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ACA Board Chair on Pathways to a Nuclear Weapon Free World

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Remarks by Thomas Countryman to the International Symposium for Peace in Nagasaki, Japan

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Pathways to a Nuclear Weapon Free World

Remarks by Thomas Countryman
Chairman of the Arms Control Association
to the International Symposium for Peace 
Nagasaki, Japan
July 28, 2018

Introduction

Panelists discuss working toward sustainable peace at the International Symposium for Peace “The Road to Nuclear Weapons Abolition” held on July 28 in Nagasaki. (Photo: Kengo Hiyoshi/Asahi Shimbun)Let me thank the organizers of today’s conference for bringing me again to Japan. In my current focus outside the government of the United States, continuing to push for real progress on nonproliferation and arms control measures, it's always a special pleasure to come to Japan. The Japanese role in leading the international diplomatic challenge to create the highest standards in arms control and nonproliferation is unparalleled. Not only as a partner of the United States but in its own leadership role, Japan has done much to create the modern nonproliferation regime that has greatly reduced but not yet eliminated the threat that weapons of mass destruction pose to all of us.

It is especially moving to be here in Nagasaki. Visiting the memorial yesterday, a sacred place, brought back to me what President Abraham Lincoln said at the site of the bloodiest battle America ever witnessed: that those who have fallen on this site “have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract”. I sensed on this spot what no book can convey: the enormous challenge and the risk that humanity continues to face in the presence of 15,000 nuclear weapons in this world. Here I want to commend the very special role the hibakusha have played in preserving vital lessons for the memory of humanity. For 70 years, they have spread the simple truth that a human being is not just a statistic. They will touch future generations long after their own has passed from this world. I wish that every American and every world leader would have the opportunity to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki as I have.

Current Challenges

It is much easier to talk about the challenges to nuclear disarmament than it is to describe a simple path to a world free of nuclear weapons. So let me dwell first on the current challenges that we face.

First, the two major nuclear powers, the United States and the Russian Federation, have passed a turning point in their nuclear doctrines and nuclear arsenals. After about 40 years of a steady decrease in the size and diversity of their nuclear arsenals and the mission that each assigned to their nuclear weapons, both Washington and Moscow have turned a corner towards expanding the size and variety of arsenals and the circumstances for their use.

U.S. 2018 Nuclear Posture Review

The U.S. administration’s Nuclear Posture Review from this February is not a radical change from the previous nuclear posture but it is a significant change in direction. In calling for the development of new low-yield nuclear weapons, the United States is thinking more actively and – in my view - making more thinkable the use of low-yield nuclear weapons in the context of a conventional conflict. As so many have pointed out, there is no such thing as a limited nuclear war once that threshold has been crossed. “A nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon," George Shultz, who served as President Ronald Reagan's top diplomat, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in January. "You use a small one, then you go to a bigger one. I think nuclear weapons are nuclear weapons and we need to draw the line there."

Secondly, the Nuclear Posture Review describes with more specificity than before circumstances under which the United States would consider the use of nuclear weapons to encompass not only first use by an opponent but also a response to a devastating attack by cyber or other means. Just two years ago, the Obama administration considered carefully the possibility of proclaiming a no-first-use doctrine for U.S. nuclear weapons. That U.S. policy has now shifted towards a broader definition of possible first use is of deep concern to me.

Finally, I am most disappointed in the Nuclear Posture Review in that it effectively renounces the traditional leadership that the U.S has exercised on non-proliferation and arms control issues. It makes no mention of America’s binding legal obligation under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to pursue a reduction in arsenals. It makes no new proposals for how the U.S. will move forward in negotiations with Russia and others. And it defers any meaningful action until security conditions in the world have improved. This retreat from global leadership, whether in arms control, in climate policy or in free trade agreements is unworthy of a nation that claims to be a superpower.

Russia

As concerned as I am about the direction of U.S. policy, I am even more concerned about the continuing development by Russia of new weapons and new delivery methods. Russia seems driven by an exaggerated fear, in fact, a paranoia, about the future capabilities of U.S. missile defense. I call these fears exaggerated because I believe that missile defense can never provide an impenetrable shield. Russia is building not only new generations of ICBMs but even more dangerous weapons systems that seem to step out of the pages of a science fiction comic book, including a nuclear torpedo of unlimited range and a nuclear-powered cruise missile. Russia seems intent on probing the boundaries of existing arms control agreements, particularly the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty which laid the basis for the next 25 years of successful arms limitations. Even more than the uninformed statements by the U.S. president, the rhetoric of the Russian president - increasingly defining Russia’s national power as a function of its nuclear arsenal - erodes both the prospect of future arms control and the moral taboo against initiating the use of nuclear weapons. The 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is due to expire in 2021 and although President Putin has raised the prospect of extending the treaty, President Trump has so far rebuffed such proposals.

Joint Comprehensive Program Of Action

In the shorter term, I am especially concerned about the U.S. decision to withdraw from, that is to violate, the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action with Iran. This agreement is unprecedented, both in its inspection and verification requirements, and it prevented the risk of a tenth state breaking into the nuclear weapons club. I do not believe that Iranian development of a nuclear weapon is imminent but I am deeply concerned about the follow-on effects of this decision, that is the undermining of U.S. credibility and commitment to any agreement, the creation of a serious dispute between the U.S. and its best allies in Europe and Asia, the erosion of the international rules-based order and a resurgent radicalism in Iran.

North Korea

I am less pessimistic but still deeply concerned about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. President Trump did the right thing, trading in violent rhetoric for an opportunity for dialogue. There are dozens of reasons to distrust North Korea’s approach to negotiations and to doubt the capability of the Trump administration to negotiate a meaningful, verifiable denuclearization of North Korea. But the pursuit of negotiation is far preferable to simply sleepwalking towards war, as we seemed to be doing a year ago.

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty remains central to our shared global ambition to prevent the development of new nuclear weapons and to reduce existing arsenals. On the surface, the deliberations at NPT conferences often seem utterly divorced from the real world. In fact, all the concerns I’ve just listed have a real effect on the degree of consensus you can reach among NPT parties and on the commitment that other parties show to the treaty.

For the 2020 Review Conference, I can foresee the worst but I am determined to work for the best. The RevCon can easily be upset either by the U.S. and Russia sniping at each other or by the continued inability of the states in the Middle East to sit down together and begin the process of discussing a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in the Middle East. But the most severe threat to the unity of states-parties is the growing frustration of non-nuclear weapon states with the pace of nuclear disarmament. Seeing no new U.S.-Russian agreements since 2010 and the new threatening developments in Washington and Moscow that I’ve already described, the majority of the world’s non-nuclear weapon states have made clear that they will demand more urgent progress in 2020.

Moving Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free World

So what can we do to move towards a world free from nuclear weapons?

Near-Term Steps

There are a number of steps that the United States and Russia could take right now that would change the current trajectory. First and most simply, to hear President Trump and President Putin repeat what Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan said in 1985 - that a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought - would be of value, would provide some reassurance that these two leaders understand their responsibilities to humanity. Secondly, the United States and Russia need to extend New START. Third, they need to make a political decision to work harder on resolving the dispute about compliance with the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty. And fourth there needs to be a more regular dialogue between Moscow and Washington on both the military and political level, to pursue risk reduction measures that would prevent a conventional conflict from escalating to a nuclear one and to explore other steps that would allow each to maintain security at a lower level of armament. Finally, the United States should reassert the leadership it showed after 2010 when it led an intensive dialogue among the P5 nuclear-weapon states to give the world greater transparency, to reduce nuclear risks, and to lay the groundwork for future multilateral arms control.

It’s not easy to get either Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin to do something that reminds them of Mikhail Gorbachev or Barack Obama. In fact, it’s not easy to get them to do something unless you can convince them that it was their own brilliant idea. But it is an obligation of the rest of the world to continue to press for this. I know from my own experience with bilateral diplomacy that meetings with either Russian or American leaders always have an agenda filled with urgent items and that concerns about long-term items such as arms control simply fall out of the conversation. It is crucial that not only Japanese leaders but all world leaders press both Presidents to take serious action.

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Beyond Moscow and Washington, what can non-nuclear weapon states do for themselves to move us towards a nuclear-weapon-free world? Many non-nuclear weapon states have sought to answer that question by negotiating a new treaty banning nuclear weapons, adopted last July.

The drafting of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons last year was historic. Some would like to see it as simply an expression of frustration on the part of the non-nuclear weapon states. It’s a lot more than that. It is a strong moral and ethical statement. And more than that, it is something tangible, something that can be touched by the hibakusha and the citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It is a statement of reality that the risk of nuclear war is not born only by the nuclear-weapon states but by the entire world. And it is intended to serve as an impulse for further action globally on nuclear disarmament. I’m well aware of its limitations. The TPNW will not by itself immediately eliminate any nuclear weapons. And it does not provide a pathway for Washington and Moscow to overcome their current impasse.

I don’t see the discussion between advocates and skeptics of the TPNW as being an argument about practicalities or about whether this treaty can work. It is - or it should be - a respectful discussion about deterrence. Nations that face no immediate military threat tend to underestimate the importance that military alliances and military deterrence play for those states that do face actual military threats. Similarly, those states whether in Europe or in Asia that feel reassurance under the nuclear umbrella of the United States tend not to appreciate how strongly concerned other states are about the disastrous humanitarian effects that a nuclear war would cause.

What is needed now is a multi-sided discussion on a topic that is easy to define and extremely difficult to resolve: how to guarantee the security of the world and of each nation without resort to nuclear deterrence. This is a discussion that has to bring together not only the idealists and social activists who helped to bring about the TPNW but also the security experts and military leaders who have the responsibility of providing for their nations’ security. It has to bring together not only nuclear-weapon states but those who are allies of nuclear-weapon states and those who feel themselves to be far from any military threat. Given my own experience with the ineffectiveness of the United Nations as a place to discuss such difficult issues, I think it has to start smaller than a conference of 190 countries.

UN Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda

Washington and Moscow are not going to lead this discussion. What can the rest of the world do? The UN Secretary General has laid out a comprehensive blueprint on what needs to be done on disarmament issues to provide genuine security for our citizens. I love the document. I’d like to focus in particular on what he says about nuclear disarmament.

He calls on the United States and Russia to resolve INF compliance concerns, extend New START and pursue additional reductions. He encourages all states to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, to negotiate a fissile material cutoff treaty, establish a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, pursue nuclear risk reduction measures, and develop nuclear disarmament verification standards and techniques. He warned that the international community is moving backward on disarmament. “Let us all work together to bring new urgency to achieve the universal goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world,” he said while unveiling his agenda at the University of Geneva in late May.

So how do we take forward an idea on which not only everyone in this room but most of the world is united upon?

Joint Enterprise

Now is the time to convene a high-level summit approach to help overcome the impasse on nuclear disarmament. Leaders from a core group of states can invite their counterparts - 20 to 30 heads of states of nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon countries - to join a one or two day summit on steps to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. This could be a starting point for ongoing regular disarmament discussions at the expert and ministerial level. As the former foreign minister Kishida argued, this dialogue must be based both on a clear understanding of the devastating impact of nuclear weapon use and an objective assessment of the security concerns of states.

This is not a new idea. Four of the best American thinkers on such issues - George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn - have been arguing for several years for a Joint Enterprise, a new multilateral effort that would take concrete, practical steps to create the conditions that would make possible genuine nuclear disarmament. As outlined by the “four horsemen,” a Joint Enterprise summit would be supplemented by a joint communique from all participating states and national commitments to work towards disarmament. Unfortunately, the leadership of such an effort will not come from either Washington or Moscow. When the long-time ‘leader of the free world’ is deliberately stepping away from leadership, the other democratic nations of the world must take up the challenge. It’s up to Japan, to Germany, to Canada, to other nations that still believe in multilateralism to get this effort started.

Discussion of the conditions that would help achieve a nuclear weapons-free world must become as common among world leaders as discussions about tariffs or immigration. The constant raising of this topic is the responsibility of Presidents and Prime Ministers, and it is the duty of citizens of all nations to remind their leaders of this responsibility.

It is written in Pirkei Avot, a well-known Jewish text, that “you are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Here in Nagasaki, we say again that all of us – elected leaders, civil society organizations, and ordinary citizens – “we will not desist from this duty.”

Thank you and God bless you!

 

 

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Posted: July 28, 2018

Press Briefing: Three-Party Talks on Peace and Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

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Dr. Tony Namkung, Daryl G. Kimball, Mark Fitzpatrick, and Kelsey Davenport address peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula at the National Press Club, July 27, 2018 (Photo: Arms Control Association)


National Press Club, First Amendment Lounge
529 14th St NW, Washington, DC
July 27, 2018 · 2pm-3:30pm

 

The transcript is available below.

This week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was pressed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee members on the status of negotiations with North Korea and the fulfillment of the pledge made by President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Pompeo noted that there is an "awful long way to go" on complete and verifiable denuclearization, but that such remains the goal before the end of the Trump administration. He said the United States will not let diplomacy drag out forever.

But as the summit statement makes clear, progress toward the goal of denuclearization will depend, in part, on whether there is a process and a framework for establishing an enduring peace regime on the Korean peninsula.

On July 27—the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice—Tony Namkung will deliver remarks at a briefing hosted by the Arms Control Association on how a “three-party” framework for talks on reducing tensions and building a peace regime could work.

Namkung has been intimately involved for many years in fostering dialogue between North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and the United States and has made more than 70 trips to North Korea. He is largely credited with facilitating the release of three Americans from North Korea in 2014 and the release of two journalists in 2009. He was instrumental in President Jimmy Carter's visit to North Korea in 1994, which was critical for negotiations leading to the Agreed Framework. He has also advised Governor Bill Richardson on his work with North Korea. Namkung is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies.

Namkung’s presentation will be followed by an expert panel on the key steps and sequence for the final and verified denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, featuring:

  • Mark Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the IISS-Americas and the head of the Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme for the International Institute for Strategic Studies,
  • Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association, and
  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association.

The event was on the record.


TRANSCRIPT

    KIMBALL:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Daryl Kimball and I am the executive director of the independent, nonpartisan nongovernmental Arms Control Association based here in Washington, DC. We are dedicated to addressing the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons, including, of course, nuclear weapons.

    We are here today at the National Press Club for our briefing on “Three-Party Talks on Peace and Talks on Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

    We gather here today on the 65th anniversary of the armistice of 1953. But as we all know, decades later, however, tensions between North Korea, South Korea, and South Korea's ally, the United States, has not ended.

    Over the course of the last several decades, North Korea has pursued dangerous capabilities including nuclear weapons and missile technology to protect their security, they say, and to deter potential U.S. aggression.

    For a long time, beginning with U.S. president George H.W. Bush, the U.S. has sought to use diplomacy and pressure to keep North Korea in compliance with its nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obligations by verifiably halting and eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities.

    There has been some limited success in the past, such as the 1994 Agreed Framework pursued by President Bill Clinton that halted North Korea’s plutonium program for about eight years, but ultimately that agreement and other efforts fell apart as the two sides accused one another of failing to follow-through on their respective commitments.

    So, today, North Korea has a nuclear weapons arsenal of some 20-50 warheads–the exact number is not clear—and ballistic missiles that can deliver those weapons to targets in northeast Asia. Last year it successfully tested a long-range missile capable of reaching the United States.

    The reality is that any conflict with North Korea today would likely involve nuclear weapons and the death of millions if not tens of millions of Korean, Japanese, and American people in the region and beyond.

    After raising tensions through North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, Kim Jong Un—as well as Donald Trump and his threats of “fire and fury”—brought the situation last year nearly to the point at which many believed a war could break out. But Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump with the help of South Korea's President Moon Jae-in have now embarked on a different kind of effort, an effort to create a peace regime on the peninsula and an effort to halt and reverse, and hopefully, eliminate North Korea's dangerous nuclear and missile programs.

    So, earlier this year, the North Koreans said they would halt nuclear testing and ballistic missile testing.  North and South Korean leaders held a summit in Panmunjeom.  And later, North Korean destroyed some of the test tunnels at its one official nuclear test site.  

    And then, of course, at their historic summit in Singapore, June 12th, President Trump committed to providing security guarantees to the DPRK and Kim Jong Un re-affirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  

    And then after the summit, of course, President Trump agreed to temporarily suspend U.S.-South Korean military exercises as a sign of good faith and North Korea dismantled a missile test launch facility.  And then, of course, just in the past 24 hours, we've seen the State Department confirm that military transport aircraft has arrived back in South Korea with the remains of U.S. military personnel lost in the war.  

    So, all of these steps are important, confidence-building steps, but they're all reversible.  And the situation that we have today is still very uncertain and still dangerous.  And in their first round of post-summit follow-up talks held in Pyongyang earlier this year, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and his North Korean counterparts, unfortunately, did not make significant progress in their negotiations on these issues.  

    It's not clear to me or the Arms Control Association whether there's a clear process and the necessary political will to follow through on the ambitious goals outlined by President Trump and Chairman Kim in Singapore.  So, clearly, to maintain progress in the weeks and months and years ahead, each side is going to have to show greater flexibility, creativity, and leadership to advance the action-for-action steps on denuclearization as well as establishing a peace regime on the peninsula.  

    So, we're gathered here today because we wanted to focus attention on these two very important objectives and how the process can be moved forward, what some of the key steps might be, and what some of the priorities might be.  

    And we're very pleased to have with us here today Tony Namkung, to talk about how a three-party framework for talks on reducing tensions and building a peace regime on the peninsula could work.  Tony has been intimately involved for many years in fostering important dialogue between North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the United States and he has made an incredible number of trips, more than 70 or so, over the years.  And he's currently a visiting scholar at the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Affairs.  

    So, I'm going to invite, in just a second, Tony up here to the podium to address that topic.  And then after he takes a few questions from those of you here in the audience, we're going to hear from our expert panel of Mark Fitzpatrick who's Executive Director of the Americas and the Head of the Non-Proliferation Program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and Kelsey Davenport, the Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association on the denuclearization task and the steps ahead.  And then we'll take your questions for them after they speak.  

    So, with that introduction, I want to invite Tony to come up to the podium to deliver his remarks and then we'll take your question.  So, thanks for being here.  The floor is yours.  

    NAMKUNG:  Thank you, Daryl Kimball, for that kind introduction, and thanks to the Arms Control Association for hosting this occasion.  A special thank you to Ambassador Cho Yoon-je of the Republic of Korea for attending today's briefing.  I am truly honored.  

    We awoke this morning to the welcome news that North Korea had returned 55 sets of MIA remains from the Korean War on this, the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice Agreement that halted the fighting.  

    So, it seems especially timely to ask once again how to begin the Korean peace process that has eluded us for so long.  Such a peace process in parallel with nuclear talks is essential if we are to make headway in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  

    To understand why we have to understand the DPRK's long-standing objective–an end to its lifelong enmity with the United States, or what the North calls the U.S.'s hostile policy.  What this entails, according to Pyongyang, is the normalization of political and economic relations, the relaxation of sanctions, and above all, a peace regime on the Korean peninsula.  

    President Trump and Secretary Pompeo seemed aware of Chairman Kim Jong Un's desire to end enmity and have taken important steps to address it.  What better way to start than to sit down at the negotiating table with Kim Jong Un, sign a joint statement with him and suspend joint exercises, or to say as the President has, that he is prepared to end the Korean War and to normalize relations, something his predecessors never tried. 

    Ultimately, he may have to find a way to forge an alliance with Pyongyang alongside the one with Seoul, or as Secretary Pompeo put it on June 7, we want to achieve a fundamentally different strategic relationship between our two countries.  How else to assure Chairman Kim that he will be secure enough to consider yielding his nuclear arms?  

    The fact that our leaders understand that denuclearization needs to be accompanied by peace and by a wholly different relationship as two equally important imperatives shows us how far the United States has come from the old and tired crime and punishment and sticks-and-carrots models of past negotiations.  

    But also let me be very clear, the United States has reached out to North Korea in entirely new and unprecedented ways.  If the extraordinary momentum achieved in Singapore is not to die on the vine, the DPRK must also take actions on the nuclear issue that are equally new and unprecedented beginning with the opening of regular diplomatic channels that do not exist at the moment and the taking of rapid actions that will demonstrate its unalterable commitment to what Secretary Pompeo calls final, fully verifiable denuclearization.  

    So, how best do we begin a peace process?  My answer is three-party talks or consultations involving the United States, South Korea, and North Korea.  Why?  

    First, they are the only states with forces in Korea.  So, all three former combatants have to agree to end the war.  They could begin with the declaration committing them to sign a peace treaty and pledging non-hostility in the meantime.  

    They could work out confidence-building measures to reduce the risk of deadly clashes.  Since their forces are involved, all three would have to agree on most CBMs.  

    Second, while such arrangements could be negotiated bilaterally between the two Koreas, U.S. involvement in a peace process that parallels and does not precede denuclearization might ease concerns among conservatives in the South.  President Moon understands this and appreciates the need to stress the validity of the alliance and to operate within it in order to avoid the mistake of the so-called Sunshine Policy of his liberal predecessors.  

    Third, three-party talks will likely be acceptable to Pyongyang, which has moved well beyond its one-time dismissal of South Korea as a U.S. puppet and insistence that peace had to be negotiated with Washington.  It has gradually adopted a more realistic position moving from treating the South as a junior partner to full-fledged equal.  

    The 1991 basic accords between the Koreas was signed by the two governments.  Although forces in the Korean Workers' Party have long controlled inter-Korean relations through various entities, a February 16, 2012 statement by the Foreign Ministry's Institute for Disarmament and Peace broke new ground by calling for the improvement in inter-Korean ties as the key to effective diplomacy with the other powers by which they meant denuclearization.  

    By calling for the United States to play a facilitative role in the Korean peninsula and by calling for China to keep out, the stance has been quite evident in Track II context.  

    Fourth, DPRK Foreign Ministry officials tend to think of reconciliation as an interim solution prior to reunification in which the role of U.S. forces is redefined as peacekeepers and not only between the two Koreas but also vis-à-vis China and Japan easing potential conflict between them and servicing as harmonizer and stabilizer in the region.  

    Three-party talks will force the foreign ministries to play a central role since the Korean Workers' Party cannot sign treaties with foreign powers.  If the North and South prove reluctant to sign a peace treaty because they are not separate states, the issue of sovereignty can be finessed at the conclusion of negotiations by formally casting the treaty as a United Nations treaty, which both could sign as they have with the past UN treaties.  

    Fifth, while Washington has yet to officially endorse the three-party talks, the Trump administration may be amenable.  When President Moon Jae-in proposed the idea of a three-way declaration of the end of the Korean War recently to President Trump, his response was, that's a great idea.  South Korea can be helpful in advancing this approach since neither the DPRK nor the United States is likely to be the first to propose three-way talks.  

    What then is China's role?  It would be involved at a later point in negotiating a formal treaty and sign it as a guarantor.  It would also play a central role in eventually creating a Northeast Asia security forum model on the CSCE in Europe, building on its past chairmanship of the six-party talks.  

    It is not only the issue of a peace regime that should be handled on the three-way basis.  The nuclear issue may best be handled in three-way talks as well.  

    The Panmunjeom declaration of April 27 between North and South by confirming, quote, "the common goal of realizing through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean peninsula," unquote, acknowledges the critical role that South Korea must play in denuclearization, not only in the creation of a peace regime.

    And by further stating that South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, it has opened the door to initial three-party and later, multilateral negotiations.  

    During the six-party talks, there were two occasions where the North and South Korean foreign ministries met, once in Bali and once in Beijing, to discuss nuclear issues.  Granted, they were strictly speaking not bilateral talks because South Korea happened to occupy the chair of the energy and economic assistance subgroup in the six-party talks and North Korea is always quick to point that out.  

    But these contacts along with the South Korean Foreign Ministry visit to Yangon to negotiate the purchase of fresh fuel rods show that the two Koreas could discuss issues pertinent to denuclearization.  And North Korean foreign ministry officials seemed open to further context if others, namely the United States, is involved.  

    So, these are some of the trends and policies that have been evident in past talks between the U.S. and North Korea and between the two Koreas themselves that suggests a three-way approach may be the most useful for moving ahead on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  

    But what will clinch the process of denuclearization is an understanding that the United States, North Korea, and South Korea are bound up in a larger historical process in which their respective roles are radically shifting.  Let me explain.  

    I have stated already that Track II meetings have shown that North Korea today is open to an interim solution, interim state of affairs in the peninsula whereby reunification, while remaining the eventual goal of all Koreans, is deferred to future generations to resolve.  

    They have also stated in these meetings that during this period, U.S. troops can and should remain in Korea.  American officials shared similar statements in official talks as early as in 1992, so did South Korean President Kim Dae-jung during his summit with Kim Jong Il in 2000 and other officials over the years.  

    North Korean officials in Track II meetings have been known to propose different versions of this idea that have caught Americans by surprise.  For example, U.S. troops should be moved into the DMZ so that they can naturally protect the South against the North, but also protect the North against the South.  

    In other words, they should be transformed into a peacekeeping force.  Over time, they can play more of a facilitative role urging the two Koreas to reach new military agreements that strengthen the peace regime and process.  

    As I have said, the future role of U.S. troops is not limited to peacekeeping in the peninsula.  They are there also to buffer Korea from conflicts among the major powers in the region whether the issues are territorial disputes, military buildups or more serious clashes.  

    An entire generation has passed since the end of the Cold War.  In the meantime, China has become a major player both in the region and in the world.  Perforce, the U.S.'s relative standing in the region has lessened.  

    If denuclearization and peace can be achieved in the Korean peninsula, it could become a zone of peace where one half remains a strong alliance partner with the United States while the other half enjoys friendly relations with it.  North Korean officials have been known even to propose a U.S.-DPRK mutual security treaty to be followed by a Marshall plan to rehabilitate the North Korean economy.  

    The argument goes like this, "You and Japan were bitter enemies at one time.  Today, you are the closest of allies and Japan, thanks to your support, is a world economic powerhouse.  Why can't we be as well?"  However unrealistic, such statements are said in earnest and should be listened to.  

    Today, we face three leaders, Donald Trump, Moon Jae-in, and Kim Jong Un who each, for his own reasons, seeks to carve out a new legacy different from his predecessors.  Seemingly out of nowhere, an unforeseen electoral victory in the United States and impeachment in South Korea and the death of a leader in North Korea have produced leaders who seem willing to take new risks presenting a unique opportunity, the first in 65 years, to bring about a Korean peninsula both at peace, free of nuclear arms and aligned with the United States.  

    President Donald Trump began his presidency with the mistaken notions that as a satellite of China, North Korea would bend to China's will and could be pressured through tough economic sanctions to give up its nuclear weapons.  

    Thanks largely to President Moon's advice, he has come to understand that diplomacy, bolstered by a gradual lifting of sanctions, may better achieve his aims.  His actions, not only to instantly agree to a summit with Chairman Kim but to praise him as an honorable leader and even to pledge to rebuild North Korea's economy to a level equivalent to that of South Korea, have broken all precedent.  

    As stated earlier, Secretary Pompeo's remark that the United States seeks a fundamentally different strategic relationship with North Korea suggests that he is listening, carefully listening, to the North Koreans' deepest concerns.  

    In Hanoi the other day, Pompeo stated, "In the past, we were opponents on the battlefield.  But today, our security relationship is all about cooperation.  The fact that we're cooperating and not fighting is proof that when a country decides to create a brighter future for itself alongside the United States, we follow through on American promises.  

    Then, I have a message for Chairman Kim Jong Un, President Trump believes your country can replicate this path.  It's yours if you'll seize the moment."  

    And as if the words of North Korean officials whom he met a day or two earlier were still ringing in his ears, he said, "When the leaders in Hanoi go to bed at night, that notion of conflict with America is the last thing on their minds."  

    A final thought, there was a time in Korea about a century ago when young Korean patriots, many of them Christians converted by American missionaries, sought independence from Japanese colonial rule inspired by American notions of freedom, independence, and self-reliance.  

    They admired Woodrow Wilson for his Fourteen Points about self-determination for all peoples until they found out that it did not apply to Korea.  American missionaries who were their role models taught them that personal and national salvation were one.  But when the chips were down, did little to help them remove the Japanese yoke.  

    When the nonviolent March 1st uprising in 1919 for national independence was brutally put down by Japan, some among them, Kim Il Sung included, fled into the hills of Manchuria to take up arms.  Others equally patriotic felt it best to operate within the colonial system and seek to reform it from within.  

    Another group actively collaborated with Japan.  That was the beginning of the deep division in Korea that led to the two Koreas we know today.  

    Next March 1st will mark the centennial of this uprising.  President Moon Jae-in has called for North Korea to celebrate it with him as a reminder that both sides at one time fought for national independence.  He should be sure to remind North Korea that the United States was a beacon of hope in those days and can still be during a century later.  Thank you.  

    KIMBALL:  Thank you.  If you could stay there for just a minute, Tony, while we take some questions from the floor.  

    I mean, first, let me to say thank you very much for outlining that forward-looking vision and practical steps for realizing the–one of the key goals that President Trump and Chairman Kim agreed to in Singapore and we've paid a lot of attention here in Washington to the denuclearization side and I think it's important that we look at the other issues that are part of this complex package.  

    So, let we invite reporters from the floor to pitch your question to Tony Namkung and if you could just–if you have a question… if you could wait for the microphone to come your way before asking your question.  

    Anyone has–Tony has answered all your questions about moving forward.  Yes.  All right.  

    Mark Fitzpatrick, our future panelist, has a question.  So, Mark.  

    FITZPATRICK:  OK.  Thanks.  

    Tony, I was intrigued when you mentioned that you–North Korean officials with whom you’ve dealt suggested at times a security relationship with the United States and I'm just wondering whether this is because–are they thinking they would like to trade partners, the United States for China?  Is it because they don't like being under China's power and pressure?  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, you know the expression a shrimp among whales.  North Korea–Korea, as a whole, has–for decades and centuries actually been victimized by the potential big power predations of countries like Japan and China and Russia.  

    The U.S. is in a special category.  Since the late 19th century, there's always been an undercurrent of thinking that the United States is distant, they can be a good partner, it can be a good ally.  Just for precisely that reason, it doesn't pose an immediate existential threat for the future of the Korean people.  

    So, yes, I am suggesting that with the emergence of China in the region and in the last generation, that this–the opportunity has come for the United States to not necessarily displace China but to play that kind of facilitative role as peacekeeper on the peninsula, as a harmonizer and stabilizer in the region and so forth.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  Any other questions?  Otherwise, I have one.  

    All right.  Tony, so, you mentioned in your remarks that President Moon Jae-in has called for progress towards the declaration of the end of the war by some of the key parties.  

    In practical terms, I mean, what kinds of actions do you think would be necessary in the ongoing diplomacy in order to realize that?  There may be additional talks between Secretary of State Pompeo and his North Korean counterparts.  There may be additional meetings between the three heads of state in New York or elsewhere by the end of the year.  Is that realistically possible?  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, as I suggested at the outset of my talk, the next step really is for North Korea to take.  The U.S. has gone way, way beyond it has ever gone in reaching out to North Korea.  

    This not to detract from all of the steps they have taken, the cessation of testing, the dismantling of the test facilities, the return of the remains and so forth.  But the mood has darkened considerably in Washington, D.C. in the last month since Singapore and it's really incumbent on them to make an equally dramatic and unprecedented move on the nuclear issue.  

    I think that that is the way to get things started.  And as far as three-way declarations are concerned by the time of the UNGA, I doubt it very much.  South and North Korea having a little bit of trouble in getting together on that issue, it will come I hope by the end of the year but not by September.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  I think there's one question here.  If you could just identify yourself.  

    QUESTION:  My name is Beenish Pervaiz and I work with NTI, Nuclear Threat Initiative.  My question was related to the word denuclearization itself and there has been a lot of talk about how it is a very ambiguous term in terms of what it means to the U.S., to South Korea, North Korea.  

    NAMKUNG:  I'm sorry.  What–what means?  

    QUESTION:  The word denuclearization itself …  

    NAMKUNG:  Denuclearization.  

    QUESTION:  … and the definition of the word.  So, in very concrete terms, do you think that there is a baseline understanding that the three countries could agree upon in terms of what denuclearization would mean and what do you think that would be?  

    NAMKUNG:  I don't think that the parties are anywhere near reaching any kind of consensus on the meaning of denuclearization and probably will not be able to achieve that for some time to come.  The only way to think about this that makes sense is that with every passing month, every passing two or three months that there will be something dramatic done on the question of denuclearizing North Korea or the Korean peninsula and that if we build on those steps, one more dramatic each time than the other, than the previous step, that we can move closer and closer to a day when the peninsula will be free of nuclear weapons.  

    But to expect North Korea today, to give you a timeline, is I think wholly unrealistic.  Although, I have to say that I have heard from some North Koreans that the next presidential election may be a good time to make some really serious progress building on some confidence building measures, some steps on denuclearization and then something very dramatic on the eve of the next presidential election, which is the way that North Korea usually conducts business.  

    KIMBALL:  Great.  Well, thank you very much.  

    NAMKUNG:  There is a question in the back.  

    KIMBALL:  We have one more.  OK.  

    NAMKUNG:  Go ahead.  

    KIMBALL:  Yes, sir?  Ma'am?  Sir?  Very good.  

    QUESTION:  Hi.  I'm D. Parvaz with ThinkProgress.  A lot of these discussions seems to focus on sort of how the different players will come to the table, but I'm wondering how this might work domestically within North Korea where, for better or for worse–more for worse here, I gather, there's been a lot of sacrifices made to create this nuclear program and maybe getting rid of it might serve to destabilize the leadership there.  

    How will they negotiate that and how will they sell this to their population as a good thing having for decades sold the necessity of these weapons as an absolute tool of survival?  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, those of us involved in Track II meetings with the North Koreans over the years have heard countless times that if they feel that the threat of an invasion or aggression or whatever has been utterly, totally removed as I said earlier that the leaders in Hanoi go to bed and the last thing on their minds is a conflict with the United States, they will then give up their nuclear weapons at that point.  

    That's not to say that they may not hold on to a handful of them at some point as a final deterrent against any changes in the future such as anything but Clinton, George W. Bush policy that overturns all the agreements that have been reached.  But if we can reduce it to something manageable, I think that that would be a good outcome.  

    Now, I do not see denuclearization as a threat to the regime, not at all.  I see it as the opening of–as President Trump has put it on a number of occasions, a bright and prosperous North Korea, something that all sides in North Korea would welcome.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Yes, sir?  

    QUESTION:  Check.  Thank you.  Reporter from Hong Kong Phoenix TV.  

    I have a question regarding today's news which is “North Korea returns 55 remains of U.S. soldiers to the United States.”  I know you were–in 2014 at the negotiation of the three Americans returning home, how would you comment on this–on today's news?  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, shortly following the announcement that they had ceased testing, I think this was sometime in the first month of–the first week of December 2017, they indicated very–they sent very clear signals that they were prepared to engage in three confidence-building measures, the first of which was to return the other three prisoners, the second of which was to return the remains.  

    At that time, the figure was about 200, I believe that number is still valid and they will see other shipments, other transfers in the period ahead.  And the third was to allow Korean-American families with relatives in North Korea to be reunited.  

    So, clearly, even at that point in time, they were embarked on a path to try to reach an accommodation with the United States.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  We'll take a couple more questions.  

    QUESTION:  Hi, this is on behalf of CNN so I'm just going to ask it.  It's a similar question to ThinkProgress.  I'm just wondering if you could elaborate a little more how Kim Jong Un has indeed made a strategic choice to denuclearize and to what extent and if he really does, to what extent, want to join the international community.  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, this question is always a two-way street.  I mean, he will move as fast as the others move.  And if the others demand that he move first and unilaterally, then he will not move.  So, it's as simple as that.  

    The saying in Korea is you point a gun at me, I'll point a gun at you.  You give me a piece of rice cake and I'll give you a piece of rice cake.  

    North Korea is always reactive.  North Korea never takes the initiative incidentally.  So, it waits for you to act and then it reacts.  

    But normally, the reaction is commensurate with the action and that's the only way to answer that question. 

    KIMBALL:  All right.  I think we have one more right here.  

    QUESTION:  Hi, Rebecca Kheel from The Hill.  I'm wondering what you make of Secretary Pompeo's disclosure this week that North Korea is still producing fissile material.  Does that mean anything?  Is it a bad sign?  Does it negate any of the confidence-building measures we've seen?  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, the agreement in Singapore, really, doesn't spell out exactly what has been pointed out many times by many people exactly what's involved in the implementation of the agreement.  It doesn't come as any surprise to me that they are continuing to add fuel, continuing to build up their fissile material because it's not a subject that has come up in the negotiations up to now.  

    So, yes, we would like to see them completely cease everything related to the nuclear missile programs.  But I don't think that's in the cards.  It's all a matter of negotiations.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  We're going to get to get into some of these denuclearization questions in just a few minutes with the next panel.  

    Let's take one more final question for Tony Namkung.  I think there was one more in the rear?  

    QUESTION:  Yes.  I just had a question about the general mindset of Korea.  Why would they engage in the sort of like self-harm–their GDP is extremely low, so they're not really getting any benefit from the way that they're conducting their behavior.  And as you said, if they were to partner with other countries and be more open, they would probably prosper exponentially.  

    So, what's the real reasoning for sort of inflicting these wounds on themselves?  They always go forward and go back.  It seems like they're kind of repeating a pattern that's been repeated throughout history, at least, in the onset of it.  So, what's the benefit that they think they're receiving from?  

    NAMKUNG:  I don't know that they think there's any benefit to behaving or acting that way.  But so long as the security issue is not resolved, nothing else can move forward.  It's really as simple as that.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  One more question, just identify yourself, please.  

    QUESTION:  Sure.  Al Jazeera English.  

    Question for you.  You said that the skies were darkening in Washington.  What did you mean by that?  And you also said the North needs to do a significant move, take a significant move?  What does that look like?  What are you looking for?  

    NAMKUNG:  Well, it's been long been my practice not to suggest actual moves for–on the part of the negotiators.  They’ll have to figure out what would a significant and dramatic move might look like.  

    But I believe that the mood has darkened and it's darkened largely because the expectations were so high from the very beginning, that we were about to march into the sunset together.  And that North Korea would denuclearize within a year or something.  

