tv Assistant Defense Secretary on China Policy CSPAN October 15, 2019 10:45pm-11:33pm EDT
and i give my kids and anybody who will listen, as you grow up, your life will never be less complicated than today, take advantage of that. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> the house will be in order. >> for 40 years c-span has provided america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court in public policy event from washington, d.c. and around the country. so you can make up your own mind. crated by cable and 1979. c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. >> randall the assistant defense secretary for agent and specific security affairs spoke at the
china defense and security conference. he spoke about the u.s. military for dealing with china. this is 45 minutes. >> okay everyone. my name is glenn howard, i am the president of jamestown foundation and we are delighted to have at our ninth annual china events and security conference the honorable randall schreiber who is assistant secretary of defense for security affairs. mr. schreiber, the point of this position and generally eighth 2018. for those of you who do not know anything about jamestown, or a nonprofit foundation in washington that specializes with terrorism and also deals a lot with china and we appreciate the people of this program will be broadcast on c-span. were very excited about getting the visibility throughout the united states and that critical point of the speech, randall
schreiber speech he appeared last, and they were off the record at the time. this year we keep progressing and how we advance was secretary schreiber and we are trying to get more attention to this issue. let me say, a couple words about randy. he has long been known in the china community is a robust voice on china. in 2008, he cofounded the project 2049 with mark stokes, he has been very active in this region in a wide industry engrossed career and were starting off with a consulting firm and gone on to different areas with a nonprofit organization in asia. he served as a deputy secretary of state for the asian pacific affairs was responsible for
china mongolia, hong kong, australia and the pacific islands. and maybe you have the file for him, and one of the things he has done in terms of being a robust thinker, he is very proud of this and has every right to be. in june 2019 he helped develop the long-term -- in order to deal china the strategic competitor and created a new position in the department of defense called the secretary of defense for china. that has been a very important development because his help focus and synthesize the thinking and the pentagon on china and were delighted that he has taken the time to come and talk to us so without further ado i turn the floor over to randy. [applause] >> i pursue the opportunity to be back.
i guess this is progression being on the record but i welcome the opportunity to have this discussion in public because i think it's important inconsequential time in the region and what we're trying to do to compete effectively with china. i appreciate being intervenor on the record and congratulation on the record for jamestown. including this conference i was able to stream the discussion earlier and saw old friends like russell and helping us to get our hands around these various challenges and particularly enjoyed the discussion or learned from the discussion on the influence operation and how aggressive china and john's comments are on that. so i'm very pleased to be part of this discussion. i thought i would talk a little bit about recent developments in recent travels i have had and then embed that in our strategy that we are implementing and leave some time for discussion for questions and answers.
i will talk internally how we are organizing for this challenge. as glenn mentioned the creation of the new position. i am back from the region and last week i was in china, the vietnam and japan. and trust me, that is the right order to take that trip. i strategic competitor, emerging partner in a close solid rock ally. i certainly learned that a lot of the trends that we have been tracking and observing are unfolding, i think the chinese did receive me at the normal protocol level and we had a discussion about the defense relationship and they continue to say to us that they want to military relationship to be a stabilizing force in the overall relationship and of course the overall relationship is facing a number of stresses, trade issues and concerns about what is
happening internally in china and what is happening in hong kong. we continue to hear from them if they want the relationship to be a stabilizing factor. we are trying to better understand what they mean by that but i do minimum and want to continue the high level of engagement which we welcome. we want good channels of communication and the ability to talk about our intentions and policies and about their own. and try to advance our agenda that we are working on with respect to risk reduction, making the operating environment safer so we can avoid unintended incidents or accidents and we can still work on issues where interest may align to include the challenges we are facing with respect to north korea in the cramp lentil. we had a chance to talk to those things and understand better where the chinese are on this. but i think we also observed it as a true continued into places like vietnam and japan, although
there is rebranding underway, the ccp is putting a better face on the one bill, one road initiative and maybe not highlighting as much of the activities in the east china sea and south china sea. certainly what we see in the region as well, the branding effort might be underway in the behavior and activities are still quite robust and of concern in vietnam for example, the beat knees putting pressure on not only the viennese but other international private companies that would do legal exploration and extracting in japan, they talk about improving relationship and their focus on a possible xi jinping visit to japan next year but in fact the same level of activities occurring around the islands in the east china sea, the same
