tv Bruce Bechtol North Korea and Regional Security in the Kim Jong-un Era CSPAN June 11, 2018 11:06pm-11:51pm EDT
between the north korean leader and president trump. we will keep you posted as we get information from the pool that is giving us the pictures. northt, talking about korea and security. booktv part of c-span2's coverage. as events unfold in singapore, we will break away and show them to you as we get those pictures. stay with us. >> how is everybody doing? loud voice.for my i'm half-death. half-deaf.'m
i wore headsets for 25 years. thank you for bringing me here. i'm always treated like a king when i come. special thanks to linda for organizing this event. my lovely bri of 24 years is here. i would like to thank her for putting up with all of my 24 years.or the past i will see my youngest daughter next week. that will be my most fun trip. i'm going to iowa, which all of you know is the cultural center of the universe. i would like to thank my colleagues and friends who have encouraged my scholarship. university. state i appreciate that they have encouraged me to study what to me is a very interesting subject matter. i intend to do it for as long as i can. i would like to thank all of you
for coming. it is always a great pleasure to speak to the world affairs council in houston. this is a great place to speak. i am happy to be here and away from the oasis in the desert, san angelo. let me talk about what i'm going to try to do. i'm going to talk about the events that have occurred since february. i take that back. since november of 2013, which is when the uncle of kim jong-un by marriage, witness purging occurred. i will tide events i talked , regionalhis book security and the kim jong-un era. on amazon.ilable let's talk about what kim jong-un has actually done since he took over. before he took over, people who , who were korean studies
specialists like myself, predicted things. yet a picture of michael jordan on his wall. he understands western democracies and economics. so he will change, right? we will see. i will address what has taken place in the first 2.5 years of .he rule my assessment is he is quite simply carried out his father's military policy. things look at military first. people ask me, bruce, were you in the military? i say no, i was in the marine corps. a couple things kim jong-un has done. they have conducted another nuclear test since his father died. within 3.5 months of when his father died. the largest, stontained test they have conducted.
and, the iranians were there. i wonder what that means. they put on two missile tests. ballistic short range missile. and a long-range ballistic missile. they have a three-stage missile. experts and our nation's capital unclassifiedf our nationalhat our intelligence agency has released say north korea was simply using andrimitive of materials technology to successfully launch a three-stage missile. guess what? on december 12, 2012, north koreans successfully launched a three-stage missile and put a satellite into orbit. what does that mean?
it means they can hit alaska or hawaii at least. but not texas. have a weaponhey under development. i would like to express why this is so important. it is a missile that has the same type of ranges as another but it comes on a mobile launcher. sensitive having to put it on a so instead of having to put it on a big pad, they put it on a lawn tractor trailer es off.fts up and it means the warning time r americans is shorter. it is harder to get in position. all they have to do is lifted up and fire it. how long do is that missile system? i do not know. it under kim jong-un, it continues to be developed.
as if things are not bad enough, the north koreans are developing a new -- and it looks like they have already developed a bed on the successful launches -- a new for them 300 millimeter multiple rocket launcher system. this system when put in the dmz between the two koreas can hit not just soul, korea, but south of seoul, korea. what is there? airbases. very important stuff. they already have mobile rocket launchers and long-range guns that can target parts of seoul, korea, but they are increasing that ability. much of this has 's'sened after kim jong-il death. i guess it is nice to know that kim jong-un is carrying on his
father's legacy. what about conventional weapons? the biggest problems guys like me have with conveying the north korean threat is folks like yourself, well-educated folks who care about international affairs often watch news like frontline. i do to when the cable is down. that is a joke. at frontline recently did next is a lot on north korea where they had hidden cameras. it was compelling. most touristsre go. these were villages and towns outside of that. nfrastructure, no electricity, no food, no fuel, starving people. beggars in the street. it is hard to look against that backdrop and say, look, they are a big military threat. but they are. korea has aorth
million man miry thais a threat is because they take the resources away from those people that are struggling to survive and give them to the military. something to keep in mind. 900 new tanks. the north koreans have built 900 new tankin the past seven years. we have some military guys in the background. i did a presentation that georgetown three weeks ago. there was an army colonel in the military in the audience. i said, how many tanks do we have? he said, a lot. they have also reorganized many units along the front line. they now have seven new special operation force divisions along the dmz. what is his main?
