The ICAS Lectures


From Kuala Lumpur With Love
~ A Road to Peace in the Korean Peninsula ~

Robert Gallucci

ICAS Fall Special Symposium

November 8, 2016 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Kennedy Caucus Room
United States Senate
Capitol Hill
Washington DC

Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.

Biographic sketch & Links: Robert Gallucci

[ Transcription from the audio recording of the proceedings ]

From Kuala Lumpur With Love: A Road to Peace in the Korean Peninsula
Robert Gallucci
Ambassador; Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy,
Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.
November 8, 2016

Leena Jang: Thank you Dr. Kim for this great opportunity to introduce the Honorable Robert Gallucci. Ambassador Gallucci served as the Dean of the School of Foreign Service

[At Georgetown University]
for 13 years until he left in July 2009 to become President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Gallucci was appointed as Dean in 1996, after 21 years of distinguished service in a variety of government positions, focusing on international security. As ambassador, and special envoy for the US Department of State, he dealt with the threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. Gallucci was Chief US Negotiator during the North Korean nuclear missile crisis of 1994, and served as Assistant Secretary of State for political and military affairs, and also as Deputy Executive Chairman of the UN Special Commission overseeing the disarmament of Iraq following the first Gulf War. He earned his bachelor's degree at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and his masters and doctoral degrees at Brandeis University. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the honorable Robert Gallucci.



Robert Gallucci: Good afternoon, everybody. I am pleased and honored with this invitation. Happy to be with you. As was noted, it's been ten years. I wish I could say it was ten years of progress but I don't think that would be exactly appropriate given the circumstances. I am, notwithstanding the title that Sang Joo has titled this... and I didn't stop him. I am [unintelligible] There was a small group of us, 4 of us, who traveled the 20 hours or so to meet with North Korean delegation for a couple of days. And that was just about three weeks ago. A word about that. For the DPRK side, in that meeting, I think one of the main things they want to do is to explain to us why they were concerned about US policy, and specifically why we were there. Which is to say, they did not wish to meet with the US government. That's why we meeting and, I'm sure you know, the track to mode rather than gov-gov, track 1. From our side, we explained what we understood to be the Washington perspective these days on North Korea and North Korean policy. We focused particularly on the dangers, the threats that we could see, the threats or dangers to the region, and to the United States. We did not represent anyone except ourselves. So we didn't issue any warnings, only observations.

The key question I think on the minds of the representatives, as I think Sang Joo said, led by the Vice Foreign Minister [unintelligible]... The chief question is what should both sides, in this discussion the US and DPRK, what should they expect and what should they want to happen early in next year with the new administration in Washington. I think we should... could usefully talk about that. You have a distinguished panel here. You all are... It's clear to me, have been around the block in this issue. It's not your first rodeo, as they would say, with North Korea, so we can have a useful discussion about that. What I want to do with my time this afternoon is lay out what I think are six key questions that are, for me at least, the most important, the most timely for consideration. And all the questions I want to ask are framed in terms of "What does the DPRK actually believe?" And then I'll give the subjects.

So, let's try this out, see if this works. This is useful. First question: does the DPRK believe its own narrative on recent history? In other words, what do they think caused the collapse of the Agreed Framework of 1994 and brought us to the events that began in 2002? [unintelligible] What do they think led to the failure to implement the agreements in 2005 and in 2007 and 2008? What happened? What do they believe was the role, if any, of the DPRK in the construction of a plutonium production reactor in Syria, which was destroyed by the Israelis in 2007? What is their explanation for the failure of the Leap Day Agreement and the events of 2011 and 2012? Now the question I asked is "Does the DPRK believe its own narrative on this recent history?" My answer to that is, incredibly, yes, they do. Let me be clear about this. I have no doubt that the DPRK acted inconsistently with the terms of the Agreed Framework, or, to put it in vernacular, cheated on the Agreed Framework with their deal to accept uranium enrichment centrifuge technology and equipment from Pakistan during the middle to late 90s and then into the next decade. I have no doubt that the Agreed Framework excluded this through its reference to North- South declaration on denuclearization. That's not their view. That's my view. So, I'm asking do they believe their own view as they present it. I'm saying I think they do, incredibly. I have no doubt that it was North Koreans that Yongbyon out of [unintelligible] in Syria. They say "It wasn't us." I say it was them. Some of them believe that North Korea is innocent of that. I believe that some of them actually believe they didn't do it. I have no doubt they did. I have no doubt that over the last decade or so, since I last spoke here, the DPRK bears the principle responsibility for both sides adopting postures that both have characterized as strategic patience. In other words, I believe they bear most of the responsibility for the failure for engagement to succeed between the DPRK and the US. But for whatever it's worth to you all, I believe also that some in the DPRK believe their own rhetoric on recent history. They believe they have been wronged by the United States of America. What I'm trying to say here is that on the first point, there's room for possible misunderstanding between the DPRK and the US side. One of my favorite movies is Cool Hand Luke, and there's a line in that movie where the bad guy says to the good guy "What we have here is a failure to communicate." This is supposed to be irony because there wasn't a failure to communicate. I am not telling you that all that's going on between the DPRK and the United States of America and the Republic of Korea is the failure to communicate. I am not saying that. I'm saying that in this interpretation of recent history, there's room for misunderstanding. And I think there has been some. That's one of the things I conclude.

