Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe: U.S. Helsinki Commission
Resolving Crises in East Asia through a New System of Collective Security:
The Helsinki Process as a Model
Committee Members Present:
Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
National Endowment for Democracy
National Committee on North Korea
Deputy Executive Director,
The Hearing Was Held From 1:26 To 2:23 p.m. EST
in SD-106 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.,
Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Chairman, CSCE, Presiding
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Federal News Service
CARDIN: Let me welcome you all to the Helsinki Commission hearing. I want to
apologize for the change in time. The hearing was originally scheduled to
start at 2:00. We’re starting at 1:00 because there will be a briefing today
on the Iranian sanction agreement and there is tremendous interest that all
senators be there. And Secretary Kerry will be making a presentation that I
feel obligated to be personally present for. So I want to thank you all for
adjusting your calendar so that you could be here at 1:00. I’m going to put my
full statement in the record but just let me make a few observations to start.
When the Helsinki process started in 1975, there were many naysayers in the
United States. They were saying: How can such a large regional organization be
effective which only has consensus as a way of making decisions; there are no
sanctions for failure to comply with the Helsinki commitments; that the Soviet
Union would use this as propaganda rather than dealing with the real problems
that their country faces in complying with the commitments that were made in
1975. There are others who said: When you combine human rights with economics
and hard security issues, human rights will get lost in the equation, and that
this organization will just be another example of how we deal with hard
security issues or perhaps some of the trade or economic issues but that human
rights would not be front and center.
I think history has proven both of those concerns to be without merit. Now the
OSCE, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has become a
dominant factor, bringing people together to talk about problems and to advance
causes in all of the member states, particularly on the basket of human rights
and good governance. It’s known for that globally. And there are so many
organizations that tie into the OSCE because they know they have a friend on
advancing human rights.
The U.S. Helsinki Commission has taken leadership on so many different issues,
from trafficking to anticorruption to the protection of minority communities,
and we have effectively brought about changes in not just the OSCE member
regions but throughout the globe. We have expanded within the OSCE. We have,
of course, partners in the OSCE outside of the OSCE region. I’m particularly
pleased about the advancement of the OSCE footprint in the Mediterranean. We
have partners from Afghanistan to Israel to Jordan to North African countries,
and we have strengthened the Mediterranean dimension that has brought about
When I was in Israel many years ago, promoting at the time the OSCME, the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East, I remember
meeting with then-president Peres and asked whether Israel would be interested
in joining such a regional group, recognizing that there would be many Arab
states and just one Jewish state. His answer to me: We want any type of
regional organization that allows us to communicate, because we think talking
with our neighbors is the best way to work out problems, and that the OSCE has
been so successful among countries with very different views that that model
would work well in the Middle East.
So when President Park of South Korea was here in Washington and addressed a
joint session of Congress and mentioned her support for a regional organization
for East Asia, it got my attention. I then traveled to the region and had a
chance to talk to the leadership of China, Japan and Korea. All three
underscored what they thought made good sense for their own interests if there
was a regional organization similar to the OSCE for East Asia.
The main concern is clearly North Korea today. Now, that may change a decade
from now. We hope it does. And North Korea is interesting because it’s not
just the security issues of their nuclear ambitions – and there is unanimity
among Japan, China and South Korea that they want a nuclear-free Korea
Peninsula. They all agree on that. But it’s also the human rights and
economic issues within Korea that – North Korea which is problematic. The
people there are some of the most oppressed in the world. And their economic
prosperity is near the bottom of the global world also, with people literally
being starved to death.
So having a regional organization modeled after the OSCE or within the OSCE
that can help dialogue between the countries of East Asia seems to me to be a
very positive step in trying to resolve some of the long-term conflicts. And
of course I could mention China’s most recent activities concerning their air
security zone, which raises tension. It seems to me that if there was an OSCE
for East Asia, that that mechanism could also have been helpful to deal with
maritime security issues.