with naval and maritime pollution postcard activities into japanese territory waters and what they regard as territorial waters. the rebranding is underway but the activities are still in the behavior of a concern to us. it's really a concern because it's embedded what we understand to be long-term chinese strategic ambition and aspiration. when we talk about competition and why we believe were on the leading edge of long-term strategic competition. it's based on the different visions and aspirations. we talk about a free in open indo pacific. that sounds like a slogan and can become a mentor as we say it, it's important to remember is founded on and during and widely shared it's not universal principles. respect for sovereignty in international law and international norms and peaceful resolution of disputes, fair open and reciprocal trade. that is what we mean when we
talk about free and open indo pacific. we see the chinese in the ccp with a different vision. sometimes we talk about the chinese being difficult to understand. project 2049, we had a very sophisticated methodology of trend to understand the ccp. i'm going to share with you. we listen to what they say, read what they write and watch what they do. if you do those things, you will start to see very clearly, a different vision for the future, security architecture for the indo pacific region and one that could be a threat with underlying principles i spoke of, the respect for sovereignty in international law and international norms. we talk about competition of different visions but it is also our belief we need to maintain to include in the military domain in order to promote and
sustain the concept of a free and open indo pacific along with other countries that share the same vision in those aspirations. we sometimes hear from countries they don't want to choose between the united states and china and we say were not asking you to choose between our countries and between washington and beijing but if you can support protection of sovereignty and support international law and norms them are confident you will be with us. we seek strong and independent and prosperous partners like vietnam and japan and not an erosion of those things that countries value so much. our competition with china is embedded in the regional strategy, w released in june, 2019 at the dialogue at the indo pacific strategy report and we talked about the strategy being based on the three-piece, we have our own branding. the three-piece, preparedness,
partnership and allies and promoting and network region. we work a little harder for the third p but it is there. preparedness, increasing the joint force. if you look at our budget particularly the last budget and i tell you the one that will come after that in the next fiscal year. you will see a shift in resource allocation, you will see more investment into the types of things such as hypersonic, cyber, space, the things that we need to maintain the edge with respect to china. when we talk about increasing the joint force, we are very clear that china's modernization is abasing threat for us. along with russia and other strategic competitors but it's really china that is abasing element for us. the second, partners and allies, we invest a lot of time in these relationships and for us it is
absolutely critical, the united states is a pacific nation and i know having been born in hawaii and raised in oregon and looked pacific my whole life, but for some people you need a little reminding that we are pacific nation but not resident asia pacific nation. even as far as one stretches the illusion island chain in alaska or other u.s. territories, we are still not fully resident in asia. we are very reliant on partners and allies for their own capabilities that they can bring to bear with respect to the emerging china challenge, we want more capable partners to look after their own sovereignty and deal with the security challenges and contribute. but we are also very dependent on partners and allies for abasing, presence, access opportunities and as we develop these partners in alleys, all these things are in our
thinking. we work with very mature allies like japan and national defense strategy and international defense guidelines align and what it means to implement and operationalize the strategies and what it means to a free and open indo pacific. in emerging partners like vietnam and beyond that. indonesia, malaysia, further to the west and the indo pacific india. what it means not to be an ally because many countries guard their nonaligned status but to be a partner in promoting the principles giving us opportunity for trading and potential access opportunities down the road. if you look at what it means to maintain an edge against china and confident you can prevail, ultimately it does involved dispersal and educational opportunities. part of the relationships are orientated for the opportunities. the third piece is recognition
that the security challenges in the indo pacific are multilateral challenges. increasingly multilateral challenges. when you think about protecting your 12 miles of sovereign territory into your territory waters and think about protecting, it is really about awareness and maritime security. that does not start or stop at 200 miles. unique cueing, information, and you need to be able to get to be the same to others who have similar interest in protecting their own areas. maritime domain awareness and maritime security, we think about how countries can move along a particular spectrum and seeing, sensing and sharing and contribute in. seeing as it sounds the most fundamental element of knowing what is approaching or in your territorial waters and sensing
is beyond and knowing something about it. what kind of vessel or element are you dealing with. sharing means you have to be network. you have to be able to havehe ability to capacity and communicate information and then contributing being in a position to respond with some capably whether it's a coast guard cutter or aircraft or whatever it may be. moving countries along that will get us to a point where the network -- the region is sufficiently networked to deal with the emerging security challenges. h. . .