    The problem that we’re seeing now is that these expectations were much too high and we're seeing the fallout from that.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, very good.  

    Well, thank you, Tony, very much …  

    NAMKUNG:  OK.  

    KIMBALL:  … for being with us.  

    NAMKUNG:  Thank you very much.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  

    And the next panel will address mainly the questions that are now starting to come up about denuclearization, the sequencing, and the key steps and what is a realistic expectation about the pace for denuclearization if there is, as Tony Namkung underscored, the kind of progress on the steps for the peace regime that it appears that President Trump and Kim Jong Un have agreed to try to pursue.  

    So, to address those questions, we have–we're honored to have with us Mark Fitzpatrick who is the Executive Director of the IISS-Americas and Head of the Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Program at IISS.  And I would just also note that he has served in the State Department in the past, for 26 years, including as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation.  Mark is a leading nonproliferation expert in the field.  

    And then also, with us here today is our own Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Kelsey Davenport, who is our lead on North Korea and Iran nuclear nonproliferation challenges.  

    And so, the two of them are going to be talking about the steps and the pace and the challenges of the denuclearization process and then we'll take your questions for them.  

    So, Mark, take it away.  

    FITZPATRICK:  Thanks very much to Daryl for having me.  Thank you, all.  

    I was kind of afraid of the way those questions were going, all the air would have been sucked out of the room and I won't have anything more to say.  

    But let me start, though, by saying that I'm very, very pleased with the confidence-building measures that North Korea did follow through on the return of the remains.  I was involved in the first return of U.S. remains when I was at the State Department.  That was 28 years ago, so it's good to see that process continuing.  

    But I was going to talk about what we–what is needed, what are the steps for denuclearization.  And my very first point is one that Tony just pricked.  It took all the air out of it because my first point was the first thing you need to do is define what you mean by denuclearization.  

    Before North Korea can actually begin to declare things, you got to agree on what is it–what's the problem set?  What are they going to declare?  And then, I think, Tony very realistically said we're a long way, he said, from getting agreement on what it means the definition and it's is not to happen for some time.  

    But still, I'm going to say, you need to understand, agree, what it is that North Korea is going to denuclearize.  And I thought it was interesting in Secretary Pompeo's hearing on Wednesday, which Kelsey kindly shared her notes with me, that the secretary said–he insisted that North Korea understands the U.S. definition of denuclearization and that North Korea agreed to denuclearize fully.  

    So, they understand what the United States means.  But it's not written down anywhere and everybody that’s ever negotiated with North Korea knows you've got to write these things down or they don't have any weight.  

    The last time we did this, 2012, the Leap Day deal, I was really excited about it and it didn't write down that the moratorium on long-range testing included space launches.  So, North Korea did a space launch and I–so they said, we told you that was a violation.  We told you.  You understood.  

    And North Korea said, “it's not written down.”  So, you've got to write these things down.  

    And the fact that we're a long way from writing it down is a little discouraging.  

So, one answer… what does denuclearization mean? Some people point to the 1992 denuclearization agreement between North and South in which both sides, North and South agree–North and South Korea agreed that they would not test manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy, or use nuclear weapons nor would they possess plutonium reprocessing or uranium enrichment facilities and that they would use nuclear energy solely for peaceful purposes.  

    So, that was the denuclearization agreement of 1992.  And I was thinking about that this morning.  Is that denuclearization or is it non-nuclearization?  

    Because they didn’t have nuclear weapons they had to get rid of.  They didn’t have uranium enrichment that they had to dismantle.  They just were saying what they wouldn't do.  

    So, I think it was sort of a–it was the equivalent of a nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty for the Korean peninsula.  Now, we're in a much different situation, of course, because North Korea has nuclear weapons.  They have enrichment.  They have plutonium reprocessing.  

    So, now, we really do need a denuclearization definition and agreement to take these things that they have and get rid of them, starting off with the things they produced, the nuclear weapons which might be up to 60 according to the Defense Intelligence Agency.  The stockpile of highly and–I'm sorry–stockpile of–let's start off with plutonium because that’s easier.  We can kind of figure out how much plutonium they’ve been able to produce between 33 and 50 kg, at least there's a–you know how long the reactor was running to produce it.  

    And then, of course, the highly enriched uranium.  Anybody's estimate, but Sig Hecker from Stanford suggests maybe 250-500 kg.  

    And then there's the stockpile of low-enriched uranium.  You got to get rid of the stockpile of tritium and lithium-6.  

    OK.  Then you also get rid of the ability to produce more of all that.  So, obviously, North Korea would have to eliminate the plutonium production reactor at Yongbyon, also the IR 2000 reactor that produced plutonium for the weapons program, the uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyon that has–it's been known.  

    And then the one that is mooted at Chollima, sometimes called Kangson, the one that was in the press earlier this month.  Everybody looking at this knows that North Korea had to have a second enrichment plant.  Now, it's in the open sources of where that is.  

    So, North Korea would have to get rid of that one and any other facilities.  They probably had at least one more and centrifuge production facilities and anything else associated with the weapons program. 

    Now, to be decided is whether North Korea would have to get rid of all nuclear facilities.  I mean, they have some–they have some presumably that maybe are only for civilian purposes, the experimental light-water reactor, maybe they could keep that one.  That’s a point of negotiation.  

    I think there's a case could be made for keeping it if that would be a quid pro quo for getting them to get rid of all the other stuff.  

    OK.  So, that’s in nuclear.  Then denuclearization has to also include demissilization.   They have to include the missiles as well.  

    And so, they got to get rid of the threatening missiles.  And the question here is do they have to get rid of just the ones that threaten the United States or how about the ones that threaten Japan and South Korea?  

    And Japan has made very clear its point that it has to be all of them and…that seems a pretty reasonable proposition that anything that could deliver nuclear weapon should be removed and we can provide some technical expertise and what that means.  That’s a lot of missiles.  You get rid of the engines, the motors, the airframes, the test facilities, and so forth.  

    Then the next question.  OK.  Beyond the missile–the nuclear and the missile, what about the other WMD?  Secretary Pompeo, according to Kelsey's notes, he said that it includes–denuclearization includes chemical weapons and biological weapons as well which is pretty logical.  

    Now, the thing about this is that North Korea has never admitted to having chemical weapons or biological weapons but everybody–everybody who know–who's in this business assumes that they have chemical weapons.  Defectors have said so and you can point to production facilities.  

    So, it's assumed that they have chemical weapons.  And, well, actually they used them, so they do have them.  They used it to assassinate Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur.  

    Biological weapons, I think, is a big question mark here.  I think nobody should just assume that they have biological weapons.  They probably have a biological weapons defense program but, anyway, they'll have to come clean about any that they do have.  

    They have joined the Biological Weapons Convention but there's no verification for that.  They haven't joined the Chemical Weapons Convention.  They’d have to do that and that does have a verification.  

    Now, the big question, will North Korea have to make a full accounting of everything they have ever produced or any diagrams they've ever compiled?  If they have an atomic archive in some warehouse, would they have to turn that over?  And if they didn’t turn it over, would it–would the discovery of any past documents mean that North Korea was violating the whatever agreement?  

    I just came back from an event elsewhere in town about the Iran deal and the argument being made there was, yes, Iran is in violation because it had these documents.  So, I think it's a question about historical records.  But all the procurement, would they have to come clean about all that?  

    That’s a big step.  I'm not sure they're going to be willing to do that.  

    OK.  I shouldn’t talk for too much longer here but I'll just say, a big question is… Tony was so pragmatic and realistic that you're not going to get them to do all this right up front.  So, at least stopping production while talks continue, that's–and they are stopping the testing of nuclear weapons and the testing of missiles, but they haven't said what missiles they're stopping the testing of.  Does this moratorium,  it should include all missiles–all ballistic missiles, I would say.  

    One question you might ask is could they be allowed to have the space launches that killed the 2012 Leap Day Deal?  In my institute, we've just made a case that, yes, yes, they could.  The space launches can be differentiated from ballistic missiles.  It would still require a lot of technical limitations, though.  

    Last couple of points I'll make is that any declaration that North Korea makes is not going to be complete.  And, I mean, because no country's declarations are complete.  Even countries in very good standing with the NPT, when they make the declaration, they always forget things.  

    So, it's an iterative process and we have to not play a gotcha game with North Korea.  And we have to help them–the United States will have to help them to explain what they will need to declare.  It's going to be – it’d have to be a cooperative process.  

    Last point.  Verification, I would argue, has to be in conjunction with dismantling.  So, the point was made that North Korea has dismantled something, the nuclear test site, the Sohae rocket engine test.  But they did–they did it without any verification.  

    So, there's no confidence that what they declared that they destroyed, they actually destroyed it completely or irreversibly or the collapse of the tunnels at the test site, how far in did the tunnels collapse?  Without verification, it really undermines the confidence-building nature of the action and it impedes future verification because it destroys forensic evidence.  

    So, even though North Korea may continue to destroy things or say they're destroying things and this would–we could see this is some evidence of good faith, I would argue as a nonproliferation wonk that it's not really that meaningful unless it's verified.  I'll stop there.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you, Mark.  

    It is an ambitious set of tasks you just outlined and I want to turn to Kelsey for elaborations of some those issues and also the question of the process by which this might be pursued by the USG and others.  

    DAVENPORT:  Great.  Well, thank you, Daryl, and thanks to all of you for coming today.  

    I think Mark did an excellent job talking about what's critical in terms of getting the substance of denuclearization right and I want to focus now a little bit on the process and the role of Congress.  

    And these are areas that don't necessarily generate a lot of headlines, but I think it's critical that we have a more in-depth and robust discussion about both of these areas because we don't just need diplomacy with North Korea, we need smart and effective diplomacy.  And a lot of that comes down to getting the process right and if we look at what's been going on with the Trump administration right now, I think there are a number of ways where we could strengthen and refine that process to make for more effective diplomacy.  

    So, first on the process side, I want to make four and a half points and you'll see why I say four and a half in just a minute.  But the first point is I think the United States really needs to think about appointing a special envoy or clarifying who in the State Department is actually leading these negotiations.  

    The Singapore Summit declaration tasked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with actually leading the U.S. talks.  And symbolically, I certainly think that that is very important, that the head of the State Department is involved in this process.  

    But when you have the State Department's chief diplomat flying off to Pyongyang, that I think raises some unrealistic expectations that every time there's a meeting with the Secretary of State, that there is going to be some announcement or there are going to be some substantive results.  And diplomacy just doesn’t work that way, particularly when we have a process that's going to be this complex and time-consuming as a denuclearization agreement with North Korea.  

    So, I would encourage the State Department to think more about how the Obama administration pursued the Iran talks.  You had the Undersecretary of State for political and military affairs, Wendy Sherman, sort of leading the day-to-day negotiations and Secretary Kerry sort of coming in when necessary, when you needed that extra political impetus to make some of those bigger decisions or when there actually was an announcement.  

    So, related to that question of a special envoy, my second point on process is on the importance of creating working groups.  And again, it's not clear if this is something that the State Department has actually taken in hand.  But when you look at the different elements of the Singapore declaration and when you look at the different elements that Mark laid out that denuclearization is going to constitute, when you look at the question of sanctions relief, these are very different baskets that are all going to need to be coordinated but also require some very specialized work.  

    So, looking at the creation of working groups, again, just a simple step that could be taken on process that I think would be effective.  

    The third sort of process point is sort of a mix between process and substance.  And again, this harkens back a little bit to sort of what Mark was saying about the importance of actually writing down a definition because we have seen North Korea exploit ambiguity before and that’s to really think about some type of dispute resolution mechanism.  

    Because even when–if we get to the point where we have these definitions written down or as Mark said, we get to the point where there is a declaration, I think there is going to be sometimes deliberate obfuscation on the part of North Korea or there are just going to be things that are missed, elements that come down the road, and this isn't just on North Korea, this is also on the U.S. delivering on whatever it commits to as part of this process.  

    And establishing a dispute resolution mechanism earlier, I think, can be critical for finding ways to sort of work through these problems as they arise in a way that it does not actually sort of disrupt the substance and the progress that these negotiations are and does not–does not put up any roadblocks towards getting towards the ultimate goal of these negotiations.  

    The fourth point I would make on process would appear to be, I think, somewhat self-evident but it's not something that's happening and I think it is quite–it is quite critical to rectify.  And that’s the importance of regular briefings by the administration for Congress.  

    Secretary of State Pompeo testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week and it was the first time, I quote, "the first time," that the Senate had heard from the State Department after the Singapore Summit, nearly 2 months ago, and this is the first time that key members of Congress who work on U.S. foreign policy are getting a readout about what occurred sort of at that meeting.  

    And this is important because when Congress is not read in, when they are not involved, I think they we've seen in the foreign policy space they tend to take these sort of matters into their own hands.  And I want to get into that a little bit more in my discussion of Congress.  

    But some of the roadblocks that Congress might put up, some of the Congressional attempts to sort of dictate the results of this process in a way that could really hamper the Trump administration could be rectified if there are regular briefings.  

    And my sort of point five on that–on that fourth point is that these–this should not just come from the U.S. government.  And one area where I think there is an interest in sort of more knowledge, more understanding is the position of the South Korean government and what the South Korean government wants to see come out of these negotiations, what their priorities are, and what their concerns are.  

    Already we saw after the Singapore Summit several members of Congress, speak out against the suspension of U.S.-South Korean joint exercises and there were some proposals floated for legislation that would prevent the United States from actually suspending those exercises.  

    So, again, this is a barrier that Congress considered putting up that could very easily have been relegated if it was more clear that both sides were onboard with the suspension and did not think that that would address U.S. military readiness.  Relatedly, just this week in the National Defense Authorization Act, members of Congress and House of Representatives agreed on legislation that would prevent a drawdown of U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula without congressional approval.  

    Again, this really could hamper us down the road and some of this, I think, could be easily mitigated if there was more clarity for Congress as to the administration’s, scope of the negotiations, their objectives, and what elements the South Korean government is supportive of or has concerns about.  

    So, for the second part of my remarks, I just want to say a little bit about Congress.  And the U.S. Congress, I think, is often overlooked in terms of the role that they can play sort of in North Korean diplomacy.  

    And I think right now, Congress, like the American people writ large, are generally inclined to support talks but they are somewhat suspicious of the Trump Administration's ability to actually carry out a successful negotiation.  And they are frustrated over the lack of knowledge that they’ve received about the process to date.  

    And I think where that could–sort of confluence of events could lead us is Congress putting up some roadblocks that hinder the negotiations and cause problems both immediately or set the United States up to have to overcome roadblocks in the future.  

    So, just three quick areas I want to address.  First, I hope this would also be self-evident, but if you look at the history of the U.S. Congress, it's certainly not, and that is now is not the time for new sanctions.  I think we have, particularly with this Congress, sort of a very pro-sanctions approach and the general confusion that leads many members of Congress to the conclusion that sanctions are strategy.  

    Sanctions are not strategies.  Sanctions are a tool that can be used to implement a strategy.  But simply continuing to ratchet up sanctions now when North Korea has–appears interested in negotiations, is not going to get North Korea to capitulate.  

    So, where the focus really should be on the sanction side right now for the U.S. Congress is continued enforcement.  And I do think there is a reason to be concerned that sanctions pressure on North Korea is slipping.  

    There are a number of indicators that we can see just from the truck movement across the Chinese-North Korean border.  In the last few weeks, that’s returned to some of the levels we saw sort of pre-2018.  

    Tourism, again, is increasing in North Korea.  There are other indicators, like exchange rates and gas costs, that I think are indicative of a slowing in the implementation and enforcement of sanctions.  

    And some of this is due to the rhetoric of President Trump.  When the U.S. president says the North Korean threat is over, when the U.S. president says we don’t need to engage in maximum pressure, most of us in this room I'm sure all know that the threat is not over, and that we do still need sanctions pressure.  

    But his messages, his words, the words of the U.S. president, do have resonance in other parts of the world.  And when you're talking to the group that may be trying to implement sanctions and conduct some of the controls and the checks on goods passing through a port in Indonesia that may have North Korean origin and they hear the President of the United States saying there is no threat, I think you have just then an erosion of sanctions because people just don't think they need to actually implement the U.S. and the UN measures any longer.  

    So, Congress, I think can play a very constructive role in encouraging better sanctions enforcement and encouraging that the elements of the U.S. government that work on sanctions enforcement are fully funded and continuing sort of the critical outreach that helps with enforcement and compliance.  

    The second congressional space, it has to do with oversight.  And here, I think, given President Trump's track record, there is reason to be concerned that he may accept a deal that is not strong from a denuclearization perspective.  

    So, Congress can play a role in exercising oversight, in setting good benchmarks for a deal, but they have to walk a very fine line between articulating sort of solid goals and objectives and boxing the president in.  And sort of on this latter area, boxing the president in and setting unrealistic expectations, I would draw attention to a letter that 10 Democratic senators sent to the Trump Administration in June that I think set some very unrealistic expectations.  

    They talked about the need for anytime-anywhere inspections.  I don't think that that's realistic.  They talked about needing to get rid of all North Korean ballistic missiles.  Again, that may not be necessary.  

    But setting, I think, unrealistic expectations that a good deal does not need to meet, I think can raise this–this disconnect between what Congress expects and what can actually be delivered.  But Congress can and should, like I said, play a role in exercising oversight and setting some realistic expectations.  

    So, finally, just one last point on Congress, and again, this is a place where I think Congress should be playing more of a role and it's not, and that’s thinking proactively about the monitoring and verification mechanisms that are going to be necessary to actually implement any sort of deal with North Korea.  

    And I think, Mark rightly highlighted the importance of verification and just how critical it's going to be to get that component right.  And we have a lot of existing tools available to implement some of the monitoring and verification.  Certainly, what exists at the International Atomic Energy Agency for fuel cycle monitoring, a lot of that is very robust.  

    But when we talk about actually verifiably dismantling warheads, when we talk about looking at North Korea's uranium enrichment and determining if what they’ve actually produced equals what they say they've produced, some of the technology and the processes are not there yet.  

    So, Congress directing greater investment towards these areas, encouraging the U.S. national labs to take on some of these challenges to a more robust extent, looking at the capabilities of international organizations like the International Atomic Energy Agency, bumping up funding there when necessary, this is a role that I think Congress can and must play and it has the added of not going to waste.  

    I mean, if our negotiations with North Korea don't get to the point where we get–where we–where we actually need to apply these monitoring and verification mechanisms, the fact that we've done the research that we've developed the processes, this can still be applied elsewhere.  

    So, this is critical research on verification technology and in a process that the United States needs be doing anyway for arms control writ large.  

    So, I will stop there.  I will look forward to your questions.  Although, I plan to send any hard ones to Mark.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you, Kelsey.  Thank you, Mark.  

    We have ample time for questions from the audience.  If you just identify yourself and wait for the microphone to come your way, that would be great.  

    And while we're waiting for those hands to come up, I just wanted to ask–we can take one here–but I wanted to ask Mark to elaborate slightly more on what you mean by the need to, as a priority step, of putting a halt or a freeze on North Korea's activities.  What beyond the nuclear test halt and ballistic missile halt would be ideal and how do we make sure that it holds?  

    FITZPATRICK:  So, I see this halt as equivalent to a ceasefire when parties have been in a conflict.  And you have–you call a ceasefire, stop firing at each other or in the case of the North Korean case, stop adding to the problem.  

    So, they’ve stopped testing of missiles since last November and nuclear weapons tests as well, that's just a very initial thing, though.  It needs two other forms of halting.  They really need to halt the production of additional fissile material.  No more plutonium, no more highly-enriched uranium.  

    Now, that’s not something that's easy to verify through national technical means.  I mean, you can–you can see if the reactor is not operating.  

    So, you'd need some–it'd be good to have some verification, then you get into kind of a sticky territory.  But at least, that’s something I'm sure the United States would be asking for, any party would be asking for, no more fissile material production.  

    And then no more development of more kinds of delivery systems.  The missile development should really cease.  Now, the fact that North Korea stopped the Sohae testing site, that’s–stopped, they apparently dismantled, that’s a good thing.  

    But they should also stop development of the submarine-launched ballistic missile, for example.  Those should be important confidence-building steps.  

    And then it's not all going to be unilateral.  The United States is going to have to also halt something, I think, if it's going to be anything that's going to really last.  And that means no more sanctions.  That seems to be the reasonable quid pro quo.  

    And as a de facto matter …  

    KIMBALL:  No more sanctions, period, or no more new …  

    FITZPATRICK:  No more new sanctions.  Yes.  

    KIMBALL:  OK.  

    FITZPATRICK:  I mean, the sanctions are already there, they will continue to be applied and additional entities may be added to a blacklist, but that's no new forms of sanctions.  

    But as a de facto matter, that's already happening because there aren’t going to be any new United Nations sanctions and I suspect there won't be any new forms of U.S. sanctions either because President Trump will want diplomacy to succeed.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thanks for that elaboration.  I think we have a question here.  

    QUESTION:  Is this on?  OK.  This question is for Ms. Davenport.  

    You mentioned some of the steps and strategies the Obama administration had employed in dealing with Iran.  Now, obviously, that is not what this administration is interested in doing in terms of copying any of those steps.  So–and so much so that we saw Secretary Pompeo–was that yesterday?  It seems like a million years ago, it's a day before yesterday–before Senate, trying to explain what was policy and what were just statements that the president was making or that he himself was making on Twitter or in person because it seems like even that’s confused, what is policy and what is just things being said off the cuff.  

    So, realizing, of course, that Iran and North Korea are different and that they're–well, they're entirely different cases.  What's common–the common goal is going to be requiring any kind of trust moving forward in either renegotiating the Iran deal or negotiating any kind of deal with North Korea.  

    The administration, of course, can compartmentalize Iran is Iran, North Korea is North Korea, but North Korea will certainly be looking at how Iran's been treated.  

    So, given the lack of things that are in writing with North Korea and all the things that were in writing with Iran, how can this process move forward with the kind of sort of trust assurances and progress that needs to be made in order for denuclearization however you define it to happen?  

    Sorry, that was a very long question.  

    DAVENPORT:  No, it's a very good question.  And I certainly think that the United States does face a credibility deficit under the Trump administration and it's not just for the Iran deal.  It's for pulling out of the Paris climate accord, it's for comments made in relationship to NATO, Trump's actions at the G7 summit.  

    So, and certainly, there is reason to be concerned about the U.S. follow through on any agreement.  And I think, given how the Iran deal situation has turned out with the United States withdrawing from the deal, violating the agreement by reimposing sanctions for no legitimate reason, and effectively calling into question the basis of what Iran wanted out of the deal, sanctions relief, I think we might see North Korea try to demand more upfront and more that's actually tangible in terms of what the results they get immediately.  

    So, that may sort of play into the North Korean calculus.  I think relatedly, the United States has also damaged its credibility with allies and other partners in the region when it comes to cooperating with tools that the United States employs like extraterritorial sanctions.  

    A lot of the reason that Iran was pushed to the negotiating table was due to, I think, some very smart and effective sanctions diplomacy that was employed by the Obama administration, getting states on board even when it was against their national economic interest to employ some of these measures.  And by sort of violating and reimposing without good reason, I think that has called into question the willingness of some of these critically important states like China to continue to comply and actually abide by some of these U.S. extraterritorial sanctions.  

    So, I definitely think that there is a trust deficit, but I don't think that it's insurmountable.  And certainly, the fact that Pompeo went back to Pyongyang after the Singapore Summit, the fact that North Korea followed through on delivering the POW remains, I think all of these small steps are critical in terms of sort of creating that culture of accountability for both sides.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Other questions?  Yes, sir, in the back.  

    QUESTION:  Edward Ifft, Stanford University.  

    This word, denuclearization, bothers me a lot.  I think it's a very poor word to use, although I guess we are stuck with it.  And the term complete denuclearization, of course, is even worse.  

    South Korea gets a third of its electricity from nuclear reactors.  Past agreements have not only allowed the North to have civilian reactors, but we've agreed to help them with that.  I don't think anyone's proposing eliminating nuclear medicine.  It seems to me, what we're doing, and why don’t we just say this, we're trying to create a nuclear-weapons-free zone on the Korean peninsula.  

    There are five of those in the world.  We know how to do that.  Ideally, it will be a WMD free zone, and to that, we can add constraints on fissile materials and ballistic missiles.  

    The other thing that bothers me is a lot of people in this town are saying that this whole process must begin with North Korea making a complete declaration of all its nuclear assets and where they are.  That would be wonderful if we could get that.  That would mean that North Korea would tell us where to drop the bombs and where to send the Marines before they have any assurance of anything.  

    I mean, an interesting model would be the START process.  The START process did not begin with a massive exchange of data, it ended with a massive exchange of data.  We labored for a long time to agree on what data would be exchanged, that document was over 100 pages long.  

    KIMBALL:  So, Ed, do you want to leave the panelists with a question?  

    QUESTION:  Right.  At the very end of the process, we filled in the blanks.  So, those are just two frustrations I have with the dialogue I hear.  What do you think?  Thank you.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  So, the question is how do we address Ed Ifft's frustrations on the word denuclearization and what it means and the denuclearization ask.  

    So, perhaps either or both of you want to take on those questions.  I mean, I think, Mark, you talked about denuclearization concept and the January 1992 North-South denuclearization agreement as a basis.  

    FITZPATRICK:  Yes.  

    KIMBALL:  It's a starting point.  And I think that–I think that provides a good starting definition to move forward which does allow for nuclear medicine, nuclear power, but not nuclear-weapons-related activities or nuclear weapons.  

    FITZPATRICK:  Yes.  I don’t read too much about somebody thinking that all nuclear medicine has to go-- but I think the problem with it, the denuclearization term, is that it focuses on nuclearization when it has to include chemical weapons and missile delivery systems.  

    So–and because of the way that North Korea only abides by the letter of agreements, it could use that word denuclearization to argue that they don't have to address those other forms of so-called weapons of mass destruction.  

    So, I kind of like your idea, Ed, and I was just jotting it down, a Korean peninsula WMD-free zone, it doesn't have any vowels, so it's kind of hard to make into a snappy acronym.  But let's work on that.  

    DAVENPORT:  Could I just add one point, Daryl, and I think this is somewhat tangentially related to your question, Ed, but in the discussion of denuclearization, we often focus on what–how we define that vis-à-vis sort of the North Korean programs.  But I think it's also critical to remember that when North Korea talks about denuclearization and I'm thinking, I think, specifically of a statement made in, I believe, it was July of 2015 or 2016, they constituted denuclearization as also ensuring that South Korea is free of nuclear weapons.  

    And of course, the United States removed its tactical nuclear weapons from South Korea in the early '90s.  But part of these negotiations, again, sort of far down the road, might be allowing North Korea to have some limited access to these areas so that they are more assured as well that there are no nuclear weapons sort of stationed on the peninsula.  

    So, I think, it does have to go both ways and I also like your idea of conceiving this as a zone issue and not just a denuclearization issue.  

    KIMBALL:  And let me just address your concern and point about the difficulty of persuading North Korea to provide a full and complete declaration of its nuclear missile programs.  

    I mean, I agree that that is a big ask.  Mark mentioned that.  That is a big ask.  

    And I think it's important to note that the September 2005 denuclearization agreement between the United States and North Korea through the Six-Party process foundered in 2006–in 2007 over a number of issues including the failure of the North Koreans to eventually deliver as promised the declaration.  

    So, this is a big ask.  And if this is what Secretary Pompeo has been pushing for in this first round of talks that were conducted in Pyongyang following the Singapore Summit, it's not surprising that the North Koreans may have balked about that.  

    If I were heading up the negotiations, that would not be the first thing I would be asking for.  It would be, I think, as Mark pointed out the pushing the North Koreans to solidify and to expand upon their halt to nuclear testing and ballistic missile testing with a halt on ballistic missile production and fissile material production because that provides the time for the U.S. and North Korea to pursue these negotiations on developing a peace regime and moving towards actual dismantling, verifiable dismantling.  

    So, I would agree that the declaration would come at a mid to a later phase in this process.  So, that's an important question that the U.S. side needs to consider as it develops its strategy on this process.  

    So, I think we had another question upfront.  If you just identify yourself and then we got one more in the back.  Yes, sir?  And here's the microphone.  

    QUESTION:  My name is John Merrill and I'm currently at George Washington University since U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS was closed down by withdrawal of South Korean government funding.  

    My question is directed–first question is directed at Mark.  Mark, you seem to have a problem with missiles, but you don't have any problem with air forces.  So, what are you going to do about asymmetries between the military capabilities of the two sides?  

    South Korea has advanced fighter jets, our latest stuff.  They have TARS ground attack systems from Germany.  So, North Korea should give up its missiles and is someone going to provide them with an Air Force?  Who would you suggest do that?  That’s the first question.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Let's go with the first question, Mark.  

    FITZPATRICK:  Yes.  What I suggest is that the delivery system for nuclear weapons be a part of the list of things that should be eliminated.  So, if there are missiles in North Korea that are not nuclear capable, I think we could put them in one category to not address immediately in this–in this problem set.  

    But almost all of their Scud derived, and certainly, the No-Dong systems are nuclear–for the purpose of delivering nuclear weapons.  So, you get rid of them.  You deal with the other conventional weapons through the peace process that Tony was talking about and there can be reciprocal steps there.  

    QUESTION:  (OFFMIKE).  

    FITZPATRICK:  Well, I think–I don’t–I understand your point here about reciprocity and all that, but as a realistic proposition, the United States and South Korea are not going to invade North Korea but the opposite has been the case.  So, I can see from a North Korean perspective, they would say, well, we can't give up all our defenses.  

    But what are those–what are their missiles really for?  They're for nuclear weapons delivery.  So, in a denuclearization or a WMD-free zone, you got to deal with it.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  The second question is a different question?  

    QUESTION:  Yes.  We also had some discussion of chemical and biological weapons.  I wondered if I could maybe ask both of you what do you think of the global funds cutting off–planned cutting off of tuberculosis drugs to North Korea?  Isn't that tantamount to weaponization of medicine or am I missing something?  There’ve been a number of press reports about this in the last month.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Could one or two of you want to just address that or not?  

    FITZPATRICK:  Yes, I mean, I agree with the intent of the question is that there are things that happen because of as a result of sanctions that are deleterious to North Korean health and we ought to think about that.  I mean, that’s–I think I would agree with that spirit of that.  

    But to put that in the same category as the purposeful development of chemical weapons or if North Korea is purposely developing biological weapons, I just–I don't–I wouldn't draw any moral equivalence there and the outbreak of tuberculosis.  There's no intention on the part of U.S. government or South Korean government to promote tuberculosis in North Korea.  

    QUESTION:  Drugs are going to end.

    FITZPATRICK:  Well …  

    KIMBALL:  I don’t think there's any disagreement from this panel about the importance of delivering humanitarian aid to the North, but I think what Mark is saying is that it's a separate question from eliminating–trying to eliminate WMDs from North Korea and South Korea.  

    I would just note on–you want to address this …  

    DAVENPORT:  I just want to add an additional point that I–it made me think of this, this question also of sanctions enforcement.  And I think when we talk about Congress doing a better job, encouraging sanctions and enforcement and implementation, that that isn't just the penalization element of sanctions violation where frequently all of the focus is, but also ensuring that the channels that are set up and maintained for some of the humanitarian aid to also facilitate humanitarian organizations ability to access North Korea, enforcement of those provisions is also very poor.  

    There is a lot of misunderstanding and that’s another area where, I think, that Congress, in particular, could kind of direct more attention and resources to ensure that when we apply pressure, we're not cutting off those types of critical resources.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Question in the back, please?  

    QUESTION:  Thanks.  I'm with National Security Action.  I had a question about the controversial sticking point of the definition of denuclearization.  

    This week, again, in that Pompeo hearing at SFRC, Senator Gardner asked him about the different ways that Pompeo has referred to CVID or denuclearization whether that’s on the peninsula or just in North Korea.  So, I'm curious if you think that the way the U.S. government refers to CVID or some other variation of the term matters.  Does it matter for domestic politics in South Korea or how the negotiations proceed or is there a more productive way for the government to be referring to denuclearization of things like the hearing this past week?  Thanks.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Good question.  

    Mark?  Kelsey?  

    FITZPATRICK:  I don’t–you want to go first this time?  

    DAVENPORT:  Sure.  Sure.  So, I saw the hearing and I appreciated that Senator Gardner's point, trying to kind of nail down what exactly the administration means by denuclearization.  

    Because, as referenced, Secretary of State Pompeo has used a lot of different definitions.  He came under flak for the Singapore declaration not containing the word verifiable when just before the Singapore declaration, he emphasized the importance of verifiable.  

    And in my mind, the exact term that's used is less important than a clear understanding of the definition and a consistent articulation of the term and the definition.  Typically, in the U.S. policy, Complete Verifiable Irreversible Dismantlement, CVID, has been what's been employed.  

    But, I mean, we have to be honest.  I mean, irreversible?  Do we really think we're at the point where we can get an agreement with North Korea that’s irreversible?  I mean, you can’t eliminate the knowledge.  I mean, there are just certain elements that you can't walk back.  You can't put the genie back in the bottle.  

    So, if–and if North Korea sort of objects to that term but is willing to agree to something that’s complete verifiable denuclearization, so whatever the term is, I think, is less important than ensuring consistency in how it's defined and then ensuring kind of that consistent use.  

    But the mixed messaging of the Trump administration on the North Korea negotiations, I think, certainly has been a problem and is an area where kind of more clarity and consistency would be useful.  

    KIMBALL:  And the only thing I would just add on this is I agree with Kelsey but the fact that Secretary Pompeo has–and the administration has used different terms, it's symptomatic of the improvisational approach of the Trump Administration for the past year plus towards North Korea and it would be, I think, reassuring if at the very least, the secretary of state would use the same terminology to address the goal that the United States is pursuing.  

    And as Mark said, ideally, if the two sides could actually write down in simple clear terms what denuclearization covers so there's no misunderstanding down the road.  

    Other questions?  Yes?  Go ahead, please, just identify yourself.  

    Question:  Thank you.  Thank you very much for a great discussion.  My name is Koji Sonoda for The Asahi Shimbun and my question is declaration of end of Korean War.  

    And actually, it seems to me that DPRK is demanding before its denuclearization–demanding the declaration of end of Korean War before its denuclearization.  But actually, I believe if the U.S. accepts the demand, the U.S. will lose important leverage to denuclearization.  So, I was wondering if the U.S. should accept North Korea's demand to some extent or just to focus on the denuclearization?  This is my question.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  

    I have some thoughts on that, but Kelsey, Mark, you want to …  

    DAVENPORT:  Sure.  So, one thing that I think that the Trump administration has rightly acknowledged is that denuclearization and progress on peace and security on the Korean peninsula need to go hand-in-hand and that there needs to be kind of reciprocity between these steps.  

    So, I think, that figuring out kind of when to declare a declaration on the Korean War and how that fits into that process, what the reciprocal steps on the nuclear side might be is important.  

    But I think, we have kind of declaring an end to the Korean War and then we have this idea of perhaps negotiating a treaty on it.  So, I don’t think that declaring an end gives up all of the leverage that the United States has in that space immediately.  But again, I do think it's important to kind of calibrate it kind of vis-à-vis commitments and steps on the nuclear side.  

    KIMBALL:  Well, I think at the heart of your question is one of the fundamental points that we're trying to make here which is that, as Kelsey said, there needs to be an action-for-action process.  And given that Secretary Pompeo just went to Pyongyang, each side was apparently in those talks, they were emphasizing the immense value of the steps that they’ve already taken and were demanding more from the other side.  And as a result, they went away from those discussions, both of them somewhat disappointed.  

    I think that that underscores the fact that both North Korea and the United States are going to have to take some additional bold steps in the direction that the Singapore communiqué suggests.  

    So, I think President Moon Jae-in's call for work to achieve a declaration, a political declaration regarding the end of the Korean War by the end of 2018 is a good goal.  Similarly, as Tony Namkung underscored and I think we're underscoring here when we're talking about denuclearization steps in North Korea, it needs to take some additional demonstrable concrete steps towards the denuclearization goal.  

    The closure of the Punggye-ri test site tunnels is good but it's not enough.  The halt to ballistic missile testing is good but it's not enough.  

    North Korea, I think, from a nonproliferation standpoint, and this is part of Mark's remarks, needs to take the additional step of halting fissile material production.  They could do that very soon and we could remotely verify a lot of that with national technical means, though there might be some activities and unknown enrichment facilities that we're not absolutely sure of.  That would be an important dramatic step.  That would move along, I think, the peace process.  

    So, I think both sides need to be thinking more creatively.  Both sides need to not be afraid to take additional steps.  Otherwise, this process is going to bog down.  

    Other questions from the audience?  We'll go in the back there and then we'll come up front.  

    QUESTION:  Hi.  I'm Erin Dunne with the Washington Examiner.  And this question is probably for Kelsey.  

    Do you see partisan politics impeding Congress from taking some of the steps that you outlined?  And if so, do you see any possibility of overcoming that partisan divide?  

    DAVENPORT:  It's actually interesting in looking at the North Korea sort of problem set.  And we now see, actually, both Republicans and Democrats supportive of the diplomatic process.  Where I think there are differences is in how critical they are of the steps that Trump has taken to date and what they want to see going forward.  

    And this was, I think, quite evident, this kind of shared frustration and the lack of information at the SFRC hearing this week.  I think both sides were looking for more clarity about what happened at the summit, sort of what constitutes denuclearization.  

    And when it comes to certain elements of foreign policy, particularly in the sanctions space, a lot of moves there, actually, typically have been bipartisan and it's one area again, why I raise this concern about now not being the time to press for new sanctions is because when Congress sort of faces foreign provocations, typically, you get a bipartisan response to push for additional sanctions and this is–this is Iran, this is North Korea, this is Russia, to some extent.  

    So, I think that there is a way to overcome that bipartisanship or, sorry, the partisanship that frequently characterizes politics today just because there is a shared agreement that North Korea constitutes a threat that needs to be addressed, that diplomacy is kind of the best way to do it, and that Congress wants to be more engaged, they want to have a clear picture of what's going on, and they want to ensure that there is a good agreement.  