Second question: Does the DPRK believe that when it achieves the capability of making an ICBM with a nuclear weapon that could reach the continental United States, it will change everything. Answer: I think, dangerously, yes, they do think that. They think everything will change when they can threaten the United States, continental United States, with an ICBM, with a nuclear warhead. I know that some in the US Defense Community would agree. They think US [unintelligible] to a new third country with nuclear weapons, will alter our relationship in fundamental ways. I don't. They do. I believe that US deterrent will remain credible vis a vi the DPRK, just as it has been vis a vi Russia and China. I believe that the US extended deterrent to its allies in Northeast Asia, Seoul, Tokyo, will remain credible just as our extended deterrent in NATO has remained credible vis a vi Russia, and before that, the Soviet Union. But here comes the interesting part. What will change is the DPRK's vulnerability. Ladies and gentlemen, even those of us who are opposed to preventive war, would support, indeed insist on a pre-emptive strike, if we judged a North Korean strike against the ROK, Japan, or the United States, as being imminent. Do you see what I'm saying here? Preventive war, no. Pre-emptive strike, yes. And what the North Koreans will achieve is that they will create a vulnerability that they do not now have when they get that capability. So I'm arguing here that the DPRK security may be [unintelligible] compromised rather than enhanced by this capability that they are so dedicated to achieve.

The third question: Does the DPRK think that its current nuclear weapons capability, the ability to strike the Republic of Korea and Japan with ballistic missiles armed with nuclear weapons, will deter the United States and its allies from responding to provocations in the DMZ or at sea? The answer to that question, I think, possibly yes, they do think their nuclear weapons capability gives them this deterrent. I believe they are wrong if they believe that. But I think they may believe it. The United States and Russia have long experienced, going back to the time of the United States and the Soviet Union, with nuclear weapons, and with deterrence. But we know mistakes are still possible between us. The question here, I'm posing, is what does the DPRK think nuclear weapons are good for, besides deterring an enemy attacking them with nuclear weapons. Or to put it differently, when is the threat of the first use of nuclear weapons by a state credible, particularly when that state is dealing with another nuclear weapons-state. What good are nuclear weapons to the DPRK is the question. My answer is that they're only relevant, they're only useful when national survival is at risk. They're certainly not useful for small gains. They're not credible. They're not useful to protect them against a retaliation from incidents at the DMZ or at sea. But as it turns out, my answer really isn't very important. Kim Jong Un's answer is very important. And I'm worried he may expect more of his nuclear weapons capability than good appreciation for deterrence would warrant.

Fourth question: does the DPRK think that if the new administration in Washington, and we're going to get one, begins by proposing talks about talks, negotiations, rather than immediately seeking tougher sanctions, do they believe that would be a sign of weakness? Answer: I think maybe. Let me be clear of my own view here. I would like to see the new administration in the United States, that takes office in January of 2017, in consultation with the ROK and Japan. I would like to see that new administration, pretty early on, maybe after a policy review, seek talks about talks with the DPRK. With only one condition. And that is that while they're talking, there will be no tests of ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons, even at the most preliminary stage. Those of you who are very attentive on this issue will note that one of the candidates, Secretary Clinton, is being quoted as saying that's not what she would do. And I would know that some would advise her to believe that a different course would be more prudent. Something I would call the Iranian model, where instead of seeking talks early on, you immediately seek tougher sanctions earlier on, in order to create the right state of mind in Pyongyang. Show your toughness first so that talks would be a way of releasing that pressure. So that is an alternative view. It's not mine. I told you what mine would be. But this question in on the minds of those who will be in the next administration. And I believe it deserves thought and discussion, and I hope we can have some here.

The Fifth Question: Does the DPRK believe it can keep its nuclear weapons program and still negotiate a peace treaty, the end of the US-ROK exercises, and sanctions relief? In other words, does the DPRK believe it can take its nuclear weapons program off a negotiating table? I believe it isn't sure whether it could do that. I would note that some who are in this administration now certainly believes they will, they being the DPRK, will never give up its nuclear weapons program. If we went around and we asked everybody here and comment about that, I believe that at least half of you would say they would never give up their nuclear weapons program. I believe, by saying that, you give the DPRK hope that they can keep it. My view is that we should destroy that hope. Explicitly, we should not, repeat, not settle for a freeze on their nuclear weapons program, unless the freeze were simply a step to denuclearization. To put this another way, I am opposed to talks with the DPRK if they take their nuclear weapons program off the table. I believe to engage in talks, they cannot, by agreement ahead of time, produce denuclearization, would legitimize the DPRK's nuclear weapons. And I am opposed to that.

Sixth and final question: Does the DPRK believe it can resist international pressure to improve its human rights behavior? As with the previous question, I believe the DPRK isn't sure it can get away with that. I can tell you from first-hand experience that they are concerned that the phrase "improving human rights behavior" is code for ending the Kim regime. Our position, I believe, should be the following: that we cannot address legitimate DPRK security concerns unless we ultimately reach a political settlement with the DPRK, and probably one that includes a treaty of peace. And since I believe that, I do not think, therefore, that a political settlement of that type, of that weight, is possible unless the DPRK adopts basic internationally accepted standards on human rights. This is not the "they have to accept an American-style liberal democracy." It does not mean the end of their whole system. It does mean, over a period of time, substantial changes domestically. But I think that's the only way out of our current situation and our negotiation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am going to stop right there and assume that you all will now carry the weight. Thank you very much.


Moderator: Now, gentlemen, first round. First crack, Joe?

Joseph Bosco: Thank you, Dr. Kim, for hosting this program, particularly with the Honorable Ambassador, who was my [unintelligible] School of Foreign Service. And it's an honor to participate in this program [unintelligible] Despite the fact that he raises very perceptive and disturbing questions for those of us who don't live with this issue day after day, I found the answer to your first question the most disturbing one, because it affects all the others. That is their perception of reality. It's one thing for regimes to disagree on motivations, ideology, that type of thing. But when we get down to raw facts, and your impression is that they actually believe that certain facts did not occur when the rest of the world knows they did occur. And that means their grasp on reality is highly suspect, and therefore their motivation and their actions in the other contexts, the questions you raised, quite seems unpredictable and unbelievably dangerous. So I wonder, given the fact that they, you say that they have this detachment from reality, how can we rely on expectations in any of the other areas when they don't see the world as it is, not just the way that we see it, but the way that it objectively is?