So it goes on and on and on, the type of matters that we believe this type of
process could be very helpful in dealing with these concerns. So it was for
that reason that I was very pleased that today’s hearing could take place so we
can start to establish a record as it relates to whether and how we can move
forward on this type of proposal for East Asia. I must tell you my interest is
a little bit higher today because, in addition to chairing the U.S. Helsinki
Commission, I also chair the Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
I very much welcome the panel of experts that we have here today, all of whom
have incredible credentials in this area: Carl Gershman, the president of the
National Endowment for Democracy, and one of the longstanding supporters and
advocates for human rights across the globe, and has been a longstanding
advocate of using our Helsinki process experience in East Asia. Karin Lee, who
is the executive director of the National Committee on North Korea. In that
capacity she oversees the committee’s work to facilitate engagement between
citizens of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
So she has a good deal of experience here. And Frank Jannuzi, who is the
deputy executive director of Amnesty International and is a former advisor to
then-Senator Kerry, and also has experience at the State Department on –
working on multilateral affairs.
So it’s wonderful to have all three of you here. And we welcome your
testimony, but more importantly we welcome your involvement as we try to find
ways to use the success of the Helsinki process to bring better understanding
and cooperation in other parts of the world. And with that, we’ll start with
GERSHMAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And thank you to the Helsinki
Commission for organizing this hearing at a critical moment in U.S. relations
with Northeast Asia.
It was almost eight years ago to the day that I and several others, active on
human rights in North Korea, joined with policy in Korea affairs specialists to
form a working group to consider how a comprehensive framework involving
international security, economic cooperation, human rights and humanitarian aid
could be developed for the Korean Peninsula and more broadly for Northeast
Asia. I’m very happy that Roberta Cohen, who is a member of that working group
and who co-chairs the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea is with us
Our decision to form this group followed the agreement reached in the six-party
talks to explore ways of promoting a common political, economic and security
agenda linking the two Koreas with China, Russia, Japan and the United States.
This opened the door to creating a permanent multilateral organization for
advancing security and cooperation in Northeast Asia, one of the few regions of
the world without such a mechanism.
Ambassador Jim Goodby of our working group, who had played a key role in
developing the “basket three” human rights provisions that became part of the
Helsinki Final Act, drafted the first of several papers that spelled out how
the negotiations to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and achieve a final
settlement of the Korean War could evolve into a Helsinki-type process for
Northeast Asia, leading to the eventual creation of a multilateral and
multidimensional organization for collective security.
The effort to encourage such a process had the strong backing of Ban Ki-moon at
the time. He was South Korea’s foreign minister, of course now the secretary
general of the United Nations, who told a major gathering in Helsinki in 2006 –
a gathering of Asian and European leaders – that – and I quote, “The challenge
for Northeast Asia is how to draw upon the European experience to build a
mechanism for multilateral security cooperation.”
Building such a mechanism was the focus of one of the five working groups of
the six-party talks, but efforts to implement the idea were aborted when the
talks broke down at the end of 2008. Since then, international relations in
Northeast Asia have become much more confrontational. The region suffers from
what South Korea’s President Park has called Asia’s paradox, which is an acute
discrepancy between the region’s dynamic economic growth and interdependence on
the one hand and the rise of nationalism, conflict and distrust on the other.
Clashes over disputed maritime space in the East China Sea, North Korea’s
nuclear threat and provocative brinksmanship, intensified military competition
and historically rooted tensions even between such ostensible allies as Japan
and South Korea have heightened anxiety over prospects for violent conflict in
the region. The situation has just become, of course, even more dangerous with
China’s unilateral establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone
overlapping with Japan’s own air defense zone, and encompassing South Korea’s
Leodo reef as well. In the words of The Economist, “China has set up a causus
belli with its neighbors and America for generations to come.”
Ironically, whereas North Korea’s nuclear program was the catalyst for the
six-party talks and the possible creation of a system of collective security
for Northeast Asia, it is now the grave deterioration of the security
environment in the region itself that could act as such a catalyst. The crisis
certainly dramatizes the critical need for such a system, though that is a
long-term goal while the immediate need is for measures to reduce risk, enhance
communication through military hotlines and other instruments that might
prevent miscalculations, and to begin to develop military confidence-building
measures similar to those negotiated in the CFCE framework.
Nonetheless, it’s not too early to begin thinking about a more comprehensive
architecture that would provide a forum for regional powers to discuss
security. The Economist suggested that such a forum, had it existed in Europe
in the early part of the last century, might have prevented the outbreak of
World War I, and that there are disturbing parallels to the situation in
Northeast Asia today with the Senkaku Islands playing the role of Sarajevo.