    KIMBALL:  All right.  I think we're going to have time for one more question before we adjourn.  Right here, please.  

    QUESTION:  Hi.  My name is Grace Kong, I'm an international law attorney and former State Department and my question has to do with this concept of halting bad behavior.  I like how Mark Fitzpatrick thinks of it as a ceasefire.  

    But my question has to do with the atrocity crimes that the Kim regime is committing, causing death every day.  And typically, when we think of ceasefires such as in Syria, the international community demands them because people are dying every day.  

    So, I can't help but wonder if we should think of ceasefire with respect to North Korea as demanding that they halt their crimes against humanity, against their own citizens, and actually legally, they are also South Korean citizens.  So, demanding a halt of that would be quite analogous to a ceasefire in other hot military situations.  

    KIMBALL:  OK.  You want to tackle it or I can …  

    FITZPATRICK:  I mean, that goes to the heart of the issue that is always–comes up in any discussion of North Korea's threats.  We mostly worry about the threats to us or to North Korea's neighbors and we tend to put aside for the time being the threats to their own people, hoping that it would somehow be resolved as North Korea undergoes a change.  

    And I, myself, being a nonproliferation specialist, worry more about the ability of North Korea to create mass destruction.  Now, you might say they're creating mass destruction in their own country by their human rights violations.  But first of all, the idea of stopping their inhumane behavior to their own people is probably not of the same order of stopping the production of fissile material because it really involves a wholesale change to their system.  

    And that's the outcome of the human rights part of the discussions.  And the question really is should human rights be part of the–on the agenda of what we are demanding of North Korea.  

    And the… I'm sorry to have to say, but I think the more demands you put on a country, the less likely you are to get a result, a satisfactory result.  It's kind of like, I think, when Secretary Pompeo made 12 demands of Iran, there are no priorities.  He wants a wholesale regime change in Iran.  

    And I would love a wholesale regime change in North Korea.  But I would prefer for the time being to prevent them from being able to annihilate cities elsewhere.  

    KIMBALL:  But I think we have to–we have to keep in mind that–who we're dealing with here and this is an issue that the United States and the world needs to be concerned about.  And I think, as you're saying, Mark, we have to be–we have to figure out how we address the many issues and problems that North Korea creates.  

    And I think the nuclear problem is very complex, we're just in the beginning phase.  It's my personal hope that it may open up the way towards a different relationship with North Korea.  That is part of the Singapore Summit goals and that may, in turn, help us in the community to better deal with the massive human rights problems in North Korea down the road.  

    So, I think all these things are related but I agree with Mark.  We can't deal with them all at once especially when the structure and the process for the denuclearization process is as unclear as it is today.  

    And I think just to conclude, I think some of the things that are coming out of our discussion here are that President Trump and Chairman Kim have, with their summit, established a small beachhead for progress on denuclearization and creating a peace regime.  But this is going to be a years-long process.  It's technically very complex.  

    There are many questions and choices that still have to be made, definitions that have to be written down.  We're a long way from the finish line but both sides are going to need to exert more creativity and energy in order to keep the process moving forward so that this opportunity is not lost.  

    So, I want to thank Mark and Kelsey for their–for their insights.  The Arms Control Association will remain on this case in the coming months and years along with IISS.  

    I also want to thank Tony Namkung for his very important insights on how we can move forward on the peace talks.  So, please, stay in tune with the Arms Control Association on our website, www.armscontrol.org and we will see you next time and we are adjourned.  Thanks.  

    
END
 

Posted: July 27, 2018

The Nuclear Security Summit Process and the State of the Global Nuclear Security Architecture

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Tuesday, July 17, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
National Press Club of Washington, D.C.
First Amendment Room
529 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20045

The Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) process significantly strengthened the global nuclear security architecture and brought high-level political attention to the risk posed by nuclear terrorism. The NSS pioneered the use of regular and voluntary nuclear security commitment-making by states and groups of states, leading to the creation of an effective new tool for continuously improving the nuclear security regime.

While the NSS process ended in 2016, the threat posed by nuclear terrorism remains and the nuclear security regime must continue to evolve to address it.

To discuss the contributions of the NSS process and the state of the global nuclear security architecture, the Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG) invites you to a panel discussion and reception. A new report from the Arms Control Association and the FMWG, which offers a comprehensive assessment of the national commitments states undertook as part of the process from 2010–2016, will be released at the event.

Download the full report (pdf).

Posted: July 17, 2018

PRESS TELEBRIEFING: Trump and Putin to Talk Nuclear Arms Control

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Telebriefing for Journalists
July 13, 2018
NEW TIME:
9:30 a.m. 11:00 a.m. Eastern U.S. time
Register for call-in details

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Helsinki, Finland, July 16 to discuss how to reduce tensions between the nations across a range of issues. The leaders will discuss arms control issues, including resolution of compliance disputes over the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and possible extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

On July 13 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, the Arms Control Association will hold a telebriefing for reporters on the nuclear arms control matters on the table and the outcomes we expect from the summit.

EXPERTS:

  • Thomas Countryman, former Assistant Secretary of State on International Security and Nonproliferation, and chair of the Arms Control Association board
  • Madelyn Creedon, former Deputy Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration
  • Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

    In addition, the Arms Control Association has a variety of resources and experts available to help shed light on what the two sides can achieve to reduce nuclear risks and what’s at stake if they fail to make progress.

    QUICK QUOTES:

    • “Following the NATO Summit, President Trump said the U.S. supports the goal of “no more nuclear weapons anywhere in the world.” To move from rhetoric to reality, he needs a plan to do so, starting with an agreement with Putin to extend New START, working more seriously to bring Russia back into compliance with INF, ratifying the #CTBT, followed by talks on further n-cuts w/Russia, engagement other n-armed states on disarmament."—Daryl Kimball, executive director
       
    • "Should the INF Treaty collapse and New START expire without replacement, there would be no legally-binding limits on the world’s two largest nuclear superpowers for the first time since 1972. The consequences for the effective cooperative management of nuclear risks and for nuclear nonproliferation would be severe.” —Thomas Countryman, former assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, and chair of the ACA board of directors

    ANALYSES:

    FACT SHEETS:

    The above experts and others are available in Washington for media interviews. Contact Tony Fleming, director for communications, 202-463-8270 ext 110 to schedule.

    Country Resources:

    Posted: July 13, 2018

    An End to Nuclear Testing in North Korea? The Role for Technology and Cooperation

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    Thursday, June 14, 2018
    2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    Choate Conference Room
    1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

    The recent negotiations between the United States and North Korea on nuclear disarmament have placed renewed focus on the challenges of verification of nuclear test sites and denuclearization. Organizations like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization employ science-based techniques and technologies to detect nuclear testing[1] that some have suggested could have applications to verify the dismantlement of a nuclear test site.

    In the face of current threats to global security, national and international organizations have their own roles to play to address these global challenges through cooperation and science and technology can help pave the way for greater security in the future.

    Opening Remarks

    • Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization

    Discussion

    • Mr. Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association (Moderator)
    • Ambassador Laura Kennedy, Former Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament and Former Charge of the US Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
    • Mr. Jon Wolfsthal, Nonresident Scholar, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; former senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the National Security Council
    • Ms. Alexandra Bell, Senior Policy Director, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

    Including Welcome Remarks

    • Dr. Mahlet N. Mesfin, Deputy Director, Center for Science Diplomacy, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

     

    [1] National Research Council. (2012) The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: Technical Issues for the United States. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

    _________________________________________

    Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive-Secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, opening remarks. Transcribed by Rowan Humphries. 

    Zerbo: “Thank you, I think I know everybody, it’s like a family conversation, I would say because we all know each other. So, thank you for inviting me to be here, with friends, and colleagues and former colleagues in arms control and nonproliferation and disarmament.

    Let me start by saying a quote that maybe you guys have heard or you remember: “if you don’t get the ball over the goal line, it doesn’t mean enough.” So if you remember where this is coming, we can talk about it later. But the reason why I’m saying this quote is because we are starting the World Cup today.

    As you know in the World Cup, often there is a goal and then people wonder, the referees say ‘no, it crossed the line,’ and then people say ‘no’ and then people argue, and for the first time in the history of the World Cup they have the assistance of video, to be able to decide if the ball crossed the line and if it’s a real goal.

    So I’ll tell you why I chose this. So these were the parting words of President Trump—I’m sure you guys, those of you who have listened to the press conference, you will remember—following the U.S.-DPRK summit in Singapore two days ago. So the joint statement recognized that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korea peninsula. It also commits the U.S. and the DPRK to join the effort to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean peninsula. It reaffirms North Korea’s commitment to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Peninsula. So I hope the panel will be able to enlighten many of us on this issue, on the statement and maybe on a point that came in the press conference that was not in the statement.

    In the short time since the summit there were many comments. Some find the statement to be light on detail in how to achieve the denuclearization of the peninsula. From my own perspective, I mean I know you won’t blame me, so whenever people don’t talk about CTBT when they talk about disarmament, nonproliferation, when they don’t mention it, I’m never happy. So of course, I would say it’s a pity that nothing explicit is included relating to ending nuclear testing once and for all. This is what I would have loved to see.

    But we are happy that there was a dialogue. A dialogue is much better than digging in with inflexible positions. And that’s a positive take from this meeting, and that’s why we call it a historical summit. And I’ve always maintained that engagement with North Korea should be pursued. And now the press statement came and the press takeout came and them gave a little bit more detail on what was seen or perceived as light from the statement.

    For this reason, I wish to set out, especially in the context of permanently ending nuclear testing in the DPRK, how the ball can get over the goal line, which is how I started. Getting the ball over the goal line means for me, and for many, verification. Full stop. In his press conference, President Trump stated that denuclearization would be verifiable. This is important; verifiable measures are the heart of lasting nuclear arms control.

    Although the summit experience is described as being like a movie—that’s what many of the journalists were talking about—real verification is not a show. It must be based on the best available technologies, the best expertise or the most rigorous protocols. In featuring the destruction of the Punggye-ri test site in May 24, 2018, North Korea aimed to demonstrate its commitment to ending nuclear tests. A number of outsiders, international journalists, watched from a distance—I say from a distance because they were only 500 meters and, you know, that if you can stay 500 meters from an explosion, it means that it’s not that big, and we can talk about that.

    But these people were not technical experts in any in-field or on-site inspection, I tend not to use on-site inspection because it’s the wording that kicks in when the CTBT enters into force when you talk about nuclear testing, so let me avoid this word. But they were not geophysicists who could analyze local seismic data, multispectral imaging, gamma radiation, monitoring, environmental sampling, ground penetrating rubber, or any other techniques listed, for instance in the CTBT, as applicable in the field.

    Only the CTBT, when I say “only the CTBT”—I’m not talking about much more technical means, but internationally—only the CTBT can provide adequate verification to monitor an end to nuclear tests. I insist on the word ‘tests’ because when I say ‘only the CTBT’ people take only that part and then they think I’m excluding other international organizations. That’s not what I’m saying.

    I want to take this opportunity to talk about the differences between and the complementarity—let’s use the word complementarity—we could have in working on the denuclearization process in the Korean peninsula. Of course, nuclear material, IAEA master of technology, they are the one that can deal with it making sure that nobody crosses the line towards the military aspect of nuclear energy. But when somebody crosses that line and gets to a point where he does tests, there is no other international framework to monitor nuclear testing than the CTBT, and one can argue that we only monitor to verify whether it’s a test or not. It is true that that’s what we do. But if you want to characterize what’s happening on the test, before or after, or during, I mean what best than the technology and the expertise that we have, and we can comment on this.

    So that’s why I say that only the CTBT can do that, but the CTBT will do that in the overall process when we bring that little part of contribution that we have in the big field of expertise that could come from the IAEA and any other international organizations or even much more technical means, for that matter. So, especially when we talk about test-site closure, the CTBT can offer key operation verification tasks, such as site characterization, surveying, sampling, documentation as well, let’s not forget that, because we have expertise in documentation of on-site inspection activities, and providing a baseline for the current state of the site. Site-closure verification in line with agreed protocols.

    Off-site closures as well, and dismantlement verification, including periodic site visits to compare to the baseline, along with ongoing local video and seismic monitoring. And of course, ongoing what we always do, remote monitoring, that’s our job. This is what the CTBT is capable of doing. As you all know, the treaty is not in force yet, and that’s why I say we don’t talk about on-site inspection. What I’m insisting on is how the expertise and the technology that we have can serve the international community in verifying any agreement related to the closing of a test site. That’s all that we talk about.

    I’m not talking about the CTBT carrying out an on-site inspection. What I’m talking about is the CTBT contributing with its expertise and technology and the capability to serve the purpose of verifying the permanent closure of the test site and contributing as well to maybe forensic studies, because some of the things that we do go far beyond just nuclear testing monitoring and then knowing whether it’s a nuclear test or not.

    So why don’t we use it? You ask us, you ask all international organizations, to be cost effective. Do you want to go and create another organizational framework where you use this technology, the same technology, to do what we can do and the expertise that we have? And this is what we talk about, nothing else. Of course, when you talk about denuclearization, the first name that comes, it’s the IAEA. Yes, the IAEA does a lot, and the IAEA will always do a lot and they’ll always do a great job. But in that process to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, when you talk about testing, please don’t forget the CTBT, as it is going to do it.

    If it doesn’t play the role as the CTBT’s played the role as the organizational framework that has the expertise and the capability to do so and the equipment as well. And this you shouldn’t forget because you are paying for all international organizations to have the capability, please use it.

    You may say you have your own national technological means here. Of course not many, but a few countries have the national technical means for doing so. But the national technical means will not give the legitimacy and the credibility that is needed internationally to say ‘this country has done this’ and ‘this country is saying this.’ But when an international body is bringing that expertise, there is trust. And that’s what we need now, in this multilateral diplomacy. Because there is a deficit of trust, and to deal with that deficit of trust, let’s use international bodies who can help do that.

    So, science is there, science often has one logical way of addressing issues. Because when you are in science, they say 1+1, it’s often 2. But sometimes people say 3, and then they want to explain why it’s 3. But in diplomacy, 1+1 is never 2. That’s a problem, it’s 3,5, and then they tell you why it’s not 2. And that’s the difference between science that we are dealing with, and diplomacy, as it’s known especially in arms control.

    At least that’s what I’ve learned. And I’ve learned it the hard way, and I say the hard way because it hasn’t been easy. And that’s why because it hasn’t been easy, I try to keep that optimism that some, you know, many people that I respect a lot in this field they tell me, ‘we don’t share that optimism that you have Lassina.’ And I say ‘yes, but you won’t change me, because I’ll always remain optimistic on this issue.’

    If you’re not, your [inaudible] will stop and say, ‘we forget the CTBT.’ And we might forget the CTBT, but at this particular time, what I’m talking about is not to lose the opportunity about the technology that makes the CTBT. The technology is important, and it’s the technology that could help people be confident and then trust that this treaty is verifiable. Even if they are not ready today, it might create the condition for them to be ready one day, and that’s why we should focus on the technical aspect of the CTBT, the technical contribution that we can bring, to get more ground and more room to convince people that with the technology, we have to get the treaty. We can also make the decision that the treaty is not longer up to date, no longer valid in this 21st century, but that is a question that is beyond my paycheck. My paycheck is to link this treaty with the technical ground, and then see how the technical ground can help move things forward. And that’s what I’m trying to do, and that’s why I’m happy that you guys, experts from arms control, former ambassador Laura Kennedy, Alex Bell and many of you here who that have worked who are here not to help the CTBT, but to help the relevance of the technologies that are needed to deal with the Korean peninsula issue.

    So, speaking about the best possible outcome on the negotiation, President Trump has said, ‘the prize I want is victory for the world.’ That’s great. In addition to preventing nuclear tests and deescalating the political and security situation in East Asia, the DPRK adherence to the CTBT would be an important milestone towards its entry into force. Because if we can’t put the CTBT on the table, for the DPRK to at least be like the U.S.—sign the treaty— how do you want me to run around and then tell India and Pakistan, and Egypt and Iran, and Israel, to ratify. India and Pakistan would tell me, ‘what’s your problem, we have a voluntarily moratorium anyway, we don’t need to ratify.’ And they will say, ‘oh but why didn’t you manage to get the DPRK to ratify?’ Somebody would say ‘Clearly, I am closing my test site.’ You don’t put that on the table, they won’t listen to me anymore.

    So we are basically putting the treaty at risk, and that’s what we shouldn’t do. The point that I was making is, the treaty should come on the table of the DPRK. They might say ‘no, it doesn’t matter,’ but if we don’t bring it, we won’t be able to justify to any other person or any other Annex 2 countries that the ratification is important. And this is why bringing the CTBT, and bringing the DPRK to sign, at least, the CTBT is what the victory for the world would be, the same victory that President Trump is talking about. Thank you.”

    Posted: June 14, 2018

    Press Briefings on U.S.-North Korean Summit Outcomes

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    Briefing following the close of negotiations in Singapore - Press Only

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    The Arms Control Association was pleased to convene two telebriefings following the close of the U.S.-North Korean summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. 

    Recordings of the two telebriefings are available to accredited journalists upon request. Contact Tony Fleming, director for communications, to inquire.

    On June 12, 2018, we invited an immediate analysis to the joint statement from

    • Ambassador Bill Richardson, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
    • Governor Gary Locke, former U.S. Ambassador to China
    • Thomas Countryman, former Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation 
    • Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association

    The following morning, we invited reactions and perspectives by

    • Thomas Countryman, former Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation 
    • Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association 
    • Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association 

    Negotiating a denuclearization agreement will be a long-term, complex process. It will be critical for the two leaders to have created a framework for sustained talks and avoid pitfalls that disrupted past diplomatic efforts and risk putting the United States and North Korea back on the path of confrontation.

    Country Resources:

    Subject Resources:

    Posted: June 13, 2018

    National Members Call: The Future of the Iran Deal and the U.S-North Korea Summit

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    Join Arms Control Association Executive Director Daryl Kimball and Director for Nonproliferation Policy Kelsey Davenport for a members-only briefing on the future of the Iran Deal and the upcoming U.S.-North Korea Summit.

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    The Trump administration is moving to reimpose sanctions on Iran and any U.S. or foreign businesses that continue to do business with the country in defiant violation of the 2015 nuclear deal. 

    The Trump administration’s vision of a “better deal” with Iran, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described in speaking at the Heritage Foundation today, is like a mirage in the desert—it may look good, but it is not real and there is no path to get there.

    And by trying to, the United States only risks the deal at hand.

    Trump’s actions could open the door for Iran to expand its nuclear capabilities, leading to a new proliferation crisis and an arms race in the Middle East. Worse still, his decision to violate the Iran deal could undermine the negotiations and change the outcomes at next month's historic summit between the United States and North Korea.

    Join Arms Control Association Executive Director Daryl Kimball and Director for Nonproliferation Policy Kelsey Davenport for a members-only briefing on these developments.

    This is your opportunity to engage directly with our national staff and ask what we can expect over the next few months and what these decisions mean for the United States, Iran, North Korea, and the rest of the world.

    MEMBERS: Check your email for a custom registration link. 
    NON-MEMBERS: Join today to receive your registration link and access code. 

    Country Resources:

    Posted: May 23, 2018

    "Progressive Measures to Prevent a New Nuclear Arms Race": Side Event at 2018 NPT PrepCom

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    “Progressive Measures to Prevent a New Nuclear Arms Race”

    Side event at the Second Preparatory Committee Meeting for the 2020 NPT Review Conference

    Date: May 3, 2018

    Time: 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

    Conference Room XVI in the Palais de Nations

    The Arms Control Association invites you to join us for a briefing and discussion on a common strategy to address key challenges to the NPT regime, including: the accelerating U.S.-Russian arms race and uncertain future of key bilateral nuclear arms reduction agreements; North Korean nuclear and missile testing; and U.S. threats to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, through effective measures to advance key disarmament-related goals and objectives of the treaty, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

    Panelists:

    Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association

    Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

    Opening remarks from:

    Jamie Walsh, deputy director for disarmament and nonproliferation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ireland

    Posted: May 3, 2018

    2018 Arms Control Association Annual Meeting

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    The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at 50:
    Strengthening and Reinforcing the Regime

    Thursday, April 19, 2018 · 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
    1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC

    THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR SPEAKERS, PARTICIPANTS, AND ATTENDEES. AUDIO, VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPTS OF EACH SEGMENT IS AVAILABLE BELOW.

    As we approach the 50th anniversary of the landmark nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), a number of critical decisions are expected to impact the global nonproliferation regime.

    The 2018 Arms Control Association Annual Meeting will bring together members and colleagues in the field, journalists, U.S. and international officials, and prominent experts and policymakers to discuss the future of the NPT and today’s most important weapons-related security threats.

    PROGRAM

    9:00 a.m.

    Welcome

    Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director
    Arms Control Association

    9:15 a.m.

    Award Presentation

    Presentation of the 2017 “Arms Control Persons of the Year” Award
    Representatives of the Core Group of Negotiators for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

    9:45 a.m.

    Keynote Address

    "Successes, Challenges, Steps Forward for the NPT Regime"

    Jackie O’Halloran Bernstein, Ireland's Director for Disarmament and Nonproliferation, Government of Ireland

    10:30 a.m.

    Morning Panel

    "The Future of the NPT: Initiatives to Strengthen the Regime"

    Ambassador Lewis Dunn, former U.S. representative to the 1985 NPT Review Conference

    Ambassador Dell Higgie, New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament

    Andrea Hall, Senior Director for WMD and Counterproliferation, National Security Council

    Moderated by Thomas Countryman, chair of the Arms Control Association board of directors

    11:45 a.m.

    Buffet Luncheon 

    12:10 p.m.

    Lunch Keynote Address

    "Resolving the North Korean Nuclear Crisis"

    Governor Bill Richardson, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Ambassador to the United Nations

    Moderated by Carol Morello, diplomatic correspondent, The Washington Post

    1:15 p.m

    Afternoon Panel

    "Overcoming the Impasse on U.S. and Russian Arms Control"

    Dr. Olga Oliker, Senior Adviser and Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

    Anita Friedt, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Department of State

    Richard Fieldhouse, former Professional Staff Member, Senate Armed Services Committee

    Moderated by Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy, Arms Control Association

    2:15 p.m.

    Concluding Panel

    "Building on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action"

    Ambassador Laura Holgate, former U.S. Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency

    Elizabeth Rosenberg, Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.

    Moderated by Daryl Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association

    3:00 p.m.

    Closing

    Thomas Countryman, Chair
    Arms Control Association Board of Directors

     

    Our work depends on your support. We thank everyone who attended the meeting, and we greatly appreciate our sponsors for their generous contributions:

    Event Sponsors:
    William R. "Russ" Colvin

    Tables Sponsors:
    American Evangelicals for Peace, Culmen International LLC, Deborah Gordon, Religions for Peace & Evangelicals for Social Action, Larry Weiler, Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)

    Individual Sponsors:Andrew Weber
    Phineas Anderson, Susan Burk, Pedro Cruz, Gregory Govan, Milton Hoenig, Joseph Kerr, Michael Klare, Terri Lodge, Philip Padgett, Markley Roberts

    TRANSCRIPT

    Welcome
    Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director
    Arms Control Association

    KIMBALL: Good morning. All right, we're going to get our program started this morning. I am Daryl Kimball. I am the executive director of the Arms Control Association. Welcome to the 2018 Arms Control Association annual meeting.

    As most of you know, our members and friends, we're an independent nonpartisan membership organization established in 1971 and we're dedicated to reducing and eliminating the threats post by the world's most dangerous weapons, nuclear, chemical, biological and certain conventional weapons that pose particular risk to civilians. And you can find out more about the Arms Control Association, its history, its on-going work, our Board of Directors’ chairman, Thomas Countryman, as well as our resources on all of these different issues in the program that is outside. If you didn't get one, please grab one at the break. We're very pleased to see so many of our members, our friends, colleagues from the diplomatic community and journalists here today. As you can see we have a capacity crowd. I think everyone has been able to find a seat. If you need to find a seat or if you need something, please just check with one of our staff members who are running around the conference here today.

    Also, try to keep your lanyard on your neck if you can so that we don't try to throw you out. We have had a number of people asking to come in and we've been at over capacity, so we have had to turn a few people away. We'll be nice about it though.

    So, also before we get started, let me just invite you to engage in a conversation on the social media using the #ArmsControl18 and please don't forget to silence your cell phones. And we hope as you engage in social media that you share your thoughts and about the conversation today with our speakers on the issues.

    Now, as you can see from the program, I think we have a very high quality and timely set of topics that we're going to cover. We've got a fantastic set of speakers. And with the 50th anniversary of the opening for signature of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty approaching on July 1, we wanted to focus this conference on some of the critical decisions facing the global nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament regime.

    And, you know, the—the world of arms control these days doesn't look all that bright, but we have to remember that, in the five decades since the NPT was negotiated, tremendous progress has been achieved to curb the spread of nuclear weapons, reduce stockpiles, prohibit nuclear testing, and create nuclear-weapons-free zones, among other things.

    And the work of the original group of NPT negotiators includes Bill Foster, William Foster, who was the Director of the Arms Control Disarmament Agency and later the first chair of the Arms Control Association when it was established, as well as people like Larry Weiler who will be joining us later here today. They have a lot to be proud of and we're honored that Larry Weiler and many of you who have been part of the—the work over the years advancing the NPT are here with us.

    Now, there have been lost opportunities to advance the treaty's objectives, new threats have emerged and—and what we'll be talking about today are some of those challenges. Progress on key disarmament steps is stalled. U.S. relations are at an historic low and the future of some key nuclear arms control agreements is in doubt, the U.S. and Russia are not currently engaged in direct talks on strategic stability or further reductions or even the on-going dispute about the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

    And as we and a number of other prestigious arms control experts and practitioners warned in the statement issued this week, if Presidents Trump and Putin don't agree to extend the New START Treaty by five years, there will be no limits on the world's two largest arsenals since the first time—for the first time since 1972. We'll talk more about that later today.

    And, of course, the key nonproliferation breakthrough, the Iran Nuclear Deal of 2015, is in jeopardy because of the Trump administration's threat to withdraw. We'll be talking with that later today. And if Presidents Trump and Moon do not seize upon—Moon Jae-in, do not seize upon the opportunity presented by their summits with Kim Jong Un, then North Korea could further advance its dangerous nuclear and missile programs.

    So, you know, what we will be talking about here today are these challenges, but also solutions. And just to end this introduction with a quote from UN Secretary-General Guterres who spoke to the Conference of Disarmament earlier this year. He said, "The challenges are enormous, but history shows that it's been possible to reach agreement on disarmament and arms control even at the most difficult moments. We need to break out of the business of usual approach and come together on some forward-looking initiatives to guard against the further erosion of the global disarmament and nonproliferation architecture.

    So today's conference or conversation is designed to foster discussion and creative thinking along these lines. I can't promise you it will be uplifting, but we hope you'll find it stimulating and helpful.

    Presentation of the 2017 “Arms Control Persons of the Year” Award
    Representatives of the Core Group of Negotiators for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons


    KIMBALL: We wanted to start today's program on a positive note by recognizing some of the key individuals and governments who have come forward over the past few years with creative and bold initiatives to advance effective measures leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons. Each year, for the past 10 years, the Arms Control Association has tried to raise awareness about the good works of key individuals and institutions who have in various ways taken action to reduce and eliminate weapons-related security risks.

    We have our staff and our board nominate several individuals and institutions whose work has been particularly important in the previous year through our arms control person of the year award, not exactly the Nobel Prize–Peace Prize yet, but it is gaining in stature. We have put these nominations forward at the end of the year and then we put it to an online vote, a little bit more democratic perhaps than the Nobel Peace Prize, and the top vote-getter becomes the Arms Control Person or Persons of the Year.

    And we're very pleased today to have with us representatives of the seven co-recipients of the 2017 Arms Control Persons of the Year Award, and they are the diplomats in the disarmament delegations of Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa and Ambassador Elayne Gomez Whyte of Costa Rica for their efforts to secure the historic 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

    And we're very pleased to have some of the principals from the core group of negotiators and representatives of the other disarmament teams with us here today. And so I would like to ask each of them to come up here on stage beginning with George-Wilhelm Gallhofer, Counsellor of the Mission of Austria to the United Nations, Mr. Christian Vargas, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Brazilian Embassy to Washington, if you’d just come on down here, Ireland's Director of Disarmament and Nonproliferation, Ms. Jackie O'Halloran Bernstein who's here with us all the way from Dublin where she tells me the weather is nicer than it is here in Washington, Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco of Mexico, who was Mexico's Disarmament Ambassador and is now the ambassador to the Organization of American States enjoying our weather here in Washington. We also have New Zealand's Ambassador for Disarmament, Dell Higgie and we also have, last but not the least, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica, President of the Prohibition Treaty for–on Nuclear Weapons.

    And I'd also just like to recognize Costa Rica's ambassador to the United States who is here with us for this portion of our meeting despite the fact that your vice president is here in town, very busy day for Costa Rica. Unfortunately, our representative from South Africa was unable to attend due to their preparations for Winnie Mandela's memorial services which are continuing through the next couple of weeks.

    And I would just note that we had this past year more than 2,500 individuals from over 90 countries voting in our Arms Control Person of the Year contest, the highest number and the broadest amount of representation in the 10-year history of the contest.

    So, Kelly and Shervin will present the awards and we'll try to keep them in order. And then we're going to take a photo.

    KIMBALL: Please join me in congratulating them all.

    (APPLAUSE)

    KIMBALL: Very good. And let me just note also that in a year marked by rising tensions, 2017, between nuclear armed states and the breakdown of other important arms control initiatives, the successful negotiation of the prohibition treaty of nuclear weapons really does stand out as a historic achievement that has changed the conversation about nuclear weapons by refocusing attention on the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons and nuclear war, and it has reinforced the commitment of the world's nonnuclear weapon state majority to the elimination of nuclear weapons and holds a promise of helping to delegitimize nuclear weapons and strengthen the political and legal norm against their use. So, once again, please join me in congratulating them all.

    (APPLAUSE)

    And we have about 25 minutes for an informal discussion with our winners, our award recipients about the negotiations and the significance of the treaty. Why don't you all have a seat and we will have a microphone that we'll pass amongst you as we have this discussion.

    Great, all right. So, thanks again for–for being here and congratulations. And so we wanted to just take some time, since we have so many of you here with us today, to explore a bit more about the significance of the treaty, the efforts to achieve the treaty through the negotiations which formally took place last year, but the process began much earlier, and about the next steps.

    And I wanted to start out by asking Ambassador Lomónaco and maybe George-Wilhelm what you think were some of the key motivating factors for the very pursuit of the prohibition treaty following the 2010 NPT Review Conference. So, maybe Ambassador Lomónaco, you could start out. Thank you.

    LOMONACO: Thank you. And I know that you want to keep it short, but I wanted to say how honored I am and how happy I am here to see Tom Countryman who was a colleague and a friend. We often disagreed, but I always respected him. Is it working?

    KIMBALL: Yeah, just hold it a little closer.

    LOMONACO: Yes. So, it's good to see you, Tom. Well, clearly, the 2010 Review Conference was the first time in which we recognized collectively the humanitarian consequences of a single nuclear detonation and that was the starting point of a major conceptual shift in how we perceive and how we should go about into disarmament. And that was a seed that was planted many years ago that led to the conviction that a prohibition would have to take place before anything else.

    KIMBALL: Great, that was wonderfully brief and direct. George-Wilhelm Gallhofer, do you have any other thoughts on the origins of this? Austria, of course, played a key role in organizing the third humanitarian conference in Vienna.

    GALLHOFER: Absolutely. I have to say that was a very nice encapsulation. It was that shift away from the sort of purely security-focused approach back to the actual consequences of nuclear weapons, so away from something which is sort of more about the global strategic notion to the actual personal level. I think that coupled with the actual impressive–impressively larger risks that existed and that were inherent in nuclear weapons I think came out very strongly out of the humanitarian conferences and even for some of us who have been dealing with this area, the… the actual findings were much more dramatic, if you like, than any of us thought.

    So, that really gave us strong impetus that then led to the further steps including the humanitarian statement and the pledge. You saw how strong that impetus was by just how many countries, you know, no matter where they are today on the TPNW, but you have 159 countries signing up to the humanitarian statement. So, it was really something that was so striking that the largest majority really of the United Nations agreed with that.

    KIMBALL: Ambassador Higgie, do you have additional thoughts on this question, on the origins of what led to the negotiation or anyone else on the stage?

    HIGGIE: I think the only thing I'd add, Daryl was it was also a reflection of our concern that the international humanitarian law factors weren't properly taken account of in the status quo. We wanted to make it clear our view about the incompatibility of any use of nuclear weapons with IHL and I think that is reinforced and brought out in the treaty.

    KIMBALL: All right, anyone else, Jackie Bernstein?

    BERNSTEIN: Thank you. Yes, I would just add very briefly that I also think the position taken by the International Committee of the Red Cross was very influential. Particularly their work which showed that there is no existing response capacity that can deal with the aftermath of a nuclear weapons detonation, that was a very powerful finding and I think along, you know, with what the others have said, the work that was done around risk, showing that the risks are far higher than had been thought, that was also very influential for us because that brought it home to us in terms of our own security and just looking at it as a security question that the risks were so high that we did feel that something needed to be done. Thank you.

    KIMBALL: All right, Ambassador Whyte Gomez, I wanted to turn to you as the person who shepherded the negotiations in 2017 to tell us what you thought in your view, from your perspective might… the key turning points in the negotiation might have been. And as we just heard, the origins of this go back further, but 2017 was the key year with the two conferences, so your thoughts on some of the key diplomatic turning points in the negotiation.

    GOMEZ: Thank you, Daryl. And thank you, for me, this is also an honor to be here and to be sharing this stage with my colleagues with whom we shared very long nights and many concerns and we feel brothers and sisters in blood after this.

    I'd also like to mention usually an aspect that we are not usually taking into consideration which is the fact that the international community within the UN system had been able to achieve consensus on two major issues that concern humanity -climate change and also the development agenda, Trust 2030.

    I think it was only–it was only natural that the international community was also ready to embark on negotiations to address the other great challenge for humanity which is nuclear weapons. And I think when the conference started and the preparation process started, I felt that I had inherited and had put into my hands a very precious jewel that has been crafted by many delegations and individuals that had a very strong commitment and that had built this very important political movement towards the ban treaty.

    Therefore I think it was very… it was fundamental that the conference started with a sense of confidence that we could achieve the objective and the challenge of negotiating and finishing the text by July 7th, because the other perspective of extending the negotiation towards another year was not actually a very realistic future.

    So, I think the very first step in creating this confidence was being able to overcome all the procedural aspects that hindered many conferences to start negotiations of substance at the very beginning. I think from my point of view, that is when I felt, okay, we are on the right track.

    So, after we were able to agree on this… ––overcome the procedural matters, yet another sense of ownership and confidence and constructive environment was created when we were able to engage very constructively with academia, with scholars and with civil society in general. I think that was a very important factor in combining science, facts, expertise with the very deep conviction that was in all delegations that we had to complete the task.

    Needless to say how important it was to have among us the survivors of atomic bombings. When we were looking into their eyes, every single day, we knew that we could not fail. So, I would say those were–the first day of the conference was–was a very important point and of course there were some specific topics that were very difficult to negotiate and I don't want to monopolize on this, but I would say deep conviction, a good combination between science, facts, and constructive energy, ownership and we would say democratization in the process.

    KIMBALL: Thank you. I know Ambassador Lomonaco, you had some thoughts about the key turning points in the negotiations.

    LOMONACO: Well, you, you know as a diplomat you always… you believe that the day you are living is the most important one. And you can argue that it was the last day or the first day or whatever, but in retrospect, you get a sense of distance. And to me, the turning point was not during the conference. It was the year before, the open-ended working group. By May, the second session in May when we realized that we had the majority to move forward. And that was a turning point in my view because up until then the aspiration of a ban treaty was shared by a handful of delegations. The majority of the NAM [non-aligned movement] countries were not convinced, but they wanted to pursue a prohibition. They were still committed to a comprehensive convention and–and they were not really convinced that the prohibition was the best way.

    Then suddenly, for many reasons that I could spend hours explaining, they realized first that the prohibition, that a prohibition was not inconsistent with the comprehensive convention and that a comprehensive convention approach made life much easier to nuclear possessor state because it is such a long-standing, long-term aspiration that it was almost impossible. Therefore by pursuing a comprehensive convention, non-nuclear weapon states were in essence, resigned to wait for many decades while the prohibition was fruit that can be harvested pretty soon. To me, that was a turning point because when you had all the NAM with you, you have the votes, you can move forward.

    KIMBALL: Very interesting. Well, I wanted to ask another question that sort of relates to that. The way you're describing it makes the prohibition treaty, in comparison to a comprehensive convention, sound like an interim step. So, the other thing I wanted to ask and maybe Ambassador Higgie, you can start with this is, you know, what as a non-nuclear weapon state that's been involved in the NPT regime for decades, you know, do you see as the main value of the prohibition treaty reducing and eliminating the risks of nuclear weapons and contributing to the realization of the goals of the NPT, the goals and objectives of the NPT itself?

    HIGGIE: Well, I do see the prohibition treaty as fully consistent with the NPT, above all of course in advancing Article 6 of the NPT. Maybe you can say that the prohibition treaty isn't fully focused on reducing the risk, but I'd like to make the point that all our countries here are engaged in other issues. We're not all just one dog wonders. We carry on promoting interim measures including specifically, in New Zealand's case as part of the de-alerting group, so we push for a lowered operational status of nuclear weapons and a full range of other, you know, things that advance risk reduction.

    But the prohibition treaty does have, I think also a part to play in this in the sense that it helps delegitimize, that helps lower the attractiveness to would be proliferators of nuclear weapons. So, I think it's a facet, but of course, it's the broad spectrum of initiatives we all continue promoting. Not, I have to say, with a huge degree of success in the NPT process itself.

    KIMBALL: Well, thank you, and we're going to get into this question further in the panel that will come later this morning that you will be speaking on along with Lew Dunn and Andrea Hall from the National Security Council. Others would like to address that question of how the prohibition treaty contributes to reducing risks and relates to the NPT, anyone else want to or did Dell say everything that needs to be said? Yes, George-Wilhelm.