to have a willing partner to continue the dialogue that we want more from our chinese counterparts and the more advanced dialogue on in tensions and divisions for the security architecture. contributing on the real-world problems that we think our interests do have alignment and i mentioned the korean peninsula that are at a particular juncture where we made an attempt to restart diplomacy with the meeting steve and his team had. we will see where that goes. we've been doing our part to maintain pressure for the enforcement of sanctions so that they will come to the table with a particular mindset where they want to be productive, where they want to reach solutions with us and we think it is
critical that all countries that have the capability to contribute to that do so. what we are seeing right now is some slippage from the enforcement of the sanctions particularly when it comes to transfers in the territorial waters. so we want them and need them to do better on this front. as we compete we don't say enemy. that's an important distinction for americans because competition can be done in a way that is benign and it doesn't lead to conflict. we want to do so at a minimum safely and not spira spiral the relationship and the downward direction that would be dangerous for all parties concerned. so that is the basic framework and we are willing in the implementation phase of to do that more effectively. as was mentioned you may not
know all of the alphabet soup of the pentagon, so underneath myself, the assistant secretary i now have four deputy secretaries and the fourth that was created as a bit of a misnomer for the china competition of the challenge because it goes beyond the bilateral interactions of the pla that would deal with different parts of the defense enterprise. it's one thing to have a great strategy but it's quite another to bring the whole enterprise to the department of defense into alignment for the challenge. we will have directed its appeal witdirectorates a dealwith the e will have somebody on the desk that deals with africa and
somebody that deals with middle east and europe and russia and will help our department work on those issues rather than integrate at a very senior level. we will have people who deal with strategy so that won't be the sole purview we will have people who understand china and are involved in informing the process in a better way. we will have people who deal with what we call the technology issues under the ship so everything from the challenges and protection of the innovation base that would be to put us in a better position to compete effectively. with that i may pause and see if that is enough to disperse some
criticisms. thank you very much. as i mentioned in therevious discussion before hand, i wted to ask about what is the pentagon thinking about china and new york if you could address that? >> we put out an annual report of the pentagon called the military report for the new annexes and we did include one on china and the arctic. i would say at this point we are more in the observation phase and joining the arctic council as an observer the old stated
policy they put the silk road just about behind everything now but they declared themselves a near arctic states in the icebreakers so there's clearly some ambition. we are trying to understand the full spectrum of what is driving the ambition. maybe resource interests, it may be new routes for commerce and it may be military. but we are particularly interested in what the military dimensions might be and it could be taking a page out of the soviet model and how they have used remote areas for positioning certain assets so we
are watching and listening as an arctic council member households and interested in what unfolds. we are open to a discussion with china about it but what we mostly find this discussion with other arctic states are interested and concerned about china's behavior. >> thank you. well, on that note we will open up the floor to some questions. please identify yourself. you mentioned the practical. i wonder if you could talk about that 1.5 i don't think we are
doing a lot to curtail. we've made some decisions because of the chinese policies and behavior. to disinvite the chinese from the impact because the militarization of the south china sea and when they took the white house there's got to be some consequence for that. but for the most part, we are interested in a variety of levels of contact, types of engagement if it can promote our interests. we try to have an interest-based approach. we don't engage for engagement sake. our metric isn't volume, number of visits or how much engagement we have. it's promoting our interests, developing a better
understanding and promoting an openness and transparency. by the way i caught the release of the white paper and we could critique is that i thought that the release was a good move in terms of being transparent and coming to grief in washington was a good move. we welcome that. but, other objectives in terms of promoting a safe operating environment and trying to develop better relationships with the next generation and future office where all these things get worked into a proposal for an annual military contact plan and then we sort of worked through with the chinese what is acceptable. i would say anything that we think can push us toward achieving our objectives we are open to. we are not saying this level or that level is out of balance. but again, you know, we don't just want engagement for engagement sake. i think that there are passed here ipast eraswhere that was ad
frankly it's been a metric in other relationships with something that sort of get transported into the china field but we are trying to tighten things up in how things tha ando truly advance our interests and our meaningful. the previous speaker, deputy director general vincent mentioned they may consider to sign a joined an mo used to comt this information. will you be willing to do so and the other question is when you are in china did you talk about the issue and how did the chinese respond? thank you. >> you may not be surprised i didn't have to bring up the issue. [laughter] it wasn't long after, for example, our decision to make available the f-16, so it was on