For such a forum to be sustainable and effective, a security dialogue would
need to be buttressed by a broader program of exchanges and economic
cooperation. It has been said that adding a “basket three” human dimension
would not work for Northeast Asia because the region’s autocracies are well
aware of the liberalizing consequences of the Helsinki process in Eastern
Europe and the Soviet Union, but it’s hard to imagine a system of collective
security working out without more interaction at the societal level and having
a broader context for negotiations that would make possible tradeoffs that
might facilitate reaching an agreement.
Northeast Asia may be different from the region encompassed by the Helsinki
process, but the “Sakharov doctrine” regarding the indivisibility of human
rights and international security has universal relevance and should not be
abandoned even if it has to be adapted to the circumstances of the region.
In addition to the incentive provided by the current crisis to explore a new
system of collective security for Northeast Asia, I want to note two other
factors that can be helpful. The first is the vigorous support given to the
idea by President Park when she addressed the joint session of Congress last
May, as you have noted, Mr. Chairman. Her statement has of course now been
overshadowed by the momentum toward confrontation in South Korea’s declaration
of an expanded air defense zone partially overlapping China’s and including
Leodo only adds to this momentum.
Still, South Korea’s understandable response to China’s over-reaching may help
to establish the strategic balance needed to negotiate an end to the current
crisis. And President Park’s commitment to a system of collective security
shows that she may want to use this crisis to make the case for a broader
architecture. Her capacity to provide leadership at this critical time should
not be underestimated.
She demonstrated both toughness and a readiness to negotiate when, after a
period of heightened tension following North Korea’s nuclear test explosion
last April, South Korea reached an agreement with the North to reopen the
Kaesong Industrial Zone. This experiment in economic cooperation shows the
potential for President Park’s “trustpolitik” through North Korea’s
cancellation – though North Korea’s cancelation of family reunions that were
part of the Kaesong agreement also shows how – how difficult it will be to
sustain any kind of engagement with Pyongyang.
Still, her steadiness of purpose is encouraging, as is her desire, as she told
the Congress last May, to use the trust-building process that she has started
“beyond the Korean Peninsula to all of Northeast Asia, where,” she said, “we
must build a mechanism of peace and security.” That goal would be
significantly advanced, I think, if she would apply her “trustpolitik” to
Japan, as well.
The other helpful factor is the potential role of Mongolia. In a recent paper
contrasting the challenge of building a collective security system in Europe
and Asia, the Japanese diplomat Takako Ueta wrote that Northeast Asia – and
this is a quote – “lacks a neutral country with diplomatic skills and efficient
conference support comparable to Austria, Finland, Sweden or Switzerland.” But
that is not true, because Mongolia is such a country.
Last April, when Mongolia chaired the 7th Ministerial Conference of the
Community of Democracies, its president, Elbegdorj, announced the Ulaanbaatar
Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security, an initiative to broaden – I quote –
“from our Mongolian friends, a dialogue mechanism on security in Northeast Asia
that will give” – again, quote – “equal consideration of the interest of all
states and set a long-term goal of building peace and stability in the region.
Mongolia has an unusual geopolitical situation. Sandwiched between China and
Russia, it has maintained what President Elbegdorj called neighborly good
relations with these two big powers, as well as with the other nations in the
region, which he – which he calls our third neighbor. It even maintains good
relations with North Korea, which were not spoiled when President Elbegdorj
concluded a state visit to the DPRK on October 30th with a speech at Kim
Il-Sung University in which he said, and I quote, “no tyranny lasts forever, it
is the desire of the people to live free that is the eternal power.” He also
told his North Korean audience that 20 years earlier, Mongolia had declared
herself a nuclear-free zone, and that it prefers ensuring her security by
political, diplomatic and economic means.
Mongolia’s international position is rising. In addition to chairing the
Community of Democracies, it recently joined the OSCE – I know it had your
support in doing so – and may soon become a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation Organization. Last September, at the opening of the General
Assembly in New York, President Elbegdorj was the only head of state invited to
join President Obama in presiding over a forum of the administration’s Civil
Society Initiative, that seeks to defend civil society around the world against
growing government restrictions.
Henry Kissinger, writing about Austria’s chancellor, Bruno Kreisky, observed
that – and I quote – “one of the asymmetries of history is the lack of
correspondence between the abilities of some leaders and the power of their
countries.” President Elbegdorj is such an outsized leader of a small country,
and the fact that he is now positioning Ulaanbaatar to play the kind of role in
Northeast Asia that Helsinki once played in Europe could be an important factor
leading to a system of collective security in Northeast Asia.
