tv AEI on U.S. Policy in Southeast Asia CSPAN September 19, 2018 6:32pm-8:03pm EDT
globe. i think you can only read about that on a daily basis. long-term allies question the support of the united states. he suggests that we in the united states can go it alone, i don't think that is the case by any means. we have extraordinary power in and of ourselves, but we need partners around the globe in order to achieve the goals we seek. >> join us for our conversations saturday at 8:00 eastern on c-span and c- span.org, or listen with the free c-span radio app. the assistant defense secretary for asian security affairs, randall shriver, on u.s. policy in southeast asia, talking about diplomatic objectives in the indo pacific region. the american enterprise institute hosted this event in august.
>> good afternoon, everybody, my name is dan blumenthal, i am the director of asian studies here, thank you all for coming, i can see that the topic of u.s. and southeast asia is of great interest, and i congratulate my colleague for a wonderful report that hopefully all of you will have time to read about what our strategy should be going forward, in that most critical of regions. it is right now my distinct pleasure to introduce my friend and colleague randy shriver, who is the assistant secretary of defense for asian pacific affairs at the department of defense and is spearheading efforts in the department of defense and throughout the government, to really compete more visit -- vigorously with china and southeast asia, to
build out new relationships, with respect to vietnam, and indonesia, and the philippines. he has already done some excellent work with his team here as well. and, we will do a lot more in the future. and we are thrilled to have him to open the session with his remarks. without further ado, let me call up shriver. whenever you are ready. thank you. >> dan, thank you. it is great to be back, and really nice to be introduced by my friend dan blumenthal, one of the leading strategic thinkers of this generation. he does great work here on asia , let me add my relations, i didn't -- add my congratulations to mike, i had
a chance to look at the report which is now public and i want to congratulate you on that work. there are many aspects that i would commend. certainly, just the project itself, acknowledging the importance of this region, 635 million people accounts, that matters. but, your report identifies a lot of the historical engagement over time, and the importance overtime. you also identify what i think is a challenge which is the threat to the american-led international order, and the potential erosion of individual state sovereignty given the challenges in the region. i think your recommendations are also very sound and aligned with our policy, the suggested role of government, copperheads of approach with security, economic, and governance fillers, seeking to shape a region at peace with itself and its neighbors, characterized by states that are strong, independent and prosperous, and governments that are resilient, responsive and accountable. i want to read your language in
your words because i think it is very well aligned with our strategy. elements of our strategy, the indo pacific strategy has been publicly articulated of course. recently secretary matus spoke at a shangri-la dialogue in june to speak about the defense and security aspects of our indo pacific strategy, many of you saw last week, major events at the chamber of commerce, business forum, secretary perry, usaa director green talked about the economic development and energy aspects of our indo pacific strategy. so much has been articulated in public, i don't need to go through all of that, but i thought i would use the brief time i have today to talk about how we see southeast asia in the context of our indo pacific strategy. consistent with mike's report, we seek to maintain a free and open indo pacific region where nations with first cultures and different aspirations can prosper side-by-side in peace and stability.
by free, we mean nations will be free from coercion, and able to protect their sovereignty. at the national level, we mean that societies are increasingly free in terms of governance, and fundamental human rights and liberties. by open, we mean that all nations can enjoy freedom, freedom of the seas and airwaves, and that we can all share a resolution to peaceful ellipse is a commitment to peaceful resolution of disputes. we also mean free as in more open investment environments, and approve connectivity to drive regional integration and prosperity. southeast asia, lies at the heart of the indo pacific region, and arguably southeast asia and the maritime domain are areas where these concepts are most challenged. southeast asia, we think, therefore, has much to gain from the successful advancement of our vision and strategy. while the u.s. has long recognized the importance of southeast asia as evidenced by our long-standing security
partnerships and alliances, the philippines, thailand, singapore, our interest are growing, alongside the growth and importance of the region as a whole, particularly the security and economic aspects. as a result, we are increasing our meaningful engagement with southeast asia, so when we address the department of defense's role in that. secretary matus has personally committed to this region, he has visited the indo pacific region seven times, secretary of defense, including four times to southeast asia. he also believes in a strong investment and aussie on lead institutions such as the aussie on defense ministers meeting plus. which is a particular focus for the department. and, right now, currently the united states is cochairing an expert level working group on military and affairs, disaster relief with malaysia. our routine military presence in the indo pacific is a vital source of stability and serves as a limitation of our serious commitment to the region.
fun ops are the most visible part of that, we are engaged in activities and exercises and operations across the region every day. u.s. military is active on a daily basis to safeguard freedom and navigation and overflight in the indo pacific, demonstrating our commitment to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows. these activities were joined by other like-minded countries, who are concerned about growing challenges to international law, international norms, and, a rules-based order. we are also engaged in capacity building efforts, and in this, we are enjoyed ellipse is joined by like-minded allies such as japan and australia, to build the capacity of our southeast asian allies and partners to defend their sovereignty and their independence. for example, we provided extensive counterterrorism support to our filipino allies, both during and in the aftermath of the islamic state linked militants in the city of
morelli. we have also built our maritime capacity by providing a high endurance cutter, through excess defense articles, and we boost a burgeoning defense relationship with many activities and engagements, including the first aircraft carrier visit to vietnam earlier this year. we are ramping up our security systems and southeast asia, both through new programs like the maritime security initiative, as well as their long-standing programs such as foreign military financing. through msi, we are providing the philippines and vietnam and indonesia and malaysia and thailand enhanced stability to contribute to maritime security and domain awareness, with the ultimate goal of having incredible maritime picture, and therefore, the ability to made time freedom of maneuverability. in msi's first three years we focused on enhancing information sharing, interoperability, and multinational maritime cooperation.