Robert Gallucci: Joe, I don't dissent from your drawing that conclusion from my comment. In other words, I think this is not good news that their perception of reality is so much different from our perception of reality. I was really driving that question towards one sentence: that they believe that they have... they have been mistreated, they have been wronged by us over these years. So their characterization of this captures that, of the aggrieved party. I presented my own view so you didn't confuse me with the DPRK. I don't share their view. But after having listened to them, and we did, by the way, spend a lot of time on history, because I didn't think it would be functional or useful. But we spent enough time on [unintelligible] and you may know that three years ago, Steve Bosworth and I met with them, with now the new Foreign Minister in Berlin, for a two-day session. I had the same impression then that they're, as we say, they're smoking their own stuff here. They believe the characterization of their history. What that should tell us is not that, in my view, not that we should not still try to engage them, but that we need to understand the many opportunities for misunderstanding, for purposeful misunderstanding I'm sure at some point, but for honest misunderstandings too. And we need to be careful about that. If I don't get another chance, I'm going to say that we shouldn't, with the DPRK or a country like that, in which we have a history that is fraught, I don't think that the idea of trust makes a lot of sense, for quite a long time. So if we make any kind of agreement, even tentative ones of some kind, we should be planning on monitoring and verifying. And we should not simply enter into an expectation that everything will be fine. Everything between us and the DPRK will not naturally be fine. It's going to have to be made that way. So you took this as making this the idea of engaging the North Korea with this background as being especially challenging. And I think you're exactly correct.

Moderator: Thank you. Bill?

William Brown: Thanks. I'd love to engage the Ambassador on the idea of Agreed Framework. [unintelligible] I must say I agree with almost everything you say. I would put it a little bit differently, especially this last conversation. For me, the North Koreans over a long period, have been very objective, very rational, very organized, very deliberate, from going from point A in 1994 to now. This long period of developing nuclear weapons under the constraint of the US and the world out to get them. And they're so close to doing it. Maybe they've done but they haven't really demonstrated quite yet enough. So I'm think it's critical for us to see this short gap in which, maybe a year or two, or five years, they for themselves need to convince themselves first, and then the South, and then us, to take up this capability. At that point, then I think you're right, they think that there will be changes. Not quite yet though. So I think we have a little bit of maneuver.

My main concern though, my main question on North Korea, that you didn't really address... I think a lot of people here, when you look at US and North Korea, I think that's fundamentally a mistake to look at it that way. I think you fundamentally have to look at North and South Korea. What are North Korea's objectives toward South Korea? I don't think they've given up yet. Maybe they have, I don't know yet. If they haven't given up, we've got a really big problem. Because that's where the, what you call the deterrence effect of the nuclear weapons, plays a really big role. And you correctly put that, you didn't know. You said that you didn't know what they're thinking out there. I think that's what we need to figure out and then convince them very quickly that South Korea is off the table. Otherwise, if you remember back to the 1970s, when they had very large artillery capability against Seoul, before we really ramped up to challenge that, they were doing all kind of mischief in South Korea if you all remember. And they were not getting punished for it. Later on in the 80s, we showed that we could punish them for it and they stopped. For the last 25 years, they've not monkeyed around with South Korea. I'm very afraid that once they get that nuclear deterrence, they don't want to use nuclear weapons. They never will. But I can imagine the South and us being a lot more nervous pricking at them when they've got nuclear weapons behind them. So if they're still thinking of the South, what I mean is unifying the country... I don't think the Peninsula can tolerate two different regimes on the peninsula. That rivalry, until its defanged, I think, requires a much more aggressive standpoint from our side. But your last point on the engagement part, I quite agree. I think we should engage them right up front with this. But not on sanctions. I think the sanctions... I'm an economist. I've been watching these sanctions. Frankly they don't work. And the North Koreans know that. They probably want more sanctions. That's what they've seen coming at them forever. I would change tactics. I would say, "you're in danger. Your regime is in danger. We're not going to overthrow you but you're in danger of being overthrown." Moreover, we need a pre- emptive, different kind of military in South Korea that can hit them... Really fast and really quick that can pinpoint. Not massive nuclear on them... They need to learn that we mean business and I'm afraid in these 25 years, we've never shouted at them. We've never really done anything tough to them and they've gotten used to that. So, it seems to me we need to change our, again much more upfront, much more provocative... Show them that their thinking in South Korea is not going to work.

Robert Gallucci: There was a lot there. Just a couple of points. The strategic objectives of the DPRK, I have assumed, and I can't defend this assumption, but I have assumed that the long- term objective is the unification of the Korean peninsula under a regime centered in Pyongyang. I would assume that's their strategic long-term objective. In the middle to short-term, they would like sanctions lifted. I'm pretty sure of that, even though I'm probably very close to your position on the impact of sanctions in terms of their economy. But I think they'd like sanctions lifted. I'm certain that they would like US-ROK military exercises first tuned down and then stopped. I know that they would like that. I think they would like to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington. They'd like to loosen the alliance if they could. And I think that the question how we should deal with the North under these circumstances... I came out in my remarks in favor of an early effort of engagement. But a fair question that comes up in your comments is that if that doesn't work, then what? I don't have a good answer to that other than containment. There are other words for containment, but essentially that means maintain the sanctions of some kind, keep the dialogue with Beijing operating so that we get some support for the implementation of the sanctions, continue the exercises, make sure that the alliances between Japan and the United States and the alliance between the ROK and the United States are strong and viable, and do that through intensifying consultations to deal with contingencies that may arise. That's the kind of thing I would imagine. But I'm just saying I would like to try engagement initially and see if that could go anywhere.