The region certainly has its own distinctive characteristics, and Helsinki does
not offer a readily transferrable cookie-cutter model for East Asia or any
other region, but as Ambassador Goodby said in one of the papers he wrote for
our working group, so long as nation-states are the basic building blocks of
the international system, the behavior of these units within that system is not
likely to be radically dissimilar. History suggests that autonomous behavior
by powerful nations, behavior that ignores the interests of others, sooner or
later, leads to disaster. The corollary of this lesson is that some mechanism
has to be found, be it implicit or explicit, to allow for policy accommodations
and for self-imposed restraint within a system of nations. To fail to do so is
to make a collision almost inevitable.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CARDIN: Thank you very much for your testimony.
LEE: Thank you very much, Chairman Cardin. It’s an honor to appear before you
today to discuss the Helsinki process as a model for resolving the crisis in
Northeast Asia. I have submitted a longer written statement and will now take
this opportunity to highlight the main points of my written remarks.
I have been the executive director of the National Committee on North Korea
since February 2006, and my first visit to the DPRK was in 1998, and my most
recent visit was this part October. I just wanted to comment that these
remarks reflect my own views and are not necessarily the views of my
First, I will reflect on the differences and similarities in the United States
and Europe in the 1970s and Northeast Asia today, then I will discuss private
sector or civil society activities in the DPRK. I will make three key points:
First, the history of the two regions in the historical moments are very
different. To implement a Helsinki-like process in Northeast Asia would take
considerable U.S. investment.
Second, despite limited government support, productive work is taking place
inside the DPRK and with North Koreans elsewhere in humanitarian, education and
medical fields. The United States can contribute to these efforts by delinking
security policy from what the Helsinki Process called Basket 3 activities and
streamlining its visa process. Finally, exchanges on topics of genuine
regional interest may contribute to a foundation for regional problem-solving.
The final act asserts that states will respect each other’s sovereign equality
and individuality, as well as all the rights inherent in and encompassed by its
sovereignty. Nevertheless, the Helsinki Process is sometimes credited with
contributing to the changes that later swept through Eastern Europe. The OSCE
is best known today for its current work on human rights and democratization.
Therefore, the DPRK would likely look at a Helsinki Process for Northeast Asia
as a Trojan horse, synonymous with a covert strategy for regime change.
Yet, the Helsinki Final Act as it was originally conceived, a process aiming to
increase regional stability by addressing the most salient interests of the
opposing forces, may have merit for Northeast Asia. However, attention must be
paid to creating an environment where such a process would be possible.
In my written testimony, I highlighted seven points of comparison between 1970s
Europe and Northeast Asia today. Now, I will address just one issue,
willingness to compromise. As the – as the commissioners know, the Helsinki
Process began with a proposal from the USSR to finalize post-World War II
boundaries and guarantee territorial integrity. Neither the U.S. nor its
allies were eager to set boundaries; however, the West was willing to
negotiate, because the dialogue included topics that were in its own interest.
In order to apply a Helsinki-like process to East Asia, the mechanism will need
to bring everybody’s concerns to the table. The U.S. and its partners in the
region need to re-examine the incentives that have been offered to the DPRK in
exchange for denuclearization.
I will now turn to people-to-people exchanges. Whereas the U.S. had a glowing
array of private contacts and exchanges with the Soviet Union throughout most
of the Cold War, such connections with the DPRK have been slow to develop.
After North Korea issued its first appeal for international assistance to
respond to the 1990s famine, humanitarian aid expanded rapidly. After the
famine, a handful of U.S. and other NGOs remained active in the DPRK,
developing agricultural, medical and capacity-building programs. There is now
an impressive number of Western actors in the DPRK, as shown by the engaged
DPRK mapping initiative. This web-based tool demonstrates the range of private
sector activities that have taken place in North Korea over the last 18 years.
While not comprehensive, the online map lists over 1,000 discrete projects
carried out by 480 organizations coming from 29 different countries. Here are
just a few examples: World Visions’ Community Development Project in
Dochi-Ri, a community of 12,000, is building water systems and providing solar
energy for schools, clinics and local residents’ homes.
The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology is the first private
university in the DPRK. It currently has 400 graduates and 110 graduate
students and plans to expand enrollment in 2000 (sic). All of its teachers are
foreign. The majority of the teachers are from the United States.