with respect to foreign military financing, the recent aussie on a regional forum, secretary pompeo announced over $290 million in foreign military financing, to strengthen maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping capabilities in the indo pacific to include indonesia, malaysia, philippines, and vietnam. we also use our defense relationships around the region, to increase capabilities through exercises, both bilateral and multilateral. last year, we hosted the first u.s. aussie on maritime domain awareness exercise, and this year, we are expecting to repeat that and expand the scope of that exercise. this year, the chief of naval operations and, that of the coast guard are her sitting ellipse is hosting aussie on dialogue. we are also disputing an flagship allies with our southeast asian allies, and, we are continuing to increase the
complexity of our training across the region. we are committed to even deeper engagement with southeast asia, but we also cannot ignore where our humanitarian concerns will create political constraints on the pace and scope of that engagement. in burma, we have serious concerns about their directory. the ethnic cleansing campaign is a repugnant stain on the military, and those elements involved in that campaign, rightfully it will impact our thinking. as we look at the overall political picture there, we are concerned about the case of the two reuters journalists, who are on trial for their coverage of the state, convicting innocent journalist would certainly cast grave doubt on the rule of law and future of democracy in denmark. in cambodia, we are also concerned about trends. after their sham election last week the white house expressed profound disappointment, and caution, that steps may be taken in response to that election. in the meantime, cambodia should immediately release opposition leader suckow.
wrongful imprisonment is creating great stress and leading to his deteriorating health. as is the case with burma, there appears to be little foundation for quality military and security relationships, cambodian military being used to threaten the people of cambodia who are seeking a voice in their political future. overall, we are doing a great deal in southeast asia, and our confidence that we are well- positioned for the long-term strategic competition, which is unfolding in the indo pacific region, our strategy is an affirmative and positive one which is inclusive. while it is not aimed at any particular country, there should be little doubt that much of the chinese behavior is demonstrating objectives that run counter to our objectives for a free and open indo pacific. we seek a positive, results oriented security and military relationship with beijing. with -- but that nation needs to understand that while we seek cooperation where our interests align we will compete where we must. we often hear the countries in
the region do not want to be forced to choose between the u.s. and china. while we understand that concern, this is not a choice that we would have the people of southeast asia contemplate. as we look at the growing data set of chinese predatory economic statecraft and assertive behavior that includes notarization of the south china sea, in an attempt to operationalize an unlawful sovereignty claim, choices are clear, not between being in one camp or another, but of two vastly different aspirations. so, the choice is really between partnership or domination, independence and self-reliance, or a mortgaged future. full sovereignty or coercion. international law and norms or claims and control. southeast asia will remain essential to our thinking as to how to best implement this demonstration's free and open indo pacific vision, and we will continue to build on our already strong relationships that is shaped the region in which all regions can enjoy
ask about the situation of vietnam and the special zone of the strategies in the south china sea along vietnam . those are very strategic marine coast. what do you think that the actions can be? economy, inclusively? >> on the first question about confronting china, i would simply relay what the officials have sat across of the table to the officers, when chinese challenges these concepts as we are seeing in the south china sea and it can take a variety of forms.
maybe it sounds aggressive but for example, the decision to just invite is a form of confronting its behavior because it was directed to the militarization that meant to that decision and when the chinese were informed of our decision, it was linked to those activities pick where we see these concepts are challenged, you will find the united states side-by-side. on your second question i am not versed on the economic zones. as a general matter, we are bullish on building out our partnership with vietnam pictures a lot happen trish happening -- there is a lot happening. we are partnering in maritime awareness in the economic component is important.
secretary pompeo was there not long ago discussing the relationship. i will leave it at that.>> and the yellow jacket.>> the voice of america. when do you plan to read julian exercise -- rejoin exercises because north korea is not taking any the nuclear as a she efforts. the second question is when do you expect to resume the joint field operations to find out the remains from the north korea ? would this pre--- be around next spring? >> thank you for your questions on southeast asia. [ laughter ]. >> the united states government has announced the suspension of one major military exercise.