what does this mean? they are capable of producing hundreds of thousands of casualties. something to think about. there are other things going on. a lot of recent events, not just the recent purging which is significant. beginning in late february, this new multiple rocket launcher started to be tested off of the east coast. why were they testing it? what was the american military doing in february 2014? anybody know?
they were conducting a joint and execoise with the south korean military. what they were telling us was, you guys go ahead and practice for war. we are ready. they test fired multiple rocket , but theyand frogs look nothing like an amphibian. and, scud missiles. the secretary of state, the japanese foreign minister, and others were meeting in japan. when that happened, the north koreans fired missiles. obviously, when we were doing our joint exercises they were showing us they could combat us anytime they want. when we were meeting with the japanese, they were telling us they could hit japan. but there is more. this testy after
firing of the weapons took place on the east coast, on the west coast along what is basically a maritime dmz known as the northern limit line, the north koreans fired about 500 shells. went over the line into south korean watchers. what did they do? the south korean marines scrambled their self-propelled howitzers and fired back. jet.scrambled their best citizensd south korean to improved shelters that had been improved since the artillery attack of 2010. what is interesting about all of and is after this was done
they had both splashed shells at each other and is splashing contest, after all of this was done and the south koreans had reache sth koreans discovered a crashed drone with the camera on it that was filming the whole thing. my assessment was that the north conduct a provocation on new the nautical dmz, the northern limit line. i think that is something you can expect to see soon. what other way to dohat than to get them riled up and see what their reaction is. north korea, like it was not happy enough news already, north korea now appears ready to conduct another nuclear test with little or no warning.
they have removed the materials and prepared the site. it has been ready for several months now, so they could within a matter of days probably do a nuclear explosion. a nuclear test. this would be the fourth. their last one, most people think it was about eight kilotons. the next time there will .robably be iranians observing there are likely to do a long-range ballistic missile test soon. what ire going to ask think about the future, i would say in the near future we can probably affect -- expect a violent revocation, another long-range missile test, and a nuclear test. might talk about what definition of the provocation is. it is an attack meant to inflict
casualties. north korea is likely to inflict a violent attack meant to inflict casualties sometime within the next year or two. a cold, my wife says it is because i smoke cigars too much but what do she know? stabilitys talk about and north korea. i think that is very important. let me talk about stabilityn the military first. does anybody know what kim jong-un did, what his first act was? his first act in 2011, the day his father died, was military order number one. no kidding. that was to bring all of the north korean troops training in the field back on. they came back home for that
mourning period they had for his father. there were signsf dissent even then. some think the gestapo, that's what they are, russians and discipline -- rationing and problem.e was a during the winter training exercise that north korea has every year that runs from december-march, they precinct -- things liketly do they have to carry around fake wooden rifles and go le and foxholes and stuff. this time, people ran out of russians and -- ran out of rations and were passing out in
their foxholes. so this tells you about kim jong-un, but does not tell you about that neato guy who is a big fan of michael jordan and other guys. some people thought it was going to be a modest guy who would bring about westernized changes. during that three-month , the assistant chief of staff of the korean people's army was caught drinking alcohol. during that three-month time, alcohol was the end and all of north korea. banned in north korea. they executed him by mortar-round. that is an alltel are you peace. .- artillery piece they literally blew him to pieces. after that, the naysayers about
him being a horrible human rights violator like his father kind of went by the wayside. 2013, two-thirds of senior generals had either been replaced, purged, or moved to different jobs. are you seeing the pattern here? in april 2013, anytime kim jong-un was visiting military units his bodyguard detail was increased. very interesting, and 2013 another emerged as his number two. there is no such thing as a number two north korea. there are several number two's. since i wrote this book, one has been reassigned. a two-third general as well.