their mind. i simply reiterated that our policy remains the same, related to the implementation of the taiwan relations act. they are not seeing new things. what they are seeing is an implementation based on their own trajectory and modernization and threat they are creating, so of course we are going to continue to honor the law and provide systems for the self-defense. i don't want to comment on any future agreements we may have. i do think that this is an area where we both share some concerns and would benefit from understanding best practices and we know that this is an issue of concern as relates to the upcoming taiwan election. we will have our own shortly following that, so we need to engage on this and again learn from one another best practices but i don't want to comment on
any possible future agreements. >> identify yourself. >> are you bringing in more people and expanding from the outside or just moving around in the department of defense were pulling from other agencies? thank you. [applause] >> a little bit of both. and we have a 750 million-dollar budget, but we are still resource constrained, so we are doing our best to build the tem out and it will be a combination of all of that. the good news from our perspective is the secretary defense, the deputy, the undersecretary are behind this initiative and creation of this office in fact it wouldn't have been possible if they haven't improved it, but the notion that this is needed to drive the
alignment to compete more effectively, they are 70% behind. so we are getting a lot of support to build that out in all the ways you talked about. [inaudible] has been broadcasting and censoring news to china. about the cyber security measurement from china, we hea heard. recently we also heard that they were sent to customers and it's been information from the customer to system.
we know -- your view how to avoid. >> i think it requires a degree of vigilance and understanding the environment and understanding the relationship between the companies in having a full accounting for groupware the vulnerabilities may be. i think for the united states, the awareness piece is there n now. the effort to better understand and go through our networks and supply change and things of that nature to understand where the vulnerabilities are it is well underway and advanced. where it gets more challenging is with partners and allies and others because for a variety of reasons, one is the education piece and the awareness piece that has come along and maybe
not where it needs to be everywhere, but the countries are learning themselves in some cases ahead of us. i think australia has been well aware of the challenges for some time and made some bold decisions. as others come along, the other issues we need to sort of meet them where they are. i mean some countries are heavily invested in its part of their networks and infrastructures, so understanding how they can advance and get to where they want to be in terms of their modernization goals and deal with the cost if you are having to rebuild a rip out an entire g infrastructure versus just sort of adding on incrementally, that is a huge difference, that is a huge undertaking for meeting the countries where they are and working with them in terms of themselves having secure
networks because what we don't want is for these decisions, commercial decisions to become inhibitors and how we can share information and intelligence with allies and for worse. they make those decisions anyway and we may have to respond accordingly in terms of how we deal with those countries. so, i think it is all those things, it's the education awareness, understanding vulnerabilities, making economic decisions based on where countries are and then adapting from them. thank you very much. would solve china morning post. i was wondering if you could speak a little bit about hong kong. what are the options that the u.s. has if they adopt a more forceful approach and how do you see the human rights and democracy act? that has been the scene characterized by some as playing
into the scenario and by others as a much-needed support for the demonstrators and sort of everything in between and not only that but sometimes seeing that if you do take some serious action in the policy act but that is a rather blunt instrument that could hurt people more. thank you. >> it turns out you don't have to do a lo life to be accused of being the black hand behind some of this stuff, so i don't think that's can't be our sort of guiding principle of how we avoid that label because we seem to be stuck with it just by virtue of who we are, to debate and free speech and we believe in human rights, so that makes us i think suspicious to the ccp authorities. i think that we as an administration have said all along that we hope our way avoids violence and chaos and
that the authorities are able to deal with those that have legitimate grievances in our merely asking for respect for the rights that are guaranteed under the basic law and guaranteed under the 1984 joint declaration president of trump in fact you may have noticed in his un speech he did mention the 1984 uk joins china declaration and that we view that as finding the international community that cares about the rule of law and that those fundamental rights should be respected and guaranteed, so i think for those that have those aspirations and are seeking out merely for respect for those rights we are 100% behind and believe that the authorities should accommodate based on previous promises made, both political promises but also enshrined in the documents.