the free term guardian exercise and a cup full of minor exchanges that evolved amphibians landings and no other decisions or announcements have been made. what we do in the future will depend on north korean behavior and we will look to the secretary of state and the president to give us a lead on the assessment of heavy negotiations are going.>> let's go up here. one question please. congressional quarterly. the recent turning over of the port entry lanky for 100 years is created a lot of raised eyebrows are there any other infrastructure programs that you are concerned could be turned over to china in a similar way? >> i think the lease was for 99 years which is interesting because it is the same terms as hong kong was turned over and
there is the irony that the chinese deal they are striking on the history that they express grave concern about the treatment in the past. we are mindful of chinese activity throughout the pacific region and where they are looking to invest and where the military is trying to engage in defense military diplomacy and i would not want to start calling out a number of countries but we have seen where there are stressed economies, political disruption and in terms of backsliding from liberalization or democracy. when some of the elements are in place, the chinese can be opportunistic and move in. are repurchased should not necessarily be blaming the
chinese. we need to offer alternatives on our own in partnership with other countries. think about our own port calls and think about our own investment in bilateral military relations. think about the full range of activities. when it comes to the economic aspects, i would look at the end of pacific business form last week where people like secretary pompeo and the director talk about the difference in how we approach invest in countries. if it is a id, we want them to graduate. if you look at the history, a large percentage of the countries are independent of assistance and enjoy sovereignty and the same is true of the economic policies and we want
those countries to be prosperous and more independent and have sovereign control. that is our contrast to the chinese.>> >> thank you. my question is about asia. you mentioned the security it -- security initiative. i am wondering that from the perspective, how would you do the security in regards to taiwan, is taiwan playing a role and with god to that, -- regard to that, -- >> the first question, after the third or fourth -- the first question was about --
>> we do have programs such as maritime security initiative that contributes to the past building and in some cases partnership with the state department colleagues. these are investments in actual material and things that support maritime awareness and in some case it is training and some case the organization assisting with how the organize and approach. we are a partner with the state department and the efforts and the flagship program being the maritime security initiative. i am forgetting the second and third questions. >> something about taiwan and there.>> we think taiwan is an
important contributor to the indo-pacific free and open concepts and demonstrates the free part in terms of, as we say, the good governance democracy with humanitarian rights and religious freedom. we think the values, there is a role for taiwan to withhold the values to the region in particular ways. taiwan has a great record on humanitarian relief. i think it is to our benefit to think creatively given our non- diplomatic relationship to think creatively how we can promote those values. >> i will demonstrate how one question -- >> you served as a naval officer , what has changed the most in your mind since you came back?
>> well, let's see, i left government in 2005. it is a much different china. more powerful and capable and assertive. bothell capability and behavior -- both in capability and behavior is the biggest difference. i would add that i think we have, maybe they are linked to but if that is true so be it. we have other countries that themselves are more capable and more willing to be active in the region. it is a different japan than 13 years ago when i left served -- last served in government. it is a different new zealand. the value of partner -- partnering with the united
states is widely held and widely seen in countries understand there is a burden for them to share and that is another evolution.>> thank you. >> the heritage foundation. regarding south china sea, the island creation is one thing but militarization is a different story. a different ballgame. that is number one and number two, i am not so sure -- one question. >> okay.>> the satellite imagery project, is it efficient or not? >> how are we going to do with the militarization? the militarization is problematic. it goes against the rose garden
with president obama and it is also a problem because it is associated with and often -- unlawful sovereignty claim which is expensive that all countries benefit from. more shadowing and harassment and we see cautionary notes about how transits are made by the military vessels. this is of great concern. we have taken what was described at the time as an initial step which was just inviting china. symbolic perhaps but important because it was linked to those activities it was stated that the spirit of the exercise and china's activities are inconsistent. you will see the continuation of freedom and a navigation. i think you will see more countries joining in the activities. the presence in the
south china sea is very important because china claims the whole thing. i think you will potentially see more position even if it is not directly on point. we don't have to do something in the south china sea to express our concern about what china is doing in the south china sea themselves. i think in terms of the ability to monitor and you asked about satellites, i think it is very, it is sufficient. one thing is make more information public. shine a light on the activity so there is no doubt and occasionally we run into challenges with the classifying things and doing it quickly enough but we want to shine a light on the behavior because it is of concern of everyone in the region.>> caught it. >> take both. one question from each.>> thank
you. the bill passed by congress has some language on taiwan. i just wonder from the administration's point of view tell you were going to execute the medical visit to taiwan and routine arm cells to taiwan? >> i have a harder question. you talked a little bit about protecting the sovereign team -- sovereignty and independence in the region. the china factor in the ways of confronting the more overt things that china has been doing. what about more of the more covert things like neutralizing
the governments of certain countries in the southeast were trying to leverage the chinese diaspora throughout the region to influence the policies of those countries.>> first on some of the taiwan provisions, i think, first of all, we are reviewing all of the provisions. if it is's statement of congressional intent, we certainly acknowledge that it is a point of interest for congress and there has always been strong support for taiwan. things that you mentioned, potential hospital ship visits and high-level visits, we have the latitude to do under the relations act and that the current relationship so we will take a look to see if the nda a adds to that work merely supports it but i don't have
any, on the future plans of we might do but i do regard the congressional actions as a strong interest of statement and where the support lies. on the more, you used the term, covert influence when operations in asia and southeast asia and i think shining a light on what china does is the first step because when these things are exposed there is a backlash. we saw that in australia when the activities were published through the good work of people like john and i saw that when there was a press story about potential economic leverage being used to gain port access. whether that was a factually correct story, it created a backlash and i think we are
learning more more about the situation in malaysia and it is much worse than people expected and i think mahathir is going to talk about getting out from the debt but i think our position can be remind malaysia that they have leverage here if they can expose the corrupt deals. how china uses the predatory practices to gain influence that go against the interest of the domestic population and i think we have to be more skilled or more clever about our own engagement. we are not going to do what china does. strengthening our own narrative about what it means to partner with dls and a variety of ways and our engagement and partnership ultimately leads to protection of sovereignty and not the version.