    GALLHOFER: Maybe just one aspect which is, of course, the element of safeguards where if you look at the provisions of the TPNW, we've actually gone beyond the NPT in terms of the safeguard standards that are required. We don't just require CSAs [comprehensive safeguard agreements], we require the standard–the highest standard that if we keep in place the highest standard to be upheld with the TPNW which for most countries is the additional protocol. And we also require joining nuclear possessor states to also have safeguards in place for their nuclear material, so we actually are increasing the nuclear security side as well through the TPNW.

    KIMBALL: Great. Now, one question I didn't clue you in on that I would ask–that I wanted to ask and–and maybe this is a question for Ambassador Whyte Gomez and perhaps others is this was an unusual negotiation in that there was substantial participation by non-governmental organizations and experts and you mentioned this just a few minutes ago.

    How did that change the dynamics of the–the deliberations and how did it, you know, contribute to the eventual outcome, because we don't see this in other–most other Arms Control and nonproliferation negotiations?

    GOMEZ: Well I think it's an expression of this, of a new expression of multilateralism that takes every resource available including the expertise that is out there in academia, in civil society, organizations in general. We as government experts in governments in general, we cannot claim to have every single detail of the knowledge that's out there. I think it was a very good way to complement different knowledge and skills. But I think it was particularly interesting and important for–especially for small countries and small delegations.

    They don't have the human resources that can be devoted specifically to one single issue. So, having the resources of so many organizations, of so many experts really helped to empower many delegations that did have a very good contribution in the negotiations. I think it's one way of leveling the playing field in negotiations that can be very difficult and very technical, and that at the same time need to engage every single layer of players.

    KIMBALL: Great. Any other thoughts on that question, Ambassador Lomonaco?

    LOMONACO: Not on that question, but if I may on the interim qualification that you applied to the treaty. And I think this is a very important discussion that I assume would be addressed by the next panel, but I wanted to leave behind some reflections on that.

    Rather than considering it as an interim measure, the way I'd like to think of a world free of nuclear weapons is a puzzle where you have to have different pieces. We have a big one already in place which is the NPT, possibly the most important one. But with the NPT, the world is not free of nuclear weapons. You need additional measures, additional elements to the puzzle.

    The prohibition is one additional piece to that puzzle, but it doesn't fulfill in its entirety the whole range of measures that are required. So, we need to keep working and we need to keep adding pieces to that puzzle so that the world is finally free of nuclear weapons. That's the way I see the contribution of the prohibition. It's one big contribution, but it's not an end in itself, it's not the end of the job that we need to do collectively.

    KIMBALL: That's an excellent–a better way of putting it, an excellent point. And it just reminds me of how you all dealt with the provision regarding an entity to verify disarmament eventually. You couldn't design it now. That requires the participation of the nuclear-armed states, but there's a framework there and that's yet another step that would have to be pursued.

    Well, the last basic question I wanted to ask is, what's next? There is life after the Arms Control Person of the Year Award, you guys have more work to do. There is now–there are a number of signatures, we’re approaching I think well over 60 now, maybe more, my number might be off, additional ratifications. But more broadly, what do you all see as the next goals for the supporters of the prohibition treaty on nuclear weapons?

    Jackie Bernstein, maybe others want to speak to this.

    BERNSTEIN: Thanks very much, Daryl. The getting the signatories and particularly the 50 ratifications that will bring the treaty into force is very much our focus at the moment. We very much want the treaty to come into force as soon as it can so that the meeting of states parties can take place and the institutions of the treaty can, you know, get up and running.

    Because as you said, you know, the treaty is a first step and obviously getting it into force, getting the institutions up and running, encouraging as many states as possible to join it, that's very much where our focus is at the moment. Thank you.

    KIMBALL: Ambassador Lomonaco, your thoughts on this?

    LOMONACO: I do. I'm really concerned about this review cycle of the NPT. Let me tell you why. I think we could expend the next three years are left, two years, two years and a half, one side defending on the treaty, the other side attacking the treaty and do nothing. Or we can acknowledge that we have a treaty and move on and try to find a common agenda in which we can work on.

    And as a matter of fact, I'm happy to embrace the agenda that was put forward by the progressive approach group of countries that was presented in the open-ended working group as an alternative to the ban treaty. We always supported that agenda, but not as an alternative. It didn't have to be either/or. Now, we have a treaty. We can work on that agenda if that serves the purpose of moving forward even if that was not necessarily our first priority back then, it can be our priority and it can be a common agenda that we can work on, so that we can keep moving forward rather than stalling behind the blame game and defending and protecting or attacking the treaty.

    KIMBALL: All right. Ambassador Higgie, your thoughts on what's next.

    HIGGIE: Well, I think Jackie has put it very well and I just add a postscript from New Zealand's perspective, some of my colleagues here, their countries have already ratified the treaty, New Zealand has not yet. My Prime Minister has announced that we will be shortly, so in my country's case, we are doing all our domestic processes in the lead up to securing ratification. So, that's where back home I'm focused on.

    KIMBALL: Very good. George-Wilhelm Gallhofer, Austria just did something in this regard?

    GALLHOFER: Yes indeed. Our President signed yesterday in our parliament, both chambers ratified unanimously, so now I would just need to count the signatures to the Prime Minister and then we shall be able to deposit it very… this thing very soon, so in the next weeks, I presume.

    But just to pick up on I think the–the very good points made previously, I think one–one sort of task also to set ourselves is to also engage with criticism and to sort of show what the intentions and what the functioning of the treaty actually looks like because there's a lot of criticism, of course, going around now also because it's a new treaty and, you know, things have to be understood and prohibitions have to be properly interpreted. So, that's also one task we set ourselves to engage, to discuss and to sort of show how the treaty would work, how it fits in and where it fits in the institutional architecture and to embed it there more strongly.

    KIMBALL: Great. Well, we hope to help facilitate high-quality discussion about it so that there could be a better understanding which is one reason why you're with us here today. Mr. Vargas, your views on what's next.

    VARGAS: Yes, thank you very much.

    KIMBALL: Brazil was amongst I think the first to sign.

    VARGAS: Thank you very much, yeah, it's true. Now, first of all, let me just say a word of recognition to our delegation, to our desired delegation. And unfortunately, Ambassador Patriota vote with negotiations couldn't make it. He's in Geneva. He's our ambassador in Geneva. He couldn't make it here. I am here representing Brazil.

    In Brazil, as you said, Brazil was the first country to sign–to sign the treaty in New York and President Temer is working hard on having it ratified before the end of the year which is the end of his term. He's already sent it to Congress and committed to having it ratified before the end of the year.

    KIMBALL: Wonderful, all right. And I just wanted to give Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez the last word on what's next.

    GOMEZ: Thank you. I think I would like to build on an expression that you mentioned that there is life after the Arms Control Person of the Year Award and there is life of course after the treaties and negotiation, but most of all, you see countries that I usually mention, we are responsible citizens of the world. We have legal obligations in different regimes. They are part of this puzzle that Ambassador Lomonaco was mentioning, that we have a big puzzle with different components and we all are engaged in making those components of the architecture to work better and to function better to be more effective in the… in complying with the objectives.

    So, you will see countries that have put all of our energies into seeing the prohibition treaty become a reality, but you will also see these countries putting all of our energy and all of our efforts to see the rest of the architecture as well, function and be as effective as possible. So, historically, every progress has been achieved by individuals or societies that being aware of, while confronted with their specific challenges have decided to embark on the path of progress by means of increasing research, by means of developing new norms, by means of developing political movements to address each moment important challenges.

    This spirit, human spirit was present in this process. This is a group of countries that decided to take into our hands our own responsibility, not wait for the others to come forth but to take our own agency and to take our own responsibility. In here, we have the result as I said and as Ambassador Lomonaco has mentioned, it is part of the overall architecture and we need the overall architecture to be strengthened altogether. Thank you.

    KIMBALL: Thank you. That's very eloquent, I can understand better why you were chosen to be the president of the conference. I want to thank all of you for being here and I want to, on behalf of the Arms Control Association and the arms control and disarmament and nonproliferation community, thank you for your past work and your future work. It's an honor to have you all here with us. Please join me once again in congratulating our Arms Control Person of the Year winners.

    Morning Keynote Address
    "Successes, Challenges, Steps Forward for the NPT Regime"

    Jackie O’Halloran Bernstein, Ireland's Director for Disarmament and Nonproliferation, Government of Ireland

    KIMBALL: We are very pleased and honored to have with us here Ireland's Director for Disarmament and Nonproliferation, Jackie O'Halloran Bernstein.

    As you all know, Ireland has played a leading role in the global disarmament and nonproliferation regime over the years. Ireland was not only one of the key players in the Prohibition Treaty negotiations, but Ireland helped catalyze the work towards the NPT itself with its 1958 UN Resolution proposing to prohibit the further dissemination of nuclear weapons.

    So, as I said earlier, we can't take the NPT for granted. And just in the couple of weeks as we heard the representatives of the states parties at NPT are going to gather in Geneva for the Preparatory Committee meeting, the next one for the 2020 review conference.

    So, I've asked Jackie to share her views and her government's views on the successes and shortcomings of the NPT over the years, the challenges facing the disarmament and non-proliferation enterprise and the Irish government's recommendations of how we can move forward next.

    So, thank you very much for being here.

    And then afterwards we'll take a few questions from the audience.

    O'HALLORAN BERNSTEIN: Thank you very much, Daryl.

    And thank you so much for inviting me here today to speak on behalf of Ireland and also the fellow recipients of the 2017 Arms Control Person of the Year Award.

    Distinguished guests, I'm deeply honored that Ireland has been asked on behalf of the delegations of Austria, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa and our Chairwoman Elayne Whyte Gomez to deliver this keynote address today.

    The theme for our meeting, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at 50, Strengthening and Reinforcing the Regime offers a timely chance for reflection and for dialogue, ahead of the opening next week of the second Preparatory Committee of the NPT's 2020 Review Cycle.

    Fifty years on from the opening for signature of the NPT there are indeed many reasons to celebrate, not least the continued salience and importance of the treaty. And now, the addition of a new and exciting legal instrument which will make a strong contribution to the NPT's Article VI, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

    I'd like to thank the Arms Control Association for nominating our group of delegations and Chairperson Elayne Whyte Gomez for the award. And I'd also like to thank those who voted for us for their support and to the mark of trust which they've placed in the treaty, its purposes, and objectives.

    I'd also like to mention here the other delegations who participated in what was a remarkably open, collaborative and collegial process with a determination to reach a successful conclusion. I think as indeed our chairperson mentioned that there were many different voices heard at those negotiations, and voices that are not often heard at the United Nations are in multilateral disarmament discussions. In particular, we heard the voices of the hibakusha and of the survivors of nuclear testing.

    The treaty which resulted from this process is truly groundbreaking. Not only in its prohibitions on the weapons but also in its acknowledgment of the role of the hibakusha, of its provisions, for its provisions on victim assistance and cooperation and on the environment, and also for including commitments in relation to disarmament education and the full and equal participation of men and women in the work of the treaty.

    In 1958, when Ireland's then-foreign minister Frank Aiken introduced to the United Nations the first of the Irish resolutions which would eventually lead to the adoption of the Nonproliferation Treaty 10 years later, the prospect of a world where many actors, states and non-state would eventually acquire the means and the technology to build their own nuclear arsenals was very real.

    In that speech which remains as prescient and true today as it was 60 years ago, Frank Aiken speaks of how weapons which are the monopoly of the great powers today become the weapons of smaller powers and revolutionary groups tomorrow.

    This speech makes it clear that while abolition of the weapons and permanent disarmament was Ireland's goal, the immediate pragmatic need was to prevent further dissemination of the weapons.

    As we assess the NPT at 50, we can I believe agree that the treaty has to a good extent achieved its objectives. Very few states have remained outside the treaty and have gone on to develop nuclear weapons. It is indeed one of the most participated-in UN treaties. The five nuclear weapon states have all joined this and are therefore bound by the commitment contained within its Article VI to nuclear disarmament which remains the core legal obligation binding the nuclear weapon states to disarm.

    This is also evidenced by the unequivocal undertaking that they gave in 2000 to accomplish the total abolition of their nuclear weapons.

    Additionally, the states of many regions of the world have chosen to be part of nuclear-weapons-free zones in strong demonstration of their commitment to the objective of a world without nuclear weapons. Some of the strongest voices in the room at the TPNW negotiations came from these regions and brought the strength of their convictions and experience to the treaty negotiations.

    The NPT itself is a slim treaty, its preamble and 11 articles fitting easily on six A-4 pages. But the international community has built around it a strong framework of supporting institutions. The International Atomic Energy Agency in particular, through predating and independent from the NPT has built up an impressive structure of expertise and an enabling framework to facilitate that use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes while implementing strict safeguards which prevent diversion to non-peaceful uses.

    With the development of supporting export control regimes including the Nuclear SuppliersGroup and the missile technology control regime, states have been successfully assisted in preventing and inhibiting proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology without preventing transfer of technology and materials for peaceful uses. This aspect of the treaty is also an essential one to which states parties need to continue to give careful support and attention.

    The NPT has also through the strengthened review process agreed at the 1995 review and extension conference helped to promote and give impetus to many far-reaching agreements and understandings aimed at preventing further proliferation and enabling bilateral nuclear disarmament. The bilateral accords between the Russian Federation and the United States have also been greatly supportive of the NPT aims, with the INF, START and NEW START Treaties contributing to a welcome and significant reduction in the large stockpiles of nuclear warheads which had built up during the Cold War.

    Equally the CTBT must also be counted amongst the NPT successes. While it hasn't entered into force, nevertheless the strength of the global norm which has been established against nuclear testing and the development of the CTBTO’s international monitoring system has been one of the great achievements of the international community in nuclear disarmament.

    Today's award marking the adoption of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons represents the NPT's latest success story and the first new legal instrument on nuclear disarmament to be adopted in over 20 years, a success story not only because of the groundbreaking content of the treaty but also because of what it entails in terms of progress towards the fulfillment of the NPT's disarmament provisions.

    Article VI of the NPT expressly envisaged a separate and complementary treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

    The TPNW is not founded on a grand bargain whereby states agree to give up the possible military advantages and the status attached to being nuclear weapons possessors in exchange for an agreement that the nuclear weapon states will disarm. Instead, the states who adopt the treaty agree to a non-ambiguous and unconditional commitment that they will never under any circumstances develop, test, produce, manufacturer, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

    I think Frank Aiken 50 years after the entry into force of the NPT would be pleased that the TPNW finally implements and gives effect to the NPT's disarmament provision. And that almost two-thirds of the UN membership are committed to the complete prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, and that this took place from an appreciation of the elevated risk and catastrophic consequences which would result from a nuclear weapons detonation accidental or deliberate.

    For the security of all humanity and the future of our fragile planet, our states are making this choice. It is our great hope that in time all others including the nuclear weapons possessor states and their allies will join us.

    Frank Aiken was a strong supporter of the idea of the sovereign equality of all states and a firm believer in the equalizing power of the United Nations. He would I think have approved of the inclusive and respectful nature of the deliberations which led to the adoption of the treaty, both in the 2016 open-ended working group so ably chaired by Ambassador Thani of Thailand and also at the TPNW negotiations where Ambassador Whyte Gomez played such a strong role in bringing the deliberations on the treaty to a successful conclusion.

    In addition to the TPNW, there have been other welcome advances in disarmament and arms control in recent years, including the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty in 2014, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran in 2015, and the agreements at CCW to establish a group of governmental experts to address the challenges raised by autonomy in weapons systems.

    These achievements show that the international community, states, and civil society can achieve our goals when we can agree and focus on a common purpose. But huge challenges confront us. Growing urbanization has led to massive increases in civilian casualty rates and damage to civilian infrastructure in our cities from the use of conventional explosive weapons.

    The JCPOA negotiated with such effort and attention, and despite careful and positive implementation assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency, is under threat. The Arms Trade Treaty is experiencing significant challenges in universalization and in implementation while 100 years on from the Battle of Ypres, chemical weapons are again being used both in war and to assassinate despite the universal prohibition on their use.

    Meanwhile returning to the NPT and our theme today, nuclear disarmament by the NPT nuclear weapon states has stalled. Bilateral nuclear disarmament between the US and the Russian Federation following the successes of the INF and the New START has halted after the successful outcome of the NPT's 2010 review conference with its ambitious but achievable action plan including an innovative approach to progress on a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, the 2015 conference did not agree on outcome. The CTBT despite the successes that I mentioned has still not lived up to its promise of an end to the damage and destruction caused by nuclear testing by entering into force.

    Modernization and investment in nuclear arsenals is rising in all nuclear weapon states and efforts to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in military doctrines and in nuclear alliances has receded. Proliferation threats are increasing with DPRK’s nuclear program representing a particular dangerous development. Against this background the norm, I guess the threat of use of nuclear weapons has been seriously eroded. And the world's citizens after decades of postwar—post-Cold War complacency are awakening to the harsh reality that, yes, nuclear weapons do still exist, and that the hands of the Doomsday clock are yet again at two minutes to midnight.

    So what to do now? Against this somewhat grim background and against a moment when we have seen disarray and lack of agreement at the United Nations Security Council on an issue in which there should be overwhelming global agreement and abhorrence such as chemical weapons use. It seems Utopian to suggest that NPT states parties should renew their efforts to engage with each other and genuinely find ways forward to overcome the divisions on approaches to nuclear disarmament which have become evident in recent years. But that is exactly what we need to do.

    If the NPT could be negotiated and adopted at the height of the Cold War, then a renewed commitment to its implementation and the establishment of dialogue among its states parties is more than possible. I am not going to list here the 13 steps or the actions from the 2010 action plan on which all are agreed. Neither am I going to set out the steps put forward by the proponents of the progressive or step by step approach to nuclear disarmament.

    Ireland and the other delegations to the TPNW here present are also all committed to making progress on these measures, and many of our countries have engaged actively in the work to make them happen.

    There is, however, one issue on which I do want to speak in more detail and that's the question of the Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. As we reach the midpoint of the NPT's 2020 review cycle with little or no progress, it is time for serious stocktaking and reassessment of how we can achieve some progress in spite of the challenges and difficulties on this issue. Otherwise, the risk that 2020 review cycle will also fail to agree on an outcome is strong with a resulting strongly negative impact on the treaty.

    Ireland has proposed at last year's Preparatory Committee that a dedicated resource should be provided possibly within UNODA who could assist the co-conveners and other interested states and civil society actors to develop creative and innovative proposals and in particular, confidence-building measures which could begin to move the process forward. Trust and confidence are key to the success of any negotiation and this is what we need most of all.

    Earlier this month in Ireland, we celebrated another auspicious moment in our history, 20 years of the Good Friday agreement and the success of the Northern Ireland peace process. We look back, we look at the present and we look forward. The agreement has had many challenges. It hasn't always lived up to its promise as a beacon of hope and reconciliation, but it has endured and the hard-earned peace which is represented has lasted in spite of all the difficulties including those that confront it today.

    That achievement wasn't built in a few weeks of negotiations is only through the dedication and preparedness to take risks of some leaders–though that wasn't lacking either, and [they] deserve the recognition which we give to the architects of the agreement. But rather, it was built up through decades of work within communities, schools, churches, within labor movements, business associations, political parties, academics, think tanks, working together or as individuals to establish lines of communication, to start a conversation, to build bridges instead of walls.

    You have a cup of coffee instead of shouting across the barricades. Mostly it was built by starting conversations and by listening to the other’s viewpoint. It was also built by women reacting to the loss and devastation within their communities and determined to end the violence once and for all.

    Within the NPT process, we speak often of needing to identify the bridge builders. Those states, groups of states, civil society actors, leaders who can find a way forward to bridge the divisions between those who seek immediate and non-conditioned implementation of the NPT's disarmament provisions and related commitments, and those who believe that while nuclear disarmament is the ultimate goal of the NPT, the conditions are not yet right for it to happen.

    Next week with the opening of the second Preparatory Committee, we can all be bridge builders. Those who believe that nuclear disarmament is essential to creating the conditions for a peaceful and secure world, and those who believe we must create a peaceful and secure world before nuclear disarmament can happen.

    When speaking of the Good Friday agreement last week and the need for renewed commitment to its implementation and objectives, our deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said renewal does not demand perfection. It demands leadership, courage and hard work. For the NPT we also need leadership, courage and hard work. Most of all, we need to begin a dialogue to find what works and what can bring us nearer to the realization of our mutual goal, a world without nuclear weapons and a successful outcome to the 2020 review cycle.

    There are already some promising green shoots in the chairman's draft summary from last year's preparatory meeting, including the recognition of gendered impacts of nuclear weapons and the need to increase women's participation in nuclear disarmament forums.

    We conclude one of the other nominees for this distinguished award last year, Pope Francis, in his thinking on nuclear disarmament has said that a world without nuclear weapons will not be this world just without nuclear weapons. It will be a different world. For those of us who want that different world, it's time to begin both imagining and creating it.

    Thank you.

    (APPLAUSE)

    KIMBALL: We have a few minutes for some questions from the floor for Jackie O'Halloran Bernstein and before we take a short break before our first panel of the day. So we have microphones (inaudible) so please just raise your hand and identify yourself, ask your question and let's start with (inaudible).

    QUESTION: Hi, my name is Phineas Anderson. In terms of the Middle East free zone, what kind of negotiations have you had with Israel because it seems the chance of them coming around to give up their weapons is next to nil.

    O'HALLORAN BERNSTEIN: Thank you very much. My understanding is that the co-conveners, you know, they do engage and they try to discuss with all the actors in the region but that there has been no movement effectively since 2015.

    And of course, what is agreed in terms of the Middle East free zone is that whatever moves forward has to be with the agreement of all the actors in the region and all states in the region. So that includes, you know, that Israel would engage voluntarily. And that whatever happens has to be inclusive and participatory.

    But there has been very little movement since the failure to agree on outcome in 2015. That there have been various, you know, discussions among actors in the region, but apart from the civil society track where there is a little bit of movement and some confidence building going on, my understanding is that, that very little has happened. Thank you.

    KIMBALL: (OFF MIKE) There is (inaudible) on the zone Ireland has worked very hard on this. Ambassador (inaudible) Republic of Ireland chaired the sub-group at the (inaudible) and work decisions as government and (inaudible).

    Are there questions from the floor (inaudible)?

    QUESTION: Yes, my name is Pedro Cruz. And when you mentioned the importance of women's participation, is that because men have failed or because there needs to be a better biological mix?

    KIMBALL: Sorry. It's a good question of what a man asks, have we (inaudible)?

    O'HALLORAN BERNSTEIN: Thank you very much. This is an issue which is very close to my heart. Ireland has taken a very strong position on the need for greater women's participation in disarmament generally, but in particularly in nuclear disarmament.

    And the impetus for this grew in part from the evidence that was presented at the Vienna Humanitarian Conference of the strongly gendered impact of ionizing radiation as between women and men and boy children and girl children. But it's also from, you know, the evidence that came out. I think particularly on—funnily enough from business and economic research after the 2008 crash, that the greater the diversity in your organization or your company, whatever it is, the better outcomes and the better solutions there are to problems.

    So, it is that we do feel that disarmament and particularly nuclear disarmament has a huge challenge as regards diversity and this is in terms of gender where the participation has been shown by research done by UNIDIR to lag way behind what it is in other similar negotiation forums. But it's also—coming back to your question, indeed, you know, that it's not that we necessarily think that a man have done a bad job but that we think a more equal and representative participation. And that includes between countries actually.

    And I think our president made a really good point earlier in the discussion when she said that the TPNW negotiations allowed a lot of smaller states whose voices are not normally heard to be heard. And this is something we really want for the NPT.

    We also want a much better geographical representation of countries, but particularly we're focused on the gender issue at the moment.

    KIMBALL: Other questions? Yes, sir, any women like to ask a question?

    QUESTION: Hi, I’m Bruce MacDonald. I'm with Johns Hopkins SAIS teaching a nonproliferation course there. And I wanted to compliment you and for your work in disarmament and also Ireland's role. And also with this audience who may not be aware of is your distinguished work with the Druid Theater Company and how wonderful that is, an outstanding theater company in Ireland.

    I wanted to ask what you thought might be done to encourage a more positive attitude among publics in the United States and in Russia to take two countries, in particular, to promote a more positive feeling towards arms control. It's, arms control's public persona if you will, it seems to me in some ways it's deteriorated in the last 15 to 20 years. And I wonder if you had any suggestions or advice for us.

    O'HALLORAN BERNSTEIN: I do believe that civil society and academia also, you know, good research and think tanks have a huge role to play in bringing arms control more into the consciousness of people and getting greater support for it.

    It is a little bit what I said in my speech that it needs to start a lot of different conversations happening at different levels and at individual levels. I believe that Pope Francis' work will in time be hugely influential in the Catholic communities in the United States, because the Vatican stance has changed so radically from one which kind of reluctantly accepted that, you know, you had to keep some weapons for deterrence purposes to now, you know, saying that their possession is wrong.

    And I think in time that that will, you know, filter down and will have an effect. I believe there is quite a strong nuclear disarmament community in the US and that I can and the winning of the Nobel Peace Prize should also help with that.

    Obviously, in the Russian Federation, it is a difficult issue but I think the focus on the risks particularly is something that could be useful. And that the more work that is done on risk and the more that is disseminated among publics and awareness created. That that is maybe the way to go in public that are more resistant and also of course who may have to lose from nuclear disarmament in terms of the economics of nuclear weapons.

    KIMBALL: (OFF-MIKE) I don't know (inaudible) question, just one quick—one note that I wanted to add on the civil society, the (inaudible) association is (inaudible) mission. So, we are reaching out to our colleagues in (inaudible) to try to—how to rate the copy of the statement that on the US launch between Russia crisis on the table outside.

    So, it is an important part of it. It's been part of the solution in the past and it needs to be a part.

    Other questions from the crowd? We have a couple more. Why don't we go to the very rear, I see a former…

    QUESTION: I would like to say a couple of words about where we are today. It seems in reference to what's been mentioned just a few moments ago. What we have a problem in America today is we have no peace party anymore.

    We have a conservative Republican tendency to be careful about arms control and we have a democratic party that is opposed to everything that has to do with Russia. That's a fact. And we can ignore those facts to our regret. It seems to me that the real problem today is to develop a constituency for arms control in spite of the problems that we have.

    We've been through periods like this before. I've been through periods like this before. And that's the way to overcome it but you've got to have political support for the effort to control nuclear weapons in spite of the conditions that exist in the world today.

    I think back 50 years ago when we finally sign the NPT. I didn't think it would last this long as strong as it is. And we are fortunate that we have that but to move forward from that for the other arms control efforts we've got to devote ourselves to developing a renewed constituency for arms control. Most of the people in the Congress of the United States know nothing about arms control because there haven't been negotiations and discussions of negotiations since they came into office. So that's a central part of what we have to do if we're going to be serious.

    KIMBALL: Thank you. For those of you who don't know that's Larry Weiler. He helped negotiate the NPT. He is one of our stalwart friends. So, I will let you respond to Larry's wise words but let's take one more question before we take a break and no female questioners are here. All right, we're trying.

    We have one here.

    (UNKNOWN): I just felt women were put on the spot.

    (UNKNOWN): Here, Laura, got it?

    QUESTION: Laura Kennedy. I'm happy to say I'm a private citizen although I did spend most of my career working on Russia arms control non-proliferation and so on. So I just had a few thoughts on that.

    I really appreciated your views on women and I'm happy to say that not so long ago I participated with some other female arms control non-proliferation talks in a meeting with the women in Congress who are on Armed Services Committee and so on. So things like that are a great opportunity.

    I think you said about Russia I think there's a lot of work, the Deep Cuts Commission I think was a great opportunity to get at some of these issues but, of course, these are the professional elites.

    I actually started off my career at the US embassy in Moscow participating as a guide in one of our efforts at public diplomacy to try and reach out beyond the capitals where we had a 50-year exchange with Russia, where we would get out and have exhibits all around the country.

    Frankly, I think that's something we ought to look at, how do you engage publics, because frankly in Russia there is no equivalence with what we face here. There is none. So let's think about ways we can get beyond capitals and try to engage those publics, that's a huge challenge out there but anyhow thank you for everything you've said today in your work.

    O'HALLORAN BERNSTEIN: Thank you. And I'd like to thank Larry Weiler for his contribution which I think is really important. And I think this conversation now and thinking about how to engage publics and that way how to make sure that you have support for your politicians is just so important. And, of course, it's something I have to step back and think about because in Ireland, nuclear disarmament, you know, as a goal, as a global goal, is simply given and it's something that enjoys complete support across all our political spectrum.

    But we do take the disarmament education, you know, commitments that are there in the NPT and that are now very much there in the new treaty very seriously. And, you know, we think it's particularly important to reach out to younger people because this complacency has grown up, that nuclear weapons may be are no longer so important.

    I do think some recent developments have perhaps changed that perception that our young people are maybe more aware now that actually, no, the 15,000 nukes are all still available to the leaders who want to or feel they need to use them. So that first step has I think been taken in creating a consciousness. And now it's a matter of building on it.

    We find—and this is just one throwaway—that using film as a medium is particularly useful for reaching out to younger people. And we have organized some nuclear-themed film festivals and that has been—we found that has given a lot of return in terms of interest. So, that is one idea, but there is definitely a big job of work to be done there and that's another reason why I really look forward to the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons coming into force because it's an actual commitment and that on states to carry out disarmament education activities. And that I think will give disarmament education a huge impetus and push which it needs. Thank you.

    KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Jackie O'Halloran Bernstein.

    Please join me in thanking her for her contributions and for Ireland's steadfast work on proliferation and disarmament. We are going to take a five-minute break, just five while we do a little bit of a transition to our next panel. So, you do have a brief time but come back in as quickly as possible. Thank you.

    Morning Panel
    "The Future of the NPT: Initiatives to Strengthen the Regime"

    Ambassador Lewis Dunn, former U.S. representative to the 1985 NPT Review Conference

    Ambassador Dell Higgie, New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament

    Andrea Hall, Senior Director for WMD and Counterproliferation, National Security Council

    Moderated by Thomas Countryman, chair of the Arms Control Association board of directors

    COUNTRYMAN: My name is Tom Countryman. I've had the honor for the last six months of being the chairman of the board of directors of the Arms Control Association. That's an honor, but it's an even bigger honor to introduce to you three outstanding colleagues from whom I've learned a great deal who have devoted their careers to building national and global security, to fighting against the spread of weapons of mass destruction, to reducing the risks of possession and use of such weapons.

    And they're going to speak today in accordance with our theme, the 50th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, about what we can expect in the coming two years, what are the current measures that can be considered to build on and to strengthen the NPT in its implementation.

    So, I introduce them very briefly. They're all very worthy of your attention. We'll start first with Ambassador Lewis Dunn, who led the U.S. delegation at the crucial 1995 NPT Review Conference.

    DUNN: Eighty-five.

    COUNTRYMAN: Eighty-five. Excuse me.

    DUNN: I'm even older than you think.

    HALL: Life is crucial.

    COUNTRYMAN: I was just a kid then, but OK. Thank you. 1985.

    DUNN: Eighty-five.

    COUNTRYMAN: Second, we'll hear from Ambassador Dell Higgie, who you already heard a little bit from this morning, and, third, Andrea Hall, who's currently serving at the National Security Council at the senior director for weapons of mass destruction and counterproliferation issues.

    So, I think we'll launch right into it. And, Lew, take it away?

    DUNN: Thank you, Tom.

    I shall very briefly make three points on this panel's topic, The Future of the NPT. My first point, the most important challenge for the future of the NPT is to rebuild habits of cooperation among all NPT parties and to start doing so is to recognize what is at stake. Unless we can succeed in rebuilding habits of cooperation, the outcome at the 2020 NPT Review Conference will be the first back-to-back conference breakdowns in the NPT's history, a breakdown coming 50 years after entry into force 25 years after indefinite extension.

    Now, some persons would say, who cares? I say all NPT parties should care because back-to-back breakdowns at that unique point in the NPT's history will weaken the treaty with uncertain political and psychological ripple effects.

    Rebuilding habits of cooperation also is vital because there are multiple pathways that could lead to the erosion of the NPT's legitimacy, effectiveness, and support in the years ahead. Yes, some of these pathways are more credible than others. Yes, we have heard warnings before of the NPT in crisis, but taken together, these pathways are a reason for concern. Moreover, let's not forget the security interest of all of today's protagonists would be damaged by erosion of the NPT.

    My second point, rebuilding habits of cooperation requires recognizing the realities of the Prohibition Treaty, and in light of those realities, crafting a workable approach to the Prohibition Treaty at the Review Conference. Meaning what? The nuclear weapon state and non-nuclear weapon state opponents of the Prohibition Treaty recognize the reality that a good number of countries judge the Prohibition Treaty as an important step forward and will be prepared to acknowledge that judgment in any 2020 outcome.

    Even while also acknowledging at the same time that this judgment is far from shared by all NPT parties. For Prohibition Treaty supporters, don't seek to make the 2020 Review Conference into a referendum on the endorsement of the Prohibition Treaty, a referendum that almost certainly will prove both unavailing and counterproductive.

    For all NPT parties, use the Review Conference to help address the realities that led directly to the Prohibition Treaty, legitimate concerns about the nuclear disarmament stalemate and about the risk of use of nuclear weapons. How so? First, the Review Conference should reaffirm the importance of preserving and then revitalizing the U.S. - Russia arms control process and at the same time the importance of putting in place a process of cooperative strategic reassurance between the United States and China. I'll return to this point later.

    Second, the Review Conference should have a full discussion of the many proposed actions to reduce the risk of use of nuclear weapons. To what end? One outcome would be for all NPT parties, not least the NPT's nuclear weapons states to reaffirm that recognition as it was once put, that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

    In addition, the 2020 Review Conference should ask the nuclear weapon states to report back to all NPT parties and the first preparatory committee meeting for 2025 and 2022 should report back to all NPT parties on what actions the nuclear weapon states believe can and should be taken to reduce to an absolute minimum on the risk of use of nuclear weapons.

    Don't try again to get the nuclear weapon states to agree to one or another preferred non-nuclear weapon state risk reduction idea, putting the burden on the nuclear weapon states to tell the NPT community what they will commit to do to reduce nuclear risks.

    Third, the NPT parties, if we take these realities of the Prohibition Treaty seriously, should engage in a full exchange on the conditions for a resumed and sustained nuclear disarmament progress. And in light of that exchange, identify and commit to specific areas for cooperation to advance those conditions between 2020 and 2025.

    Fourth, the Review Conference should debate different visions of a desirable and achievable interim nuclear future for 2045, 100 years after the first and only use of nuclear weapons. Why? Because unless the parties can find a unifying vision to which they can rally in practice and not simply in rhetoric, we've been really good at rallying in rhetoric, today's dangerous polarization will worsen, and it will ultimately call into question the NPT's future.

    As some of you know, my own preferred vision is a strategic elimination of nuclear weapons by 2045, not a complete physical elimination, but their elimination as a means of security and statecraft.

    Now, briefly, my third point. I want to return to the challenge of avoiding accelerating global nuclear arms competition. For the United States and Russia, the two countries' leaderships need to find a way to step back to ask themselves independently and jointly whether the breakdown of 50 years or sometimes more sometimes less cooperative management of the U.S.-Russia strategic relationship and its replacement by unfettered strategic unilateralism will serve U.S. and Russian security interests replacing cooperative management by strategic unilateralism.

    I think there are good reasons to believe that the answer to this question is no. A breakdown will increase nuclear dangers. A breakdown will be economically costly. A breakdown will make it harder to cooperate on other issues and a breakdown will heighten the risk of erosion of the NPT.

    For all of these reasons, Putin's Kremlin and Trump's Washington should find a way to ask whether they really want the strategic train wreck both countries are rapidly approaching. At best, this joint assessment would be official, but I think that's hard to see for a variety of reasons. An alternative approach would be for the two presidents to create a greybeard panel of retired very top level civilian officials and military leaders and under greybeards, I include women as well as men, because of my image. My image of the greybeards includes former national security advisors, former secretaries of state and former secretaries of defense. And at least in the United States, there’s a whole bunch of high-level women involved.

    The two presidents should create this type of a senior review panel to ask this question, do we want a strategic train wreck we're about to have and report back? The answer I think is likely to be, no, we don't want a strategic train wreck and here's how we might get out of it.

    But Beijing and Washington also are approaching a strategic turning point. China often is a country never discussed in this. Here, avoiding accelerating global nuclear arms competition requires that the leaderships in Beijing and Washington ask the same question. Do they want this type of growing strategic competition or would their interests be better served by a process of mutual reassurance and restraint? Again, the two leaderships could ask this question officially or you could have some sort of semi-official process which links into a decade-long official dialogue that's occurred.

    Let me stop at this point. Thank you.

    COUNTRYMAN: Thank you very much.

    Yes, Ambassador Higgie?

    HIGGIE: Thank you very much, Tom. And good morning, colleagues. Now, Daryl has been quite insistent that this panel should be forward-looking this morning and Lew has certainly complied with his instructions fully. I want to disobey them and just briefly though, just very briefly, and on the basis that we do ignore history at our peril. I want to take a short few backgrounds into the rear vision mirror and revisit the contract, the deal which lies at the heart of the NPT.

    Now, of course, to my mind it seems rather fitting to do this at a meeting here in Washington given that it is the United States that has been leading the way in recent times in stressing the need for implementation of a deal to be fair on all the parties and not just to meet the contractual terms favored by some of them.

    So, because we've had this treaty for so long now, 50 years, it's easy to overlook just how rare, how very unusual a deal it is. I cannot think of any other multilateral treaty in the security or disarmament domain in which the obligations on states’ parties are differentiated by, for instance, a prohibition on one not being a prohibition on all.

    Other treaties in this field do reflect the fundamental premise of international law regarding the equality of states by creating obligations which are uniform and fully reciprocal for all states signing on to them. Such examples that come readily to mind include the chemical weapons convention, biological weapons convention, inhumane weapons under the CCW framework, landmines, cluster munitions and so on.