explain. some of you already know this about north korea. north korea consists of three institutions. the party, the military, the security services. there is a fourth entity that is sort of blurry. that is the kim family regime. the inner circle. those people directly related who were the sons, grandsons, and the great grandsons of those who fought with him as a partisan against the japanese who later became generals who fight against the south koreans after 1950. that is the fourth institution. you must control all three of those key institutions. there is no one guy who controls a party. no one guy who controls the military. there are three chains of command. very interesting. none of these guys have complete
power. they all answer to kim jong-un, which means if he does not ntrol those institutions, nobody is controlling those institutions. how did this whole process evolve? is anybody remember that cnn coverage of that funeral when died?ng-il "threey people have seen faces of eve"? joanne woodward, cadmium award winning performance, 1958. i think it was a great movie. if you look at that, there were eight people on each side escorting kim jong-il's body. kim jong-un was one of them, there were seven others. out of those 7, 6 have been purged or reassigned.
those were the main guys. most of them are not there anymore. at least not in key positions. 2013,3, the whole europe passive purges occurred -- the whole year of 2013, passive purges occurred. kim jong-un's uncle by marriage was purged and then executed. i will talk about his execution and the lovely way it happened in a couple minutes. let me remind you of how powerful kim jong-un is or is not. a good friend of mine who is a korean scholar, he and i were talking at a restaurant. my wife was there. -- pad thting peptide ai. said, the next leader will be
weaker than kim jong-il. how weak will depend upon whether the regime survives or not. that is true. he must control those key institutions. he must control the party. he must control the parting and the military services. what will happen if he cant control these institutions? the most likely thing is implosion. we could have a civil war. for the not any way north korean government to survive unless they have one-man rule and that man controls the institutions. the dprk has not existed as a government in any other way so they do not know how to operate untaother way, like with a j
for example. what do you do when your power is weak? you purge. most of you probably heard about uncle who looks a lot like kim jong-il. almost like a female kimong- with a wig on if you can imagine that. i have a picture of her a few want to see it later. i'm happy to show it to you. in north korea, public purges are almost unheard of. it just does not happen. i talked to a group of people earlier. i spoke about a powerful guy in the party in north korea. .e was having a feud he was reported to have died in
an automile accident. just so you guys know, traffic there is not like in houston. what do you think the chances are he really died in an auto accident? i give that example because that is normally what happens. some guy gets executed percent to a reeducation camp. they do not say that. guy, they announced he was purged, they announced he was executed, they announced why it was done. they said it was corruption. was it corruption? partial late. by charging a korean high party official with corruption is like charging robert e. lee with murder at gettysburg. you know what i mean? who is guilty of corruption? well, all of them are. so the level of
his wife turned her husband off from what she thought were crimes against the state. him onveniently divorced the day he was executed. withrother led guys pistols who arrested him. there was even a rumor that was active in the chinese press that he was executed, that he and his two key subordinates were executed by maddened dogs. they were thrown naked into a cage and even to death -- eaten to death. i do not think that is what happened. another rumor is that he was executed by an aircraft machine gun.
interesting stuff. . lot of rumors out there what is all this a sign of? --keep their open and sound to keep their opponents down. to maintain fear. you are probably saying to was perched. he -- purged. if not corruption why? factionalisms nation. whoad guys in the party were absolutely loyal to him and the security services. he also had generals who were loyal to him. what does that mean?