the cultural exchanges and the american centers and things of that nature and the genuine promotion of the ties and not the subversion of the other countries . continuing to show what the choices are is part of the exercise as well and having that alternative no to the partner countries.>> i will take the moderators last question. how would you measure success? how would you measure success in the course of one or two administrations? >> china has a strategy and to think that we will accomplish a mabel -- major role and change the behavior i think would be pretty optimistic. i think it is something we should work at because i think china's interests ultimately lie
-- in the near term it is to blunt any version of an individual countries sovereignty. but the corrosion and the operations and continue to promote the free indo-pacific that generates a positive response. the countries want to partner and more comprehensive ways. countries are welcome to invest. we outpace china in terms of foreign investment but continuing to promote maritime security and diplomatic activities. i think the real metrics will be in the partnerships we develop. you mentioned vietnam, indonesia, philippines, india and you could add a number of countries that mike characterized as a merger --
emerging partnerships but non- allied countries that are merging partners and things that will be able to be developed that will indicate we have per -- closer partnerships on the issues that i am talking about today.>> thank you very much and thank you for your service and we are benefiting greatly as a country from your leadership on the issues and good luck in the future and obviously many other think tanks stand by to help in any way we can. thank you.[ applause ] we will move to michael mazza and a moderated panel.
welcome everybody. i'm daniel a. blumenthal from ai. i would like to introduce the panel. very distinguished group that i have been privileged to work with for a while. cara abercrombie is a longtime defense department civil servant who has been working on india relationships before it was cool. i don't know if it is cool now and a lot of the southeast asian countries for a long time. this is the carnegie endowment
research and writing and she will comment on mike's report. walter lohman is a good friend and colleague who has done long service and southeast asia and on the business council for a time and senator mccain was a leader of southeast asia policy and will be commenting on the political aspects of what is called the southeast asia strategy. he worked his way up the ladder. the hard work appear to become an independent scholar and put out an excellent report like this. let's open it up to mike for his questions.>> thank you for the kind intro. a few quick roads -- words.
many have left but thank you to randy to launch the report. i want to thank dan and the colleagues who provided advice and guidance on the project from the concept paper to planning the event today. i want to thank three assistance -- research assistance. all of them helped with writing and research editing and planning the event today. without their efforts, we would not be sitting here and finally i want to thank him for being here. they have deeper experience and knowledge of the area and i look forward to hearing what you have to say and where i
went wrong and with that i will dive into the presentation. i will go through this as quickly as i can so if there are questions about specifics, hopefully we can get into that in the queue and day. i wanted to talk about why the region matters. you look about -- at the obama administration picked it was a lot of positive things but never explained why southeast asia was a focus. i don't think the trump administration has quite answered the question. to my mind there is four big reasons why we care about southeast asia. strategic neutrality. it is literally in the center of the map that we is calling the indo-pacific.
the shipping lanes one through southeast asian waters which is important for trade and power projections from the united states and others as well and the region acts as a buffer and a link between india and china and asia's major powers as well. it is home to natural resources crucial to southeast asia and the economic well-being and that has been true for centuries but natural resources are not the only reason that the reaches -- region is important. a large and growing population. vietnam indonesia and the philippines have younger populations with higher growth rates. a healthy demographic profile. china is facing a growing economic headwind, southeast aged could be a driver of growth ahead. the third regional security
challenges have global implications. we are familiar with the challenge. outside the south china sea, southeast asia faces terrorism and insurgency and as we know at this point, localized extremism can have effects outside of the region. the nontraditional security safety as well. wide ranging effects pick one example is severe flooding in taiwan had economic effects outside of the borders. finally the region of importance to the united states for reasons of human rights and american-statesman have recognized that it proves that unfree societies may achieve economic success but you will not achieve the level of
economic dynamism that they might wish and to -- that is not possible. these are things the united states has always cared about and for that reason southeast asia will drive interest going forward. given that, what should the goals be? which of the long- term vision look like? there is three points. i think the u.s. needs to be at peace with its neighbors. states interact with one another . secondly, the united states should shape a southeast asia that is integrated with growing prosperity and the u.s. should always support the democratic aspirations of southeast asian peoples and ready to support
and assist the transition to liberal forms of government. the united states needs to be content to seek to shape a southeast asia in which governments are resilient and accountable. it would advance the trump administration's goal of defending the free and open indo-pacific and i think it is crucial that it wants to achieve broader goals. what does the strategy look like? i described three pillars as randy noted earlier. security, economic and governess. i will work through it quickly. before the questions i would like to ask the question about what we do about the organization. there is a lot of frustration in the united states.