Tong Kim: Good to see you, Dr. Gallucci. It's been a long time. Since Geneva, 1994. It's fascinating listening to your comments and your assessment. What the North Koreans might do. What their positions are. What can be done about them. But coming down to a specific area of talks, you say at the beginning of the next administration which will be installed in January. What specific steps or types of talks would you foresee or recommend for the new people to follow in line with some of the things you have listed? That's what I want to hear about. And as you pointed out, there are some views that the new administration might harden sanctions right at the beginning of the administration, so that it can have increased leverage in talks with the North Koreans. And there are views that this is not the right way to go. And you discussed that. [unintelligible] capture the momentum of opening down with North Korea. [unintelligible] eventually go on to see the dismantling of the nuclear program on the Korean peninsula. I think that I agree when you said that North Korea would never give up its... It's a lost cause when we pursue the denuclearization. But he's also right that those [unintelligible] And you've sort of agreed with this view that North Korea has to keep its nuclear weapons, as the key to survival. [unintelligible] your experiences and your insights from talking with North Koreans. [unintelligible] But I just want to just mention just one thing about the South Korean factor [unintelligible] I don't think North Korea believes that it can unify the Korean peninsula under its own terms forcibly. I believe that Kim Jong Il said back in 2000, and told Secretary [unintelligible] that North Korea will be opposing any unification either by South Korean or North Korean terms. There has been much evidence, that number one they know that they cannot unify Korea under its own terms as long there is an alliance with the ROK and the United States. And it's also too much of a different system. It's going to be a long path towards eventual unification [unintelligible]. And commitment to [unintelligible] and mutual cooperation and what have you. And the things that they agreed to during the [unintelligible] administrations in South Korea under [unintelligible]. But I think the... I mean we heard before that the [unintelligible] from Beijing writing up a [unintelligible] from the results of your talks as a recommendation for the incoming administration or a transition team. And how is that coming along also? And what would be your specific recommendation for the next administration to follow? We don't know, but there is a view that if Clinton gets elected tonight, that she's going to take, ironically, not like her husband when he was in the White House, if there [unintelligible]. I mean he would go to Pyongyang. [unintelligible] But one more thing that I think is also pertinent to this conversation. China is also involved. [unintelligible] The real problem that US foreign policy will be how we would deal with China regarding the North Korean situation.

Robert Gallucci: So, a couple of things regarding your comments. Thank you for them. I have a tendency to want to warn about expectations for Beijing's role in solving this problem. My concern is two-fold. One, that the Chinese have, up until now, figured out that while they are not pleased with everything that Pyongyang does, they are not sufficiently displeased that they are prepared to support sanctions which might in fact cause such pain that it would destabilize the regime. So, there's a kind of thermostat operating here that the role that the Chinese will play. And it seems to me, from as far back as 1993-94, when I was sent to Beijing a number of times with the task of enlisting the Chinese to use their influence in Pyongyang. The second reason why I'm a little hesitant, it's a phrase that's in my mind, that we should not take arguably the biggest and most important international security issue in the Asia-Pacific region and subcontract it to our major rival in the Asia-Pacific region. In other words, we should take the leadership on this, and not the Chinese. We will not do ourselves proud, we Americans will not, certainly with our allies, if we defer to the Chinese to manage this. Getting their help, I do like. If we can get more of their help, I would like it better. But there's a limit to how far we should go in that direction. As for the second, I think I caught the question in there, is there a recommendation to the new Administration. We promised the representatives from the DPRK that we would come back and talk to people in Washington and share whatever we thought we had learned in terms of insights that the DPRK wished us to take away. We have been doing that. [unintelligible], who works in New York City and was the person that set up the logistics of this meeting and put that in place, did do some writing, and has shared that writing with various people. I have done some oral debriefing. And so we're trying to be good to our word that we gave to [unintelligible] I don't want to overstate anything that we might have accomplished. Remembering, we're sharing their views and insights, not more than that. But whatever it's worth, we have done that.