The University of British Columbia Knowledge Partnership Program brings North
Korean university professors to UBC for a six-month study program on topics
such as modern economic theory, finance, trade and business practices. Such
projects help build relationships between the DPRK and the West. The
nongovernmental sector also engages with North Koreans on security matters in
Track 2 and Track 1.5 dialogue. This dialogue at times makes important
contributions to official diplomacy.
The most fundamental way the U.S. could support people-to-people diplomacy is
the issuance of visas for North Koreans to visit the United States. The
Helsinki Final Act declared that progress in one area was delinked from
progress in other areas. However, for most of the last two decades U.S. policy
has been to approve visas as an incentive or reward to the DPRK while denying
them to signal U.S. displeasure.
Cultural exchanges provide a good example of the sharp contrast between U.S.
policy toward the Soviet Union and toward the DPRK. The visit of the New York
Philharmonic to Pyongyang in 2008 was very successful and widely broadcast
throughout the DPRK. Musicians and organizations in both countries hope to
arrange a reciprocal visit by a North Korean orchestra to the United States,
but U.S. visas for such a visit have never been issued.
Another area for growth may be science diplomacy and regional programming on a
range of humanitarian environmental issues such as disaster and preparedness
for public health – or public health. The Mt. Paektu Changbai Shan volcano,
which straddles the Chinese-North Korean border, provides a useful example.
Mt. Paektu is considered to be the most dangerous volcano in China. Recent
monitoring has shown signs of worrying activity. Planning future eruption
scenarios requires gathering and sharing data across political borders.
Comprehensive information sharing is necessary to plan a robust response to any
In 2011, the American Association for the Advancement of Science began a
scientific collaboration project with the DPRK on Mt Paektu seismic activity.
But this is a rare example. The DPRK is not a member of regional networks.
Institutionalizing North Korean participation in regional and bilateral
research would improve disaster preparedness while also strengthening regional
Another particularly beneficial area for scientific exchange could be medical
consortiums. Medical cooperation in Northeast Asia is weak and the DPRK is not
included in relevant existing medical networks, yet regional collaboration on
infections disease benefits citizens of all countries. Tuberculosis may be of
interest to Northeast Asia. Only Sub-Saharan Africa has higher reported TB
rates than the DPRK. Integration into regional health networks would build
upon this strong in-country work of the WHO, the Global Fund and U.S.
organizations such as the Eugene Bell Foundation, Christian Friends of Korea
and Stanford University.
NGO activities in the DPRK are addressing unmet humanitarian needs that
contribute to the exchange of values and ideas. Cultural and educational
exchanges add to the effectiveness of these ongoing efforts. Such activities,
including regional networks, should be encouraged for the immediate practical
benefits they can bring. This could begin to establish a pattern of
cooperative regional behavior for the future.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to testify today, and I look forward to
CARDIN: Thank you very much for your testimony.
JANNUZI: Thank you, Senator Cardin. It’s my pleasure to be here today. Two
previous witnesses have covered some of what I had intended to cover, so I
will, with your permission, summarize my remarks and really get right to the
CARDIN: Thank you. And all of your full statements will be made part of the
JANNUZI: Thank you, Senator.
Senator, discussing North Korea and how to effect changes there really requires
us to think about the theory of change that we’re operating under. And there
are those who believe that denuclearization of North Korea is the key which
unlocks the box which holds all of the other changes on human rights, economic
policies, regional integration, and peace and security on the peninsula. I
believe that that belief is misguided and false. It is unrealistic to expect
North Korea to denuclearize first and integrate and make peace with its
Second, this doesn’t mean that the international community, in its efforts to
engage North Korea, must somehow reward bad behavior, appease North Korea or
lift sanctions on North Korea that have been in place by the international
community and the United States because of North Korea’s misconduct, but it
does mean that the hope of denuclearization, to me, rests as part of a process
that changes fundamentally the strategic environment within which North Korea
makes decisions about its future, and changing that environment is what the
Helsinki process for North Korea could offer.
Now, the recent leadership change in North Korea has put it back on the front
pages, but to me this only underscores the realization that North Korea’s
challenge to us is, in fact, multidimensional. We would not be having the same
concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program if its human rights record were
not what it is. And that human rights record, let me say on behalf of Amnesty
International, is of course appalling.
