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tv   Washington Journal James Person Discusses North Korean Missile Tests  CSPAN  March 12, 2017 9:04am-9:42am EDT

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invisible, which deals with homelessness. matthew also won the fan favorite contest and will receive an additional $500. in the high school central category, or when is 12 greater jerrod clark in royal oak michigan for his piece in enough is enough, dealing with pharmaceutical pricing. and our studentcam first prize winner for the high school west's ninth grader from larrabee high school in laramie, wyoming, for herpes, also fuel the challenge of transitioning creates ui to students and teachers for competing in making this year's student cam competition for success. the top 21 winning entries will air on c-span in april, and you can watch all 150 when he documentaries online at studentcam.org. "washington journal"
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continues. host: we want to welcome james person, the director of the wilson center's center for korean history and public policy. thanks for being with us. guest: host: thank you for having me. i want to begin with the headline this morning on the front page of "the washington post," anxiety grows over north korea's arsenal. i want to read it. on the day of north korea's first atomic test in 2006, aides to george w. bush began phony foreign capitals to reassure allies startled by the surprising feats. had beenaides said it mostly a failure, or botched one kiloton cry for attention from a regime that had no reliable delivery system and we never be able to attain that. a decade later, that confidence has all but evaporated. after a week in which successfully robbed for intermediate range missiles into this year japan, u.s. officials
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no longer see north korea's test as amateurish and they are viewed as evidence of a rapidly growing threat, one that is increasingly defies solution. guest: that is accurate of the program. i want to note that the attention grabbing part is important. korean seem north to have been using the programs to get our attention to enter into some kind of dialogue today, which is no longer the case for getting our attention. it is about developing what they consider of idle components of the national defense strategy. host: how do we respond? guest: there are a number of options. and no option should be taken off the table. closelywe need to work with allies and the problem is there is so much uncertainty in
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south korea, where the president was impeached but i think it is good that secretary of state tillerson is going to the region to talk to allies. number of options was said, the discussion in washington of the kinetic option, a euphemism for military action. i think this will raise a lot of and they say it is a strike on military installation that would be to an attack on soul and possibly japan. host: there are 20 family people in seoul, south korea. -- 20 so it would be million people in seoul, south korea. guest: it would be tragic. i would apiece last month in where i suggest that we should
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to bring about the stone and as a stepping andhe strategy for the past what they came to be known as strategic patients work until to go back torees , so that wasement a requisite for us sitting down with them. the problem is that by that point, they were no longer using the program as a bargaining chip or to get an attention. there was already a vital component in the national defense strategy, so they were unwilling to put that on the table.
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is wee happened essentially allowed them, well, not talking to them, we allowed them to develop their capabilities in nuclear technology and also in missal technology, so the ability to deliver a device, which they did not have in 2006 when the first detonated their first device. points,o year earlier the secretary of state making his first trip to south korea meeting with leaders but complicating this is you no longer have the president in power. she was impeached and they will be an election in ellie mae. he may be talking to people today that will not be around in two weeks or even two months from now. guest: he will likely be talking to people not empower because right now, if the polls are accurate, it seems that there will be a progressive president.
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mn who actually just narrowly lost by a few percentage points in the last election in south korea. he was a former chief of staff was and remains a strong advocate of negotiations in engagement with north korea. so there is a chance we're going to see a very different direction for seoul, south korea and inter-korean relations. k was president par convicted of what? guest: corruption. she allowed a longtime friend to use her influence and ties to the president to amass a fortune to extract from various conglomerates, millions and millions of dollars. host: we have seen protest and
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the menstruation's on the side of her impeachment. what is the reaction in south korea? guest: i think most people see a victory for democracy and an opportunity to really cut the long ties to train business and government. it has always been a very shady connection. 1960's, when the the state was very involved and supporting conglomerates in the development of the national economy. host: in a conversation at the white house, president trump told reporters "that president kim jong un his nuts. nuts."