a separate faction forming within the north korean ruling infrastructure. that has not happened since 1957. il-sung told kim the chinese to leave his country. and there were two factions. the pro-soviet faction and the pro-chinese faction. whatf them were wondering faction he was going to purge. he purged both of them. that is how t family does it. we have not seen that kind of turmoil since back then. with this was really all about was power. the fact that kim is having a hard time holding on to his purging his uncle, executing his
uncle, executing a bunch of his relatives, friends, sending more to camps, that is not a sign of strength. that is a sign of weakness. that is something to keep in mind. something else that i would like to pass on to you, i hope that now that i have talked about the security services, the military, the party, and the kim family inner circle, it should be apparent that there is no such thing as a number two. there are lots of number two guys and lots of agencies. there is a number two guy in the state security department, five start generals in the military -- five star generals in the military, and they all answer to
separate chains of command. this is done on purpose. this is the patrimonial system that north korea employs. the proficiency is not rewarded, loyalty is rewarded. what you have to understand is ev tit was a big blow was notwas purged, it an overwhelming blow as some people might think. there were several other number twos. some of those work probably advising kim jong-il to actually nc.cute his u chapter,y, the first or the second chapter in my book, deals with all the new military developments that i talked about in much more detail including their nuclear program and ballistic program and where it is that right now. the second chapter after that deals with actual provocations and what they are planning tdo and how we can avoid it. we are likely to see those
within the next year or so. and, now that i have been nstalityabout within the north korean government, it is important to tell you that the next to last chapter deals with what we do. souths to say us and our korean allies if north korea collapses. that is a chapter that goes in depth about how north korea could collapse and how the international community would react and what impact it would have in our foreign policy. if you read it i hope you enjoy it. what does the future hold for us? if we are talking about engaging north korea, it is very important to understand that north korea will never, ever, ever give up its nuclear weapons. it is not only a fact that they
consider this important to their national security, this is a legacy. we are talking about a dynastic form of government. kim il-sung was the one who dreamed about having nuclear weapons and he passed that down to his son. it is now his grandson's legacy. they will keep their nuclear weapons, it does not matter what they tell us. we can also plan on seeing north down, continued to engage in proliferation and illicit activities. proliferation, one of the main countries they are proliferating to is syria. their chemical weapons, their ballistic missiles, from north korea. all in iran's inventory, all
purchased from north korea, artillery, rpg's, etc. lot is of course --a also going into hezbollah. this is of course a terrorist organization. why? my answer is because they support terrorism. pretty simple to me. we can expect to see a lot of proliferation. $2 billion toout $3 billion for the regime each year. interesting stuff. if something were to happen like in november of 2013, it is likely that something like that could actually bring down the regime.
this really rocked north korea. not only did it rock north korea internally, it blocked their foreign affairs. and who is their most important ally? china. does anyone know with appointment for china -- the point man for china was? tech.ome ♪ .his was a was advised for all of this and he purged his uncle anyway. this could really rock north korea even harder than it did this time. i'm sure you're sitting in your chairs rocking back and forth saying, can he survive? in the answer is, maybe.
in order to keep the country from exploding he must have control of his database,'s power base. kim jong-un does not have that. he does not yet have control of the party, the military, the security services, and his own family. if you want to talk about will he survive, the answer is yes, if he consolidates his power base to the point that his father did that he was able to control the country by controlling the key institutions in the country. not if he continues to have the troubles he is having now. it has to end. it cannot keep going on like this. let's say that kim jong-un and the regime to collapse. what are the most likely scenarios? again, you're probably thinking, wouldn't that be a military coup? 20-year-old daughter
would say, a coup d'etat? it is possible. how many -- hereve a lot of old people , huh? in theremember the scene sean connery movie where he kills a political officer? great scene. if you are north korean and you have to kill that guy, you have to kill to guys. let me explain why. if you are a division commander, a brigade commander in north korea, you do not have one guy looking over you sr, y have to -- two. they are reporting back to the party. you have another guy over your although shoulder -- your other --ulder the peelings to the
that reports back to the party. how in the world could you have a coup if you have that going on? it is very difficult. everybody and north korea is being watched. how about a palace coup? would they call a palace coup? he has hundreds of palaces and north korea that he inherited from his father. i say that is unlikely as it is a dynastic bridging. ast would somebody else use their raging? -- their regime. is the most likely scenario if north korea goes down?
the most likely scenario is we keep seeing events like we saw last fall and early this winter. the what -- the country starts to slowly collapse and the kim family cannot hold it together anymore. that is about a 50-50 possibility. it could happen within the next few years or tomorrow. what if he consolidates his power over the next three years? if he is able to do that, the government will stabilize. that is the key. its stability is to occur it can only happen if the same model that his dad used and his grandfather used is the one that he uses. simple as that. he has to that government set up as it is to run the country successfully. it is. the only way. the elite. -- it is the only way. , thelite in the country
guys who fought in the early korean war or fought with the partisans, those guys and their those peopledsons, want this regime to suc. they have every reason to want it to succeed. the question is can it? we do not have the answer to that yet. what does this mean for the korean peninsula and the united states? it means that south korea must plan for a two headed monster. we must plan for this very large and dangerous, well-equipped, and its predicted -- unpredictable behavior. at the same time we are planning for that, we have to plan for the collapse of that heavily armed army. that will be a nightmare to. -- too.