Recent satellite imagery analysis done by Amnesty International has confirmed
the continuing investments in North Korea’s architecture of repression: the
gulags which house perhaps 100,000 North Korea citizens, including men, women
and children, without hope of parole or a life after prison. The gulags are
not fading and disappearing. In fact, our recent analysis shows that they
continue to be enlarged in some cases and modernized. It is against this
backdrop of unbelievable human suffering in gulags, as well as severe
restrictions across every other human right – freedom of speech, freedom of
association, freedom of movement – that the North Korean issue must be
There is no longer any doubt about the severity of the human rights challenges
in North Korea. And in fact, the U.N. has established a commission of inquiry
examining it, which will report to the U.N. next spring. But neither is there
any doubt about the nuclear dimension of the problem. We all know what it is.
North Korea is producing fissile material. They have tested at least three
nuclear devices. They continue to work on long-range missiles.
Over the course of six visits to North Korea, I’ve had the privilege at one
point of visiting the Yongbyong nuclear complex and seeing some of the
plutonium product that they had produced as a result of reprocessing spent fuel
from the Yongbyong nuclear reactor. This problem, like North Korea’s human
rights problem, is only getting worse as time goes by.
Now, for the better part of 30 years the United States has attempted to address
this challenge by persuading North Korea to abandon its pursuit of nuclear
weapons, with very disappointing results. Most of the attempts to change North
Korea’s trajectory have been focused on that narrow goal of denuclearization.
And even those like the agreed framework – which, as my colleagues have pointed
out, included an explicit basket designed to get at the other regional
dimensions of the problem – still frontloaded the nuclear issue and left
everything else to be sort of the kinds of things that would be addressed when
time was available later, once the North had demonstrated the sincerity of
their commitment to denuclearization.
But I think the critics of engagement of North Korea have at least one thing
right: North Korea is not sincere about denuclearization yet, and to expect
them to make the so-called strategic choice to denuclearization in the current
environment of a Korea divided and at war, and a nation under sanction, a
nation isolated without hope of a better future for its people through economic
engagement, through educational exchanges and scientific exchanges and other
forms of integration is unrealistic.
So we need to shape the playing field. How to do it? It’s time for the United
States to lead decisively. The United States must create the conditions that
existed at the time the Helsinki process was launched. It’s important you,
Senator, understand, the members of the commission understand, that the
Helsinki process did not precede détente. In fact, the original openings for
arms control and engagement with the Soviet Union had already been made by the
time the Helsinki process was launched. But the Helsinki process was the
critical expansion of the pathways of engagement that enabled what began as an
arms control initiative really to take on strategic significance.
In the case of North Korea, the United States needs to reach out, at a senior
level, whether it’s privately or publicly – it’s a matter of tactics – but to
communicate the fact that a new day is dawning with respect to how the United
States intends to work with its partners in the region, and indeed to engage
North Korea, to bring about a change in the strategic environment.
The Helsinki approach would begin with a modest agenda, not the complete,
irreversible denuclearization – although, to be clear, that has to be part of
the end goal. You know, for the United States to abandon that would be folly
of the highest order. It’s a question of how we get there from here. You
know, engagement would have to be given time to work. A change doesn’t happen
overnight, but there are signs of change in North Korea, change that we ought
to be encouraging rather than ignoring.
The alternatives to a Helsinki-style process don’t offer us a quicker solution
to the problem. I mean, this is one of the fundamental things that I’ve come
to realize over a career of 25 years dealing with this problem. You know, the
folks who say, well, first we’ve got to solve the nuclear problem and we don’t
have time to wait for engagement to yield the fruits of engagement in terms of
a change of North Korea attitudes. If we had just started this process 25
years ago we would be in a different place now. And there’s no reason to
believe that the North is going to change without outside and internal stimuli.
So let’s be candid: The United States has to lead. The strategic patience
approach of the United States is not one that is likely to bring about change
in the coming years. The good news is that there are many willing partners of
the United States. As you mentioned, Senator, every other country in the
region is crying out for U.S. multilateral engagement with North Korea. And
our core strategic ally in the region, South Korea, President Park – with
respect to the situation in North Korea, the core ally – has put forward a
Seoul process, “trustpolitik” initiative, which to me should be the root of
this Helsinki-style form of engagement.
Is any of this politically feasible in the United States? Where is the
constituency for such an initiative? Well, look, I’ve been advising members of
the Senate for 15 years in my prior life. There is – there are very few people
in this town clamoring for President Obama to jumpstart diplomacy with North
Korea, but the fact is that the American people may be more receptive to such
an initiative than the members of congress generally believe.