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guest: if you take a long-term view of behavior of north korean leaders, you can see there is an inner logic. there is a strategy through to a way of dealing with the outside world. in fact, a lot of the tactics have been carried throughout the three generations of the family. to be sure this leader, king whichunn -- kim jong un, i would say is the most brutal of the three so far, we have seen with the execution of his half-brother, the level of brutality we never saw. host: you think he was directly responsible? guest: i think there may have been a standing order that a family, thee kim
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so-called bloodline, but be executed without him being involved in some way. host: how did he kill his uncle? guest: we don't know. we know he was killed over rumors to have the method of and their extended family. again, you have someone in the family executed. ofhink that was more because the perceived ties to china. that was more a shot across than anything. and efforts to reduce china's influence over north korea. host: we will get to phone calls. (202)-748-8000, line for democrats. (202)-748-8001 for republicans. current dependent line is (202)-748-8002. i guest is james person of the
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wilson center. before we take our first call, i went to layout we are today and ask for their missteps are whereculations -- and ask their missteps, miss cut relationship 2006 to where we are today? are there things the u.s. should have done with regard to north korea that we did not? guest: i think we should have taken the threat more seriously. we probably should have engaged in more direct talks with them in consultation with their allies. i think we should have not outsourced the problem to china to the extent that we have. it is a complex relationship and a lot of people really don't grasp the degree of animosity between china and north korea. the north koreans perceive china overly interventionist and
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this goes back decades. they view them as overly interventionist and less than respectful of korean sovereignty. it is to the point to where if we ask china to exercise political influence over north korea, we are asking them to do it north korea has most resented over the past six plus decades. you can point to two episodes in the history of the relationship, interfereid directly in the north korean affairs and over the years, north koreans talked about this, a level of resentment that was possible. that continues to influence the relationship today. execution -- the and factored into the execution of the uncle in 2013. host: our guest is james person from the wilson center and he undergraduates and doctorate from george washington university in washington, d.c.
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let's get your reaction to it nikki haley said in new york. [video clip] nikki haley: in terms of south korea, tell me why you would not do that in light of 24 ballistic missiles, to nuclear tests, knowing we will protect our allies, we will not leave south korea standing there with the north korean threat facing them and not help, so that is the reason for that because of the actions of north korea. we have not seen any goodwill at all coming from north korea and i appreciate all of my counterparts wanting to talk about negotiation. we are not dealing with a rational person for it if this were any other country, we would talk about that and it wouldn't be an issue. this is not a rational person thinking clearly. what i can tell you is the stands of the united states is how we are reevaluating
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handle north korea going forward andrea making those decisions cap and we will act accordingly. host: nikki haley representing the u.s.. your comments. history go back to the and long-term trends and patterns in north korean behavior. it is possible to identify. i would like to say that the north koreans are predictably unpredictable. there certainly patterns for their behavior and i think kim ng-unnunn -- kim joh is laying that out. have our arsenal inside out -- inside south korea and the timeline has been moved up in order to be in place now. this headline from "the new york times" says china is warning it
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will create an arms race. guest: well, china is concerned about it. they think it is going to be used to monitor their activities there to actually deal with the north korean threat. it frustrates south korea because they perceive the threat and it isn'trea they can china thinks use national security upfront and it frustrates koreans that it is a matter of national security and it is a sovereign issue and china is describing it really urgerts to
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to assert its money into the region. there are questions to help affected -- to how effective it can be. ofent test of last week ballistic missiles by north challengean effort to thad inom of putting south korea to deal with multiple missiles. host: as we look at pictures of the missiles, how high-tech was this per north korea? guest: my understanding is -- i'm not a missal expert -- there is a report on it on a website called 38 north that suggests that there were not any technological breakthroughs with this knowledge. these are i understand extended
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range sub missiles. used in of technology the devices, there is nothing new. however, it should not provide us with any [indiscernible] aey have the making with number of technological breakthroughs and cost a number of thresholds. one thing you can say is they may not -- they seem to have enough missiles that they're --fortable hiring them up firing them up and in such numbers that they have enough of a strategic reserve. i cannot say that -- as they used to say, they are producing them like sausages -- i don't know that north korea has capability to do that but they do have enough of a reserve to
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comfortably carry out these tests. another panelist suggest it is not so much a test of technology as it is a test of those people that are actually demanding these launchers. tuscaloosa,from alabama. democrat line. good morning with james person of the wilson center. caller: how are you doing? i have two questions and one comment. one question for him. never had mass destruction or shot off one missal. united states invaded iraq. north korea shooting off all kinds of missiles, some made in the sea of japan. why hasn't the united states invaded north korea? my second question, are they planning on doing like president ,eorge w. bush, president obama
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or they send commodities and food and money to north korea? host: thank you. on the first point? well, that is a tough one. we have not taken the threat that seriously. you might also look at the iran nuclear deal. the question could be asked, why did we invest so much in getting this deal with iran from north korea was much further advanced? these are all very good questions. take north korea as seriously as we should have and there was an underestimation of the capability and of their wehnological know-how and are now seeing that we should have taken this threat more seriously all along, going back to 2006. host: russia today on their website has pictures of what is
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known as the sad missiles appointment in south korea on the rt website as we listen to herman from baltimore, democrat line. good morning. caller: my concern are these joint south korean military exercises. just ramp up the paranoia in the north and if the u.s. once to try to call down the situation, the first thing they can do is call off these joint exercises to see what happens then. i don't think the exercises themselves are militarily important. host: thank you. guest: great points. host: we have how many u.s. troops in south korea? we have additional 3000 and 4000 to participate in these defenses exercises.