the inability to act in a strategic counterweight to china on a ramose -- more robust activity and whether it is worth the american effort. i think it is. i will make quick points about why it matters and how the united states can engage. first, the u.s. engagement is a test for commitment and southeast asia and it is seen that way by the allies and partners as well. that may be inconvenient but it is a fact. secondly, it provides the opportunity for valuable theatrics. the secretary of state for the president to to the region and make declaratory statements of u.s. interest and policy. we need action and words but the words matter. i think it is a useful form to
which the united states can help to and contribute to combating crime issues. for example, all the states have committed to tackling human trafficking and their opening to assistance in doing that we are engaged in providing training to tackle that challenge. i think that by working within and through it the united states can take the reins. on some of the more traditional challenges that we face including the south china sea and i was happy to hear china talk about -- randy talk about that. we can get better use. i argue in the report that we should form a like-minded group that we can coordinate with security matters and call it a
maritime security caucus. it is open to the region because we would be working in the organization rather than outside which china is increasingly doing and it is the that as unfavorably by the states. given that, what do we do about the south china sea. i described a two-pronged approach. dissuasion and diplomacy. we want to dissuade china from doing any further island building or deploying any forces to the region and engaging in other provocative and engaging -- aggressive behavior. how do we do that? there is three ways. china has paid no cost over the past four or five years and we can impose the cost. there is reason to do that outside of south china. the chinese activities are
challenging and it is useful and makes sense to response -- respond in ways that demonstrate that and secondly we can do more within the south china sea. enhance our maritime military presence and posture. we are limited to the philippines and singapore and my own view is that is not sufficient. we need more access and more places and related to that, if we want to reshape the landscape in our favor and our partners favor, we need to continue to prioritize the process. i don't think there is much more to say but i would say that one thing we should pursue aggressively is the regional maritime domain.
we have been pushing this for eight years and others have been writing about it as well. it is hard work and complicated but it is useful to deter all the parties in the south china sea from engaging in destabilizing acts. on the diplomatic front, what is required here is really the u.s. exercising leadership in a way it has not in the past. in a way that sets us on a path to resolving that other than managing it. this is an argument that dan and i made three or four years ago. the idea would be to launch a new process. it would set standards for conducts and development and move overtime to eventual border delimitation. that would be welcome but we would move forward without china.
no bones about it, this is a complicated thing to do but it is worth pursuing if we want to change the landscape in the region in our favor. the states can be brought along if they aren't convinced of the u.s. commitment and there is a number of steps we can talk about in the q&a. they are stricken by the scourge of terrorism. i will focus on one thing in particular in my remarks. they reinstituted in operation in the philippines following the events over the previous months pick it is important that we match that with civilian resources. we were successful in the philippines during the first 2000 and this was a combined effort in order
to bring better security to the southern philippines.>> i would like to use the operations as a means to advance cooperation with third parties. bringing special forces over to the southern philippines for classroom sessions with the united states and philippines special forces but giving them an opportunity to observe us operating together in the field. this can enhance the capabilities of all three but begin to build the institutional and person to person ties between the u.s. and indonesian special forces which is missing at this time and nontraditional security threats. i don't have much to say. we should keep doing what we are doing. we are always in the lead or frequently in natural disasters. we are engaged on combating
national crime as well. i think we keep doing what we are doing going forward. on the economic front, we need a trade agenda for southeast major -- southeast asia. secretary pompeo said we would welcome bilateral trade agreements with the states in the region. there is not evidence that that is a priority for the administration and i think it needs to be. one way to do this and this is an argument that dan and a colleague made is to start with japan. the negotiations laid a foundation for the united states and japan to move quickly if they wanted to do so on their own agreement. they can set high standards and easily set high standards on enterprises and intellectual property protection which we can take to the partners and
make clear this is a benchmark for agreements going forward. we start with it the philippines and they have done the hard work of identifying the steps they would need to take enjoying the partnership. he brought it up with president trump in the fall. they are serious about deepening trade and that is where i start. where the markets -- we should be open to agreements with malaysia and malaysia -- and others. a series of high quality, high standard evolution into a broader framework. multilateral efforts. i will talk briefly about infrastructure. secretary pompeo announced new initiatives. beyond that we want to work closely with the
allies and partners and encourage them to coordinate amongst themselves. we are seeing the beginning but more needs to be done. basically we want to make sure that china is not the only game in town and southeast asia when it comes to infrastructure investment. they can go to the asian development banks and go to the world bank's and the other partners who have an interest in supporting the investments. we will not match china dollar for dollar but we can provide options. finally on the question of governance, the challenge in advancing toward a for your future and southeast asia is diverse of. it is not one-sided to the region and it points to the ambitious -- we want to see human rights perspective but we might have more short-term
goals. this depends on the country in question but we focus on a governance over democracy per se. improved governments would lead to stronger economies and dampen the potential of chinese and other dirty money and i think we do this by tackling transnational crime and countries have committed to some extent to tackling human trafficking and wildlife and narcotics but if they are serious, there will need to be improvements in the rule of law, corruption will need to be dealt with and more professional terminal justice systems . this is the back door approach to get to the issues we care about and doing it in a way that will be more amenable to states in
the region. i do a country by country approach to how we want to focus on the government. i will not go through that here. if we are able to shape a region where the governments are resilient and accountable that is in the interest of the united states and southeast asian people as well and that is where i will wrap up.>> thank you everyone. i encourage everyone to read the report. it is rich and detailed i will ask some questions. walter, let's start with you. let's say the agenda is right and the trump administration has decided to fix relations with some of the dictatorships in thailand and the philippines and approach that as a hilar diploma -- higher diplomatic
insured -- security concern. china made so much progress before hand. do you think that is the right approach? >> i do think it is the right approach in those cases. the philippines and thailand need to operate on a sliding scale. i am all for pressing for human rights concerns across the board and all of the countries pick the way you do it has to be different. i think they are pressing hard on the human rights issues. when you look at thailand and the philippines, you have to weigh the other benefits that they offer and they both offer tremendous amount of value as allies.