Peter Huessey: Thank you. Mr. Ambassador, thank you for your remarks. It is very useful to hear people talk about what does North Korea actually believe as opposed to necessarily what we see rhetorically and what we see in terms of actions. I'm going to continue and ask you what does North Korea think about some additional things. And I take them from the current news, which I think is important. One, Josh Rogin writes in the Post this morning that any attempt to dramatically increase sanctions, because I would parenthetically say I don't think the sanctions against North Korea are as bad as they are against Iran or work, that he says the Chinese will really push back on that very hard, and that we'll get nowhere. And I'm curious, again, what do you think the North thinks about that. Second, the US-China commission will be reviewing its report soon, the Congressional Chinese commission. And they say that the Chinese modernization of its military is increasing much faster than what had been predicted either by our Intelligence Communities or our allies in East Asia. And we rarely hear this. Does North Korea see itself as part of that effort to enhance and cooperate with China in terms of its military objectives. Third, Mr. [untelligible] writes that there have been an enormous number of what he calls missed opportunities between the North Korea and the United States since the agreed framework was put together in 1994. And he particularly chastises the Bush Administration for failing to understand what North Korea was trying to achieve, and I'm curious, the extent to which I know North Korea feels that it has been grieved... But curious to the perspective that it's been 20 years down the road, where are they? I wonder, do you think that North Korea believes that it doesn't have the ability to put a warhead over the United States when it has now put two satellites over the United States, including one over the Super Bowl. Second, a surreptitious attack from a submarine or a freighter in which it is not easily identifiable in terms of who did it, means that the deterrent equation, an EMP attack from a freighter, kind of goes away. I'm curious what you think. The EMP commission, in a very lengthy explanation, said that the Russians and the Chinese had given the North Koreans very significant help in developing EMP capabilities. And so, that to me is very critical. The next thing is... To what extent does the missile defenses, whether its THAAD or AEGIS, or ground-based interceptors deployed, have an impact on the North Koreans? How do they... Because I know what the rhetoric is. I always find it fascinating that the Chinese are really upset. They've frozen our relation, our military to military relations with South Korea over the deployment of THAAD. But if they're interested in stability in the region, which is what we always hear they are, why would they want to give North Korea an unimpeded shot, with whether a nuclear armed or not nuclear armed weapon? The THAAD doesn't have any impact on the Chinese strategic systems. They know it, but they don't say so. But I'm curious, they said to which... What do you think, internally, North Korea, when they see, when they say [unintelligible] And finally, my friend [unintelligible] my boss at [unintelligible] he made a point in interviewing the former tutor of Kim Jong Il in Seoul, and asked him why he thought the North Koreans had nuclear weapons? And the individual was quite shocked, "well, don't you understand?" And he said, "well tell me from your perspective, as you have been someone very close and a defector, why?" And he said, they want to see the United States military withdraw from the peninsula. Then they will use their nuclear forces as a means of deterring the United States from coming back to defend South Korea should the North Koreans decide at that time to unify the peninsula with force, which this gentlemen said he thought was that goal. And I'm curious if North Korea still believes that. Because I think that explains, it's not just exercises they want, splitting the ROK and US alliance. But I think their fundamental objective is, and they say it often and a lot of [unintelligible] statements always kind of at the end, and of course the United States manage to withdraw their military forces from the peninsula.

Robert Gallucci: Peter, that was at least seven questions. And I scrupulously avoided taking notes. I'm going to skip around here because that's the way my mind works and you can just cue me on the ones I missed. So, one of the first questions went to the Chinese calculation. I don't have any special insight to that calculation these days, other than the evidence, which a number of people have written about, that one of the reasons, if not the chief reason, for the sanctions that have been applied to the DPRK, not having the impact, causing the pain that sanctions advocates might want, is because the Chinese have not allowed those sanctions to work, and indeed have provided the means by which the sanctions can be circumvented. And if any of you have been the DPRK recently... I have never been, but some for some reason, people think its very useful to send me an email when they come back, and tell me what they have seen... So, the last bunch of these emails, describe a capital city that is unlike what it has looked like before. Which is to say that there is traffic, there are restaurants, there are construction cranes. It is looking like almost any other Asian city from 30,000 feet. Now, is it the only place that appears to be thriving. The proposition is that it is not the only place, but maybe the principal place. This would not all be possible without Beijing. So, I take from that that we have work to do with Beijing. Even if you take my view that there's a limit to what we can accomplish, there's still work to be done. The second question, I thought, was the one you went to: do the Chinese view the DPRK's military capability, and maybe particularly its nuclear weapons capability, as part of its own modernization. And I would say: absolutely not. I think that if the Chinese could wave a magic wand and have the DPRK's nuclear weapons program disappear from the planet, they would wave that wand. That program is a potential source of catastrophe for the Chinese because it could end up bringing the United States of America and its military and naval forces right to its doorstep, the last thing that the Chinese want. So if you look at the rationale, as the Chinese have offered for their modernization program, both for the Blue-water Navy, for what they have done with their strategic systems, the increase in numbers, the increase in mobility, this has got nothing, in my view, to do with the DPRK. It has everything to do with, ironically, with the American de-emphasis on nuclear weapons that is asserted, but in favor of conventional forces, both our conventional prompt-global strike, and our multi-layered, as they see, ballistic missile defense, which goes to another one of your points, and that is what is the Chinese worried about? They're worried about our radars to begin with. They understand that the system is limited. They may think it is less limited than we claim it is against sophisticated ICBMs that have re-entry speeds of the kind that they will have, and they have [unintelligible] and have multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles, etc. But they still worry that this is a system that can be upgraded. And they have a comparable worry to the Russian worry about what's happening in Europe. They don't take any comfort in hearing President Obama talking about the de-emphasis on nuclear weapons, because they look at the words surrounding conventional prompt-global strike, forgetting that we don't actually have the capability. And they worry about the viability of their strategic systems, particularly when combined with our ballistic missile defense, because this puts at risk their deterrent, their second-strike capability. And for me, that explains a lot of what the Chinese are about, and how they could the chutzpah to complain to us about offering ballistic missile defense to our ally after the DPRK launches a ballistic missile. Instead of complaining to us about that, they might use their influence in Pyongyang so that there will be fewer missile tests. But be that as it may.

The idea that... the pulse from a nuclear weapon, is something that the DPRK is interested in, is actually not something I thought about. But I don't think it figures prominently. And I would be surprised if in the, it's high on the list of weapons effects that are in the minds of the technologists in the DPRK, when they think about their nuclear weapons. I just don't that's what they're about. It may be something we want to be interested in, but I don't think that's on their list. When it comes to the deterrent calculations and getting the United States off the peninsula... I want to say if I wasn't clear in my remarks that I don't believe that American political decision makers in the past or in the future will be deterred from executing their alliance responsibilities because the DPRK has nuclear weapons. The question about whether it could deliver nuclear weapons now with its MRBM capability to the Republic of Korea and Japan... Let's for the sake of discussion this afternoon, stipulate that they can. I think that we, the United States of America, will not be dissuaded from executing our alliance responsibilities. And I would want every bit of signaling that we could to go to the Pyongyang so they don't misconstrue, and that's what I was really talking about. They're misconstruing the effectiveness of what they could accomplish with nuclear weapons. You all may remember that when we first had nuclear weapons in the early 50s, we had delusions of grandeur too. [unintelligible] We had the thought that we could deter everything with these nuclear weapons. Well it turns out we couldn't. And they still don't serve all purposes because they're not credible. Might they be credible if we were launching regime change against the DPRK? Yes, they might. But my point was at levels lower than that, they're not credible. Not to us. But the question to us is what they think. And I don't know.