certainly we have some concern about some of the tactics that protesters have been using and they use and i think in single instances where that becomes a problem we would find that out, but i think in general we are concerned about the heavy hand beijing has taken and the hong kong authorities have taken with what we regard as legitimate activities on the part of the people of hong kong. i don't know that we have taken a position on legislation, so i will not speak directly to that other than those fundamental principles we believe should be supported. >> is there a limit to i won't use the word red line but is there a limit to how much heavy handedness in hong kong can truly disturbed the united states? >> we have talked about this internally, and i think we
regard what they say by historic standards we regard the hong kong police and authorities as a very professional force and have historically acted in accordance with upholding the law. there is a very good judicial story to the ecosystem historically. we are concerned about is the heavy hand from beijing and how that can be distorted and turned into something more repressive. it would almost have to be sort of case-by-case if there were to be an incident of some sort judging based on the merits of an individual case, but i think that the general trend concerning that we are seeing less autonomy, more influence from beijing, heavier hand from the authorities there and in general and the erosion of the
things that were promised to the people of hong kong and the joint declaration and the basic law. >> looks good to the site of the room anside of theroom and thenk over here. >> we have about ten minutes. >> thank you assistant secretary. my question for you is earlier this year you talked about the concentration camps which i think some people would say maybe that isn't quite a defense issue and so i really appreciated you talking about that and just want you to comment on balancing and carrying out the interest-based policy in the nation which is arty arguablre: arguably a valud nation. >> me be clear i do think it is a defense issue and security issue. first of all, i think that it's indicative of how this regime will be a bandwidth tolerance it has for the very aggressive and outrageous behavior. it tells you something about the
ccp that could easily translate into external behavior as well, but i think that goes far beyond that. what we have is a potential of the radicalization of the population but historically is not actually particularly radical. i mean, we did to designate a group in 2002 which basically doesn't exist anymore. other than in chinese propaganda and chinese accusations of everything, everybody that wants freedom. but what they are doing is potentially radicalizing a population that was by historic measure pretty peaceful and could create terrorist problems and could create networking that even spills outside of china. we know that there have been those that have been involved in organizations outside of the borders of china
but his training and information to try to take back into china but part of it is actual contributions to other sites, so what we see is these activities can spill over into the broader problem and radicalization problem. there's also the issue of and again, this is why is it a defense or security issue, what's being created up there in terms of the tools that the technology is exportable and in fact they are exporting it to other like minded regime's upon to exercise similar control over their populations comes the things that we are concerned about all of a sudden are things that we are concerned about more broadly in the region and there's the potential for the toxic mix when you have the return of the foreign fighters from the middle east and when a
you have a problem spilling over largely in bangladesh now, but they are having trouble containing that i think as great as their efforts have been the disaffected population that has no place to return to because of the burmese have done nothing to make a welcoming environment for their return and now this is a pretty dangerous mix of its affectionate potential for mischief or well beyond the potential for violence so we are concerned at the defense department about these activities in western china and we will continue to speak out about it. could you talk a little bit about the department of defense cyber security as it relates to last year there was a band though the department of defense is concerned about the companies and organizations that might
have this in the government. >> again, we are concerned given the nature of the relationship that these chinese companies have with the ccp and the influence that the ccp may have theon decision-making and how they may be involved in state-sponsored goals such as theft and technology etc.. etc.. so, our first concern is the own abilities that can be created by dealing with these companies and using their technologies etc.. the concerns in the cyber realm of chutzpah beyond that, because we see that the chinese are investing in cyber not just for the purpose of intellectual property theft and technology in helping their own technological innovation base, but integrating it into military plans and