    Now, in highlighting the NPT's departure from this norm, I'm not meaning to suggest that the treaty's approach, its grand bargain, is somehow flawed or defective. Absolutely not. I think it was a highly constructive and creative innovation, one which met the needs of the time and which has been fundamental to the treaty's success in building support for non-proliferation over many years.

    But I am wanting to make a point that it represents a very rare instance when the basic premise as a matter of international law of the sovereign equality of states has not predominated the terms of a treaty. It was a little surprising that support for the NPT text at the time of its creation was not universal and it certainly did not attract consensus in the votes done in June 1968 either in the UN General Assembly or in the Security Council.

    But for many of the 95 states that did vote in favor in the general assembly, in favor of the treaty, a key drawcard, we might even call it something of an equalizer for norm with the weapon states whilst the treaty's disarmament undertaking, its Article 6. It had, of course, been a number of non-nuclear weapon states who it insisted on Article 6 as inclusion in the text in the first place. And undoubtedly for them, it was a sine qua non for the subsequent ratification of it.

    I hope that this snapshot of history serves to underline the significance of Article 6 in the very innovative deal struck in the NPT. Equally, the text of the treaty makes it clear that Article 6 cannot be treated as if it were peripheral or subsidiary to other aspects of the treaty. There is no conditionality in the language of Article 6, however much some might now wish there were.

    The very real fact that all parties to the treaty can properly be said to derive benefit from it in view of the success it has had in constraining horizontal proliferation and keeping the number of nuclear weapon possessors as low as it currently is, that benefit in no way displaces the obligation to deliver fairly on the core obligations of the deal.

    It's probably been clear to everyone here for quite a while that a considerable number of the treaty's membership think that Article 6 is not, in fact, being implemented fairly. Last year's treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons is one symptom of recent dissatisfaction. A checklist of implementation of the disarmament-related steps in the 2010 action plan or indeed of the disarmament elements in the 2000 or 1995 Review Conference outcomes would reveal much of the source of that dissatisfaction.

    So, from the perspective of a non-nuclear weapon state like New Zealand, the most important systemic challenge I see confronting states-parties to the NPT is how to sustain the treaty's credibility and persuade its members most notably with respect to Article 6 given that this is where implementation is crucially lagging, how to persuade them that they can indeed expect the NPT deal to be delivered upon fairly in keeping with the treaty's object and purpose.

    So, what sort of initiatives are able to help meet this challenge? May I start with a negative definition? I think that efforts to repackage the Article 6 bargain, for instance, by seeking to add into its language new conditionalities not present in the text do not improve and probably exacerbate the situation.

    Equally, recommendations relating to bridge building, whilst undoubtedly well-meaning, seem mesmerized with process at the expense of substance and they seem bound to leave you in the middle of a river rather than living up to their name and getting you to any destination at all on the other side.

    Now, on to a more positive note, we do already have an expansive listing of possibilities from the 2000 and 2010 consensual Review Conference outcome. They list actions relating to reductions in numbers, transparency, reporting, reducing the role of nuclear weapons in strategic doctrine and military planning, lowering the operational status of nuclear weapons and so on. And there's also very clearly important unfinished business on the Middle East WMD free zone.

    Surely, there is fertile ground within these consensual documents for initiatives from the nuclear weapon states. That said, it is hard to disagree with the comment and lose excellent paper, which I have thoroughly read and absorbed, Lew, on a practical agenda to reduce nuclear dangers. And you made many of these similar points this morning. And in your paper I know you said at the outset that realistically, dramatic advances are not to be expected right now.

    We may not be able to hope for this sort of dramatic developments that can sometimes happen even in unpropitious times, but I would hope that with the 2020 Review Conference soon upon us, policy leaders in the nuclear weapon states will pick up the pace and work seriously through the outcomes of 2000 and 2010 at identifying where I've individually or collectively they can move forward and make progress on implementation of Article 6.

    I'm abiding by your recommendation, Lew, that non-nuclear weapon states effectively shouldn't be trying to pick and choose and direct nuclear weapon states. They should decide for themselves, of course, provided they do move forward. So, I'm not going to identify where I see the realistic opportunities for initiatives and forward-moving. I'm going to leave that to the nuclear weapon states. Thank you.

    COUNTRYMAN: Before I give a really great colleague, Andrea, the floor, I'll note that she spent many, many, many hours last week dealing with Syrian chemical weapons attacks, so we promised to be kind. She's promised not to fall asleep during her presentation and take it away.

    HALL: So, thanks to Tom.

    Thanks to the Arms Control Association for having me here. This is an important discussion at an important time. And I am, of course, extremely privileged to be here with you great colleagues on the panel and one fantastic moderator who I've worked with for a long time.

    We've had a series of busy weeks in the nonproliferation world and I will note that it shows all the greater relevance to the nonproliferation community today. And will tell you, sitting in the situation room at one point last week waiting to get up on a (inaudible) with foreign partners, one of my colleagues noted anyone looking at our foreign policy would be confused. We appear to be all over the place. So, three weeks ago, all we could deal with was Russia and expelling Russians from the United States in retaliation for their actions.

    And last week, all we were worried about is North Korea and then this week it's Syria, so it looks like we're all over the place. And I said we're not all over the place, it's about WMD. It's about proliferation. And so, I think we have a series of challenges across the board that we need to grapple with. This is an important one to discuss today, but this community remains extremely relevant and I think nonproliferation is under threat. And so, I'm glad to be here to have this discussion.

    I would say that the White House has recently completed a series of treaty reviews, like all administrations we've gone back through, where the last administration was, try to think through what might be different here. There were a series of documents and reviews that needed to be completed before we got here, obviously the nuclear posture review, the National Security Strategy. And once those were built, we could complete the treaty reviews that we'd already started.

    I will also apologize in advance because some of those plan to be rolled out next week at the NPT Prep Com and then in subsequent meetings there. So, there will be some things I'm going to keep a little close for now, but you will very soon see a little bit more of our thinking in the coming weeks.

    So, with that, I'd like to offer a few comments on the administration's approach to the NPT including the key objectives that we are looking to advance at next week's Prep Com meeting taking place in Geneva.

    So, it's certainly an honor to be asked to provide remarks on the NPT in its 50th year since the NPT was opened for signature. Now as then the NPT remains the cornerstone of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, providing the international legal framework to constrain and deny those who seek to engage in the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

    However, the NPT and the broader nuclear nonproliferation regime, as the other proliferation regimes, face acute challenges today. So, as the president states in his letter introducing the National Security Strategy, the world is filled with a wide range of threats that have intensified in recent years. The danger from hostile state and non-state actors who are trying to acquire nuclear, chemical, radiological and biological weapons is increasing despite our best efforts.

    North Korea's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a great threat to global security and pose severe challenges to the nonproliferation regime we hold dear. These programs are also in direct opposition to multiple UN Security Council resolutions. And if we are not effective in our efforts to return North Korea to the nonproliferation regime, additional regional and global threats may emerge.

    Iran retains the ability to produce weapons-grade uranium for use in nuclear weapon should they decide to do so. Combined with Iran's ongoing missile program, this situation remains a serious concern for the United States and for the international community.

    And as Tom noted, I've spent a lot of time recently focused on the Syrian regime and its unfortunate and historic thwarting of nonproliferation regimes across the board. For this discussion, I'd note that Syria was found in non-compliance with its IAEA obligations in 2011. In the seven years since, the Syrian regime has made no effort to engage the IAEA to remedy its non-compliance or address international concerns despite the clear evidence in front of us.

    We should be using our collective leverage to bring these clear violators back into compliance. While they thumb their noses at the nonproliferation architecture we have built threatening regional security, how can we say that the conditions are ripe for the disarmament? We've asked for the help of those across the globe to hold North Korea, Iran, and Syria accountable for their threats to the nonproliferation regime. If states care as much as we do about the viability of the nonproliferation regime, why will they not stand with us in its defense?

    These are the real-world security issues that demand from all states parties a real-world response. How can NPT states parties find additional ways to work together to overcome these challenges and why has it been so hard? That I think is the heart of our work over the next two years in the buildup to the 2020 NPT Review Conference. If we can work together on the “here and now,” we can shape the future and the important ways we need to make all the elements of the NPT a reality.

    We have much in common and we should build on those principles. For our part, the United States remains strongly committed to nuclear nonproliferation. We continue to abide by our obligations under the NPT and we continue active work to strengthen the NPT regime.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency and the International Safeguard System are critical partners in this effort, ensuring that there's durable progress on nonproliferation and offering a path to further negotiations and nuclear disarmament.

    The straightforward answer to the "how do we work together" question to us is to find and focus on common interests. We continue to welcome partnership with NPT states parties to reestablish the central role of nonproliferation in the NPT. An effective nonproliferation regime is key to establishing the conditions for further progress on disarmament and for expanding access to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy that so many states hold dear.

    We continue to welcome partnership with NPT states parties to focus on those real-world security issues I already noted. We were encouraged to see near-universal condemnation of North Korea's nuclear testing and ballistic missile development at the 2017 NPT Prep Com. We will urge all countries to continue the global maximum pressure campaign against North Korea including the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions until North Korea denuclearizes. If we abandon pressure too early, we risk undermining what is truly a historic opportunity.

    We continue to welcome partnership on disarmament, but it must be addressed as a real-world policy problem. International security conditions at the moment are not conducive for further reductions. We all need to think hard about measures that would be most effective in creating those conditions that would be more fitting for nuclear disarmament.

    We continue to welcome partnership in promoting the additional protocol as the de facto standard for verifying states are meeting their NPT safeguards obligations. And we continue to welcome partnership in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy under sound nonproliferation conditions.

    Look for the United States to discuss each of these priorities in further detail in next week's Prep Com and I'm pleased that our delegation will be led by Assistant Secretary Chris Ford, with whom not too long ago I worked extremely closely.

    I'll also make just one mention of what won't work, and that's unrealistic agendas pursued by those focused almost exclusively on single issues such as nuclear disarmament or specific regional concerns. We all have a shared interest in strengthening the treaty and we need to discuss the treaty in all of its aspects.

    Finally, I was asked to comment on how we can avoid an acceleration of global nuclear arms competition. The United States remains concerned by the growth of nuclear stockpiles and capabilities by NPT and non-NPT states parties alike. And we continue to encourage all states with nuclear weapons to exercise restraint regarding nuclear and missile capabilities.

    We will continue to work to minimize the number of nuclear on states including by maintaining credible U.S.-extended deterrence and assurance. And we will deny terrorist organizations access to nuclear weapons, materials, and expertise and strictly control weapons-usable material related technology and expertise.

    Despite the difficult security environment, the United States for its part remains open to engaging in arms control and disarmament talks including with Russia and China that advance U.S., allied, and partner security in a verifiable and enforceable.

    And as many of you may know, Russia postponed the second round of strategic stability talks, which we had hoped to have in March. As the world's two largest nuclear powers, we have a special responsibility to maintain a stable, strategic relationship and reduce nuclear risks.

    We continue to seek to reestablish the conditions necessary for greater trust with Russia and improve transparency with China as it expands and modernizes its own nuclear forces. One idea for practical step. I would note that not all nuclear possessors have established a moratorium on the production of fissile material. I'd like to encourage all states that have not yet done so to declare and maintain moratoria on the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons, which is a key step in nonproliferation.

    And, of course, I'd be remiss not to come back to North Korea. We welcome the recent developments indicating North Korea's willingness to engage in talks and denuclearization. Our ongoing pressure campaign is clearly having an impact. And we like to remain hopeful that we will be able to make progress in the upcoming summit.

    We have a tremendous opportunity upcoming. We're cautiously, as I said, optimistic that North Korea does understand that there's a different path available. As the president has said, there's a brighter path for North Korea if it chooses denuclearization.

    So, I'd leave it there for now. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be here today and I look forward to your questions.

    (APPLAUSE)

    COUNTRYMAN: Great. Thank you.

    So, if the audience will allow me, I'll do one quick question to each of the panelists and then we'll open up the floor.

    Since the Middle East nuclear-weapons-free zone has been mentioned a couple of times and since I’ve wasted—spent—five years of my life on that effort, I would just make a very quick comment which is that the co-conveners never succeeded in convincing the parties, the states of the Middle East, to take ownership of the process. It was one delegated to the co-conveners and there has not been then or now an interest in states taking initiatives anywhere other than at NPT conferences to do something about it to move the process forward.

    I confidently predict, and this leads to my question to you, Dell, that if there's not a change in the procedures including the habits of cooperation at the 2020 Review Conference, you will have exactly the same result at the 2015 conference, a breakdown over a single issue that is deliberately held until the final 24 hours of the conference.

    So, Lew, what are the actual prospects for accomplishing what you mentioned, which is a different mode of working, a different habit of cooperation between now and 2020?

    DUNN: I think, Tom, the prospects for reaching a different mode of working on the nuclear disarmament issues, on the risk reduction issues, on the nonproliferation issues in which the parties try to work together and try to identify where they have common interests and where they can make progress, I think those prospects—I'm an optimist. I think that those prospects are relatively good. I think those prospects are relatively good because I think ultimately the group of parties who are in the NPT will come to the conclusion the way I like to put it. It's not like the movie "Casablanca" in which Rick says to Ilsa at the end of the meeting, "Well, we lost Paris, but we now have Paris and we'll always have Paris."

    It's not like we’ll always have the NPT. The NPT is something that actually could begin to erode, which will not serve the interest of any of the parties. And I think there's a possibility that you'll have this recognition amongst all the parties that, "Look, we need to work together." And I think there are enough places where they do have common interest.

    So, the one area where I do believe there's a common interest amongst the nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon states is to reduce the risk that these weapons might ever be used again. And to come to some sort of reaffirmation of the fact that you cannot win a nuclear war and it should never be fought, to try to come to some affirmation of “let's come back to ask for some specific measures which could reduce this risk.”

    It's in the interest of the nuclear weapon states because if nuclear weapons are ever used again, it's quite likely that the nuclear weapon states are going to be the first victims of it, setting aside India and Pakistan. But there are other scenarios which deal with the Russians and the United States, the Chinese and United States, whatever, and I think that applies.

    So, on the Middle East issue though, I just can't see a way forward and the question is whether you can find a different way, or the question is whether the group of Arab countries that have pressed this issue so hard decide that they have other interest in the NPT which are more important than bringing the house down over the Middle East issue. So, I remain optimistic that the parties will want to work together.

    COUNTRYMAN: Yes. Thank you.

    Dell, Lew suggested that while the RevCon has to recognize the reality of the new Prohibition Treaty, it can't become obsessed with debating the Prohibition Treaty in the Review Conference. Do you think that's correct and do you think that feasible? And as part of that, is it possible to restrain the most vigorous advocates of the Prohibition Treaty from injecting this into every part of the discussion?

    HIGGIE: I definitely think so, Tom. When Lew said that it will be important that the non-nuclear weapon states, the supporters of the Prohibition Treaty, don't turn the 2020 conference into a referendum on the Prohibition Treaty, I sat back thinking, well, I'm not really nervous and fearful of that at all. I don't think it will happen.

    I am rather alarmed that there is a prospect that it is some of the nuclear weapon states or all maybe of the nuclear weapon states who will themselves be so preoccupied with the Prohibition Treaty that they actually overly focused on it.

    There's been some suggestion that maybe the nuclear weapon states are still in punishment mode. And if that's the dominant emotion that nuclear weapon states have toward the treaty, and they see the NPT Review Conference process as an opportunity to make clear how angry or vengeful they might be about the Prohibition Treaty, in fact, maybe the greater risk is in their attitude, I think that non-nuclear weapon states, Prohibition Treaty supporters, because we all support the NPT, I think that we will have a very balanced approach. And I don't think that we are going to turn the NPT Review Conference into a discussion opportunity for the Prohibition Treaty.

    COUNTRYMAN: Well, thank you.

    Andrea, under the pressure of these bright lights, I withdraw my promise to be kind. I'd like to talk for a moment not so much about interests but a little bit about language, about rhetoric. And building on what Dell just said about the focus of some of the nuclear weapon states on the Prohibition Treaty, what I've observed, and perhaps I haven't observed closely enough, is that over the last year it is harder and harder to distinguish between Russian and American rhetoric at international gatherings in critiquing the advocates of the Prohibition Treaty as naïve or counterproductive. That concerns me, and I'm wondering if it will change.

    In addition, I think as we look forward to 2020, some who may be familiar with the 2005 RevCon are concerned about the influence of John Bolton, now the National Security Advisor. And I think many of us are also concerned about the fact that the current U.S. statement as you've given it again is about the importance of doing nonproliferation and peaceful uses cooperation now and doing disarmament later, that there is no active U.S. proposal to move forward on disarmament in the coming time. Should we expect that rhetoric to continue? Is there a concern about how that affects U.S. influence with other NPT parties?

    HALL: So, not only did you renege on our bargain…

    COUNTRYMAN: Yes.

    HALL: … at least three questions, so let's see if I get them all in sequence here. On the question of whether the nuclear weapon states are going to be overly focused on the Ban Treaty and the difficulty in distinguishing between U.S. and Russian views, I would say, first of all, you've all been asking for us to find issues of common interest with Russia. But instead of making light of that, I think it shows how strongly the nuclear weapon states feel that the Ban Treaty is not helpful period, and could distract from the NPT itself and then the meetings surrounding the NPT.

    I will say that our goal for the Prep Com is not to focus on the Ban Treaty. We would love it if the Ban Treaty didn't come up frankly because we think it's a distraction from the issues we have to grapple with.

    And so, I think you will continue to get responses and rhetoric at points from across the nuclear weapon states in response to what they perceive is rhetoric and challenges from those who are challenging back at them. And I do think that you'll continue to see similar views from Russia and the United States on this, although I would hope that the way we deliver those views might be slightly different. But I think we do have a lot of commonality on this topic and not just with Russia but with the other P5 states.

    In terms of the 2005 Rev Con and our new National Security Advisor, I will tell you that he is taking on information faster than any human being I've ever seen, straight up. And he is walking back through the issues and very clearly walking through where he last left them last time he was in government and walking back through where we are now and carefully considering where we need to go from here, and that is a very considered conversation.

    He's an extremely smart individual with the president's confidence who knows these issues very well. So, I think it's too early to tell what his updated views will be, but I know that he is going through them in an extremely careful and considered manner. He has a lot on his plate. Remember that day one our first meeting was on Syria and CW and that was a very long meeting for the National Security Advisor among others.

    And as he enters the White House, we have a lot of high-pressure short fuse issues on his plate and I know that he will turn to this one, he will think about this one and we will soon have a really engaged conversation about how all these issues work together.

    I will tell you that he, like those before him, believe that arms control, when in the U.S. interest, remains an important pillar of strategic stability. The question is, given where we are on multiple arms control treaties and Russia's violations, how do we get back to that process. And Russia's unwillingness to actually meet and have strategic stability talks is indefinitely making it harder, but that's not for a lack of interest on the U.S. side of getting there.

    In terms of a current statement and rhetoric on peaceful uses now and disarmament later, I think I would make two points. The first is these are both important parts of the nonproliferation treaty and if we don't focus on nuclear material security, on trying to reduce the increasing stockpiles of fissile material in certain countries, reduce the pursuit of destabilizing weapons in those countries, getting to disarmament will be far more difficult not just for us.

    But what kind of world do we live in if the P5 disarm and we're left with nuclear arsenals in countries where there are overlaps with terrorism? To me, that's a world far, far more frightening than the one we live in today and one I'm really committed to working hard to protect against.

    But I don't see—it's not an "if-then," it's we remain committed to the long-term principle of disarmament, but we have to get to a place where that's a more stable world than it would be today with an armed North Korea, with terrorists having the potential for acquiring the capabilities they would need. We need to keep these weapons out of the hands of those who would use them and that means we have to be pursuing the nonproliferation treaty in all of its aspects at the same because all of those principles are important.

    COUNTRYMAN: OK. Thank you, Andrea. I do appreciate sincerely your assurances. Thank you.

    We have about 25 minutes for questions from the audience. And so, we have Liz and Ryan and Sidra who have microphones. Why don't we start in the center here with Michael and then we'll go to the back and then come to the front with John.

    Yes, Ryan, if you—right behind you.

    QUESTION: Thank you. Is this working?

    COUNTRYMAN: Yes.

    QUESTION: Good. Thank you all for a useful presentation. I came down from teaching today. I canceled my class because I want to come back and bring this material to my students, and I think one of the—a class on American foreign policy. And one question I have is on Iran.

    And, Ms. Hall, you mentioned it briefly and I know there are things you can't say, but could you tell me what I could bring back? We're studying the Iranian situation. What do you think is the likelihood of some kind of positive outcome, or is there none or what are the options that you foresee with respect to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action?

    COUNTRYMAN: OK. Let's gather three questions and give the three of you a chance to gather your thoughts and pick one in the back right there.

    And then, Liz, if you give this to Jon.

    QUESTION: I'm Yong Sup Han from Korea, South Korean arms controller. I have a problem nowadays in the United States and in the world welcoming the North Korean prodigal son coming from nuclear to denuclearize. And as an older South Korean son who has a face toward denuclearization and if you say denuclearization of North Korea, it failed three times in denuclearization three months ago Korean peninsula and (inaudible) framework and also six-party talks denuclearize. If you look at most Korean interpretation of what denuclearization in the previous three agreements, they all say shut down and freezing and sealing and disabling into shutdown in North Korean newspapers. So, don't use denuclearization again. Please use a verifiable dismantlement of the nuclear weapons of North Korea.

    COUNTRYMAN: OK.

    QUESTION: Yes.

    COUNTRYMAN: Thank you.

    Jon, and then we'll go to questions. And if you can pass the microphones to three more people here. Go ahead, Jon.

    QUESTION: Jon Wolfsthal at the Nuclear Crisis Group. I'm thrilled to take the mic because I went to quit a job with Lew to take a job at the Arms Control Association after an annual meeting at the ACA so…

    DUNN: Welcome back.

    QUESTION: I hope my current boss isn't here. I'll get nervous.

    Andrea, I want to give you a chance to dust off and practice the talking points on a couple of issues. The one is, if you can today, whether the treaty has established a position in New START and whether we will seek extension. If you can't reveal it today, can you at least tell us whether that will be something that will be rolled out at the NPT one way or another because there's great interest in that particularly given the concern about that Lew described, the prospect of an unbridled unilateral competition?

    And the second is maybe to put a finer point on the first question. I think one of the challenges will be for the United States, a desire to ensure that everybody is implementing their obligation broadly defined in the NPT. How do you propose to square that rhetorically with the president's statement that he's prepared to leave the JCPOA even though all the parties are abiding by their obligations? There has to be some coherent explanation for that. I want to give you a chance to try to roll that out and field test it.

    COUNTRYMAN: Oh, Andrea, we'll turn to you first to cover in 45 seconds the simple topics, JCPOA, North Korea and New START. And then I'll ask Lew and Dell if they want to add comments. Andrea?

    HALL: Yes. So, I don't have any new announcement on JCPOA. The president has committed to work closely with the European allies. We've been engaged in working closely with the European allies to try to fix what he and the administration believed are serious flaws in the agreement as it stands. The president's committed to not ending up in a decade with the same nuclear threat that we were worried about that led the last administration to the agreement.

    So, for now, we're continuing to work with the E3 very closely. We're continuing to think about how do we get the assurances we need on Iranian ballistic missiles and Iran's nuclear program longer term. And the president's made very clear that if we can’t get to that deal, he's willing to withdraw from the JCPOA and put additional pressure on them to make sure that we've denied Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon and they don't build a ballistic missile program that threatens the United States and our allies.

    So, that's where we are. We have a countdown clock. We know how many days we have left until we get to May 12 and we're working really aggressively to make sure that all parties understand that we're serious about making sure that Iran does not pose a threat to the United States now or in the future. So, that's where we are on JCPOA.

    On North Korea denuclearization, I've heard that point before, in fact, from folks from the Republic of Korea as well. We will certainly take that under advisement. I will say when you compare the approach now to the approaches in the past negotiation cycles that the president has made it very clear that we won't fall prey to what happened in the past while we gave North Korea carrots to get to those really important steps under verifiable disarmament.

    The president has made 100 percent clear in the call to the allies and partners that we have to keep the pressure on North Korea so it cannot take the opportunity of these talks to take advantage of reduced pressure, all right? And so that's the president's very clear mandate to us is to make sure that we're working in the right direction with partners and allies and we have a strong, as you know, very strong work with the partners and allies in the region and beyond to make sure that we can keep that pressure on to support the president's objectives of reducing the threat from North Korea.

    On New START extension, right now we have not gotten to a new position on New START extension. We, of course, remain committed to the treaty. We met the central limits and feel very strongly that we met the central limits in February and are willing to continue to talk with Russia about the future of that treaty. But I don't have anything, and they won't next week have anything more to announce on that, because I think we're still waiting to continue engagement with Russia on that.

    And then by a great opportunity for rolling out a new policy on camera, which is much appreciated, John.

    Yes, yes, yes. I mean, we heard that criticism a lot which is “how does what happens in one treaty space matter for another treaty space,” and certainly I understand that criticism and that question. I think what we have are fundamentally different kinds of treaties and I think the disarmament question and debates over the U.S. position there aside, I think the United States has remained firmly committed administration after administration to nonproliferation, right?

    I think we are leading in this. I think we are pushing for the signing of the additional protocol which the Ban Treaty doesn't do. We are pushing to ensure that technologies that might lead the proliferation are stemmed and not pursued. I know we get criticism for these things, but a huge part of my job is focused on those very aspects. It's about materials control, nuclear security, all of those things that are critical, building alliances across the globe to make sure that terrorists can't get nuclear weapons, that states don't lose nuclear weapons and states aren't pursuing the nuclear weapons that are destabilizing.

    And so, I would say while we clearly have some things to work through at the NPT Prep Com because we do have different opinions with other states party to the treaty, I think our commitment to the elements of that treaty really is unquestioned. It's maybe a question of timing, but I don't think it's a question of commitment.

    And I think the longevity of that commitment and demonstration in our current activities supporting it put us in a very different place with the NPT than the JCPOA, which is a recent deal with limited prohibitions on activities that as soon as they can open back up present a new threat to the United States.

    And so, I think they're apples and oranges and so I would caution folks to each of those treaties and each of those considerations on their merits. And we're happy to continue to discuss them and why we think they're different, but that would be my answer to you, John.

    WOLFSTHAL: Thank you.

    COUNTRYMAN: Dell or Lew, any comment on these questions or the answers?

    DUNN: I need to comment on Dell's point, if I may.

    COUNTRYMAN: Go ahead, please.

    DUNN: I think, Dell, that your point that the nuclear weapon states may be the ones that turn 2020 into debate over the Prohibition Treaty is an important point. And I think that that has to be acknowledged as a potential risk. And I think that the inclination to do so probably varies across the NPT nuclear weapon states. And I think it brings us back to the most fundamental questions that I think that particularly the United States and Russia, but not only the United States and Russia, but the United States, Russia, and France, need to ask which is whether it is in their interest in terms of however they define those interests in terms of nonproliferation peaceful uses, whatever, whether it's in their interest to have another breakdown in 2020.

    The institutional memory is likely to go down the path of it does not matter if there is another breakdown. All that matters is we go to the Review Conference and we have a full discussion. It doesn't matter if there's no agreement. I wrote those talking points in 1983 and my bet is they’re still in a file cabinet somewhere.

    HIGGIE: (inaudible).

    DUNN: You may. But I think that the officials in these three countries need to ask themselves whether 2020 is going to be fundamentally different than a whole bunch of all these other Review Conferences where it didn't really matter in a fundamental way. I think that's the question that had to be debated internally. And I think 2020 will be different not only because it's 75 years after the use of nuclear weapons, 50 years after the treaty entered into force, 25 years after its indefinite extension and it's after the Prohibition Treaty. There's just a lot of reasons would just suggest that these three countries, in particular, have a much bigger stake in being prepared to bend more and trying to avoid a situation in which everybody gets into a big debate about the Prohibition Treaty. And I think there is a way in which we can all agree to disagree on the Prohibition Treaty. We give its place in history, but we don't make it a central piece. I just wanted to comment, I think you're right.

    COUNTRYMAN: Thank you.

    Dell, any?

    HIGGIE: Yes.

    COUNTRYMAN: OK. We're going to do three more questions, one at the back right there. I know there's one behind you, has a mic. No, you're good.

    UNKNOWN: We're good. OK.

    COUNTRYMAN: Then one here and then right in the center, you're third.

    QUESTION: Yes. Jim Slattery. I have a follow-up question for Ms. Hall and JCPOA. I'm just curious. Can you help us understand the thinking of those around the NSC who are advocating for walking away from the JCPOA on two points? One, do they believe doing so will encourage the North Koreans to sign some kind of an agreement to denuclearize the Korean peninsula the day after we walk away from the JCPOA?

    And the second part of this question is do these people honestly believe that the day after we walk away from the JCPOA, U.S. and Israeli national security interests are improved? Are we safer the day after we do this or not especially in light of people like Ehud Barak who are now clearly saying that as long as Iran is complying with the JCPOA, Iran is not an existential threat to Israel? So, just if you can provide any insight on that. Thank you.

    COUNTRYMAN: Right. Here near the front, please?

    QUESTION: Veronica Cartier, I'm in a think tank for nuclear policy. It is the realization of arms race that we're talking about and I would like to press that the confidence for NPT successful is about equal with the NPT crisis. And I would like to bring one issue, as based on the United Nation Disarmament Commission has pledged practical implementation of transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities. So, I think outer space activities also have to be included in NPT discussion because of its influences for the arms race and modernization technology. Thank you.

    COUNTRYMAN: OK.

    QUESTION: I'm Sangmin Lee from the Radio Free Asia. So, I have a question.

    COUNTRYMAN: I'm sorry. Who's talking?

    QUESTION: Me.

    COUNTRYMAN: Oh, OK.

    QUESTION: Yes. I'm Sangmin Lee from the Radio Free Asia. I have a question for Ms. Hall. I think you must be busy preparing the summit between North Korea and the U.S. coming maybe June. I have a question about the possibility to withdraw U.S. troops in South Korea as a negotiating card when the summit is held. So, what is your position on the possibility to withdraw the U.S. troops in South Korea as a negotiation deal when you meet those Koreans?

    COUNTRYMAN: Yes. Could you repeat the last sentence of the question?

    QUESTION: The question is about the position about the possibility of withdrawal of U.S. troops in South Korea as a negotiation deal when President Trump meets President Kim Jong Un.

    COUNTRYMAN: OK. And we're going to do a fourth question as you formulate your replies.

    QUESTION: I'm Kathy Crandall-Robinson with Tri-Valley CAREs, which is a watchdog group that works around Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. And I want to ask a question about the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and how it relates to the NPT. The treaty is languishing. Is there any hope of progress towards entry into force, is that important to the NPT in 2020? And the reverse case if we see backward steps and a resumption of nuclear testing, more broadly a breakout, how dangerous is that for the NPT?

    COUNTRYMAN: OK. So, let's do some answers. One of these questions was very specific and that was the connection of outer space to the NPT. And I wonder while Andrea, as usual, got a lot of these questions, Dell, do you have a view on this or an answer to a very specific technical question?

    HIGGIE: Well, outer space issues have been contentious for quite some time now and I'm sure many of you have tracked the discussions and the resolutions on this on the first committee each year. It's also on the agenda for the conference on disarmament even although as we all know, the CD gets nowhere on anything.

    I don't see that outer space has been a core element of the discussion in Prep Coms or in Review Conferences. And I guess to be brutally honest, I see the going is difficult and tough enough without bringing in that issue there. Maybe it's just I haven't noticed that it's been under discussion, but it's certainly not been something that I focused on during the preparatory process.

    Was that enough on that, Tom?

    COUNTRYMAN: I think so. It's a question I've never thought about before. So, yes, thank you for raising it.

    Andrea?

    HALL: OK. So, I'll start there which is that I, too, haven't thought about it very much in that context and I don't do space policy at the White House so I'm not one to freelance today. But I'll definitely take back your comment to my colleagues who do that and it's worth some thought and discussion beyond I think what I can provide to you today.

    In terms of the first two JCPOA-related questions, I think on the first I have to defer for now because when I talk about my—I reported to the Homeland Security advisor and the National Security Advisor, both of which have left in the last little bit and so I'm not going to freelance on what his current positions are, my new boss' current positions are on the first, but I certainly understand and take note of the issue.

    On the second on U.S. really interest on whether they're better the day after, I can tell you that the president wouldn't have the position that he will withdraw from the deal on May 12th if we can't close the gaps in it for our security if he was not convinced that our security would be better. What drove him to this decision is his conviction that U.S. security under those circumstances is better outside the deal. And, of course, we talk often with the Israelis about our positions, so I would say, yes, he does believe straight up that our national security interests are better served.

    On the DPRK summit, well, I am responsible and contributing the one significant part of the pieces there. It's our North Korea folks who are still building with the administration the context of that summit and so, again, I'm not going to stray off my particular lane in the road.

    In CTBT, I'll make some initial comments on would really welcome the views of both Lew and Dell on it. Our position right now is that all states should be having a unilateral moratorium against nuclear testing. I do think if we really felt it was vital to our national interest to test in a limited way, just assure the sustainability and security of our stockpile that was necessary for our nuclear deterrence, that is the situation under which we would consider testing.

    But our hope is that all sign up to a moratorium. We believe right now we can get to a stable, secure nuclear deterrent without testing and so that's why we abide by the moratorium and would call on other states to do the same.

    I certainly think that if we see a lot of states and especially states not currently nuclear weapon states testing we certainly have an issue. But it's in nobody's interest first or the security of our nuclear deterrent to be questioned. And that is, of course, why our nuclear posture review does include a modernization of the nuclear force to some degree, not increasing in numbers when making sure that it's stable, it's credible and it's able to protect U.S. interests and the interests of our allies to which we provide an extended deterrent as well.

    Thoughts on the CTBT front?

    COUNTRYMAN: Lew, did you want to comment on CTBT or anything else or Dell?

    HIGGIE: I'd like on the CTBT let Lew…

    DUNN: No, go ahead, Dell.

    HIGGIE: OK. So, I agree completely with what I think is probably the underlying premise of the question that moratoria are all very well and good, but they can be situationally based. And if you really intend upon giving strength to the norm against nuclear testing, there's no substitute I think for the entry in force of the CTBT.

    Certainly, New Zealand which has supported this treaty for a long time now, we feel that it gives us an absolutely waterproof position from which to denounce North Korea's activities on testing. I think that it's a little bit harder maybe to denounce what any other country does in terms of testing if you don't yourself commit to the legal requirement not to do so. I hear what Andrea has just said. But we remain a strong advocate for the CTBT.

    I heard some comments before we started today about idealism and so I'm going to take off my idealistic hat maybe and be realistic. I don't see the CTBT as entering into force I should say for the foreseeable period ahead, but, hey, what's going to change. I don't see it entering into force for a long, long time because there's no suggestion that any of the seven countries whose ratification we have to hit before it can become operational, I don't see anything.

    I wish I heard differently from one of them, but that's, let's not say it's dead. I mean, the international monetary system is up and running and working very effectively and for all I can tell, people remain committed to funding it, but I don't think. I'm sad to say it, I don't see much prospect of the treaty's entry into force although I think it is the best and only durable way for really ensuring the universal norm against nuclear testing.

    COUNTRYMAN: Lew, any brief comment?

    OK. We need to wrap it up. I'm going to throw one more question at you, Andrea, which you're not obligated to answer now because we have…

    HIGGIE: (inaudible).

    COUNTRYMAN: No, no, no.

    HALL: Thank you, Dell.

    COUNTRYMAN: It is not a rhetorical...

    (Off-mike)

    COUNTRYMAN: … not a rhetorical question and we have this afternoon Anita Friedt so feel free to force her to answer the question.

    HALL: Sounds like a great proposition.

    COUNTRYMAN: But the question is, I like the phrase "verifiable and enforceable arms control agreements." Which arms control agreements does the United States government consider to be enforceable upon the United States?

    HALL: So, I think you're right that Anita is well-placed. To the woman who tries to answer that question, I encourage you to answer the question.

    COUNTRYMAN: All right. I think her staff is going to prepare her. You want to do the logistics of next steps. Let's thank our panel.

    Lunch Keynote Address
    "Resolving the North Korean Nuclear Crisis"

    Governor Bill Richardson, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Ambassador to the United Nations

    Moderated by Carol Morello, diplomatic correspondent, The Washington Post

    COUNTRYMAN: I have the very great honor today to introduce the person on the program who has the longest title. This is Congressman Ambassador Secretary Governor Bill Richardson. I'm very happy that I had the opportunity to work directly for Ambassador Bill Richardson when he came to New York in January of 1997. And I remember very well that the first time I got to write a memo for him and take notes for him for this brand new ambassador was an evening meeting we had with the brand new Prime Minister of Israel, Bibi Netanyahu. And one day I'll release those notes.

     

    What I learned from Bill Richardson in the rather short time I worked for him but in following his career ever after as he met with such desirables as Mabuto Sese Seko or Kim Jong-il is that straight talk will get you a long way, whether you're talking to voters or diplomats or dictators or your own employees. And we asked him here today for some straight talk about the situation with North Korea. And after he's done he'll sit down with another fine friend, Carol Morello of The Washington Post, for a conversation about North Korea.

    Governor, it's your turn.

    (APPLAUSE)

    RICHARDSON: I noticed that Tom Countryman didn't mention my very brief presidential run. Joe Biden was in the race, too, and frequently I see him and he's always commenting on my weight or my unruly hair. And I said, "Joe, in Iowa, I beat you in Iowa." And he says, "But I'm vice-president."

    Anyway, I want to just thank the Arms Control Association and Daryl and Carol and all of you. This is a very sophisticated audience, so I'm going to try to hopefully be very factual, straight talk. Tom Countryman, I remember a young guy, he was the chief political officer. All the women were after him. He was a substantive political guy on the Security Council and he was enormously effective and he's had a great career, but I hadn't seen him since.

    I also want to introduce Mickey Bergman, who runs my foundation, the Richardson Center. He's one of the last people besides the CIA director to be in North Korea, so Mickey Bergman.