it is similar in thailand. >> let me stick with walter for another couple of minutes. on the economic approach, obviously for those of you who watch monty python, the transit -- the partnership is not dead -- is dead and it is not resting. it has been dead as soon as it was given to the house republicans to run it through. that is not a debate for today. secretary pompeo put out a speech together with the cabinet -- not just a speech but strategy with the cabinet officials that essentially is to centralize private capital into the region. i think they are correct in saying there is no amount of government money that can meet the infrastructure needs of southeast asia but the question
is twofold. one is, we probably made -- need to invest to improve market conditions but the other problem i think is the corruption within the countries. what in the world do we do? the first question is, what do you make of this economic approach and the second one is the issues of china being able to go into the countries and deal with crime -- >> i really liked the speech last week. i think he identified exactly the way we need to compete with china. the messaging was off in terms of identifying the resource that we are investing. i am not sure it was a great idea to state the amount because it is really not an
apples to apples comparison with what the chinese are doing. by saying that amount, you open the door and he taunted pompeo for doing that. i think the approach is right. we have to unlock the power of the private sector more than we have before. we are much bigger but that is the way we have to go about it. we have to message it the right way. i agree that we need a trade policy. that is one part but that is not going to get you all the way. we need a trade policy. we don't really have a trade policy with southeast asia. that is the policy. a couple of
problems. we are not getting a whole lot. the philippines are eager to do it but so far it is a matter of consultation and. we are not moving forward very quickly and the other problem is capacity. when they small agency is involved in renegotiating nafta and it is not fully done yet. they agreed on principles several months ago but i am waiting for the tires to be decided before i signed that agreement. to be another drain on time soon. i do not see much activity going on and i agree japan will be a good place to start. the problem is the japanese don't want to do it. we have to come up with an
attractive picture portrayed in the economic relationship. pompeo was offering it last weekend so far we are not offering the compelling vision. look at the president's speech at aipac, that was not the way to do it he said you are all cheaters and liars and you are screwing us but if you behave yourself we might do that if it benefits you. we need a compelling vision in which to house on this but there is a question which is it is hard to compete when the countries themselves are not engaged in the air on -- their own protections and involved in corruption. that is up to the countries themselves.>> absolutely. that is an issue but years ago
when we already went through this process and came out of the other side with the free trade agreement, the point was made that they are not ready for it. if we could make a free-trade agreement with mexico, we can deal with corruption. i think it -- we do script reforms that are necessary. the agreement is a spur to reform those countries.>> is it over in the south china sea? you go to any think tank and you will get the same answers. we have to continue or re- restarted the program. to their credit they restarted the program and others so we can keep that open.
there is only so much you can do. the chinese essentially, effectively control so much of it. are we looking at this the wrong way as a massive territorial change? >> i tell you that i am speaking in my capacity. i would love to comment i think it is evident that there is no going back to before. china changed it on the ground. is it over? what is changed is they have conducted incredible environmental damage and they have militarized the features.
randy pointed out challenging ships passing by and planes flying overhead. this is a daily occurrence. that has changed but in terms of what we want and what our interest is is the ability for the military to transit peacefully and states to operate and make decisions free from coercion has not changed. this is where -- i hate to say pollyanna but it is a fact. upholding the order is being widely debated and in academia -- it served interest in the interest of the countries in the region pick provided -- and it provided peace and
prosperity pick it is not just a chance for the united states but our partners and allies in like-minded countries. the u.s. maintains a daily presence operational in the south china sea pick we are see more partners and allies conducting operations. that is as important as pushing back.>> with your experience, in terms of operationalizing some of these issues involving maritime capacity building, randy mentioned joint maritime awareness, how would you -- how were these things actualized? i know there is the funding of money but how is it actualized? >> the easiest thing is direct the ships unilaterally. we are demented but in terms of
-- limited but in terms of partnering quietly, building relationships in the region, we can have conversations about the importance of maritime awareness. we can show what it means is we have a common picture. i can see them. and assessment from holistically looking at the region as a whole. what would you need holistically to create for the maritime countries? making sure if we are providing radar with ships with sensors that they can talk to each other. this is not easy to make sure all of the different security cooperation officers are working
together but that is what we are working on. >> some of these countries really cannot see 12 nautical miles control anything in their economic soon. in three years, you see the ability to help them at least build those capacities? malaysia, indonesia, the philippines pick >> absolutely we are seeing improvement independently with the philippines. we are working with vietnam to improve their functions. they are easy. they've got a lot of work to do. the harder piece will be the networking. the other piece that is a challenge for us and the other country is who owns it from a bureaucratic standpoint? is at the coast guard? the navy? another civilian organization?
