gerard: beyond canceling meetings at g20 summits that doesn't seem to deter the russians is there anything else you could do. >> sen. bolton: the president said germany should cancel the pipeline we're looking at a variety of things we could do a there and there are a lot of possibilities that russians want to find that will not be open to them. we've made it clear we're going
to get out of the intermediate range nuclear forces treaty. secretary pompeo will be addressing that in europe today and that's important to the russians and they're not going to see that treaty survive. >> gerard: the europeans seem to be more concerned with that than the russians. >> sen. bolton: as a polish defense have said they've already withdrawn from the treaty in addition to the threat by russian intermediate range ballistic missiles no other countries in the world are bound by this treaty except the united states and russia. the russians are violating it. that means one country in the world is bound by the inf treaty, us. our estimates are between a half and a third of their ballistic mental illness would violate the treaty if china was in it. iran has excessive capability they tested one this weekend.
this is a threat on a global basis where enormously concerned about our nato allies in europe but we have global responsibilities in asia and the middle east we have to be responsive there too. >> gerard: when people look at russia and the administration's policy to russia there seems to be a disconnect between the policies that you describe, the sanctions, the diplomatic actions the tough measures your language, secretary mattis, secretary pompeo and the president's themselves. the president seems to be somehow reluctant to engage in the kind of verbal diplomacy that you do. he seems to have a particular relationship with president putin that seems to be at odds with the policy, can you explain that. >> sen. bolton: i don't see that at all. the president values his personal relationships with leaders all over the world, this is something with the sad news that president george h.w. bush's death i remember being in the state barment with jim baker
at the time working for him when president bush was doing extraordinary things around the world and the career foreign services office used to call bush the mad dialer because he was constantly calling foreign leaders, he knew them all and would conduct diplomacy with them directly. that was a way of being able to take advantage of personal relationships and president trump sees it the same way. >> so the helsinki summit with where the president had the pres crones with presidentputen and had to correct his language afterwards some of the things. that was just the president establishing a warm relationship, and is that not the kind of form in which the united states should be voicing these concerns and frustrations and this opposition to russian actions and russian aggression. >> sen. bolton: i think this was a frolic and a detour by the press. in his actual conversations with futen i think which he
deperceived us on when he came out of the meeting. and we heard from it's not unusual to have one-on-one meetings among the leaders. but we heard as the president left that exactly what they talked about. we heard from the russian sides m president putin himself at this press conference was the one who said that president trump had made it very clear that we were adhering to our position that the annexation by the crime a was ilemail. >> gerard: lest move on to the middle east. first of all in the middle east there's been news overnight israel launching an attack on some of these -- the tunneling hes bolaw has been doing. can you tell us us a little bit about that and where the u.s. stands on that? is this -- are we risking escalation between israel and its opponents in the region? >> sen. bolton: what israel is doing is a completely legitimate
exercise of its right to self-defense. these tunnels are acts of aggression by hezbollah. there may be as many as a dozen or more. this is an operation that will last for several years. president we fully support what israel is doing here. and it shows that hezbollah backed by iran, financed by iran, has very aggressive designs on israel these tunnels will know more details when the israelis penetrate them but they go deep underground. they're much more dangerous than the terror tunnels out of gaza and they represented a real threat to israel in particular, and particularly israel civilians. so hezbollah's is clear, the izrealize are entitled to do whatever they need to do to neutralize the tunnels to return
to the status quo ante. we hope they don't escalate having the designs uncovered am israel's are going to neutralize the tunnels, and it shows how dangerous things are in that part of the world with iran's forces linked up with assad and syria and the terrorist group in lebanon. that's an internal israeli matter and he and the authorities will handle that. >> gerard: let's move to saudi arabia. that's been the scene of much concern in the last couple of months. the killing of the journalist jamal khashoggi in istanbul. the president made it clear a couple weeks ago that while not condoning that murder, he doesn't think he should have any way significantly affect u.s. saudi relationships. saudi is a crucial ally. we had mitch mcconnell here
last night saying saudi is a crucial ally, at the same time u.s. doesn't -- something needs -- we need to do something. to demonstrate that we can't support what happened and indeed if it is traced back to the crown prince mohammad bin salman that doesn't have serious implications for u.s. support for saudi arabia? had. >> sen. bolton: we've made it very clear up to and including the president that we want all of the facts to come out here. we've made it clear with the crown prince, the king, with other saudis the administration has sanctioned every saudi identified by the public prosecutor in saudi arabia to the maximum extent we can. and we continue to press the saudi's for more information and to get more of the facts out. the issue i think that the president has to deal with is the important american interest in the region. and this is a heinous crime.