    I want to just put out some absolutes as much as I know because the situation in North Korea, the summit is so fluid, so many things are happening every tweet, every five minutes, every day. And I was talking to Carol about this, the pace is dizzying. But here's what. the take that I have and I'm only going to go for about 10 minutes and then Carol and I will have a dialogue and maybe some questions from you.

    One, the summit President Trump… I was going to say Kim Dae-jung. I remember Kim Dae-jung, Sunshine Policy. And one of the first things I want to say is that enormous credit needs to go to the government of South Korea for this summit. for President Moon for I think a mood… I know President Trump takes a lot of credit. I told Daryl I wasn't going to be very partisan and I won’t, because the only Democrats here are myself and that guy in the kitchen. No, I'm kidding.

    But I'd like to say that that is one very strong reason why these developments are so positive, President Moon, the Olympics, soft power. I remember the days in China, ping-pong diplomacy. That's absolute number one.

    Number two, the summit. The president meeting with the North Korean leader, good, important, impressive, but with a lot of risks. And if the summit doesn't succeed, the problem is going to be not a return to the status quo where there was enormous tension, but probably worse.

    Now, my concern is that we, the United States, be prepared, that the president be prepared. I worry sometimes that he's not very prepared. The North Koreans I've negotiated with, I've been there eight times, they're disciplined, they're prepared, they are very inflexible, they are unpredictable, they're very formal. When you negotiate with them, as you know with many policy-makers here, they have their talking points. They vent. They're hostile. They want you to listen to them, to show respect then you respond back and then maybe you make a deal with them on a detainee, on an issue relating to food on the sidelines. It's always informal. They never make it at the negotiating table.

    But the idea of North Korea negotiating, their idea is not a quid pro quo. For us, the quid pro quo, compromise. For the North Koreans, they feel that they have the divine right, call to personality. The father, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, the leader today, what they say is sacrosanct. Their idea of a concession is they'll wait a few months until you arrive to their position. That's their idea of a concession. And the danger with this summit is that somehow denuclearization means different things to both countries and that is the danger. That is the danger.

    The worry that I have to some here in D.C., the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula makes Kim handing over his missile systems, his nuclear weapons, allowing inspections to check that the regime is keeping its word. To the North Koreans, it means mutual steps to get rid of nuclear weapons including making sure requiring the U.S. to take down the nuclear umbrella with South Korea and Japan. The danger of this summit is unrealistic expectations. They are not going to hand the keys to their kingdom.

    I believe nonetheless when it was announced, and I got denounced by some of my Democratic friends, I thought the president was taking a gamble, but it was the correct gamble. I had looked at the Korean peninsula the last few years, things couldn't be worse. Missiles, nuclear weapons pointing at South Korea, artillery, conventional weapons. So I felt that was a risk worth taking.

    But now we need to be prepared and I think the signs are good. I am for this summit. I am for this meeting that the CIA director had with the North Korean leader. The CIA is back. They came in, no one detected Pompeo, did all this like the old Nixon days where he went… I see Congressman Slattery. We served in Congress together. But if we all recall, Henry Kissinger went to Beijing. Nobody knew he was there, from Pakistan. I don't know how Pompeo got there, but that's good. The CIA is doing things right again.

    So I want to not go much longer except to say this. It seems that there's a new channel between the United States and North Korea. It's the intelligence channel. It's not the State Department. I regret that. I'm a big State Department diplomat person. The New York channel has served a good purpose with the Otto Warmbier case, the detainees. But it seems at the higher level the Intel people are the ones with Pompeo that have been talking about the summit, about human rights issues, so that's a change.

    What else from this summit that I see? One, Kim Jong Un is in charge. I don't know if he has a nuclear negotiator. When we were working on North Korea, there was a guy named Kim Gae Geun, very, very strong guy. He was a nuclear person. Kim Jong-il deferred to him. With Kim Jong Un, he's the guy it seems. He I think having this meeting with Pompeo has paved the way for, I believe, a positive summit.

    Everybody here understands politics. President Trump has invested an awful lot in this summit, so has Kim Jong Un. The summit has to produce some results. I think what we need to do is have the expectations manageable.

    I'll conclude with what I think are some of the realistic expectations, one, the return of the three Americans. I think that'll be a deliverable that would happen at the summit. Two, possibly something that's a very important cause for me, the remains of our soldiers from the Korean War. I brought seven remains back as an envoy for President Bush in 2007. There are a lot of families out there that want to see these remains come home. Hopefully, some South Korean North Korean family reunification human rights movements that are doable and I hope that happens.

    Then on the nuclear side, I think we've got to set up a process, a process of negotiation that I saw a timeline of 2020, I think that may be a bit unrealistic, but some kind of a process that involves a freeze, a curtailing of nuclear weapons, of missiles. And North Koreans are going to want some kind of end to the armistice or an end of the armistice or want to have sanctions reduced, lifted.

    I think sanctions have been working and I give credit to China. You know, everybody says China is not serious. I think they're serious this time. I don't know why, we have a lot of China experts here, but I think they have been serious.

    I will also conclude with something that I am not sure of. I think Kim-Jong-un has an end game. I don't know what it is. I think he is a rational actor that has been underestimated. I mean, look, I worry about the Gulag, the human rights violations, the starving people. But I think in the end he wants something of acceptability in the international community and he always… whenever I went to North Korea they'd say, "We want to negotiate with you, with the United States. We're the big guys in the region." I said, "Well, what about China? What about…" "Oh, no, no, we're the major powers.” They got that. That's why it's so important for this summit to succeed.

    Anyway, Daryl, have I gone too long?

    (APPLAUSE)

    RICHARDSON: That means yes, right? OK. All right. Thank you, all, very much.

    MORELLO: Governor, thank you very much. So much has happened recently. It's kind of hard to know where to begin, but let me ask a little bit about what has changed. Kim met with Mike Pompeo over Easter. Pompeo only a year ago was sort of hinting at regime change. Now, the South Koreans are saying that North Koreans are willing to accept the U.S. military presence on the peninsula contrary to all their public statements before. It seems like a remarkable turnaround, so on both parts really.

    So I want to ask you, given how far advanced the North Korean weapons program is, what has changed that this all would be happening now? Is it showing that the combination of hard-hitting sanctions and bellicose rhetoric was effective? Did that play a role? Why is this all happening now instead of a couple of years ago?

    RICHARDSON: The first thing, Carol, that I want to just state about North Korea is you’ve got be very, very careful on what they mean when they say something, in other words, the details. I saw this report that says that the U.S. can keep a military presence of some kind. Well, what does that mean? Like military exercises, troops? I mean, there's always some flexibility that they've thrown out. They're very good at PR. I mean, they're very volatile. But you have to question exactly what they mean.

    So what has changed? Well, I mentioned before I think the sanctions have been working. They have been working because I think it's 90 percent of all commerce goes into North Korea through China and I think China has been enforcing the border. When you cut and restrict coal and oil and foodstuffs and fish and North Korean workers that bring money in from China to North Korea, I think the sanctions have been biting.

    Again, Kim Jong Un, what does he care the most about, staying in power like any politician. You stay in power. He doesn't want to get knocked off and he worries that somebody will try to knock him off, his regime, his family, his siege mentality that I think he has. So that has changed.

    But then my last point is China I think has been moving in the right direction on the sanctions because they don't want a nuclear South Korea or a nuclear Japan, which has been threatened because of the intensive activity of North Korea's missile activities.

    And I will close with another issue and that is that I think in the end Kim Jong Un is not like his father. With his father and his people, you could make a deal. "OK, you got to release this American, I want an American president to come and take him out." Jimmy Carter came, Bill Clinton came, James Clapper. And if it's a very low-level situation, Bill Richardson will go and I got a couple out that way.

    But Kim Jong Un, I don't think he's a deal-maker, a rug-merchant type. I think there's something out there that he wants an end game and I don't know what it is totally. It could be a Marshall Plan. He may ask for a marshall, but you think that was expensive eventually in a deal. He might ask for just an end of sanctions, the armistice he'll ask for, a promise, a security promise. I don't know. I'm rambling.

    MORELLO: Well, it seemed like only yesterday he was being characterized as an evil lunatic and now we get the impression that they are being eminently at least in their talks with the South Koreans. Do you get a sense there at some point where the rubber meets the road and there's going to be something they will ask for that the United States will be totally unable to give?

    RICHARDSON: It's very possible. I think the summit of the South Koreans and the North Koreans is going to be very important because the South Koreans will be able to gauge what the North Koreans really want because of their enormous cultural ties and their proximity and their ability to sniff out what is the real agenda here.

    So this is why I know that our people, and I'm not an insider with Trump, I don't think I am, but I have talked to White House people, the administration, I talk to the North Koreans more than I do the Trump administration, the North Korea, the channel in New York on humanitarian issues. I'm not into the remains, on what Mickey does with the detainees. So I believe, Carol, that that summit is going to give us a very strong indication.

    And the only worry is I love the South Koreans, but sometimes they're a little optimistic about results. And I want them to… and Tom Countryman had a very valuable trip to South Korea recently. You may want to ask him his impressions. But I just think that unrealistic expectations of what both sides are going to do is my biggest worry.

    And then I'm going to say something nice about the president. I think the risk that he's taking is the correct one. But I worry with his tweets, I worry with his flying off the handle, seat off the pants. In a way, Pompeo has reassured me with this visit that maybe there'll be structure. I don't know where they're going to meet.

    I'm betting. Let me tell you what I'm betting on two sites, me, and I know nothing. One, I'm betting on Geneva, right? That's one. The second bet is one of the Russian islands. If Kim Jong Un doesn't take airplanes, he goes on this big rail truck, big rail car and he may end up in Russia, one of those little islands there. Actually, that's Mickey's idea.

    MORELLO: Well, you mentioned you were concerned about preparations for the summit, how President Trump would have to prepare. What should the National Security team at the White House be doing to prepare him for this? Really should they, and is there a chance that we will see the three American detainees released before he sits down?

    RICHARDSON: I don't think they'll be released before. I think they'll be released at the summit. The National Security Council, I've dealt with them on this issue, they had a very good guy as the deputy who I was working with, talking to anyway, named General Ricky Waddell. I read somewhere that they fired him. I don't know if that's the case.

    Ricky, I read it. I didn't say this. But he was very competent. They've got a guy named Pottinger there that seems to know what he's doing. And the young woman that spoke to you, is she still here?

    She is, OK. So at the State Department is what worries me and Countryman knows this. I love the State Department, but our diplomats were depleted when Tillerson was there. We have no ambassador in South Korea. By the way, Victor Cha would have been really good, really good. That guy knows everything and his Korean ancestry and knows diplomacy, nuclear stuff. I don't know what happened.

    But the NSC has to be the coordinator. It's always been that, Carol, but this may be different with Pompeo. What I hope Pompeo does is he goes to State and relies on diplomats and not on his spies that he brings from CIA. Nothing wrong with being a spy, but my hope is that he gets respected and brings the State Department, our diplomats back because they're very demoralized right now.

    MORELLO: You mentioned that you are a little concerned that if these talks fail it will be worse. So I wanted to ask you given that last night President Trump said he hopes they will be fruitful or he's just going to cancel them or walk away, what would fruitful look like and what would worse look like?

    RICHARDSON: All right, what does fruitful look like? One, get the detainees back. Two, get some remains back. Three, a ban on chemical weapons to Syria. Four, nuclear and missile export bans or freezes. That's very important.

    On the missile side, verification so that there's a freeze on their technology so Americans don't worry about a missile coming into the mainland, some way that we can reassure the Guams, Alaskas that they're going to be OK.

    On the nuclear side, DI says they have 60 nuclear weapons. They've said it publicly. I always thought they had about 20. Are they going to curb their use? I hope so. Limit their use, freeze, end them, destroy them? I don't think so. So those are the achievables. The negative is for the president to throw a tantrum and leave and nothing is done. I don't think that will happen. A lot is riding in the success of this summit for the president for the Russia reason, domestic reasons, the investigation stuff. It's got to be a success.

    And people have said to me also… I know John Bolton. He was ambassador to the UN like I was. And they said, "Oh, no, we're really worried. I mean, Bolton's going to… he wants to bomb them." I said, "Relax." Bolton has to ensure as National Security Council. His first job is that this summit be a success as a staff member. He can't inject. This has to be a success.

    And there's something about Pompeo that is… I've never met him, I’ve never met him, that is intriguing. I mean, if he was first in his class at WestPoint, he's a Tea Party guy. I don't like that at all. But there's something intriguing. I love this penetration into North Korea, this summit thing. It's like the old days, Carol, Kissinger and going in the…

    MORELLO: Yes, I remember those, unfortunately.

    President Moon said this evening that the North Koreans are basically seeking an end to hostile policies and guarantees of security. How do you think U.S. policy on North Korea should evolve? And what does it mean to guarantee security to one of the, if not the, most repressive governments mankind has ever known?

    RICHARDSON: Well, they've always wanted, the North Koreans, an end, the 1953 armistice where technically they feel we're still at war and so they want an end to that. They want to document. But what is also important to them there is part of that armistice involves our troops in South Korea. So I think there's some room there where there can be some… I don't want our troops to leave South Korea, that shouldn't happen, but maybe exercises, maybe some kind of military realignment that protects both sides, protects South Korea. We've got 30,000 troops there. I want our troops protected. I want the 25 million South Koreans in the Seoul area protected.

    And in Japan, too, I mean, Japan, we've got 50,000 troops. I mean, Abe came to Mar-a-Lago because of several reasons. One, he was mad about the steel tariffs. Two, he feels that the South Koreans have made him not look too good. South Korea did this deal with the summit. They kind of felt that they were outside, Japan, but they're a great ally.

    And I'm a free-trader, I'm for the TPP. Now, the president wants to get back in, but then he was… I was doing a TV show, now he says, no, he doesn't want to go in. I mean, like every day he's something different. That's my worry on the summit that the president somehow is going to say something like, "Oh, I'm going to walk out of the summit if it isn't good." This after Pompeo is received by Kim Jong Un. If I'm Kim Jong Un I'm saying, "Wait a minute, I thought things are going good. He wants to pull out before we start." Things like that, Asians, North Koreans, they want to save face. It's very important. You've got to be careful.

    ELLO: You didn't really go into China. What kind of role will China and President Xi play?

    RICHARDSON: Look, I've been one of those in the past that have said, oh, Chinese sanctions, they're not serious, they don't want to do it, they like the turmoil that North Korea causes us. But when North Korea started shooting those missiles so incessantly and South Korea and Japan started talking about maybe going nuclear, I think that changed China's mind. And maybe the president's pressure on China has helped. I mean, I'll give him credit for that.

    So I think, Carol, the sanctions, I was at the UN, they're very carefully constructed at the UN. They involve foodstuffs, they involve oil exports, they involve coal, they involve North Korean workers, the hackers. Maybe that's the way we stop the hackers in China from North Korea so they don't hack our movies and many other things. So I think China can play an important role.

    Will China be the site of the summit? I don't think so, but it's possible. The six-party talks, maybe bring them back. I'm not sure about Russia. I don't know if I would trust Russia to be part of the regime that enforces not just the sanctions but the verification. I don't know, Russian's up to a lot of no good stuff and it concerns me because they're a very important country.

    MORELLO: You gave a pretty vivid description of what it's like negotiating with the North Koreans as one of the few Americans who's ever had that experience. I mean, how do you get around the hostility and how is that different than dealing with other countries, other adversaries? And is the United States prepared to deal with the kinds of traps that that may present?

    RICHARDSON: I've negotiated with the North Koreans, with the Taliban, with Sadam Hussein, on prisoners, with Sudan, Al-Bashir. President Clinton, once he was asked at a press conference, "Well, why do you send Richardson to do some of these?" and Clinton said, "Well, bad people like him."

    So, Countryman, you remember he said that? He said that. I said he could have said it a little differently. But, yes, they differ. Carol, it's like negotiating with inflexibility, with diplomats, politicians that feel they're being driven by a deity by Kim Jong Un, by the father, by destiny.

    Most North Koreans don't leave the country. They get program television that tells them America's terrible. They have the Pueblo incident that happened, I don't know, 100 years ago. They show it every night as a defeat of America. They have this beautiful, they're calling Mexico Telenovelas, of flowery North Korean love and romance and then the deity, the leader. They're programmed and so they don't see the way we westerners do, quid pro quos. They don't see that so you have to find ways to influence them.

    When I was involved my first time in North Korea with bringing back two American pilots, one that perished, they're very sensitive to bad press. They're very sensitive to… they follow every news item of getting bad press, keeping, doing detainees. This is why I get involved with political prisoners, hostages and the families say, "Should we publicize that we want American pressure to bring our kids back?" I say, "Yes, do it because it works." This is where most diplomats disagree with me, but I think that's important.

    MORELLO: What do you think the summit should lead up to? What kind of framework do you see? You mentioned 2020, you seemed to be thinking at least two years of talks, maybe even that's optimistic. But what kind of framework should be established to work through the nitty-gritty details?

    RICHARDSON: A framework led by the U.S. State Department. What does that mean? Secretary of State, if he gets confirmed. I think he will be confirmed, especially with this trip. If I were in the Senate, I would vote for him because I think we need leadership right now at this very critical juncture with North Korea.

    What kind of framework? A negotiating process led… I think it has to be at a high level, led by the Secretary of State, not a special envoy, one that involves South Korea, one that involves China, one that involves Japan, I'm not sure about Russia, but a framework that leads to more talks, a process. And set a timeline and maybe you don't make that timeline. I think 2020 is a little too soon. I notice that it I think coincides with the election, doesn't it?

    MORELLO: Yes, it does.

    RICHARDSON: But here I want the president to succeed. I want our country to succeed in this summit, but I have my worries. But the framework, I mean, what I don't want is like, OK, president walks out because he says, "They're not going to denuclearize like this afternoon." Well, they're not going to do that. But I think the Pompeos, the experts at the State Department, we should name an ambassador to South Korea like tomorrow, or we should bring Victor Cha back or send Countryman there. We need that. We need that anchor. We need that anchor right now.

    So, Carol, one other thing. I always felt, you know how in dictatorships the military is considered to the right of leader. They're the ones that are the hardliners. I think the North Korean military, they are more positive towards negotiations than you think. When we dealt with them on remains, they were flexible. Of course, they'd get foreign exchange for the remains, but they were… I think that is an unused option, that maybe our military leadership should be part of the negotiating team to talk to the North Korean leadership, their military.

    And I think who calls the shots? Kim Jong Un through his security people, not military, not like guards. But he's got a security apparatus that seems to have been, security intelligence apparatus that seems to have been the channel with Pompeo and our intelligence people that have been talking to the North Koreans about this summit and many other issues.

    MORELLO: In the past agreements have fallen apart over the issues of verification, do you have any sense of what kind of verification regime could be come up with that they could come up with that would be acceptable enough to the United States to feel we're monitoring it yet not so intrusive that the North Koreans wouldn't accept it? Is that realistic to think that we can even trust them?

    RICHARDSON: The North Koreans are going to cheat. They cheated in the 1994 agreement, the framework. They enriched uranium after eight years although I say it was worth the agreement because for eight years they didn't have nuclear weapons. They started cheating and they did. They did it with Pakistan and they brought technology in. You got to watch them.

    And one of the problems with that agreed framework is it didn't have strong verification. There was verification on the Yongbyon facility, but they've got other sites where they have a lot of this activity. So I think it's got to be IAEA inspectors. They're really good, as tough as they have on the Iran agreement. The verification on the Iran agreement by the IAEA is well done and Iran has been complying.

    By the way, I think it'd be a mistake if we got out of the Iran deal as much as Iran is obnoxiously acting on Yemen, on Syria, on American prisoners, on terrorism. I think the North Koreans are going to notice that. And the timing I think we have to decide.

    Slattery, when do we have to decide? May 6 or May 12?

    MORELLO: May 12.

    RICHARDSON: May 12. The summit being early June/May, the president, I think he has the ability to delay it for four months. This is a typical politician ploy. We like to delay. I would urge the president to delay for four months. This could not be a deal breaker, but it could be. I mean, if I'm the North Koreans and I say, "Well, President Obama signed this and now a new president takes it off. What if they do this with an agreement we have with the U.S.?" So I don't see the logic there, but I hope we retain it or postpone the nuclear. It will affect North Korean thinking in my view.

    MORELLO: You keep in touch with the North Koreans, so what are you hearing from them on what their expectations are of this?

    RICHARDSON: Well, I think they’re… my sense and maybe I'll have Mickey say something, we saw not too long ago, I think they're excited about this. I’m talking about the only people I talk to or in New York, Carol. I mean, we don't let them travel anywhere the UN mission. I think there's a positive sense. They always wanted to deal with us, with the United States. Even when I was in government, they would always agree to see us, to see me in New York. You'd have to almost always by a mistake, but we did that. It's supposed to be funny. I guess not.

    Countryman, they don't like to pay for it, do they? Or you want a cup of coffee or forgot (inaudible). No, they don't even say that. OK.

    MORELLO: You seem to be suggesting that this is part of a long, long plan that the North Koreans have had that it's not just taking advantage of circumstances but this is they've almost been plotting this scenario aloud for a while, do you think?

    RICHARDSON: Carol, yesterday I came here for I'm a member of a board called The World Resources Institute. It's an environmental board. And I know we've got a lot of very important people here: diplomats, journalist, business leaders and they were talking about five-year strategic plan for The World Resources Institute. I'm not big on strategic plans because I got to deal… when I was in government politics, a crisis every week. And I like President George W Bush when he said the vision thing, a strategic plan and things change.

    So did Kim Jong Un have a strategic plan? I don't think so. I think what happened is this, in my view. One, he's achieved almost all he wants technologically on the missiles and nuclear, well, almost all. So negotiate when you have your strongest leverage.

    Number two, I think he genuinely is afraid of being knocked off. Look what he did to his brother who was, I think, being groomed by the Chinese and others to take over. He's petrified of losing power. This is what dictators do.

    And then, thirdly, if you look at the North Korean budget, most of the money has been gone into the military. Maybe he wants something to happen with his economy and that's where he looks to the west, easing of sanctions, loans, the agreed framework, we proceeded with nuclear reactors, with food. Maybe there's a grant (ph).

    So is it planned? No. And, again, I'm going to give credit to South Korea. You guys in South Korea jumpstarted the process through the Olympics and then the summit of your own and then the summit that you pave the way for the United States to have for North Korea because I knew it wasn't our grand plan for this meeting to happen. So I know I interviewed with some South Korean journalists earlier, my hats off to South Korea.

    MORELLO: Well, thank you. I think there may be some questions out in the audience.

    (Off-mike)

    RICHARDSON: Was that all right?

    MORELLO: That was great. That was great.

    RICHARDSON: Oh, sure?

    QUESTION: Thank you very much. Benjamin (ph) (inaudible), State Department official. You referred to the increased nuclear capability of North Korea and actually, Kim Jong Un has said explicitly that they've achieved their goals and they've gone as far as they need to. So in terms of what has changed, certainly this increased capability which poses a considerable threat to us is one thing that changed.

    But even more importantly is what has changed on the U.S., side realizing the threat and the danger our position has changed. And we're now engaging in a serious negotiation including on the end of the armistice and so on, which could lead to a significant agreement in the interest of the U.S., an agreement that if a Democrat had negotiated he would have been shouted down as a traitor or perhaps negotiating one of the worst treaties possible. Thank you. Please comment.

    RICHARDSON: Well, I'm glad the State Department has a very strong spokesman here. And, look, I don't disagree with you. By the way, we have a great arms control negotiator here, Mr. Weiler, Jacob Weiler (ph). He negotiated with John Quincy Adams. No, I'm kidding. It was Eisenhower. It was Eisenhower I believe. I hope we can get the North Koreans to… I know the Arms Control Association… to sign the NPT. Sign it, but then observe it. That's the worry.

    Look, but the only area that I might disagree with your point is there's no question their missiles can probably hit the continental United States. The issue is can they do it with a nuclear warhead? I'm not sure that they're there yet, but they're very close. Do you agree?

    (Off-mike)

    RICHARDSON: Yes. So but still what is that, a year away? I believe right now North Korea felt because of the push from South Korea, the events. President Trump likes to take credit, "Oh, it's because I called him a little rocket man and we put pressure on him and fire and fury." No. I think there was a concerted agenda from the North Korean, the South Koreans pushed the process and I think the president is looking, like any president, for dramatic legacy achievements. That's the way this president is and that's also a worry, that he's going to fly off the handle and get mad and just that's a serious worry that I have.

    I want some real diplomacy there and maybe Pompeo can do this. I don't know. If somebody knows Pompeo, I'd certainly welcome a perspective on him, he seems to be very smart. And I commend him for getting over there and the CIA, probably an unmarked plane with his trench coat.

    (Off-mike)

    UNKNOWN: We have one at the back.

    (Off-mike)

    UNKNOWN: Ask some questions and then we'll take this one over here.

    QUESTION: I have two questions, but very short. My name is Heather Timmons and I'm from Quartz. What happens if Pompeo isn't confirmed is my first question. Does it matter? And, secondly, you talked about Abe being sideline before the Mar-a-Lago visit. It seems like the Pompeo trip really overshadowed anything Abe was doing there. We keep jokingly calling it the Mar-a-Lago surprise, you show up thinking or talk about one thing and then something else happens. How important is it to get Japan's help, cooperation? Do we need to be doing something else there? Thank you.

    RICHARDSON: OK. I will answer, but where are you? Where did you speak from? I thought I'm either going blind and deaf. OK. So Japan did feel… I believe Japan felt slighted because most of the action was South Korea and Abe didn't know about the summit and et cetera, et cetera. The steel and aluminum tariffs, timing-wise, you're a politician, you want to take care of your politics. He didn't like that especially since he and the president seem to have a very warm personal relationship.

    Japan is key. It's probably our top ally along with South Korea and Asia, our friend. So I think this visit to Mar-a-Lago was good. Did Pompeo overshadow? I don't think so. I mean, Pompeo's visit was in Easter. I think the president got confused. He said it just happened last week. Well, Easter was some time ago.

    So I think the politics, the foreign policy, South Korea's gotten a lot of credit. The South Koreans have consulted with us. There's positive movement. I think Japan's visit has been good for the United States, good for Japan. Overshadow, no. This trip, I'm going to tell you again, I think was necessary, positive. It sets a framework for discussion. It sets possibly an agenda. Leaders communicate, get to trust each other.

    My hope is that the summit of the president and the North Koreans just establish some trust to develop a process that might lead to denuclearization. I voice my doubt, but that's what it's all about. And I'm going to maybe… you’re going to have another question.

    (Off-mike)

    RICHARDSON: OK.

    (Off-mike)

    QUESTION: Galen Carey with the National Association of Evangelicals. You mentioned in passing the Gulags (ph) and so I guess my question is if there's some kind of progress on the security front, does that make it more or less likely that the human rights situation would improve because for many of us, we're grateful that we're not going to be bombed perhaps, but we're also deeply concerned about people that are locked away in prison.

    RICHARDSON: Yes. I mean, that has to be our priority and I worry that this administration has not given human rights a priority it deserves in the Middle East, across the world, Duterte, Philippines. I'm not going to get into countries. So I would like to see as part of an agreement maybe phase two of an agreement. I think the first one has to be nuclear and some of these humanitarian issues like the prisoners and the remains and the family reunification. But phase two of the dialogue should be human rights and the Gulag and maybe in return, the North Koreans are going to ask for something, I'm telling you, not just military issues. I think they're going to ask. I think if you think the martial plan was big in those days, I don't remember it, I'm not that old, that they're going to ask for something.

    But, yes, I think if you look at most of the people imprisoned by North Korea, they're evangelicals, Americans and that should end. I mean, there should be some visiting human rights agreements that involve people. And maybe your movement, your church can be very much a part of that.

    COUNTRYMAN: Wonderful. Governor Richardson, thank you very much.

    Carol Morello from The Washington Post, we really appreciate your coming with us to help lead this conversation with the governor.

    MORELLO: Thank you for having me.

    COUNTRYMAN: Please join me in thanking Governor Richardson for his insights.

    (APPLAUSE)

    Afternoon Panel
    "Overcoming the Impasse on U.S. and Russian Arms Control"

    Dr. Olga Oliker, Senior Adviser and Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

    Anita Friedt, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Department of State

    Richard Fieldhouse, former Professional Staff Member, Senate Armed Services Committee

    Moderated by Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy, Arms Control Association

    REIF: Good afternoon to everyone and welcome to our panel this afternoon that will examine and assess the impasse on U.S. and Russian arms control and what might be done to overcome it.

    My name is Kingston Reif and I'm the director for disarmament and threat reduction policy here at the Arms Control Association. And as everyone in the room knows, key pillars of the U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control architecture like the bilateral relationship more broadly are under siege. Arms control may not be dead, but it is certainly wounded.

    For example, since 2014, the United States has accused Russia of testing and deploying ground-launched cruise missiles in violation of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Moscow denies that it is violating the treaty and instead has accused Washington of breaching the accord. And while both sides appear to be faithfully implementing the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, it really will expire in 2021 unless extended.

    The Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review, published in February, gives relatively short shrift to arms control. It did not commit to an extension of New START, though it is our understanding that the administration will soon begin an interagency review of the pros and cons of extending the agreement.

    The situation took another concerning turn last month after Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted about his country's development of several new-generation nuclear weapon systems, including hypersonic weapons, and Moscow announced that it was postponing scheduled talks with Washington scheduled to take place in March on strategic stability.

    Putin described the rationale for the weapons largely in terms of the U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and concern about U.S. missile defense systems. The impending release of the Trump administration’s forthcoming Missile Defense Review, which appears poised to expand the U.S. missile defense footprint, will no doubt add to Russia's concerns.

    Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House following a March 28th phone call with Putin that "We'll probably be meeting in the not too distant future to discuss the arms race which is getting out of control." However, serious planning for such a meeting does not appear to be underway.

    The tensions that I've just described prompted a diverse group of experts and former government officials to urge Washington and Moscow, in the tradition of past successful cooperation under difficult circumstances to reduce nuclear dangers, to discuss and pursue effective steps to reduce nuclear tensions, and to avoid a renewed nuclear arms race.

    The statement was organized by members of a 21-member German-Russian-U.S. Deep Cuts Commission, which was established in 2013 to develop proposals to overcome obstacles to sensible arms control agreements and further reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles and you can find a copy of that statement outside the room here.

    Here at the Arms Control Association, we've been grappling with these difficult problems and attempting to identify potential solutions primarily through our engagement with the Deep Cuts Commission which we have helped to direct.

    And today, we are happy to continue this engagement and fortunate to be joined by three outstanding panelists. To my immediate right, we have Anita Friedt who has been acting assistant secretary of state at the Bureau of Arms Control Verification and Compliance since January of this year.

    To Anita's right, we have Dr. Olga Oliker who is a senior adviser and director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here in Washington.

    And at the very far right, we have Richard Fieldhouse who is the President of Insight Strategies, an independent consulting company and a former long-time staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    You can read their full bios in the program if you'd like more information and our speakers will each provide about eight minutes of opening remarks which should leave plenty of time for questions from the audience.

    And with that, Anita?

    FRIEDT: Thank you. Thank you very much, Kingston. Thank you for the introduction and thank you very much to the Arms Control Association for hosting this discussion; it really is very timely as you pointed out in your intro remarks and obviously very important.

    Overcoming the impasse between the U.S. and Russia in arms control is obviously critical to maintaining strategic stability and in building trust in the relationship down the road, something which we definitely need to get back to, I will say.

    So, I will focus my remarks on three areas here. One of my favorites, of course, is the New START Treaty, where we currently stand.

    Next, I want to talk about our integrated strategy, the administration’s integrated strategy on the compliance, returning Russia to compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the INF Treaty.

    And then finally, I want to address working strategic stability talks, where we look forward to discussing our arms control relationship with Russia, and hopefully in the very near future. So, those are my kickoff remarks and then obviously I look forward to everybody's questions in the discussion here.

    But, OK, before going on here, I want to make a couple of notes, namely first, the State Department recently just last week submitted the 2018 Annual Compliance report to Congress. As some of you insiders and well, obviously experts know, this is an annual "fun" report; it's a lot of "fun" from my bureau–fun in quotes–since we lead this effort.

    In this report, the department highlights several unclassified findings. The report as many of you might know has a classified and an unclassified section. Obviously, we will only talk about the unclassified section here.

    But the unclassified findings include compliance concerns and violations regarding Russia which are, I mean, really one of the key issues that complicate or have led to the impasse between the U.S. and Russia in arms control. The United States takes compliance with its obligations very seriously.

    As I mentioned, my bureau, the Bureau of Arms Control Verification and Compliance, places a special priority on the report but also priority on promoting and coordinating effective verification and compliance analysis of all arms control and nonproliferation agreements to which the U.S. is a party.

    This is an enormous report and an enormous amount of interagency work goes into putting out this report every year. We usually begin in the summer and the due date is April 15th. Yes. Yes, I don't know if somebody obviously enjoyed setting that as the date. We did not, by the way, get a reprieve as the IRS team and we submitted it to the Hill on Friday, so ahead of time.

    Secondly, there are a lot on the compliance report, or not just the compliance report, but there are a large number of fact sheets and press releases on all treaties that are available on our bureau's, the State Department webpage, and we certainly encourage colleagues to make use of that.

    Given compliance concerns and violations detailed in the compliance report, we have grave concerns that Russia is taking apart, brick by brick, agreements which preserve the post-Cold War period of security and stability for the entire world. And that really is a problem and I think we all agree that is problem.

    The erosion of trust caused by Russian non-compliance with existing international agreements and repeated refusal to engage constructively to remedy these actions has costs associated with it. And these were very much factors as the administration concluded the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy, and the Nuclear Posture Review.

    Now, obviously, I've seen my Russian colleague here; I don't see him right now, but I saw him on the way in, obviously, the Russian side has their own version there and believes it is in compliance and there are reasons behind this, but it is a problem and we need to fix it. Cooperative engagement with Russia even on arms control issues which have typically been insulated from the ups and downs in the bilateral relationship becomes more and more difficult in this current environment.

    More recently, we had to use--not more recently but just obviously yesterday, we just had talks at the OPCW about use of Russian military grade nerve agents in the United Kingdom that resulted in serious injury to three people. The Salisbury, the UK incident, is further evidence that Russia has not fully declared its chemical weapons production, its chemical weapons development, or its chemical weapons stockpiles.

    At the same time, as former Secretary Tillerson said in Paris this past January, Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the brutal targeting of countless Syrians with chemical weapons. By shielding the Assad regime and failing to stop the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Russia has breached its commitment to the United States as a framework guarantor.

    Moscow has betrayed its obligations to resolving the overall crisis, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2218, its commitment to the chemical weapons convention and guaranteeing the end of the Syrian regime's chemical weapons use.

    Nevertheless, we continue to view our discussions with Russia on these issues as important, very important, not just to prevent a crisis from occurring or escalating, but also to maintain a level of transparency and predictability to prevent unwanted and unnecessary arms racing. Dialogue continues, which is a good thing.

    We continue to raise and discuss issues related to New START, and this is obviously separate, but New START and INF regularly both at the technical level and at higher political levels. And let me just stop here and comment, we often see we have to return to dialogue or the U.S. and Russia are not talking at all.

    There is the perception sometimes that there is no discussion; there are only accusations in the press and elsewhere, but dialogue is continuing. It's obviously difficult and very much complicated by the issues I just raised, but we do have dialogue and it is continuing.

    The New START Treaty. Regarding New START, it continues to provide for a degree of transparency and parity for deployed strategic forces and has facilitated predictable, pragmatic interaction since its entry into force in 2011. And I can't, I mean, you can continue to say the New START Treaty implementation is going well and we want to keep it that way. It is extremely important and that is very much a positive.

    I would stress to this group the enormous amount of time and energy that goes into the implementation and verification of an agreement like New START. It really is hard work. Making the treaty work requires dedicated service from the arms control policymakers, to the military services, to the folks working 24/7 at the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, also in our bureau. Here I can mark that the NRRC, fondly referred to as the "narc," the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, just celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this month. And then also with our colleagues from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

    The regime, the New START regime, includes 18 on-site inspections annually for each party, data exchanges to account for the status and makeup of each country's nuclear forces, and exhibitions of new types of strategic offensive arms. Just last month, we exchanged our 15,000th treaty notification.

    So, I think many of you may be familiar or have heard this, but it really is, it's quite commendable and I think it speaks to the importance of the transparency and predictability, the importance of the treaty. As I said, the United States and Russia, we are complying–we're both complying with our New START obligations, which include meeting the treaty's central limits in advance, both of us met the treaty limits in advance of the February 5th, 2018 deadline.

    Both the U.S. and Russia have stated we remain committed to implementing the New START Treaty. We look to ensure that our implementation of the treaty continues smoothly as we address more problematic areas in the arms control relationship. And I can say that we've just concluded the Bilateral Consultative Committee meeting in Geneva just today. This is the implementation commission for the New START Treaty. So, again, two weeks of solid, very hard work.

    The INF Treaty. Here is a less good story. The INF Treaty is an example of where future arms control cooperation with Russia has been placed at risk. The U.S. remains committed to preserving the INF Treaty and is seeking Russia's return to full and verifiable compliance.

    As I think you've seen, the administration's strategy to this point has yielded a few important results. First, U.S. leadership and concentrated outreach to allies, the North Atlantic Council, thanks to the outreach–in December, the North Atlantic Council, the NAC at NATO made a strong statement regarding its concerns with Russia's INF compliance, the importance of the treaty to Euro-Atlantic security, and the need for Russia to resolve these concerns in a substantial and transparent way. That remains the United States' position as well.

    We've continued our diplomatic engagement with Russia, including by convening Special Verification Commission, which is the implementation mechanism for the INF Treaty. There was one in December of 2017, the last one. Just prior to this meeting, Russia publicly confirmed the existence of the ground-launched cruise missile which we assess to be in violation of Russia's obligation not to produce, possess, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

    So, that was a step forward, recognition that we've actually named the or had the designator of the offending missile, the 9M729, and Russia publicly confirmed it. So, at least, we have something to talk about, more to talk about now. Having finally acknowledged this though, Russia denies that the missile is capable of the range that we have pointed out.

    The administration, I mean, our point here is to find ways, to seek ways, to increase military and economic costs on Russia. Why? To increase Russia's incentive for diplomatic resolution to the violation.