this is a learning process for everyone involved but relationships are on the ground.>> that is important. often times people look at asia and think nato and it is so far from being able to know who to talk to to build out the ability of the coast guard. we will take questions. walter, this proposal that mike has and you can comment on this, the u.s. should be more diplomatically creative and proactive and set up without taking aside -- set up some sort of maritime caucus that offers them to set their own disputes were resolved their own disputes. do you think that is workable?
do you think we can get the countries on the sidelines for one of these meetings? >> probably not. only because they have the capacity to do it already themselves. the other reason is because they will not respond well to an approach that is separate from the chinese. in terms of diplomatic creativity, what we could do more is the interpretation of the treaty commitments in case of the philippines. applying the commitments specifically and exclusively to philippine occupied territories. that is not saying it is making a judgment on the philippine claims but the philippines are actually having forces and people on the islands with
security commitments. things where we could be unilaterally or bilaterally more active on the diplomatic front would be valuable. i don't think we have much of a chance of convening a group without the chinese pick >> it was secretary clinton who first offered to resolve and i guess no one took them up on the offer. one thing and you can comment, one thing that has been striking is they had the nations standing up with the philippines. where we proactive afterwords? the ruling is done and we can sign up to that that we support the ruling.>> we came out
immediately as a number of countries. i was in government at the time. the outlier was the philippines because we had a change in the philippines pick that was a surprise to everyone who was watching it. amongst the other claimants there was a sense that we cannot get out had of the plaintiff. how do you expect us to come out ? the philippines are not going to stand for it and as a result you have the countries commenting on this weather was the australians are united states but you did not see the asean standing up.>> i think from our perspective since we are so focused on the south china sea, that is for good reason because the united states as a major interest which is free to amend navigation. we lose sight on how must
southeast asia cares about this. care about the disputes generally. half of them are in a group that cares and have that really doesn't care at all. they claim to care but then you have to break it down and how much each of them care. for all of them, a perfect case in point. they are not willing to sacrifice their relationship with china. it is not a major issue for them .>> let me clarify your point. you are saying that the philippines and perhaps the other nations are willing to sacrifice maritime territory and rights? >> i think the philippines is actually sort of navigating that saying they will not sacrifice territory and the resources is the number one interest whether it is
resources or hydrocarbons. as long as they feel they worked out an arrangement that the rights have not been infringed upon, why push it? >> i agree. live press the territorial issue -- why press the territorial issue? >> anything else before we open it up to questions? my one comment. we had been focused on the south china sea right the because it was in the news but i think as a strategy for southeast asia, the focus has to be on trade and economics and the diplomatic outreach. >> i wouldn't recommend many changes in the security. >> let's open it up. to you remember the rule i had i demonstrated?
over here, sir. microphone. one question please. >> independent consultant. although the asian economic crisis was 20 years ago and the crisis in 208, it is still in the memory of a lot of the southeast asian countries and has this led, as i've heard, and inclination on their part to not totally depend on western norms and to look to china as someone who might be able to give them stability that they didn't find in the western economic system? >> on the economic side, absolutely. it still echoes, the u.s. response. the help that the chinese
provided in terms at the time. you can see the same dynamic now. there is an echo and also it playing out again. the u.s. having no trade policy in the region and the chinese are able to stand and as the provider of economic benefit for the region and despite the fact as we have talked about, they don't offer as much. they are able to use it effectively diplomatically. >> i would add to that that i think this is one reason. i think randy used strong and clearly stated words. the u.s. offers partnership rather than domination and that is with china offers.>> i think folks approach that choice with
open eyes but in some of the cases of leadership they don't mind choosing domination because they benefit at home. if we harp on that case, it is one that is a winner in much of the region.>> i would like to comment that china's economy is headed toward being in trouble. deep, deep trouble over a long period of time and be less attractive. >> in the back. >> thank you. a wonderful report. i cannot wait to get into the details. i would like to push the panel to focus more on the governors aspect of the free and open indo-pacific. i think what i heard from mike and walter is that your
suggestion is that the u.s. approach should be for democracy promotion and not used interchangeably but should be selective and case-by-case. it seems that is the inconsistent application of democracy as one of the troubles as being a robust policy toward asia supporting democracy and human rights issues. correct me if i'm wrong but what are your thoughts in that context of the need and urgency, especially as the powers like china and russia for a protection of the threats of operations in democracies where we are seeing the corrosion of democratic rights and freedoms. some thoughts on how we can put meet on the free aspect of the
indo-pacific. >> i think the u.s. democracy efforts have never been consistent across the board but when you look at southeast asia in particular there is a great diversity. you have countries like indonesia and the philippines which are maturing democracies. there is challenges but things have been moving in the right direction and you have places like vietnam and burma where we are seeing the ethnic cleansing's. we need specific approaches for different countries. i think what i i am getting it is when you take a place like vietnam when we want to have a much deeper security partnership and if we are making