Larry Nikzch: Ambassador, you've given a lot of food for thought. I have noted your comments and points... So I will try to be brief with my comments and also a couple of questions. Now, Ambassador Gallucci correctly stated that North Korea has borne major responsibility for what he describes as failure of engagement with the United States. That is correct. But I would add the caveat that the United States also bears some of the responsibilities for failure to realize the objectives of the negotiations. We have been [unintelligible] in many instances with how we have negotiated with the DPRK. A na´ve assumption, going back to the 1990s, behind our negotiating... that North Korea would soon collapse, and that there would soon be regime change. Listening too much to the Chinese when the Chinese would advise us, "ease off," ensuring that the North Koreans would comply with the agreements they have made with us. 2005. 2007. Going into negotiations with the North and agreeing to two unwritten, handshake agreements? October 2008 and February 2012. How na´ve can you get when you make a handshake agreement, unwritten with the North Koreans? Which of course, they disavowed any knowledge of them. And then a few weeks after our diplomats told us that they had made these handshake agreements. So, there is some to go around. There are some other mistakes we have made as well. Now, I want to comment on the pre-emptive strike issue, because this is being talked about both with the US and South Korea. I'm not advocating a pre-emptive strike. But I will say this. The time, if you're going to do it, for a pre-emptive strike, is probably now, within the next year or so. A strike against their nuclear and missile-test facilities, to put those out of actions and to buy us much greater time before the North could achieve that ICBM nuclear warhead capability. The situation that Ambassador Gallucci describes, I don't believe, if it came about, would prevent North Korea after a US pre-emptive strike, from hitting us back with nuclear weapons. Because frankly, I think at a time when we would pick up perhaps legitimate perceptions that they were going to strike us with nuclear weapons... When that time comes, the North is going to have multiple delivery systems, both on land and at sea, that no pre-emptive strike would be able to take out. A pre-emptive strike under those circumstances also means an all-out war. You're going to accomplish nothing by hitting just a couple of command-and-control centers in a pre-emptive strike. The stakes are much higher than that. Now these are my questions, and this is about the sanctions issue. And generally, it's along the lines that Ambassador Gallucci has laid out with regard to China. There are only really two avenues, viable avenues, to toughen sanctions, that might cause the North Koreans to bend in negotiations on the nuclear missile issue. One is sanctioning Chinese banks. Many Chinese banks allow the North Koreans to move money back and forth to support these programs. And any toughening of sanctions, I think, would require the United States to do that, to start sanctioning an array of Chinese banks that we know are engaged in this kind of collaboration with North Korea. The second option, this is what I've written about, is to lay a resolution in the Security Council calling on all UN member states, i.e. China, to cut off oil shipments to North Korea, which I believe would be the toughest sanction and where I think with a sophisticated public strategy, could put some real pressure on China, and at least spark a much more open debate within China about Chinese policies toward North Korea. Besides those two options, is there another option, Ambassador Gallucci, that you could think of, to pressure the Chinese, other than those two options, with regards to sanctions? And finally, I'll make a quick last point. When the North Koreans have that capability to hit all of our bases in the Pacific and the US West Coast, they're going to want to negotiate at that point. They're going to sit down and look us across the table, and they're going to say, "Are you Americans going to be willing to jeopardize San Francisco so you can defend Seoul?" And I think the American response right now is in the realm of the uncertain when we get into the early 2020s on what that answer would be. But in terms of what they would lay on the table to us, what did the North Koreans specifically say about the peace treaty? That would basically be my second question. Did they really lay out what they want in a peace treaty, whom they would want negotiating with them? Did they give you any real details, about the priority of a peace treaty and any new route of negotiations between the US and Pyongyang?

Robert Gallucci: Larry, thank you. I want to respond to some of these things, but one thing principally. And I would like your attention. I was thinking of jumping up and running through the back of the room and locking the door before anybody left, because I wanted to get this out. I wanted to make sure that nobody left here not understanding what I wanted to convey because I wasn't good enough at conveying it. So, let me try again. There are two different words. One is preventive strike. The other is pre-emptive strike. When the United States of America, in 2003, moved into Iraq, that was a preventive war. The Administration at the time used the word pre- emptive. They did, because the word pre-emptive has standing both in terms of international law, and in terms of just-war theory, the ethics. You are allowed, under international law, and under laws of ethics, you are allowed, if your enemy is on your border and is about to attack, you are allowed to attack him first. You don't have to wait and suffer that strike. That's pre-emption, if you are about to attacked. If you get up one morning and look at trend lines in another country, and say in five or ten years, that country is going to be our enemy still, but a lot stronger; let's go to war now. That's not a pre-emptive strike. That's a preventive war. What I wanted to say and thought I said, maybe not clearly enough, that I am opposed to preventive war with North Korea. I am not opposed, indeed I would insist, that my government, as a citizen, launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea if it came to the confident and serious judgement that North Korea was about to attack the United States of America or one of its treaty allies. There is no reason to wait until Tokyo is destroyed or Seoul is destroyed, or San Francisco is destroyed, if it's about to happen. Ethically, morally, and legally, we can strike then. That's why I said the North Koreans are creating a vulnerability that they do not now have. Did I share this view with them? Yes. I hope they got the right distinction here between pre-emption and prevention. But right now, I'm not worried about them. I'm worried about you. I want to make sure you got this right. I don't mean you have to agree with me about preventive war and pre-emption, just that the distinction is a real one and that governments have reasons why they blur the two. So, I'm not for preventive war with North Korea. I am for pre-emption if they are about to attack. Unlock the door.