    So, the Department of Defense has begun treaty-compliant research and development of a conventionally-armed system or systems that, if pursued, could be inconsistent with the treaty's prohibitions. We've also identified two Russian entities, Novator and Titan, and they were added to the Department of Commerce's entity list for creating, regarding export control issues.

    So, thank you, Kingston. Going along—two minutes here left, so I can race forward.

    But the point here is, what we are trying to do, is to incentivize Russia to come back to actually engage in conversation, in diplomatic discussion to resolve this issue.

    So, lastly, let me finish with strategic stability and I can quickly up-to-date you on where we stand here. As you may be aware, we had talks, the second round of strategic stability talks scheduled for March of this year, tentatively scheduled. Unfortunately, Russia postponed the second round. At this point though, we believe as the two largest nuclear powers, we have a special responsibility to maintain strategic stability and reduce nuclear risks, and the United States for its part is very much interested in rescheduling these talks and I think Undersecretary Shannon has mentioned this both publicly and privately and we continue to do this.

    I can stop here. But on strategic stability, to make a long story short, I mean, we've worked for a long time to schedule the first round of meetings which finally took place in September of 2017 in Helsinki and we had a very good start, I mean, very good start to discussions laying out the concerns. And we are anxious to get back to the second round.

    Obviously, there are numerous world events that are literally, I don't like, maybe shouldn't use the term “exploding,” but on a daily basis, right and left. And so that has also been one of the challenges in all honesty of getting the next round of talks back on the table, but we certainly look forward to that.

    Let me stop there.

    REIF: Thank you very much, Anita.

    Dr. Oliker?

    OLIKER: So, thank you, Kingston.

    Thanks to the Arms Control Association for convening this conversation. I want to echo Anita's comments about how important this is.

    I'm going to start off by talking a little bit about Russian incentives for arms control. I'm not Russian. I'm American so I can't speak for the Russian Federation. But I do study how Russia looks at these issues. So, if there are representatives of the Russian government in the room, I'm sure they will correct me if I get some of this wrong.

    So, from a strategic perspective, from a domestic politics perspective, from a budgetary perspective, I would argue that Russia has tremendous incentives to pursue arms control with the United States. And that while there are also disincentives, the incentives outweigh them. Unfortunately, anybody who’s studied history knows that countries don't always act in their own best interests. And that is part of the reason I'm not terribly optimistic about the future of arms control right now.

    So Russia, and the Soviet Union before it, pursued arms control for all the right reasons: Because the arms race was dangerous. Because it was a way to constrain U.S. systems and capabilities that they worried about. Because it kept Russia's own costs down and well, it constrained its own defense sector, too.

    It meant that arms control made it possible for Moscow to build a force it could afford while maintaining deterrence against the United States and maintaining its status as America's equal, as a nuclear superpower. It gave the Kremlin a voice in how the United States built and deployed its forces and it provided a forum in which Russia could articulate its preferences and concerns even if it wasn't always going to get what it wanted.

    Now, I'd say those incentives haven't really changed for Russia. It's still concerned about a lot of different U.S. capabilities, nuclear and conventional, which it worries weaken its deterrent among other things. New technologies may advantage or disadvantage Russia but, in some cases, they certainly disadvantage it.

    Russia has a global strategy of increasing its influence around the world in a time of strategic shift and maintaining nuclear parity with the United States strikes me as a pretty important component of that. It also has a stagnating economy which is badly in need of reform, which means that increased defense and security spending comes at a cost to other priorities and could be very dangerous if not constrained.

    But if Russia doesn't think that arms control is going to help it get these things that arms control has traditionally gotten, there is little reason for Moscow to pursue new agreements and it might make it less enthusiastic about staying in or getting into compliance with the old ones. Moreover, if Moscow doesn't feel it has a partner in the United States that's willing to come to the table and make compromises even as Russia itself will have to make compromises, then we don't see much of a future.

    Now, I would argue that Russia and the United States share the blame for the current situation. From the start, the arms control framework was a whole bigger than the sum of its parts, right? The SALT arms reduction arrangements wouldn't have happened without the ABM Treaty that accompanied them.

    And as time went on, it was past agreements that made new agreements possible, so you built on the whole and that's what made it effective, that these things were inexorably linked, nuclear arms control and conventional capability technology limits went hand on hand. So, it's not surprising that the Russians responded poorly to the U.S. decision to withdraw, legally and following all of the rules, from the ABM treaty back in 2002. And it's also not surprising that that led Russia to stop implementing START II, since just as ABM and SALT went hand in hand, ABM and START, which was the successor, went hand in hand.

    So, I think it's worth remembering that Russia has generally avoided formally withdrawing from the treaties that remain. It suspended implementation of CFE and then it stopped participating in related decision-making but didn't actually leave the treaty. I'd argue that a decade ago what it was trying to do was force some changes to the treaty. It didn't want it gone; it wanted it amended.

    The INF violations which Anita talked about are a different matter. Whatever led Russia to be in violation of the treaty, though, the impasse at getting it back into compliance from the U.S. perspective raises real questions on whether Moscow can be trusted to comply with old or new treaties. And the chemical weapons issues that Anita also raised fall into this category as well. It doesn't create incentives for the United States to come to the table.

    And aside from that, it doesn't look to me like the United States is all that interested at coming to the table for things kind of beyond getting everything back to where they were. Aside from Donald Trump's initial brush off of Vladimir Putin's question about New START renewal, we now have rhetoric in the Nuclear Posture Review that seems to view escalation as something that can be managed, which is framed around the narrative that Russia has a different strategy for nuclear use than the one Russia says it has. And it really does raise a discussion that the United States is looking to build new weapons, not shrink the arsenal further.

    So, one could argue that it's a negotiating stance, but from Russia's perspective it doesn't look like the United States is that interested. And then, of course, there are always the concerns that have been around a long time–U.S. missile defense plans, which I think we'll hear about, precision weapons… The United States has been very consistent saying these things aren't coming to the table, that there aren't going to be conversations about this. So, insofar as these are the things that the Russians want to limit, it creates a disincentive going forward.

    But this said, everyone starts negotiations from fairly maximal positions; you don't give everything away before you get there. But in an atmosphere like the one we have now of tension spiraling, I think we're in danger of kind of: staking out our claims will stop the conversation before it starts. And even as I would argue that overall Russia has some real incentives, there are many people in Russia who don't think that it does.

    Just as there are people in the United States that think arms control is a threat to U.S. interests and benefits Russia, there are people in Russia who see arms control as historically benefiting the United States and hurting Russia. And in the atmosphere of tension that's spiraling, neither side is particularly inclined to do favors for the other.

    So, these are all the reasons I'm not terribly optimistic. At the same time, when I look at the strategic balance, I see a lot of things to talk about. I don't think the INF impasse is irresolvable. Look, there are voices in the U.S. and Russia that say the treaty is out of date and inappropriate to modern times. It's a valid view. It's an interesting conversation to have. We should have it.

    Outright violations present a real problem. They raise those questions whether Russia can be trusted with new treaties but it could be resolved if everyone comes to the table, talks it through, and agrees to measures that let–don't force anyone to say “gosh, golly I was wrong, you were right,” but let everybody walk away and say “I understand your concerns and here is how I am going to assuage them.”

    From the strategic arsenal standpoint, both countries have built arsenals that can exceed New START limits easily if they feel like it. The upload potential Russia has long complained about the U.S. having is now something it has as well. How worried are we about this? How much concern do we have about whether we can tell that uploads are going on? How long it takes to put new tubes into submarines or more warheads on a system, it's an interesting conversation.

    Also an interesting conversation is the one to be had about new technologies, new capabilities, how they're deployed, how they're built, whether they should be limited.

    Now, we have some positive indications from both parties. I think some of the Nuclear Posture Review language indicates a willingness to talk. The idea that some of the U.S. developments, particularly a new sea-launched cruise missile, is part of a negotiation with Russia. I think that suggests that when one wants a negotiation, strange as it may seem, I think that Vladimir Putin's March 1st speech with its menagerie of weapons, there are silver linings here as well.

    First, all of the stuff was not couched as “we're going to attack you”; it was couched as second strike overcoming missile defense as a retaliation. I'm not quite sure what a second strike on Florida accomplishes but, again, I'm not privy to Russian targeting strategy. But I think the other thing that's positive is that Vladimir Putin followed this up with an interview where he did say that these systems could be subject to limitations. That suggests that an interest in talks remain.

    My other point of optimism is that we've had impasses before. Arms control has been comparatively resilient in terms of stress, but it hasn't been fully resilient and sometimes it's been resilient in creative ways. Back in 1979, Jimmy Carter withdrew, after SALT II was signed, Jimmy Carter then withdrew it from congressional consideration because there was no way Congress was going to get that treaty through.

    And you know what? I'm sure you guys do know what, everybody abided by it anyway. And that is a sign, I mean, that suggests that in times of difficulty, there are creative ways to get these things moving. But in order to get them moving, you need diplomacy, you need skill, and you need patience.

    And patience, I think, is going to be particularly hard because negotiations do, they go back and forth, and the other guy doesn't do what you want them to do immediately. And so far, both Moscow and Washington's response in general when things don't go smoothly is to see it as escalatory. So, in that environment, it's really hard to sustain much optimism.

    I'll stop there.

    REIF: Thank you, Dr. Oliker.

    Richard?

    FIELDHOUSE: Thanks, Kingston.

    I'll briefly describe the relationship between arms control and missile defense between the U.S. and Russia and then look at the resulting prospects for future arms reductions between the nations. Time won't permit me to go into many details so maybe we can take up any additional items in the Q&A period.

    I'd like to start with the historical sort of context. There's a long history, many of you involved in it, of the challenging relationship between arms control and missile defense going back at least 50 years between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and now Russia. The ABM Treaty itself was a recognition that unlimited missile defenses would spur offensive missile build-ups and that limiting missile defenses could permit limits on offensive missiles.

    The Reykjavik Summit actually proposed an agreement to eliminate offensive ballistic missiles and it collapsed because of a disagreement on whether United States would stop its research and development on missile defense, the Strategic Defense Initiative. New START, remarkably in my view, faced a lot of Republican opposition in the Senate for matters related to missile defense. And the remarkable part of that is, the treaty had no limitations on missile defense; it was a non-issue that became a serious obstacle to Senate approval of the consent ratification.

    So, I want to turn to a policy context now that is to my view highly relevant even though a little past its expiration date in terms of the publication. This is 2009 report of the Perry-Schlesinger Commission on U.S. Strategic Posture. This was a bipartisan effort led by former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, former Secretary of everything Jim Schlesinger, I'm not sure he didn't–he wasn't a cabinet member in any agency.

    But it was a really focused bipartisan effort put together by Congress required in law and they looked at all U.S. strategic posture and did findings and recommendations. And one of the really unknown aspects of this was that they included a very brief but very solid chapter on missile defense and U.S. missile defense posture, sort of overlooked.

    And in that report, they noted that U.S. missile defense development for the previous decade had been guided by two principles. One, protecting against limited strikes, and two, taking into account the legitimate concerns of Russia and China about strategic stability. And they said these were main, good guiding principles and explained their reasoning by saying, "Defense is sufficient to sow doubt in Moscow or Beijing about the viability of their deterrence and could lead them to take actions that increase the threat to the United States and its allies and friends."

    And then they provided some recommendations on development and the appropriate deployment of missile defenses, again, emphasizing against regional sort of nuclear aggressors and including limited strikes on the homeland. But they also made a recommendation which I think is key and I'm going to quote it verbatim. It was, "While the missile threats posed by regional aggressors are countered, the United States should ensure that its actions do not lead Russia or China to take actions that increase the threat to the United States and its allies and friends."

    I think that's a really critical bit of wisdom that we need to keep in mind here. Although the Trump administration has concluded that the main security challenge to the United States is long-term strategic competition with Russia and with China, it has so far continued to follow those guiding principles laid you by the Perry-Schlesinger Commission.

    We're pursuing homeland missile defense against North Korea and Iran which doesn't have the capability, and we have a variety of regional missile defenses. These include the European Phased Adaptive Approach to protect NATO against Iranian missiles, and it includes cooperation with Japan and South Korea in defending against North Korean missiles.

    My view is that although these systems, U.S. and allied systems, do not pose a threat to Russia or China in terms of their strategic capability, both nations have clearly expressed very significant concerns it's a major irritant between the United States and Russia and has been a major problem on arms control and other security matters.

    And as a number of senior government officials have been saying recently, our adversaries of nations are making a lot of investments in missile, offensive missile programs that are designed to complicate or negate our missile defenses. And this, of course, is the point that President Putin made rather emphatically with videos in his March 1 speech.

    So, even though U.S. missile defenses—our efforts are still limited in scope and capability, they have already contributed to a change in the strategic equation with Russia and China. If the U.S. were to change its missile defense policy and pursue ballistic missile defense of the homeland against Russia or China, leaving aside whether that is technically feasible or affordable, it would increase the likelihood of that Perry-Schlesinger concern happening, that Russia and China would take actions that would increase the threat to the United States.

    I don't believe that either Russia or China will permit the United States to negate its strategic deterrent no more than we would do so for them; none of these countries is going to let this happen. So, what does all this mean for the future of arms control with the U.S. and Russia? Given the starkly different and opposing U.S. and Russian views on missile defense and the current situation in security matters vis-a-vis North Korea, U.S. defenses against them and leaving aside all the other controversial issues between the United States and Russia, it's hard for me to see any likelihood of future U.S.-Russian arms reductions under the current circumstances.

    I hope I'm wrong. I like to be an optimist, but I don't have much room for optimism right now. One can always hope for what I'll call the "Trump effect" which is a Republican president not expected to do something bold on arms control, you know, suddenly surprisingas I think North Korea is going to be the first chance to see whether that’s possible.

    So, despite my pessimism on future U.S.-Russian reductions, I–I want to emphasize that I think it is critical that the United States pursue very vigorously strategic stability with Russia. We are–we are both pursuing things that are making each other worry. We're not talking much about it. I know Anita said that there are–there is discussion going on, but it needs to be more robust, it needs to be focused on strategic stability, avoiding miscalculation, misunderstanding. We've got military forces in Syria, both sides using military force there. That's dangerous. There're a lot of things going on that are really risky.

    And strategic stability, I would argue, is absolutely fundamental in the deepest national security interest of both nations. We do not want war. So, this leads me to two very brief conclusions. One is that in keeping with the Perry-Schlesinger Commission Report, the U.S., in pursuing its missile defenses, I would say the U.S. legislative and executive branches need to consider carefully whether any proposed action would lead Russia or China to take an action that would increase the threat to us. That has to be a fundamental calculation about what we do and what we don't do.

    And secondly, and I don't think this is a difference in position between the administration, again, I think we need to be pursuing strategic stability with the Russians very vigorously. You know, we did this all through the Cold War no matter how bad things got. We should be doing it now. It's not a favor to Russia. It's not a reward to Russia, it is simply a basic means to try to increase our security and reduce the risks to both sides in the world at a time when there are increasing risks to peace and security. So that's where I'll leave it. Thank you.

    REIF: Great, thank you very much, Richard. Thank you for all three of our speakers although none of them appeared particularly optimistic about the way forward. Before opening it up to all of you for your questions, I just wanted to ask Anita a few questions related to the New START Treaty and the future of the treaty.

    Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Rob Soofer, at a Senate Arms Services Committee hearing last week, I believe it was, stated that the administration would soon begin an inter-agency conversation about the pros and cons of extending New START. I was wondering if you could comment on that, if there's any timeline for that review and how long the administration anticipates that taking.

    Dr. Oliker mentioned this, but the New START Treaty also provides for a discussion on emerging strategic offensive arms and possible limitation. We mentioned the March 1st speech, several of the strategic-range delivery systems that President Putin described. Does the Trump administration believe that those systems ought to be limited by the New START Treaty, and if so, does it plan to take that up with Russia in the context of the bilateral consultative commission?

    And then finally, I would just be interested in your views on when the New START Treaty expires in 2021, if there's nothing to replace it, what are the implications for strategic stability between United States and Russia if there are no verifiable limits on the world's largest two strategic nuclear arsenals? So, I'd just like to get some of Anita's thoughts on those questions and then I will open up the floor to all of you.

    FRIEDT: Well, briefly, on extension, which is a hot topic across the board, the president–lots of people have commented on it, but I'll just say–but to Rob's point, I mean his testimony last week, yes, I mean, we are always doing interagency reviews on many things as you know, and it depends on how long they take, but that is a question that we're looking at in terms. But again, as I mentioned, and this is where verification and compliance with arms control agreements really counts because that has to be–that's obviously a factor that one would take into consideration, extension of New START, what does that mean in terms of, you know, Russia is or is not in terms of coming back into compliance with the INF treaty. So, we are reviewing it. There is no timeline, but it's - there is no schedule.

    And from my perspective, there should be no schedule. I think I've heard lots of people say, "We have to do it and we have to do it right now and if we do it, extend the treaty, like, everything will be fine." It won't. That wouldn't–that wouldn't really necessarily help things, I would argue. We have until 2021 and I think we should look at it very carefully.

    And in terms of where we are in terms of enforceable, verifiable arms control in compliance with treaties… So then let me answer your second or your last question here, what happens if we don't extend it and we don't have a treaty that has importance? As I address, the numerous–and the inspections and the rigorous transparency regime–that makes the relationship, the nuclear relationship, very predictable.

    That is a problem because then we will have less insight, less greater reliance on NTM, there'll be less insight in the actual–the inspections. I can't emphasize how important the mutual inspections are because it's an opportunity to actually look at in terms of both public statements, diplomatic statements, but also NTM, National Technical Means. It's an opportunity to verify that and have a face-to-face look at this and look at it. It is very important.

    And then the whole issue of President Putin's yes, infamous March 1st speech and the fun–I'll call them “fun”–things that he revealed, many of which we have been looking at. Yes, I mean that is an opportunity. The treaty calls for looking at new types, new kinds, there is an opportunity to discuss them. We have not done so yet, but we certainly could look at that and take that up.

    REIF: Great, thank you very much. Questions, and I think I will follow my predecessors in taking–taking three at a time. First, I believe I see you, Rachel, you there with your hand up in the back and we'll take–we'll take three in there.

    OSWALD: Hi. Thank you for a great panel. This question is for anybody who wants to answer it, but the State Department perspective would be appreciated as well. So, it sounds to me like I've been hearing more comments in public from–from senior military officials about how the INF Treaty is constraining the United States when it comes to China. I think this came up at a confirmation hearing in the Senate earlier this week for the PACOM commander.

    So, I'm not sure it's just Russia that–that feels like INF is outdated. Can anybody talk to the U.S. perspective about how INF is possibly constraining them in ways they don't like toward Asia?

    REIF: And just very quickly, who are you?

    OSWALD: Apologies, Rachel Oswald, reporter with Congressional Quarterly.

    REIF: Right, thank you. Yes, right here.

    THIELMANN: Greg Thielmann, ACA board. Anita, I was happy to hear you mention the agreement on the designation of the–of the system we alleged to be a violation, the 9M729. It seems to me that changed the argument completely from “What are you talking about?” to “No, you're wrong about the capabilities.”

    So, my first question there is, why did it take us three years to provide the designated system? The second question is, now that we have a parallel situation with the most serious Russian charge being the Mk-41 launcher of our–of our ballistic missiles that Boeing proudly boasts is the same system that launched the Tomahawk cruise missile which is basically the identical to the Griffin land attack cruise missile banned under the INF Treaty.

    Why is the U.S. not inviting the Russians in to look–to inspect the Mk-41, putting pressure on them to let us in to inspect the 9M729?

    REIF: Done? OK, your time. Right.

    COUNTRYMAN: Anita, thank you for continuing to work on these very difficult issues. I remain more calm because you remain on the job. I appreciate that.

    FRIEDT: Well, thank you.

    COUNTRYMAN: Earlier, I asked Andrea Hall a question which she helpfully volunteered to have you answer, and that is, which arms control agreements does the United States believe to be enforceable upon the United States? Everybody loves the phrase “enforceable and verifiable,” but it seems to me when the White House says it that the U.S. will do the enforcing on other states but there is no need to have an enforcement mechanism for U.S. compliance, and if that's the case, what state is going to agree to anything with the United States?

    So which agreements are enforceable upon the U.S.?

    REIF: Anita, several of those were directed at you.

    FRIEDT: Oh, okay, how about it.

    REIF: Why don't you start and then we can go on down the line to see if there are comments from the other panelists as well.

    FRIEDT: Okay yeah, no, please weigh in especially on all of them, on the INF. But the PACOM commander, well he is going to be our U.S. Ambassador designate to Australia. I know yes, he has commented on INF treaty constraining the military. Sure, the reality is everybody–I mean we would like to take a look since Russia is–especially since Russia is not abiding by the INF treaty, I mean there are certainly, if the treaty is not going to be valid and why can't we look at the same things? But I don't know.

    I would say there are many of these treaties were outdated. I don't think the INF Treaty is outdated, but Russia obviously does. That's one of the–Russia raised the INF Treaty being outdated during the–during the Bush 43, during the Bush administration in I think it was 2005 or 2006, so at that time, we said we would be happy to take a look at it, discuss it, that certainly is an option, we can discuss any number of variants in what to do with the INF Treaty once we get to a real discussion. That's the real point. We have to have a real discussion with the Russians on that.

    And that's–I also have the same answer for–for you, Greg, yes, having the 9M729 has helped–has been a small–I mean it's great game changer when you go from nothing to something, it's a great, great game changer. So, it is a progress, but why did it take so long? Well you worked–you worked in the intelligence community, you worked in the U.S. government, sometimes things take longer than they need to.

    But it is an opportunity and yeah–and once we have real negotiations, discussions with the Russians now that we have something, maybe we can get to the point where we can talk about the Mk-41. We can talk more concretely about the 9M729. We can talk perhaps–we can even talk about transparency, but we haven't gotten to that point. So those are all–all issues that we can certainly consider.

    And then Tom, you always–always have the clever, clever questions, cleverly worded questions. I mean I'll try–yeah, are you talking about our compliance report? I mean we–yes, the United States has–I mean each country has to look at the–the treaties that they are party to and assess not only your own country's compliance, but other countries’ compliance and compliance and verification, I mean compliance is really a big factor in terms of military planning. That's another good point here, I mean to the INF concerns about the PACOM. If you have a country that's not abiding by its–by its arms control obligations and is violating the INF Treaty, that's a military planning consideration.

    COUNTRYMAN: I like the word "compliance," the word that the administration reintroduced….

    FRIEDT: Oh enforcement.

    COUNTRYMAN: … is "enforcement."

    FRIEDT: Okay.

    COUNTRYMAN: (Inaudible) what it means to say (inaudible).

    FRIEDT: Okay, well this–I mean we have to have enforcement measures to deter future violations and we're not talking about military enforcement. I think there was an article at some point talking about military enforcement. That is absolutely not what we are talking about. We're talking about what does it take to–to–to make sure that countries comply with these arms control agreements, that violators face consequences. So, there is obviously international law–where is Mallory when I need her, my lawyer.

    But no, there are obviously international legal means that we can take, and we can enforce it as well.

    REIF: And Rachel, oops, sorry, go ahead, any other comments from–

    FIELDHOUSE: Tom, if I can just jump in on this, I think the term “enforcement” is a very unfortunate term to bring it to the arms control debate, because unless you are going to go war and occupy a country and, you know, that's been the discussion, how do you enforce arms control? You don't enforce it. You monitor, you verify, you know, you do all the things you can do to make sure compliance is happening and if it's not, then you work everything you can to make it happen.

    I just think it's an unfortunate term to bring it to that debate, so I–I second your point exactly.

    OLIKER: Well, the one thing you can do is incorporate in treaties what happens if somebody is violating.

    FRIEDT: Right.

    OLIKER: And that's, you know, that's not enforcement, but it is–it kind of–it lays out for all parties what can happen if you break out. And I think that's a valid thing to consider doing.

    FRIEDT: Good point, Richard. It is interesting, but it was used actually after this article appeared in the debate on enforcement team out in NPR, we did a look and it was actually in the 2010–it was in previous–it's been in our compliance reports. It's been–I think it was in the 2010 NPR. So, it is a term that we have used. It's not just in this administration.

    But it's perhaps not the–not the best. I will take that on board.

    REIF: And I will just say, Rachel, really quickly in response to–to your question about INF Treaty in China. General Paul Selva, the Vice Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff was asked, I can’t remember if it was a House or a Senate hearing last year about the military utility of INF-range systems in the Asia Pacific. And General Selva's response was that United States PACOM DOD can meet the requirement that it has and target what needs to target using treaty compliance air and sea launched systems. I just wanted to make that point. Other questions. Right here in front.

    FRY: Thank you all. Very interesting, you used two phrases if I may, I'm paraphrasing now, Russia taking apart brick by brick of the Cold War deals and the other one was the dialog continues. What's interesting, this is not isolated to the present administration, this has been going on for a while, the question I ask is, why does it continue?

    I mean the underpinning with–with the Ukraine dynamic, if you will, and all the underlying factors that this is just a continuing ratcheting up of something that's been going on for a while. And also, I mean you're not at DEFCON whatever-the-level-is with this situation, what do you think will change that dynamic?

    REIF: And can you just quickly identify yourself?

    FRY: Oh, I'm sorry, Bob Fry.

    REIF: Okay, thank you. I saw a hand on the way back? Yes, right here by the door coming, great.

    MACDONALD: Hi. I'm Bruce MacDonald, and a question. First a comment, Richard, I appreciate your comments about the strategic posture review commission, report language on missile defense, as senior staff there, I had a hand in working with a couple of other people on drafting that. And I was–I was ready for the roof to fall in with controversy about it and fortunately it was accepted without much debate.

    But I think that the point of the–the language is as true today as it was then. And thanks for acknowledging it.

    My question goes to, I guess, primarily to Anita, but not just–and that is my sense, I could be wrong on this–is that what Russia was looking for was almost any kind of restraint on–on missile defense and it's puzzled me that the United States has been unwilling to agree to any limits. I mean I understand the political realities, but I think if Russia–if we offered, you know, 200 interceptors, the original ABM treaty, they would have jumped for joy in order to have just some kind of a limit. And yet we have–right now, there are no limits at all and even though we would have no plans maybe to deploy anywhere remotely near a very–a higher level of interceptors, we still are steadfast in not doing that. And we have to–it costs us diplomatically. It costs us in terms of–of opportunity cost. If we were to agree to any kind of a limit, we could probably get some significant concession from the Russians back on an issue that we care a lot about.

    So, we're holding onto a limitation that, if we don't plan to build anything like that, a higher number doesn't do us any good. And I just wanted to–is there any prospect in which there would be some kind of a restraint on missile defense, and do people take into account the fact that, were we to agree to something like that, we might get something important to us back and return? It wouldn't just be us giving something up.

    REIF: Thanks, Bruce. One more question if there's someone out there that can take? Right here, yeah, sure.

    UNKNOWN: Right behind you, sir.

    LARRY WEILER: I’d like to comment on the–the–the last observation. And for those who are new in this business, never forget what the big bugaboo has been about arms control. It's been the American withdrawal from the ABM treaty. That was a very significant factor and it was two countries who said to each other, “We are in this together,” and to do that they wrote language that said, “We agree that we will not build a defense for the territory of our–we will not build a defense for our–the land of our country,” words to that effect.

    And that was a fundamental decision that we got the hawks and the doves to agree to, and we withdrew from it. And the Russians have since then said, "You can't trust the Americans," and they have a very valid point. It was regarded as a fundamental basis for international security. And we withdrew at a time when Russia was in turmoil. As soon as they became weak, we withdrew. And Bush didn't–Bush Two didn't know what the hell he was doing, and he listened to a bunch of hawks in his Vice President's office and that's how we got out of it.

    And the American public didn't react to it, and since then we have been living with that, and that's fundamental to what the Russians think about it and what other people should think about us. So, keep in mind the fundamental nature of the American withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.

    Obama tried to fudge the issue and was reasonably successful by restating what our missiles were for, but now we are faced with a prospect that we may be in an elimination of that moderating aspect of what Obama did. But keep in mind the fundamental nature of the ABM Treaty that we withdrew from.

    REIF: Thanks, Larry. Yes. So, several questions on the table, I think we're going to end with that round. So, I’ll have you respond to questions, any final comments you might have. Why don't we start with you, Richard, and we'll come back down.

    FIELDHOUSE: So a couple of things. Bruce, to your question about limitations on missile defense–not representing the administration of course, this is a personal view–but having lived through an awful lot of this when I was in the Senate and we all have since then, the administrations both–since we withdrew from the ABM treaty, all the administrations have–have taken the view that because they don't know what's coming next with North Korea, with Iran, not Russia and China, but these other countries, they are not interested in placing limits on our missile defenses.

    And the–the second half of that thought is it's very clear where Congress has been on the issue. I mentioned the–the difficulty with the New START treaty, that was an awful lot about missile defenses and insisting there would be no limits on missile defenses, period, or the treaty doesn't go through. That was a lot of the discussion.

    And so, Congress has been very active in making the point particularly during the Obama administration because there were a lot of concerns that the administration was going to–remember the hot mic issue and the administration was going to cut a secret deal, or such thoughts. And so, the irony of this is, is that the U.S. sort of concern is not in Russian or Chinese ballistic missiles. We obviously are concerned, but we deal with that, as General Hyten from Strategic Command said, by using deterrence and other military means, but our missile defenses really are focused on North Korea and Iran both nationally and regionally, and the United States has made the point, no legally binding limits on missile defenses. That's been a standard platform for the Obama administration, all of them.

    And it seems to me that the way forward that might be useful and lend itself to strategic stability is trying to–to really engage in what I'll call transparency, predictability, sort of having a dialog where we make clear, look, here's what we're planning to do, etc. Now, that may or may not be acceptable to this administration. I think it makes sense as a proposition to try to have clarity and predictability and transparency as the sort of achievable thing.

    REIF: Thanks, Richard. Dr. Oliker?

    OLIKER: There's something religious about missile defense, right? I mean it's–I would argue it's faith-based regardless of which side you're on. The United States is building systems where there's not a lot of evidence that they work even against the threats that the United States has them being built for, moreover it's not clear if those threats are going to emerge in the ways that the United States says that they will. So, you can understand why the Russians are confused.

    From the Russian perspective, you can't convince them of that, you know, because to the Russians it doesn't work either. And American defense industry isn’t going to say this stuff isn't going to work the way we say it will. And, you know, you end up in this weird set of conversations where we say, “Don't worry about it, it can't threaten your deterrent because it just doesn't have that capacity,” and they say, “Yeah, but it could if it develops enough.” And you say, “Have you looked at the physics?” And they say, “Yeah, but you guys are saying it can do X, Y and Z, so surely it can do A, B, and C too,” and you keep having this conversation.

    And I do think saying “no legally binding limits” creates a real problem. It keeps us away from the table. And making unilateral commitments won't do the trick, you know, saying we'll just do this. If I were Russia, I wouldn't be comfortable with that, and I certainly wouldn't come to the table offering anything else up. I might be able to do it as a gesture of good faith, dah-dah-dah-dah-dah, that could be helpful, but they are not going to give us anything for it, I don't think.

    I would also, you know, come to the question of, “Why keep talking to the Russians despite all the problems, why should the Russians keep talking to us after we withdrew from ABM?” I would say the same incentives apply. We don't care as much about parity. We do care about limiting certain Russian capabilities. We do care about limiting our own defense industry. Sorry, we do. And we also care about verification. We care about understanding what their capabilities are–which, absent some of this verification–will be a whole lot harder.

    If anything, you know, I would say, it would be nice for both sides to get more transparency. For instance, on this INF issue that was raised earlier, we can see what the other guys are doing, we'll feel a little bit better about it. So that–I mean there are really good reasons to push this forward, and we are also in a political situation which makes it really hard.

    REIF: Last word.

    FRIEDT: I totally agree with both Olga and Richard on–on all the points and I like the–the–the religious point about missile defense. There is no question missile defense is a religion, period. And that speaks to, I mean, to your point about the ABM treaty and the Russian sensitivity about our getting out of it, even though as Olga pointed out in the beginning, we did so in a fully transparent, legal way, and the treaty had withdrawal provisions and we faithfully abided by those and we got out.

    But it obviously it has colored the Russians and it has colored the dynamic ever since then. And there are so many domestic, I mean, Russian domestic issues–and I'm not going to address it. Olga addressed some of the Russian issues and certainly I look forward. And the Russians do have some real concerns about the treaties, with the CFEs certainly. INF, I mean all of these treaties, one could argue they could be updated, but the question is how does Russia do it?

    For example, we have important things that got in the way of many efforts in terms of dialog. This also gets to missile defense. We had a very good dialog for years in the Obama administration about missile defense transparency, we were on the road to do something very positive to get an agreement. Then we had Russians invade Crimea. No–it didn't help. In fact, it cut off our discussions again.

    But let me just end on this. I am very much an optimist. As I have said in many forums, one has to be an optimist in dealing with these issues. I firmly believe there is a way forward and I do think, “Why does the United States–why do we need dialog?” Because the United States is committed to arms control. Because we are–even more importantly, we are committed to strategic stability with Russia. We have been pursuing strategic stability with Russia–and with the Soviet Union–for decades. It is in our mutual interest and dialog is the answer to the question. We have dialog, we need more.

    UNKNOWN: And they're still (inaudible).

    FRIEDT: They are, it's not as good as we would like. We both–but it's there, absolutely.

    REIF: Well, thank you, Anita Friedt, for ending on a more positive note. These are very difficult processes and challenges that the Arms Control Association will continue to work away at. And thank you to all of you for your engagement and continued support for that effort. And finally, let me thank all of our speakers. Thank you.

    (APPLAUSE)

    Concluding Panel
    "Building on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action"

    Ambassador Laura Holgate, former U.S. Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency

    Elizabeth Rosenberg, Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.

    Moderated by Daryl Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association

    KIMBALL: We have left for the last part of the agenda perhaps one of the more difficult issues that the Arms Control and Nonproliferation regime is facing, the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

    And we're going to discuss for about 45 minutes its nature, what it does and its future as this decision by President Trump in the coming weeks approaches. So as most of you recognize, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action which was concluded two years ago has been blocking Iran's pathways to nuclear weapons.

    The IAEA has confirmed in 10 reports, Iran is complying with its commitments. Yet, President Donald Trump has in the view of the Arms Control Association manufactured a crisis that threatens the future of this agreement.

    So back in January, he announced that, he threatened not to extend U.S. sanctions waivers after May 12th, which is the next deadline unless Washington's European partners – France, Germany, and the U.K. in particular and Congress take steps to fix what Trump thinks are the flaws in the deal.

    And so, now, the E3 states are working with the State Department, specifically Brian Hook, a holdover from the Rex Tillerson State Department to explore ways in which to augment and fortify the JCPOA.

    And the May 12 deadline may not be the final deadline. That is just the date by which the sanctions are supposed to be—the sanctions waivers are supposed to be extended. It still may take some time for the Trump administration to decide to re-impose sanctions if they don't get whatever they are looking for from the E3.

    So we're going to explore these issues in greater depth with two people who are very familiar as policy professionals and practitioners. And we're very pleased to have Laura Holgate and Liz Rosenberg with us.

    And as your program notes, Ambassador Laura Holgate is a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. She is also just rejoined the Nuclear Threat Initiative where she was before.

    I don't know, Laura, what your new title is. What is your new title?

    HOLGATE: As of Monday, I will be vice president for material security and minimization.

    KIMBALL: So vice…

    HOLGATE: The wonkiest title ever.

    KIMBALL: So we'll just call you…

    HOLGATE: Even among my titles.

    KIMBALL: So we'll just call you Vice President Holgate. Would that…

    HOLGATE: Yes. You may call me that.

    KIMBALL: All right, Vice President Holgate. She's also been—after she did a few things at the White House over the past several years including the Nuclear Security Summit process, she was the U.S. representative to the United Nation's International Organizations, including the IAEA in Vienna, so she got to see firsthand the work of the IAEA and the IAEA board in monitoring compliance with Iran's obligations.

    And Liz Rosenberg is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. And from 2009 to 2013, she was a senior advisor at Department of Treasury, working on sanctions, issue related to Iran and other problem states.

    And we at the Arms Control Association, Kelsey Davenport our Nonproliferation Policy Director and I lean on Liz many times to help understand the sanction side of the nonproliferation puzzle.

    And so it's very good to have Liz here because we'll be exploring some of the details of how this post-May 12 period may play out. So with that, I wanted to start by asking Laura about—based on your experience at the NSC, the mission in Vienna, what do we need to remember about where Iran was in 2012, 2013 before the interim agreement that was struck that then led to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, theoretically how close was Iran to getting enough fissile material for a weapon? In other words why is the JCPOA important?

    HOLGATE: Great starting question. When the negotiating process with Iran was begun the assessment was that Iran was two or three months from being able to create enough fissile material to use to make a weapon.

    Now, the experts in the room know that there are a lot of other steps between having the material, being able to weaponize it, being able to miniaturize it, being able to put it on the frontend of a missile, having a missile that works.

    I mean there are a lot of other steps past that but those—the time lines for those are almost impossible to gauge. What you can gauge is how long does it take to make fissile material and in the quantities that are relevant for nuclear weapons.

    And so the judgment was as of 2013 that that was two to three months. And that was just too close for comfort, because as important as the technical capacity was for Iran and I'll say a little bit more about that in a minute was the Iranian intention.

    And I think even by—by 2013, it was well understood that Iran was not racing to a bomb. Iran was—had built a steadily ambiguous program, a program that had some pieces that were explicitly hidden from the IAEA, other pieces that were not. That their goal was to be close enough—to be able sprint for a bomb if they made the decision to go to that weapon, move from an ambiguous peaceful program to an intentionally weapons program.

    And that is an important thing to understand, that they had not yet made that decision as of 2013. Now—but what they did have was a fair amount of what we would call high-assay of low-enriched uranium.

    So, uranium in the 19 percent range of enrichment and for again in this audience I can talk about things like the hockey sticker when it comes to SWU inputs, in other words it takes a lot more work to make 19 percent highly enriched – 19 percent enriched uranium than it does to go from 19 percent to 20 percent.