democratization are number one priority we would not take it where we want to go. it gives us leverage going forward. it is not to say we don't speak up for dissidents or protest vietnam engages in abuses. we do but again it is a tailored approach for the country at hand like indonesia and the philippines who are much more open to democratic consolidation expect let me put out a preposition. we are free and open. the question is i think there is truth to that asian democratization. it has a bad
name because of barack but it was usually successful in the 80s and 90s. we had leverage first ever these countries. we had leverage over security and south korea and taiwan and the philippines needed us as agree with that? >> absolutely. it is big contrast. today the chinese have more leverage than we do with burma. they can stand and provide a buffer. you can see it on the ground. build low leverage first.>> i think we will not help us. it is important but making it
number one i think is counterproductive.>> we are saying that in the reemergence and it matters immensely that these countries are mature, robust, democratic states. we are seeing that going forward . the united states as always been going in a more comfortable way and i think we are familiar with that. >> in the back, sir. >> the united states claims to
abide by the law of the seas even though we have not ratified it. one of the positive things that came out of the ruling in the dispute was they were clearly defined what an island is entitled to and what is just a rock. do you think it would have a positive influence in the south and east china sea if we set a good example by relinquishing the e-zines we claim our around the hawaiian island change. it is a good question. >> i think it is an interesting question but i don't think it would have any issues in this say. none of the places get help for
the decision on the territorial disputes. you are not disputing is enough . even if you reclaimed it pick >> i would point out that the positive example approach has never worked with the chinese. you can be in ours and we don't complain. stay out of ours. it never works. >> it is happening increase simply -- increasingly. we tolerated the russian activity.>> yes. >> i wanted to push a little bit on the comment made that democracy should not be the leading edge of u.s. strategy
in the region. i want to ask the panel how you would define democracy because there is different components. there is the human people component that i think -- the trade portion with governments, we will of lowell and accountability. -- rule of law and accountability. i am wary that it takes it out of the report. how would you define democracy? >> that is a tough one. >> i will go first. the asian democratization progress in taiwan and south korea and the philippines and indonesia to multi-parties, to
more protection for individual rights, for people to have choices and who they vote for and just the basic concept of promoting the rule of law and basic human dignity. i think as we have so throughout the cold war that they will be different governments as well. that was the point that walter was trying to make. retreat thailand which is not the military government but it is not really used in the same way that cambodia or burma is of people's basic lights -- rights. it is interesting. when you throw all of the elements in like accountability
and elections and will of law and mix them up and reassemble them, you could come out with surprising answers. how about singapore? none of us would call singapore democracy in terms of accountability, more accountable than most governments in terms of of law. liberal freedoms, they don't have a chance to change government. the philippines you have a chance to change the government but not many of the other things . it is something to sink -- think probe a little bit.>> you go ahead.>> i was a democracy promoter in my last job after college. >> we were all young.>> the lightning round. two questions. let's say to last -- two list comments.
what would success be at the end of one term. we succeeded. >> i think that if we are true i think in the south china sea we see more or less adopting -- we put a halt to challenges of ships and aircraft where there is international waters. if there is one free-trade agreement by the end of the term i will be a happy man. >> just a free-trade agreement. >> i would agree with the free- trade agreement. one free-trade agreement from the administration.
one not have democrats would be an enormous accomplishment on the upside on the stretch it will be to reengage in the process. something more multilateral that we can count on. >> thanks. i was joking about being young and a democracy supporter. >> one thing that is on my mind. the first thing is seeing greater collaboration among the like-minded's. cooperating in the security space. u.s., india, south korea with southeast asia partners.
capacity building for the operation and if the news reports right in the south china sea, there is -- china does not succeed in putting in language that would prevent countries from exercising with the u.s. with that everyone else. >> the fda and the code of conduct keeping us but a great panel. thank you very much and i'm sure they will take other questions off-line. let's get a round of applause to mike.
or even a month ago. an achievement that reflects the courage and wisdom of these two leaders. >> reporter: the 1978 film dream work for peace. and sunday at 6:00 pm on american artifact, a look back on the 1998 bombings of the u.s. embassy in nairobi, kenya. >> we were meeting with the minister of commerce. we heard an explosion. a freight train sound, impact of high energy hit all of us. 213 people were instantly killed. 48 of whom were employees of the united states government. >> reporter: watch on american
history tv this weekend on cspan 3. a tonight a special airing of our all history series focusing on the women in congress. we'll hear from former congresswoman linda woolsy. we start . >> we did you undertake this project? >> the impetus was centennial of the election of janet rankin, the first woman to comfortable in congress. she was elected in november 1916, and seated in the house on april second, 1917 when the house was called into a special session. congress was called into special s