contingency plans so understanding better how the chinese they use their own future war fight is a growing concern of ours and if you look at the cyber strategy report that was put out, it addresses sort of both sides of the equations. the vulnerability and protection side as well as the war fighting side. as i said in the previous comment if you want to understand the pillar number one of the national defense strategy and the indo pacific strategy increasing the lethality of the force, look at where we are going to make investments for the future and where we are doing research and development but where we are trying to acquire the capability is as far as we can and cyber is at the top of the list. once we acquire the greater capability, it also ourselves, we need to think about how it integrates into the contingency planning. the other thing that our cyber strategy points out is that we
do need to think about the classic deterrence in how we cae can use sorting capabilities to get the chinese pause in terms of their own use of cyber. mr. secretary, thank you very much for your excellent presentation. in your remarks, you mentioned the importance of the u.s. working with allies and partners to realize the free and open indo pacific and i wondered if you can speak to how you see japan and taiwan possibly working closer together in realizing and i base this on a recent event that was held by project 49 on this topic of exploring different avenues of cooperation and i wondered if this is a subject matter that the dod and the u.s. are thinking about. >> i think as individual partners, we have ongoing work to try to promote those
respective bilateral relationships and how they can contribute to promoting a free and open indo pacific. as i said japan has the national defense program guidelines and national defense strategy and we are doing a lot of work to go beyond recognizing the strategic alignment and thinking about operationalizing depths of thinking about the goals and mission and how we can further advance and it really does support the printed mr.'s vision for being more proactive in the region and being a proactive participant and constructive participant promoting the mutual security. you know, there's some debate i don't know where the term comes from and i know our japanese friends would say that actually japan and i will not dispute that but we think we've got a very strong reliable interest and partner in japan in promoting those principles. with taiwan, i think again we see a lot of alignment of the
like-minded partners. taiwan is facing a very real and immediate threat from china and it comes in a variety of ways, variety of forms, the diplomatic pressure, the use of economic coercion, the military pressure through the more robust exercising and training that is clearly designed to intimidate taiwan, so the primary role in promoting the free and open indo pacific is really protecting itself and ensuring that a democratic people can preserve their status and their ability to decide the future for themselves and then beyond that think about ways to contribute to those principles in the region. taiwan is constrained because of its diplomatic status but we do find that they still find a voice in promoting those things where it can.
in terms of the tribe i ago i would say there are things that are happening quietly. we do try to leverage what is happening in the think tank world because there are a lot of good ideas being incubated there. the stuff that is happening behind the scenes i probably wouldn't want to go into great detail about what we are finding that to be potentially very fruitful as well. a few months ago the "washington post" reported that they allegedly helped north korea in building its own network. do you see that as a security issue as well? >> i don't want to comment on any particular intelligence report. i think more broadly speaking,
the chinese can claim a lot of responsibility for north korea. what would pass for the modernization certainly on the military side but also the commercial sector and private sector, infrastructure those privation chips are there and the chinese have become the most important parts were for north korea and we want them to do better. have at a minimum sanctions enforcement, but i think there are other ways they could help pressure pyongyang into being a more constructive participant in these talks should they resume and we are just not seeing it right now. >> first of all i would like to thank you very much for taking the time out of your day to spend about an hour with us and thank you everyone c-span watching us. we are now going to break for a few minutes but please give the secretary a big rounsecretary af applause. [applause]