    So that's where your sprint comes in. Yes, from 19 percent to 90 percent. That's where the sprint comes in, is you're pretty close. It's not linear. So having that much material that was already close to being weapons usable was already problematic.

    They also had 2,000 centrifuges spinning at two different enrichment locations in Natanz and Fordow. They were in the process of building the Iraq heavy water reactor, which was masquerading as a research reactor, but it was essentially a plutonium production reactor.

    And so that would have been a second type of material that they could have used in a bomb. And they had ambitions were in the early stages of developing a reprocessing capability which would have been needed to extract the plutonium from the spent fuel from that Iraq reactor.

    So they had multiple different paths to achieving the kind of material that they would have needed to make a weapon if they had—if and when the leadership of the country decided that they really needed a weapon. But they had not made that decision yet.

    KIMBALL: But, Laura, I understand that this is the worst deal ever. And that it really didn't…

    HOLGATE: I don't.

    KIMBALL: So that's where it was. What does the JCPOA do to curb those capabilities? Where are we today as a result of the JCPOA?

    HOLGATE: So there were a lot of things that needed to happen before the JCPOA actually started to take effect and some of those were creating some irreversible depletions of those capabilities that Iran had initially.

    First of all was to remove all of the high-assay LEU, so that no longer had a starting point. Second was to limit any amounts of LEU that they could have in, to 3.67 percent, so that's a significant—that requires in a significant amount of work to go from that low-enrichment level to a 90 percent enrichment that you would need to make a weapon. And when you only have three kilograms of it and even if you were to start with that three kilograms of the 3.6, try to enrich it up to being a meaningful quantity from a weapons point of view, you wouldn't get—you wouldn't have enough.

    So that's two, both the quantity and the quality of enriched uranium were importantly limited. The centrifuges were dismantled from 20,000 to 6,000 and were put under very tight surveillance, not just the ones that were spinning but also the places that centrifuge parts were manufactured. The places for centrifuge R&D was going and so on.

    The Iraq reactor was disabled. I learned the word calandria as a result of this process and that if it is essentially as a reactor vessel. It was filled with cement, permanently disabled and damaged.

    The heavy water was removed from the country, the excess heavy water and then limited to only a certain amount that they can have. Heavy water is not something that you can use to make weapons usable material directly but it is important for the operation of the kind of reactor that they were originally designing the Iraq reactor to be.

    The spent fuel that had been already been generated or that will be generated in the future associated with that reactor has to be removed. And then the most intrusive verification regime ever developed was applied.

    Not only the additional protocol which is the kind of top level of IAEA safeguards that were applied to over a 100 countries globally, Iran agreed to accept that level on a provisional basis pending ultimate ratification of the additional protocol, but then there was a whole bunch of other stuff that the IAEA is confirming about Iran's behavior that is not part of what normally happens, of heavy water limits, centrifuge parks, uranium mining, uranium conversion activities, the manufacturer of centrifuges.

    And then there is even this procurement channel that is not an IAEA aspect, but it's a UN aspect that it is a way to provide international supervision on any potentially dual use equipment or materials that might be going into Iran.

    And so, there is an extensive mechanism here. And that has done has given everyone confidence, well, maybe not everyone, it gives confidence that two to three month period that we had before the JCPOA is now a one-year period, that it would take Iran a year between decision to sprint towards a weapons program. Kick out the inspectors, reactivate facilities and so on.

    It would take them a year to manufacture enough weapons usable nuclear material to make a weapon. And so that's a year in which a whole range of activities all across the spectrum from demarches to kinetic could be employed, were those to be, determined to be the right answers.

    But the other thing that it did, it didn't just buy us a year of time to deal with an Iranian weapons decision, it gave us 10 years to—and 10 years at a minimum and many much longer for other pieces of the puzzle to try to change the reality of the politics in the region.

    And the Iran deal was never sold as being the final end to an Iran nuclear weapons program. What it did was it bought time to change what might motivate the Iranians to choose to take a step towards a weapons program.

    And to use this time which now is down to being seven and eight years instead of the 10 years we had to really improve the politics in the Middle East that a weapons decision would be a response to.

    And so I think, frankly, both the previous and the current administration have not spent that time well, looking at the broader challenges of the politics in the region.

    KIMBALL: Well, so let's—let me just ask you about that a little bit because one of the flaws that President Trump outlined back in January 12 is his criticism that the JCPOA expires. There are sunset provisions that will end and that will then allow the Iranians to sprint to the bomb.

    So, how do we address that problem? As you said, I mean, the JCPOA was never sold as the permanent solution for the potential for an Iranian nuclear weapons program, but given the realities that we have in the Middle East, which are difficult, how can we in concept in an ideal world build on the deal?

    In other words, what would a smart approach be to build upon the core elements of the JCPOA with Iran directly or maybe regionally? What are your thoughts?

    HOLGATE: Well, first of all, it's important to understand there are several critical aspects of the JCPOA that are permanent, that are indefinite that last or are not time limited anyway. One is the additional protocol as Director General Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency has said, there is no country that has successfully created a covert weapons program while under the application of the additional protocol rules. So that's already a high standard there.

    Iran also reiterated in its—in the JCPOA the pledge that it had already undertaken in the NPT never to develop a weapons program. That lasts forever and then it has an international legally binding treaty basis because it was simply a restatement of a commitment they had already made.

    There are other aspects that are at the much more technical level that have a much longer timeframe. And then as you cascade, I mean we've all seen the waterfall charts of the timelines of what pieces expire when. I'm not going to recreate those from memory, but certainly it doesn't all end at 10 years.

    Much of it lasts forever, much of it lasts longer. And the rational thing to think about is as you approach those dates with a solid track record, either a solid track record of implementation and verification and compliance which is what we have until now or concerns about verification and compliance. Then when you get to year eight or nine is the time to start talking about what do we need to do differently if this agreement is going to continue.

    And you also have to base it on the political context at the time. What is the broader political environment in the Middle East. What are these threats or perceived threats to which Iran's weapons decisions or ambivalence decisions might be responding. But to try to jump from year two or three of implementation to already thinking about what are you going to change in year 10 is vastly premature.

    KIMBALL: Yes. Okay. So one other question for you and then I'm going to switch to some questions about the future of the agreement and bring Liz into the conversation. But you are working at the White House on these issues. You're part of the meetings and the discussions backstopping the talks that Wendy Sherman and others led, and then you were at the IAEA, looking at how the agency was working this.

    Now, Donald Trump and his team says that the mechanisms for inspections that the JCPOA allows for, including the additional protocol and the other measures, that's not enough. And we need to have a more robust inspection authority when we get the Europeans to agree with us.

    What's your reaction to that? What does the agency itself say about whether it needs more inspection authority, whether there has been resistance that is preventing them from verifying Iranian compliance?

    HOLGATE: Well, first of all, I'm going to set your characterization straight a little bit because there are too many people here in the room who know I had nothing to do with the Iran deal until I went to Vienna.

    KIMBALL: Okay. All right.

    HOLGATE: So I was not part of that backstopping team. But I did see it on the ground in Vienna that work directly with the IAEA safeguards teams, the close cooperation that those teams had with the experts on my team in the U.S. mission there. The reach-back capability we had to the U.S. national laboratories to answer technical questions that were coming from the safeguards community within the secretary and at the IAEA.

    And I have to say, to see the level of professionalism from a technical point of view, from a judgment point of view, from the safeguards team, all the way up to DG Amano on this issue was quite impressive.

    They were always responsive issues that the U.S. brought forward. We tried to be as quickly and as quickly responsive to any technical questions that they brought forward and there was a real transparency of—on the implementation process while respecting appropriately the safeguards confidentiality of certain types of information that the safeguards inspectors would have had access to inside Iran.

    So, it was never raised by—in any of those conversations from the safeguards community inside Iran or inside the IAEAs as oh, gee, we wish we could do this or if only we had this information we would be able to say this with more certainty or anything like that.

    We invented some new technology for them. The famous enrichment level monitoring contraption.

    KIMBALL: Online Enrichment Monitor.

    HOLGATE: Yes, OLEM. I'm out of practice talking about it. The online enrichment monitoring device which actually derive from an old—from a U.S.-Russian gizmo that had been invented in connection with HEU purchase agreement and the blend down of the 500 metric tons of Russian highly-enriched uranium.

    So we did have a little bit of an interesting moment of a U.S.-Russian technology being now applied in a third country environment, which is pretty cool, and kudos to the Oakridge folks who were the ones who were able to make that extrapolation.

    And the JCPOA also provides some mechanical capacity over and above the traditional safeguards in terms of creating a snapback arrangement to bolster the ability—bolster the additional protocols ability to have the IAEA inspectors visit any site at which they had a concern, and so whereas that exist for any additional protocol, if the host country chooses to draw out that conversation then there's a potential that it could last too long to be useful. For the purposes of the Iran deal, there's a very specific time limited decision-making process if in fact the IAEA does not get adequately quickly satisfaction from Iran that actually creates automatic snapback of sanctions, so a pretty heavy hammer should Iran challenge the IAEA rights under the EP.

    The IAEA has not asked to see military facilities because they have had no concern about that. Iran has not refused any particular visits to any military facilities in association with the JCPOA. So, I think those are two important facts to be sure that are registered.

    KIMBALL: So I want to bring Liz into the conversation. I want to ask both of you the same question to get your reactions. As I mentioned there is this May 12th sanctions waiver extension deadline, the E3 parties and the Trump administration are negotiating on ways to for a lack of a better way of putting it, augment the JCPOA outside of the nuclear provisions.

    And as we understand it, it's been reported this is kind of a three-part negotiation on Iran's ballistic missile activities which fall outside the JCPOA itself, on the regional behavior of Iran and how the U.S. and Europe might cooperate and on the so-called sunset provisions, some of the elements in the JCPOA that relate to nuclear that might expire, what do they do together.

    So in essence, what do you expect might come out of this? What can come out of it? And what needs to be avoided over the coming weeks. It's a very open question. I don’t know, Liz, you might want to start and Laura can jump in.

    ROSENBERG: Okay. Thank you. And thanks for the opportunity to be here with you and to have this conversation. So what comes out of this conversation, well, there is a set of things that have already come out of it and then they come out of it, pursuant to further discussions at the State Department led by Brian Hook is to having with counterparts in the E3 political directors and their deputies.

    And also those same—the E3 are having conversations with members of Congress and communities of jurisdiction or who are clearly stakeholders on this issue. That's not part of a formal U.S. administration E3 process seeking a statement, a joint statement or a joint piece of paper or a joint press conference, any of those things are possible that the goal is to try and bring together in some slightly more formalized way, the United States and the E3 to—with an agreement about how to address these three things.

    So interestingly, I think that the—it appears that the U.S. position, what the U.S. administration was asking for a permanent E3 when it comes to ballistic missiles and regional activity, maybe less than what the E3 was willing to do. So, cross that off the list. There is an ample opportunity to get to yes there when it comes to those particular people having a conversation.

    KIMBALL: And when we're talking about ballistic missile behavior, we're talking about ballistic missile transfers from Iran to other parties, right? I mean just to be more specific.

    ROSENBERG: There are two sets of concerns, obviously, the expansion of their arsenal and technology, equipment, procurement agents, absolutely and then as well as proliferating that technology to other interested customers. Right, so all of that is there. And Europe has at the level of EU as well as individual member states have a long history of interest and concern on this issue.

    They have plenty of their own sanctions on Iran related to ballistic missiles that exist now in the era of JCPOA. So there's a lot of opportunity for them to do more their—I understand that the really difficult part is how do we get to an agreement on the sunset issue and to make it particularly challenging, there's couple of factors here, a couple of considerations. One is that the U.S. administration, I think what they are looking for is the word sanctions. An intent to—for Europe to use sanctions if—and you can offer the technical lingo to fill this out, but my understanding is if Iran steps out of the bounds that begin to expire after the expiration date. That's a simple vernacular I've tried to use in this.

    But you can amplify that. And the challenge here is that I think some of the European counterparts are allergic to using those words. That's very uncomfortable. And to get into a place where there is—the interpretation on the European side is if you go so far is to say that that will happen or there is an intent for that to happen, that is broadly perceived there to be rewriting the agreement and that's just a no-no.

    It’s too political uncomfortable and there is not—and furthermore, I think they take very seriously the challenge of committing their future governments to this obligation, which I think is much more lightly undertaken here in the United States.

    Anyway, then there is the other challenge which is what the White House ultimately says about any agreement that the State Department manages to get to with the E3 counterparts and whether notwithstanding the fact that the E3 and the State Department may come to agreement on these issues including the sunset issue, whether that will be palatable and sufficient for the president and that's something that no one can answer, period.

    So that, of course, is quite a disincentive for Europeans to exert a lot of effort and political capital including getting to an uncomfortable place with some of their own domestic constituencies on these issue and viewing that, other European states have thrown up barriers and difficulties to adoption at the EU level of new measures to advance these particular concerns in the form of sanctions at the EU.

    So that makes it more difficult too. I do perceive that in the last week or two there has been a doubling down of effort on the part of the Europeans to try and work with the Americans, also indirectly with the U.S. Congress, a set of important pacesetters or policy shapers on the hill to try very hard to come to a set of agreements which no one has guarantees will ultimately succeed with the president, but nevertheless, people are working very hard on these three issues.

    KIMBALL: So, Laura, what do you think can be accomplished? What should be avoided, perhaps avoided by our European partners who are trying to uphold this agreement?

    HOLGATE: I think a good faith showing as they are doing I think that's the critical part of it. I completely agree with Liz, we don't know—nobody knows where the goal posts are or whether they will move, even when they've been stated, whether they will stay where they have been put.

    And so it incredibly complicates the effort. And I worry very much. I mean this is more in—Liz's bailiwick, but that the kinds of secondary sanctions and other things that might start to happen if we can't find a common perspective will bust open what has been to me a remarkable durable common perspective, not just with the U.S. and the Europeans but with China and Russia as well.

    KIMBALL: Yes.

    HOLGATE: And so, if we mess with that, that really starts to tear away at the coherence of—that we saw when Iran was kind of challenging the boundaries in the 2016 timeframe of the agreement, and where they faced an impenetrable wall of opprobrium from the other members of the P5+1. If we start—if the U.S. and Europe start to come apart a little bit, then I worry very much about the ability to keep a common perspective against any future efforts of Iran to test boundaries or worse yet, go past them.

    KIMBALL: And I will just note, just this morning there was a very significant statement that came out from Europe, 500, French, German, U.K., parliamentarians issuing a call I think directed to the U.S. Congress, urging them to do what they can to ensure that the United States does not violate the JCPOA, stays in the agreement.

    And a couple of days ago, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini making a very clear statement that the EU will follow through and uphold the JCPOA and defend the JCPOA. But still, there are only certain number of things that can be done.

    And so, I wanted to turn to Liz to the question of what will happen if we—if what we expect does happen, which is that President Trump fails to extend the sanctions waivers, that would have to happen on the 12th of May or maybe earlier.

    Would that put the U.S. in technical violation of the JCPOA from a legal perspective? What are your thoughts? And what would the international reaction be at that point and particularly perhaps your thoughts about Iran and, Laura, if you want to talk about this too? Because—what is today? The 19th, okay. This is just two weeks away.

    Your thoughts.

    ROSENBERG: Well, when you put it like that. So as a purely legal matter, if the president comes up to May 12 and hasn't rolled over and by the way this is a delegated authority, it wouldn't be him who signs the thing anyway. But obviously it's so significant politically that he has to approve that this should happen. If the administration does not renew the set of 120-day waivers offering a set of relief from sanctions to an array of non-U.S. companies, then technically, all of that activity that had been permitted is no longer permitted, which means if you continue to do it, it's a violation of these sanctions.

    And there is civil and criminal liability associated with that. So, there are some people who are peddling the notion that it's not illegal until it's enforced, which is sort of like saying it's not illegal to speed unless the cop comes and pulls you over.

    So, it's still illegal as a legal matter. Now, I will offer that if that particular scenario happens, so when we get to May 12 and the sanctions waivers, those waivers are not rolled over, it will be incredibly confusing legally to an array, to the whole world that might actually be interested and in complying with U.S. law and staying on the right side of the U.S. for purposes of using the dollar in the U.S. economy, which basically describes just about everyone in that 80 percent of global trade transactions are conducted in the dollar. And I don't have to explain the significance to you all, but so that sets up a situation where there is lots of—there is lots of liability. The administration will have to explain whether that shall be effectuated, shall go into effect in 180 days.

    And there are a number of 180-day markers that probably indicate that would be a reasonable default. There is a piece of guidance that the Obama administration put out in January, 2016 that said, it was a long Q&A about all of the things—questions about how these sanctions are rolled off as part of the JCPOA and planted them there way at the end is a question.

    Well, what happens if sanctions are re-imposed? And it says there'll be an 180-day period where these wind up. And so, if you have—many kinds of contracts that are in practice, you can continue and execute the contract and then you got to get out, et cetera.

    The Trump administration doesn't have to be bound by that. They doesn't have to be a 180 days and some of the sanctions that would—these 120-day ones that are tied to that May 12th deadline. They are energy sanctions, so they bear relevance to Iran's ability to sell its petroleum. And they created, when they were in force, the requirement for six remaining significant purchasers of Iranian oil to significantly reduce their amount of petroleum purchases every 180 days.

    So there's another 180-day marker, that might mean that after a 180 days after May 12th these purchasers of Iranian oil would have to show themselves to be significantly reducing it, et cetera. You see where I'm going. There are a lot of questions about who this applies to because in 2012, Europe wasn't purchasing Iranian oil, now they are.

    KIMBALL: Now they are, yes.

    ROSENBERG: So, yes, you take—so, the short of this is, yes, the U.S. would be in violation come May 12th. And I think political counterparts of the United States and independent observers and lawyers of the world over will point that out.

    KIMBALL: And it will also start having a real world effect on the trade investment that is going on.

    ROSENBERG: Yes.

    KIMBALL: And will contribute to Iran's argument which is becoming more and more valid that the United States is taking actions that are contrary to its obligations to relieve it of the sanctions. And so, Laura, let me just come back to you about—I mean, this is a speculative question, but I think it's important one to consider given where all this is headed is Iran has these latent capabilities that were pulled back, decreased because of the JCPOA.

    What kinds of things might the Iranians do if this keeps going in this direction? Just real quick what might we look forward to if we don't find a way out of this dead-end?

    HOLGATE: Well, just like with U.S. policy, there have been a number of different Iranian policies stated in public. And some have said that—some Iranian voices have said that they will continue to comply with the JCPOA focusing on the Europeans and Chinese and Russians continued observance of that.

    I don't know what that means regarding secondary sanctions. But there is at least that statement. More recently, there has been a statement that they will not continue to comply. They themselves would feel unbound, unlimited by the constraints of the JCPOA if the U.S. pulls out, irrespective of what any of the other parties do.

    And then there have also been statements that they will return—they can return as quickly—they will return as quickly as they possibly can to the level of capacity or even more that they had for either the uranium path or the plutonium path to the bomb.

    Again, some of these constraints were permanent, but there are workarounds if they are not under the supervision and verification implications of the JCPOA. And so that's where the one year comes in. So we have a year to prepare.

    And it all goes back to what is Iran's intent. If they were not yet intent on making a weapon in 2013, if they validated that lack of intent in the text, in the actions associated with the JCPOA, does the U.S. departure change their calculation about that intent?

    Do they decide that now, that the U.S. is no longer using diplomacy to try to achieve the U.S. goals that next ratchet is not just through sanctions but to something kinetic? Do they decide that that is the trigger that will actually cause them to cross that path that they have not crossed in the last 15 or more years? So…

    ROSENBERG: Can I just respond?

    HOLGATE: Yes.

    ROSENBERG: So just to add a little more. It's obviously not the U.S. and Iran whose race is it to double down on the threat. When several weeks back, we heard from his Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran say we're going to move towards a nuclear weapons capacity. We heard the same thing said by the Saudis.

    HOLGATE: Right.

    ROSENBERG: So it's not just two actors here. We're watching for the potential to escalate and that's probably just the beginning of the universe of actors who are planning to make mischief in the scenario where the U.S. and European allies are divided.

    HOLGATE: Absolutely.

    ROSENBERG: And where there's a much more uncertain perspective on nuclear arms control globally.

    HOLGATE: Absolutely.

    ROSENBERG: And also as a security measure in the Middle East.

    HOLGATE: Now, I think that's just right.

    KIMBALL: Yes.

    HOLGATE: If anyone who is worried about Saudis’ interest in nuclear weapons, the best possible thing you can do is preserve the JCPOA and that it—at least delays and creates some opportunities to adjust Iran's path towards a bomb, so…

    KIMBALL: Right. And that's an argument that Kingston Reif and I and Kelsey have been making in connection with the coming Congressional debate on the proposed Saudi 123 Agreement.

    Well, before I get to the next question about what we can do about the situation? What the Europeans can do? I mean, we just commented, to bring this conversation very briefly back to the beginning of the day and the discussion about the NPT and the future of the NPT and the upcoming PrepCom on the 2020 Review Conference.

    I think it's fair to say—I think I'm channeling Ambassador Higgie, the threat to the NPT if—is not the ban treaty, the threat to the NPT is the possibility that the North Korean nuclear problem continues to get further out of hand.

    And if this fix to the nonproliferation regime, which is the JCPOA is removed, we're opening Pandora's Box in the Middle East. I mean it's pretty clear and obvious. And so, I hope this is something that in Geneva that is raised by a number of delegations because we need to connect these dots.

    So, let me just come back to Liz, and I'm going to ask a question I don't know the answer to. I don't know—I think she's got a better chance of answering this question. It's sort of answerable, but if we head towards in this direction, what kinds of measures can our European allies, the E3 and the EU 28 as a whole and maybe the Chinese and the Russians take in order to sustain the trade and investment that would be necessary to persuade the Iranians that staying in this deal is worthwhile. And that's what Laura was referring to.

    So, I mean, what particular legal, financial mechanisms are possible? And…

    ROSENBERG: Yes. I don't have great answer for you. So, realistically, I don't think there's much viability for Europeans as the EU on a national level to create a protected channel or a white channel with Iran to try and safeguard some commercial activity and payment from U.S. sanctions.

    The same thing with the other attempts that—revising their blocking legislation which would safeguard or prevent companies that are legal persons in the EU from abiding by non-national sanctions, well, I will just say U.S. law.

    And the reason why is that any company of reasonable size, so even a regional European company wants access to use the dollar in even if they don't plan on having U.S. commercial counterparts and they want to be able to avail themselves of U.S. technology, which is ubiquitous from everything from human resources software, applications to industrial process software.

    I mean the universe is very broad here as well as U.S. natural persons like any of you who might offer them counsel, legal counsels, strategic advice. I mean all of that is not permitted if you're on the wrong end of the sanctions and enforcement actions.

    So, no reasonable company wants to be made the test case of this, even if their government want to stand up because they are very frustrated legitimately at being bullied by the United States and asked to capitulate on strongly-held domestic issues which, by the way, might cause them their political mandate and viability in standing where they are in Europe.

    But nevertheless, the only such white channels that have existed have been within the boundaries of sanctions programs, so and tie this to Iran sanctions in 2012 on, those years in their worldwide channels for permitted purchases of Iranian oil and certain South Korean and Japanese and Indian bank.

    And after a great struggle and tedious legal work it does occur when doing things like trying to deliver aid money to aid workers in Syria, et cetera, but this only comes with the blessing of the regulators and enforcement officers in the United States.

    So I cannot see that happening, so unfortunately, my take away from that is it is even more important to try every last chance to keep this deal in place because that future looks like the only people who will continue to do business are people interested in violating the sanctions intentionally or circumventing them in some way or pushing China faster towards a non-U.S. because they can't really do this in Europe, but China could with the volume and liquidity and available bank funds.

    And they've done it before and were sanctioned for under the Iran's sanctions regime to create a kind of carve out, a bank that will only do our own business, for example, to permit Chinese or other entities to be able to do that in violation of U.S. sanctions.

    KIMBALL: Okay. Well, I told you at the beginning of the day, this was not going to necessarily be an uplifting conference by the time we were done. And those little tins unfortunately have mints in them. They don't have (inaudible), so we can make you instantly happy.

    But I want to give you folks a chance to ask a couple of questions. We're running short on time. Raise your hands. I want to encourage people who've not asked a question before in the middle, Ryan (ph).

    If—there is this gentleman with a mustache, who I know is very knowledgeable about Ed Levine. These issues.

    (UNKNOWN): (inaudible).

    KIMBALL: All right, Ryan (?), to him, please.

    (OFF-MIKE)

    KIMBALL: (inaudible) oh my goodness. You've shaved it okay. Ed? Your question.

    QUESTION: Edward Levine, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. I just wonder in the event that the agreement falls apart or is perceived to be falling apart, what is to prevent Russia from repatriating the enriched uranium to Iran?

    KIMBALL: Laura, real quick.

    HOLGATE: Okay. Nothing.

    QUESTION: And how would that affect the timelines for a sprint?

    HOLGATE: It would certainly shrink them significantly, whether Russia really has an incentive to do that is a different question, but there is nothing as long as it goes—is kind of safeguards activity within Iran that's okay.

    KIMBALL: And I would just add as we go—Mallory do you want to take the next question please?

    I mean one other thing to think about is Russia has since JCPOA began lining up agreements with Iran for the construction of Russian reactors and the supply of Russian fuel to Iran, which would obviate the need, the economic need for Iran to read, constitute an enrichment, domestic enrichment program.

    So it's very much in Russia's financial interest, not to mention the security interest to keep the deal in place because they're not going to—Iran is not going to need the Russian fuel if they can produce their own.

    Mallory Stewart, your question.

    QUESTION: Thank you. I apologize in advance for a little bit of a leading question, but it's to Ambassador Holgate. Given your experience internationally with disagreement and with other countries' reactions to it, and given the talk this morning about the DPRK watching every move that happens with the JCPOA, more broadly do you see any lasting and long-term effects to the U.S.'s credibility as an entity that can engage in political commitments that have been important throughout the history of arms control.

    Moving forward, right? In terms of some of our most important agreements, political agreements have been nonbinding and how can countries take us seriously if from administration to administration we give up that capacity to allow for continuity?

    HOLGATE: Well, I just even in 2016, when I was in Vienna, I was hearing from my ambassadorial counterparts of concern about the uncertainty that might come along with the change of U.S. administration and what that would mean for their ability to have confidence in my successor who by the way is among those ambassadors that has not yet been able to take up post.

    So we have an extremely capable charge d'affaires but we have no ambassador in the IAEA to be sitting with counterparts, with the DG, having the kind of conversations that it takes an ambassador to have about what to expect, how to mitigate the fall out—sorry, the damage.

    And…

    KIMBALL: (inaudible) work for this.

    HOLGATE: So, I think both very tactically in terms of the next few months in Vienna and especially in the NPT space when we have a whole bunch of challenging conversations coming up there.

    How can, in fact, the U.S. be taken seriously when there is no problem with the performance against the agreement. That is the biggest concern. When the U.S. has problems, I mean there's been a lot of debate about the INF treaty, but we can say what our problem is with it.

    This is—it's a fully functioning complied with agreement by our relevant parties, and even then we can't be trusted to stick with it. And that I think significantly under binds our credibility as a partner, as a leader, as a champion of norms that have been bipartisan since their very origins.

    ROSENBERG: We will be remised if we didn't just note that and I think we can all agree this is actually is just the tip of the iceberg. What we ought to—and in fact, let's not miss the forest for the trees. The broad concern is that the U.S. and its traditional closest security allies risk losing little what shred is left of credibility and trust on an array of economic and security issues that they—there's entire global, legal, political, strategic framework built around close cooperation of these on an array topics. And that's the bigger cost we must bear in mind.

    KIMBALL: All right. Well, that's going to be—have to be where we end this conversation on the future and challenges on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. I want to thank you both for giving us a hard dose of reality, laying out the issues.

    The Arm Controls Association continues to work with Liz and Laura and many other colleagues in this room to try to encourage the White House and others to see the light on this. And we will continue to turn out our analysis and our information with the leadership of Kelsey Davenport, our nonproliferation policy director and others.

    But we're about to close our meeting today. And before I turn it over to Tom Countryman who's going to give us some closing remarks, let's applaud for Elizabeth and Laura.

     

    Closing
    Thomas Countryman,Chair
    Arms Control Association Board of Directors


    COUNTRYMAN: So briefly, a couple of logistical points, several thank-yous and a couple of personal comments. First, logistically, we intend to have both audio and video of today's event posted on our website by the end of the day today.

    We should have a transcript of today's event available online at our website next week. I encourage you to use your computer skills, mine are strictly 20th century, but I manage, to share either the entire event or the parts that you found most interesting with the people that you know want to learn about these issues.

    A number of thank-yous. We always, every year have this event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. We want to thank them for their extraordinary support, great conference services and beautiful facility.

    We want to thank those who have sponsored this event, either by sponsoring a table or by making an extra donation to enable us to put on this event. I want to thank all of our speakers today and to start with those who receive the Arms Control Person of the Year Award.

    You are not just governments’ partners, you are our partners as well in the NGO community. And I think your accomplishment over the last year that we recognized today shows what can occur at the intersection of realism and idealism if you believe in it with enough, I mean a hell of a lot of hard work. So, thank you for joining us today for this.

    (APPLAUSE)

    COUNTRYMAN: And I want to thank all the other speakers who participated; in particular, those from the U.S. government, Andrea Hall and Anita Friedt, even as I get concerned about some of the policy statements of this administration.

    I mean it when I say that I'm reassured to know that some of the best, most experienced minds in U.S. government are still hard at work on these issues with the same dedication. And I want to thank as well, of course, all of those who continue to work on these issues at NGOs and other institutions around Washington.

    Let me thank also the staff team that put this event together, especially our program and policy associate that's been managing the conference, Shervin Taheran.

    (APPLAUSE)

    COUNTRYMAN: Our Communications Director, Tony Fleming.

    (APPLAUSE)

    COUNTRYMAN: I hope you have all noticed how beautiful the Arms Control Today magazine is as it has entered into the 21st century as well and the man responsible is Allen Harris.

    (APPLAUSE)

    COUNTRYMAN: And all the policy team, our interns—Kelly, Ryan, Matt; our volunteers—Liz and Sidra. Let me say a word about Daryl Kimball. To run this organization, you need a manager. You need a communicator. You need an analyst. You need a leader. And you need a visionary.

    And Daryl has fulfilled those five roles for just one salary. For more than 15 years—

    (APPLAUSE)

    COUNTRYMAN: —and we try to thank him at least once a year.

    KIMBALL: It's all it takes, Tom.

    COUNTRYMAN: Let me say why I'm up here. On the occasion of my timely retirement last year—okay, it was unexpectedly timely—I decided that I wanted to, number one, be retired, be a little bit lazy. But number two, when I wasn't being lazy, to associate myself with the work of the Arms Control Association. I made that choice because throughout my time as assistant secretary, I saw the quality and the practicality of the analysis that they made about the issues we were grappling with and the timeliness of the work that they were doing.

    And so, when I came out of government and started working with ACA, I was surprised, and it confirmed my decision, to learn that this is a fairly small NGO by Washington standards. This is not big, either in budget or in the amount of staff that we have.

    And so, I was doubly astounded by the quality and quantity of work that they put out under Daryl's leadership. And it reinforced my determination to do what I can to help. As I got into it, I think I began a new learning process for myself a year ago.

    How does a non-governmental organization work with other non-governmental organizations? How does a non-governmental organization work with a non-organized government?

    (LAUGHTER)

    COUNTRYMAN: And that issue I think has passed us. But the necessity remains to essentially wear trifocal glasses in this work. As Daryl just mentioned, the number of issues that are confronting us at once—issues on which we still have the capability to share information, analysis, and recommendations with the U.S government—are I think unprecedented. And they go far beyond the nuclear field, of course.

    Issues on which we still have the capability to share information, analysis, and recommendations with the U.S government are I think unprecedented. And they go far beyond the nuclear field, of course.

    And we've got to have that short-term “What is today's hot issue?” vision. We also have to be ready for how political circumstances change. Are we ready to work in a new political environment in the United States whether it's after 2018 or 2020 or sometime in the future?

    Are we thinking about the opportunities ahead? And finally, do we have a very long-term vision about the inevitable technological change in the security field and whether we have the capability to make wise choices?

    I think we have a fantastic team that is able to keep their eyes at three different focal lengths simultaneously. And so, and you knew I was leading up to this—I encourage your support. I welcome your support for the ACA.

    I know that most of the people in this room already are a member. I hope that you would consider making additional contributions. If you're not a member, this is a great time to sign up. Those same wonderful interns and staff are still here to help you do that.

    It is a bargain. It starts at just $25 a year in order to be the best-informed person on your block on all WMD issues. So, if you would like to sign up or if you're not sure about the status of your membership or you want to increase your commitment, come see Shervin.

    So, thank you once again. We're united in a determination to make the world a safer place. The theme of today's meeting, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the realization of all of its goals and commitments are what unite us.

    I look forward to being in touch with all of you.

    Thanks.

    (APPLAUSE)

    END

    Posted: April 19, 2018

    Remarks to the Maryland House of Delegates Rules Committee on Nuclear Weapons Launch Procedures

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    Description: 
    Daryl Kimball offered the following testimony before the Maryland House of Delegates Rules Committee on Monday, March 5, 2018, regarding legislation introduced by Maryland delegates Queen (Montgomery Co.), Gibson (Baltimore City), and Gutierrez (Montgomery Co.).
    Body: 


    By Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director
    Arms Control Association
    March 5, 2018
    Annapolis, Maryland

    Good afternoon. I want to commend Delegates Queen, Gibson, and Gutierrez for introducing House Joint Resolution 12, which:

    … “calls upon Maryland’s Congressional delegation to take all necessary steps to establish a system of checks and balances with regard to the first use of nuclear weapons and to ensure that the President of the United States shall no longer have the sole and unchecked authority to launch nuclear weapons, except in circumstances of retaliation.”

    At this very moment, the United States and Russia each deploy massive strategic nuclear arsenals, approximately 1,550 bombs on each side. Each side possesses thousands more nonstrategic warheads and warheads in reserve. These arsenals are far in excess of what it would take to decimate the other and far more that is required to deter a nuclear attack.

    Executive Director Daryl Kimball testifies before the Maryland House of Delegates Rules Committee on legislation urging its congressional delegation to support limits on presidential nuclear launch authority. (Photo: Maryland General Assembly)Worse still, each side maintains a significant portion of its land and sea-based missile forces on a prompt launch posture to guard against a “disarming” first strike.

    As a result, there are roughly 800 U.S. nuclear warheads – all of which are far more powerful than the weapons that destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 – that can be launched within about 15 minutes of an order by the president and the president alone.

    In most scenarios, the president would have just minutes to listen to the list of retaliatory options and decide whether or not to order one of the nuclear strike plans. No cabinet secretary, adviser, or military official has the authority to override the president’s decision. Congress currently has no say in the matter.

    Current U.S. nuclear policy also allows for the possible use of nuclear weapons first, or in response to a non-nuclear attack on the U.S. or our allies, such as in a conflict on the Korean peninsula.

    Continuing to vest such destructive power in the hands of one person and to maintain a prompt-launch posture is undemocratic, irresponsible, unnecessary and untenable.

    Cavalier and reckless statements from President Donald Trump about nuclear weapons use and threatening and boastful comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin about his country’s nuclear retaliatory capabilities underscore the risks of a system that puts the authority to launch nuclear weapons in the hands of these individuals.

    Defenders of the status quo argue that altering the current system would deprive the president of the ability to respond quickly in a crisis—including by using nuclear weapons first in response to a non-nuclear attack—and undermine the credibility of deterrence.

    Such arguments ignore the fact that throughout the history of the nuclear age, there have been several incidents in which false signals of an attack have prompted U.S. and Russia officials to consider, in the dead of the night and under the pressure of time, launching nuclear weapons in retaliation.

    The reality is that this “launch-under-attack” policy is unnecessary because U.S. nuclear forces and command-and-control systems could withstand even a massive attack. Given the size, accuracy, and diversity of U.S. forces, the remaining nuclear force would be more than sufficient to deliver a devastating blow to any nuclear aggressor.

    In addition, retaining the option to use nuclear weapons first is unnecessary and risky. Given the overwhelming conventional military edge of the United States and its allies, there is no plausible circumstance that could justify—legally, morally, or militarily—the use of nuclear weapons to deal with a non-nuclear threat.

    As then-Vice President Joe Biden said in public remarks in January 2017: “Given our non-nuclear capabilities and the nature of today’s threats—it’s hard to envision a plausible scenario in which the first use of nuclear weapons by the United States would be necessary. Or make sense.”

    Congress and the executive branch can and should take a number of steps to reduce these dangers:

    • Requiring that a decision to use nuclear weapons be made by more than one person. This could include the president, vice president, secretaries of state and defense, and perhaps one or more designated members of Congress, such as the speaker of the House or Senate majority leader.
    • Prohibiting the president from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) have introduced bipartisan legislation the "Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017" that would put this policy into place.
    • Eliminating the requirement to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles under attack, which would increase the time available to consider the possible use of nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack against the United States or its allies.
    • Declaring that the United States will not be the first to use nuclear weapons and that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack. Congressman Adam Smith and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee has introduced H.R. 4415 to establish a “No First Policy” for nuclear weapons.
    • Clarify that only Congress can authorize U.S.-initiated military action against North Korea, which would likely result in a nuclear exchange, and urge the administration to “avoid actions that could contribute to a breakdown in talks, and continue to search for confidence-building measures that are conducive to dialogue,” as state in bipartisan legislation introduced in the House and Senate (H.R. 4837/S. 2016).

    Your support for Maryland House Joint Resolution 12 can help push Congress to re-examine and revise nuclear decision making so that fate of millions in not decided by one person in the span of a few minutes.

    Since 2001, Daryl G. Kimball has served as the executive director the independent, non-partisan Arms Control Association and publisher of the monthly journal, Arms Control Today. The Association is a national membership organization established in 1971 to provide information and analysis on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and to promote practical policy solutions to address the risks they pose.

    Posted: March 5, 2018

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