the president has said that. but it's a region where a lot of heinous crimes are committed by iran, by the assad regime, by terrorists all around. it's not a case of saying this is dace tasteful, i'm understating it obviously, so for that reason we're going to fundamentally change the relationship with saudi arabia. we expect that the saudis are going to do everything they can to uncover who is responsible for this, we're looking at all the various bits and pieces we've accumulated over the years. we've spoken with the turks, we expect the turks and the saudis will cooperate. and we want to get to the bottom of it. but the relationship is real and vital to american strategic interests and there's no point in blinking at that. >> gerard: you say you want to get to the bottom of it i know there's ambiguity to what the intelligence shows. there's been reporting that the intelligence shows a clear link between the killing and its direction from crown prince --
from the crown prince. the president has said it could have been the crown prince or smbilities. can you clear that up? it has been widely reported that it seems to be traced to mbs himself. >> sen. bolton: i'm not going to reveal classified information. i can tell you the stories that broke in your newspaper about what happened came from leaks from congress, from a briefing where people overinterpretted the conclusions that had been reached. and i think at the briefing a couple days ago in the senate secretary pompeo and mattis both said without qualification they have read all the intelligence as have i, and they didn't see anything that justified that conclusion. so, you know we will continue to look. additional evidence is always possible that it will come up but that's where it stands at this point. >> gerard: and the infamous tapes of the killing they don't
give a direct or any direct clue as to who on whose instructions the murder was carried out. >> sen. bolton: no and they've been listened to by people experted in language and the environment and obvious facts of what were going on there. i find it amazing -- >> gerard: you have not listened to the tapes? >> sen. bolton: i don't know why people are interested in listening to the tapes, i don't know if it's violence, torn, in all the years i've been in government and the intercepts i have, really, on to help policymakers i have listened to exactly one tape. the occasion for that was i was at nsa getting briefed on their accomplishments many years ago and i'm going to be careful how i say this but they played a tape of two international officials talking about me. they were not complementary. it was one of the most hilarious experiences i have ever had. that's the only tape i've ever linned to.
listened to. i remember distinctly who they were. but the idea that policymakers are going to sit around and listen to that. that's what we have intelligence analysts for. and i'm not -- maybe members of the president and congress are, i rely on our analysts to listen, understand it and give us their best conclusion. >> gerard: the relationship with saudi arabia is too important to be affected in any way by something like this? >> sen. bolton: i don't think exclude any possibility. that's what the president said a couple week ago. the relationship is what most important for the united states but we want the questions here answered. >> gerard: thank you we have questions from the audience. >> guest: thank you, ambassador bolton, on the government of china and the tension between
the u.s. and china. imagine that the chinese act like angels and say okay, we're done with ip theft, completely guarantee no ip theft, no industrial espionage, and that's really my question. those two plus -- we can play by the book, squeaky clean on wto, what else is important on the 142 request list that you presented to the chinese? what else is really important? so even if they're really good ip, wto, what else? >> sen. bolton: i think cyber crime is very important and i think all of you who use information technology ought to be concerned about it too. we know that the chinese have engaged in a very considerable effort at not just hacking into the government which you'd expect but hacking into your computers as well. and who knows what they've left behind.
just speaking personally we know that china took thousands of personnel records from u.s. government files am and probably including mine, so my fbi investigations are open to readership in china. this is very disturbing activity. but it's their espionage against commercial that's correct r targets that i think we're most concerned about here. so as these discussions go on, bob light lighthizer who will be leading the team for the president and negotiation will be asking about verification mechanisms as well. it's not what you sign up to on a piece of paper but whether we have some guarantees that china will carry through on its commitments and actually operationalize it. >> other questions? >> guest: ambassador, tim back of it from samsung, i have a
question about 5g and the security implications about it. as a company who's venge billions in bringing these devices together and 5g is going to play a instrumental role in smart cities and autonomous driving and so forth. there's also a lot of discussion about the race to 5g and global implications of that in particular with china. how do you think about that in the security aspects of that as well? >> sen. bolton: well we are all over that issue on a lot of others watching what chine china has done, and thinking about how to protect against it. the justice department has a substantial number of open investigations on matters related to information technology summit i think will be announced in the near future. it's one of the reasons why this theft of intellectual property is so important and why for example the idea i mentioned a time or two ago about just not
letting any imports into the united states that benefited from stealing of american technology and maybe we ought to link up with our friends and trading partners like japan and the united kingdom and others and have a more united front on this. the difference is we don't direct the private sector the way the chinese government does. or i should say the way they direct the people's liberation army owned companies and others they're investing in. so this is something that we're discussing with our own private sector companies. i expect -- this is not something that would be solved at some point in the future. this is the future as far as we can see. so, disciplining everybody, not just china but everybody against this intellectual property theft i think is going to be a major task to protect american investments and investments and in like-minded countries and o
your workforces and consumers. >> guest: i have -- one more quick question. thank you for the time. i want to ask you about latin america. on the way to you met the president of brazil, i wonder what you can tell us what's going on in latin america. you have a new government in mexico, the misery and chaos and tyranny of venezuela and cuba, but you have these interesting electoral phenomena driving latin america in different directions. what did you talk about with mro achieve with in the hemisphere? >> sen. bolton: i think there are hopeful signs. president lopez and president trump have spoken several times. we've had progress with him on the immigration questions going
on right now. that will be a high priority trafficking and drugs, trafficking persons will be important but even though he comes from the mexican left the stranger things have happened in finding ways of working together with him. i have to say even under outgoing president -- i think there was an excellent working relationship between the two governments. but in south america in particular, president boles narrow in bruintril is a huge change in the past, in columbia, the president just elected a different president in argentina, i feel optimistic about the prospects of enhanced relationshipwise these key countries in ways we haven't seen since the collapse of the soviet union. there are problems, cuba, venezuela, nick nicaragua, we no deal with those regimes and free those people. across the hem fear not just an american project this is increasingly a project of leers of all the democratic countries.
>> ambassador bolton thank you very [applause] >> in this next panel the "wall street journal" ceo council conference, the ceos of insurance company aetna and dick's sporting goods talk about the relationship between business and politics. the "wall street journal" nikki waller moderates a half-hour discussion. [applause] >> welcome, guys. we will jump right into it. we spent time talking about this as an external affairs and this is one of the first conversations that's about all of you are running companies and aboutni yu guys. we're in this moment, hard to think of any business that has been caught at the cross was about to take a stand