that will be a massive undertaking. very realst of this and ominous threat, stability is needed in their r.o.k. and u.s. military alliance. i am a huge proponent of maintaining a strong alliance with the republic of korea. oursouth korean allies, seventh largest trading partner. i do not know if we have any korean war veterans in here, but we are almost at the end of the sing. we see the -- we almost see the end of this thing. we see the light at the end of the tunnel. alliance and the the military as long as there is a north korean threat, needs to be the north. the most important thing for
south korea to worry about ithe. that is just the way it is. i also believe downplaying this two headed threat is not good policy. there is a lot of confusion out there. we see newspaper articles that talk about tth korean military that cannot do anything, it is not true. they can do things and they will do it again if they think they can get away with it. their nuclear programs continue to grow and i think we should take that seriously. it is a serious threat. assessment, and in my book i have an entire chapter on the r.o.k. and south korea-u.s. alliance and what it needs to do to prepare for the north korean donet and things they have in the past including commanding control. i think we have about a 50-50 shot in seeing this government implode.
why do i say 50-50? because we do not know. it is unpredictable. it is an unpredictable government and system. it is a very unstable system right now. but, we do know this. and thusng-un fails, explosion or imposition or civil war are the most likely scenarios if that happens. washington a the free world, it must plan accordingly. i will leave it there. [applause] members of the staff are picking up questions. first question, where are they getting the materials to build the missiles? the metals, the physical materials. havelot of stuff that they
they have gotten dual use of. the have gotten it from the japanese, some from the chinese, missiles and things like that. for example, the transport director launcher, the mobile thing that can launch a missile, there were eight of them seen in a parade about years ago in pyongyang that came from china. china has agreed to follow the u.n.'s sanctions against north korea. the united states under -- questioned the chinese about it. is a lot of dual use stuff out there. some of the things that the north koreans have they built themselves, but there is a lot of dual use stuff that is out there. >> russia for gave a lot of loans.
how much can it afford to prop up north korea? >> not much. i think this is important because i am sure that most of a -- most of you realize that up until 1990 the soviet union were ella terryil, food, equipment, training, everything, electricity, everything for the north koreans. in 1990 the soviets told the north koreans that from now on anything that you get from us you will have to pay for it with hard currency, being u.s. dollars or japanese yen. korea'st moment, north economy started going down. there industry was operating at 10% of what they usually do. will russia ever get back to that level again?
i do not think so. even though they forgave nth korea's debt they started giving things to north korea. gives north korea some stuff but it is not nearly at the level that the soviets gave them during the cold war. it is very significant that russia is forgiving their debt and that may be to put their finger in our eye because of what is going on with the ukraine. korean society like society that respects age, what you think the people think of the young leader? >> you're asking great questions tonight. that is an issue. as you know, there are three sons. kim jong-un is the youngest. the oldest is kim jong-un him who was caught trying to get into tokyo disney on a fake
slovenian passport. i wish i could have been a fly on the wall. excuse me sir, are you slovenian? yes i am slovenian. the second son, is reported to jong-unrding to kim ill, rumored to be gay. unfortunately, that does not allow him to lead. the third son is kim jong-un. there is another problem with that. overirst son usually takes . all three of the sons are illegitimate. they were born to women both of whom were dancers that kim jong-il met when they were young and dancers. he just said i will take that one. that stuff.
they have a credibility problem. they are not even from one of his wives. he was married he twid two daughters from his wives. the fact that he is so young is a big deal in the society. what makes that worse, what exacerbates that, is the fact that he was not trained going up -- growing up in north korea. he grew up in switzerland. we talked about the weakness of his power base, i think that is part of it. his age and inexperience. it has to be. >> how do you get your information out of the secretive society of north korea and what can you tell us about kim jong-un's wife? >> i have a calm center in my angelo -- san angelo.