Now, what is it that I feel comfortable saying about what the North Koreans and the DPRK said to us. I think I'm comfortable saying that I was asked rhetorically, "how could we trust you? You want us to give up our nuclear weapons. How could we trust you not to launch regime change? Look what you did in Iraq. Look what you did in Libya. Look what you talked about doing in Iran. How could we trust you?" So two things were in my mind. One was, "how could they trust us?" The other was, "what were we thinking back all those years when we were negotiating the Agreed Framework, which was, as far as we knew, or at least I knew, was going to stop their nuclear weapons program. Because I didn't know they would engage with Pakistani's foreign enrichment program, based on a program for highly enriched uranium. I knew lots about the plutonium program, but we were going to stop that sucker. So, what was my view then about why they would trust us? It was that we would develop, after the Framework was signed, a political relationship. We would open liaison offices in Pyongyang. They would open one in Washington. We would develop cultural ties, political ties. The situation would work between North and South, etc. I have the same answer now. And I said the only way I could conceive of you trusting us is in the context of a political settlement that includes a peace treaty to replace the armistice. That's how I got to the human rights thing. How could we do that? We can do that if you move to accept international standards that transcend sovereign borders with the way governments treat their own people. That does not mean you have to give up your regime. So we had that kind of a discussion, and I would say we had a discussion that went into some of the questions that I put here in a little bit of depth. But I don't feel comfortable trying to capture their words to me that were said in private.

I want to say one more thing while I've got the floor. While we were very focused on the coming American election today, and the new government, which at that moment, I didn't know who was going to win, and I don't sitting in front of you now. But I observed that there was another election that was going to take place towards the end of 2017 in the Republic of Korea. And that was going to be important too. And I could not imagine any sustained and serious engagement of the United States with the DPRK that was not done without concurrence and, dare I say, enthusiasm without the government in Seoul. And we would also want Tokyo to be aboard to those discussions too. So, I haven't emphasized the role of the Republic of Korea this afternoon. But I don't believe, what I have talked about, engagement is possible if a government is elected in Seoul that doesn't favor engagement. Our alliance comes first. And I think we will take care of that alliance. I don't know, and another one of your points about how you get the Chinese to do what we want the Chinese to do. And I don't have any keys. I think, what I worry about, is the reverse of that, in a way. Anybody who's been in government knows, that governments do not stay in lane. So we might want to talk to the Chinese about the North Koreans. And they might want to talk to us about Taiwan. We don't want to talk about Taiwan. Not particularly, not the way they want to talk about Taiwan. Nor do we want to talk about the South China Sea at the same time as we're asking for something in Northeast Asia. So in a way, I worry about the [unintelligible] or whatever that is, of your question of how do you influence the Chinese. Well, you can do linkage politics, but they can do it too. And you have to think that through before you start doing that. Otherwise, you can end up with the short end of the stick rather than the long end of the stick, and that's not good.

Moderator: Okay, now we will open it up to the floor. Any questions?

Man 1: Thank you very much. This year, many senior diplomats and officers defected from North Korea. It would suggest that the inner politics is changing within North Korea. Maybe less stable. Did you feel anything which changed compared to before, with your conversations? And if the situation is changing, would that be a less stable or more vulnerable situation? What do you think? [unintelligible]

Robert Gallucci: That's not a bad question. I don't have much to base an answer on in terms of engagement or even reading tea leaves from the news. I don't sense a particular vulnerability of the regime right now. What I've heard about the economic activity in, at least in Pyongyang, it sounds as though... I don't want to say that the DPRK is thriving under international sanctions. But it is not apparently suffering as much as some might have anticipated, or those who particularly hoped that the Iran model might be applied to the DPRK. It doesn't appear that it could be. So I see nothing that would suggest a particular vulnerability or instability right now.

Woman 1: Thank you so much for being here. Very insightful comments, Ambassador Gallucci. I just have a question on this very out of the box idea. It's a way to greatly increase diplomatic, political, and legal pressure on the regime in China without being threatening militarily. And that is to have the international community adopt a One-Korea policy. You mentioned Taiwan. History shows that it is possible to recognize a different China than what was originally in the UN and it was done through action in the general assembly. And I was wondering if the legitimacy of the DPRK could be raised as an issue in the General Assembly, and, as year after year passes, could political will be built up enough with all the countries of the world instead of only focusing on China or the usual states... To get the world to accept a One-Korea policy based on the fact that the General Assembly, after the end of World War Two, stated that Korea needed to be independent from Japan and united. And so this is a way to address this unanswered Korea question while putting a lot more diplomatic and political pressure on North Korea and China.

Robert Gallucci: The closest I've seen to an idea like that, which would, as I understand it, delegitimize the government in Pyongyang as a representative of Korean people on the Korean peninsula, is the idea that has floated in the Council of Foreign Relations Report and elsewhere, which is to consider in a sense, if all else fails, denying DPRK membership in the United Nations, to sort of delegitimize the government, but have the international community do it instead of one country denying recognition. So, I suppose that could be thought about. Right now, I would like people who think about policy to be thinking about ways of getting engagement to proceed in a reasonable way, rather than a disengagement. If you think about delegitimizing the DPRK, that's not way far away from where they are now. They are a [unintelligible] state in the national community right at this moment, and they know it. So if you don't do anything in terms of impacting their life, and their life goes on because essentially Beijing ensures it does, notwithstanding what the rest of the international community does, then I'm not sure how much one has accomplished. But it still is a possibility.