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these have been held now for going almost four decades. in the north certainly does indicate that they perceive this as a threat and described them as dress rehearsals for invasion. the would not discount benefits of them forming an iniance, specifically reassuring our allies in the region that the united states remains committed to their defense. that is important, especially given some of the statements that were made during the campaign this year, including or last year, rather, including the korea andt south japan could even get their own nuclear weapons. there was a need. at this point, to demonstrate
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that the u.s. is a credible ally and we do take seriously the security of our allies. there were times in the past when we have over there was a time during the bush one an administration when we did temporarily scheduled one year these joint exercises and it is a great effect. we do a breakthrough with north korea, albeit short-lived. i think these exercises could be stick to getrot or the north korea -- if there is progress with north koreans, clearly right now, there is progress, but if there is progress, we should consider and that should be an option and we should not just treat them as
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something that has to be done every year and we need to consider it as an option. host: inside today's "washington post," a look at the technology north korea. we will show you that as we listen to kathy from georgia, democrat line. good morning. caller: good morning. i have a question for mr. pearson. i was wondering if north korea is holding up its arsenal to reach farther than the c that he would aim for the united states. if they camethat after the united states, even with our ability to defend wouldves, that china pick them up because that would be an opportunity to do what they have wish to do for years? i appreciate you taking my call. thank you. host: thank you, kathy. guest: thanks for the question.
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i don't think china would support an attack on the united states by north korea. steps to try to and theyorth koreans suspended reports for the year and they are beginning to use to get thec leverage down theirns to ramp provocative activities with the missal program. host: there is this from the north korean newspaper, this is an english but for the north
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koreans, the president of north korea or during thekpa k -- thepa -- -- kpa guest: korean people's army. host: he ordered the kp a strategic force to keep highly of their as required by the grim situation in which an actual war may break -- guest: again, the north koreans regularly describe these joint military exercises as dress rehearsals or invasion. that we have had some components. last year, there was a and thision scenario is sending a clear signal to north korea and really making than they normally would
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be. this has been happening for four decades now. i do not want to dismiss completely there anything this, out orhave not carried we have not actually or they have not been anything more than defensive of that. recording on the missal range to stockpile capability, so you can check it out. mike from tampa, florida. james personwith of the wilson center. person, we have 28,000 u.s. troops in south korea on the border there. don't forget, the iraq army is tough as nails, so the 20,000 people that we have their are not all by themselves.
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if korea resents china and has a problem with china, or else with the get the foreign exchange. ?ill they get it from iran are they going to sell a bomb to iran and then floated into our harbors? guest: great question. on the point about u.s. troops in the south korean army, yes, we do have over 20,000 troops in south korea. actually, they are pulling back from station south of the river. they are finishing up that transfer. south to further down so we are no longer the true player we worked for many years, but the military has certainly
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made it a great number of advances and has stepped up and taking control of the defense of at area. on north korea's trade partners, there is no doubt that china has more economic leverage over north korea than any other country. china's trade with north korea between 80% and 90% of all north korea's trade. north korea has been trying to limit that economic leverage. we have seen in recent years them trying to reach out to of the countries to establish bilateral trade relations and it has been successful as an attempt to minimize that dependence on china.
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this really goes back to a long-term strategy that they have had. they never fully integrated into any international system, including throughout the cold war, they never integrated into the economic trades or trade for economic assistance. they feared that in doing so, they would become overly on their former communist allies and they would lose their freedom of action to be told what to develop and what not to develop an want to export and not export, and they want to told the timing relations, so they benefited through the network within the communist bloc and establish the hub and spoke economic relations but never fully integrated. receipt continuation of policy
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today, where they try to establish relations with other countries in an attempt to onimize that dependence china, but they have not been very successful. we saw just this last week reports come out that they were -- ig to sell some sort of don't recall exactly what the component was -- but something that could be used in that could be used in the process of developing a nuclear device. the reports that they were trying to sell this on the markets and there is a possibility that north korea will try to sell goods. host: i want to point out that it was earlier today the former south korean president leaving what is known as the house.
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