Man 2: I would like to raise a different issue. Recently, Korea is going through turmoil as a result of [unintelligible] And the opposition parties are telling Park to resign. And there has been massive demonstrations going on in Korea. This is not directly related to our President, but I am concerned... I wanted to hear from you and other panelists about the relationship between US policy towards North Korea... And you mentioned briefly about next year's election, but we have a much more urgent issue with us now. [unintelligible] It might well accomplish what Kim Jong Un wanted to accomplish to make... [unintelligible]

Robert Gallucci: Thank you. I think wisdom on my part is to stay far away from domestic politics in the ROK right now. I would say that I absolutely do believe, however, that the ultimate election in the ROK will bear a very substantial way... what sorts of policies can be pursued to deal with the DPRK. So, I think that connection is real. What is happening now, and the difficulties that the President is having in the ROK is not something I think I can usefully comment on, so I'll let that go.

Tong Kim: Ambassador Gallucci, I was so distraught to hear you say that you did not know about anything about [unintelligible] You also mentioned [unintelligible] they still do not really trust whatever we say, what Washington says. With respect to the North Koreans pursuing other paths to nuclear weapons by way of enrichment. The Bush Administration later claimed it covered all kinds of programs, although it did not specify the term [unintelligible] program. My point is, when North Koreans cannot still trust the United States, even after signing the Agreed Framework, which they [unintelligible] And I heard a lot of commendations from North Korean officials [unintelligible] Was it because they still could not trust the United States and they could not rely on what the terms provided, for example [untelligible] and they were complaining and complaining about that. [unintelligible] How will you judge evidence, clear evidence, that they are bound to attack with their nuclear weapons? How will you get that? [unintelligible] The consequences of pre-emption in terms of damage to South Korea and to the United States, do you consider that [unintelligible] Lastly, I come back to your point [unintelligible] for the next Administration to start seeking talks about talks... Again, Washington has been, for the past 20 years, especially after what they perceived as North Korea breaking away... or broken promises that they made in terms of denuclearization. And there is no atmosphere. No support in this town, in Congress, or in the media, or for politicians in general, that would support a kind of dialogue that you and some... It would be great to have someone like you to keep engaging this issue. People could learn from your experience. [unintelligible] And when you make recommendations to the next Administration [unintelligible] depending on who gets elected tonight, one for Clinton, one for Trump... [unintelligible]

Robert Gallucci: Thank you. So, on the first question, you were apparently shocked that when I was negotiating with North Koreans in 1993-94, that I did not know that they were at the same time negotiating with Islamabad, or at least that they could [unintelligible] for Uranium enrichment centrifuge technology. Right at this moment, I still don't know that. In other words, what I'm telling you is there came a time when I did discover from our Intelligence Community that there was this ongoing exchange and transfer from Islamabad to the DPRK. But that, for me, came - and by the way, I never gave up my security clearances. I kept them. So, this is based even with full access. I did not know about this until, I think the safe thing for me to say is, until after 1996. And the Agreed Framework was 1994. Not only did I not know about it, but I am virtually certain that neither did anybody else within the American Administration know about it in 1994. So if you were to tell me that you had evidence that the contacts were happening then, I could easily believe you and say we missed it. It wouldn't be the first time that we missed something.

The deterrence question and the pre-emption question, and how could we be confident that we know we're going to be attacked... how could we know... how could there be adequate bases for pre-emption... Well it's a very high bar. It's very hard, especially when you're talking about nuclear weapons. This is not a bunch of militia on your border, and the question is do you call in an airstrike. This is a proposition here. The scenario we are talking about is that a country, the DPRK, is going to launch a nuclear strike with missiles at the United States of America or its allies, the Republic of Korea and Japan. And we are going to launch an attack on them in advance, to decrease the damage that they would do by such a strike. Well, it's hard to get that information in advance. Not impossible. Knowing something about the American Intelligence Community after over 20 years of being in US government. But it's hard. And we are capable of getting it wrong. And I have been part of getting it wrong more than once. I don't say this easily though. When you take a job in the Administration, and I've done this a number of times. I raised my hand and took an oath. You swear to protect the United States of America from enemies foreign and domestic. So, you take an oath, and I would say, I said a few minutes ago, not only would I support, I would expect, I would insist pre-emption if we had that high confidence. If you don't, then it's not a good idea. It occurs to me... the question whether you can actually succeed in a pre-emptive strike... Well when your capability is aimed at reducing the enemy's capability, it doesn't mean that you completely are confident that you're going to hit every mobile missile, every submarine that they have been able to deploy. You may not. But if you think you're going to be struck, you can do serious damage. And unlike other people, and you'd think there are people in this room who do not believe the American assurance, once we are vulnerable to attack by the North Koreans, the assurance that we give in our extended deterrent assurance in our alliance context to Japan and the Republic of Korea. I spent over 21 years in US government, and I believe us. I believe we will fulfill our alliance responsibilities. We know what's at risk here. Remember, and I know Joe at least remembers, when the Chinese said "you won't trade Los Angeles for Taipei." Well, yes, we will. I'm not enthusiastic about the prospect. I have family there. But that is what we sign up for. So, those who would question this, I warn them to be careful. And don't assume, don't ever assume that the United States will fail to fulfill its obligations. It would be a mistake in my opinion.

Moderator: Well, ladies and gentlemen. Let's give Ambassador Gallucci a big round of applause.



( Transcribed by David Lee, ICAS Intern )

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