The recent polling data on Iran is a case in point. Despite all of the
mistrust which characterizes U.S.-Iran relations and the nuclear outreach that
the administration has launched, by a 2-to-1 margin the American people support
striking a deal with Iran even if that deal might eventually require sanctions
relief and even if the results of that deal might not yield the complete
elimination of Iran’s nuclear program as a near-term result.
Now, I know from first-hand experience that there exists a constituency for
reform inside North Korea. I have met with them at the Academy of Science, at
the universities, in the agriculture field, in the trade field. But they have
been marginalized, undercut by years of failed nuclear diplomacy and heightened
So I think, Senator, it’s time to be bold. It’s time for the United States to
set the stage for a Helsinki-style multilateral, multidimensional engagement
process, one that would absolutely need to include the voices of countries like
Mongolia and Singapore and Australia and New Zealand, countries that
participated in the last attempt at anything like a strategic engagement, which
was the agreed framework of 1994. Those countries were all a part of it to one
degree or another. They should be brought back into the process.
This process won’t offer a quick fix, but one of the things that Amnesty
International believes and that I believe is that the principal beneficiaries
of such a process in the near term will be the North Korean people. They will
be among the first to see meaningful benefits. And a policy that therefore
puts the people of North Korea before the plutonium of North Korea can yield
results for both.
Thank you, Senator. I look forward to your questions.
CARDIN: Well, thank you for your testimony. And I agree with your conclusion
that we have to be bold.
The six-party talks as it relates to North Korea was viewed as a one-issue
effort to deal with nuclear ambitions of North Korea and aimed at one country:
North Korea. The establishment of a regional organization is a much broader
aspect: not one country, not one issue.
Ms. Lee, you mentioned that it would – could be perceived by North Korea as a
“Trojan Horse” for regime change. I think that looking at this from a broader
perspective, there’s an argument that can be successfully made to counter those
Mr. Gershman, you talk about it being viewed as liberalization of policies in
autocratic countries. Once again, I think looking at it from a broader
perspective, that argument can be successfully overcome in the countries that
may have those concerns.
The success of Helsinki was first trust. There is a lack of trust among the
various players here. They believed each other’s countries’ intentions were
not honorable. I’ve witnessed that firsthand in my visit to China and their
view of U.S. intentions. And the Helsinki process helps establish trust by
consensus. You can’t get anything accomplished other than through consensus.
We thought that would be a weakness and it ended up being the strength of the
Secondly, the principles are universal principles. They’re not Western
principles. And I think that’s a key ingredient of the success of the Helsinki
And then, third, diverse membership. When you look at Northeast Asia or look
at East Asia, and you look at the countries that would be asked to participate
in a regional organization, you look at Russia and the United States and China
and North Korea, I don’t think there would be anyone accusing us of stacking
the deck in a consensus organization.
And lastly, by way of example, we’ve had our problems in the United Nations.
No question about it. The United Nations has a unique structure with the
Permanent Council and the five members, but it has brought greater consensus
when decisions are made.
So I just would like to get your assessment as to how realistic it is to get
the major players to invest in a regional organization for Asia that –
concentrating on Northeast Asia we may go a little bit beyond that – whether
this is a doable task or whether the concerns of “Trojan Horses” and
liberalizations are too difficult to overcome.
GERSHMAN: I think if you have the local parties negotiating this, they will
shape something that is acceptable to the local countries. And even today, you
know, with the Kaesong agreement there’s a process underway there and it
involves the beginning of, you know, its economic activity, but there’s also
human contact that is taking place there.
So the human contact that was encouraged in part of the Helsinki process is
already part of this, and it has to be. There’s no way in the world that – in
the interconnected world that we live in today that you can dispense with this
dimension. I think it’s terribly unfortunate that North Korea cancelled the
family visits. But, you know, I believe that President Park is determined and
these visits will eventually, I hope, continue.
The one thing I think we have to remember which is different about this process
than Helsinki was that back in the time of Helsinki the Soviet Union wanted an
agreement to formalize the borders from World War II. That was, in my view,
their main incentive in wanting the Helsinki agreement. And as I understand it
– and I welcome your own views; they may be different – that what we wanted as
part of that was a “basket three.” And I don’t see that kind of tradeoff in
the process today.
What I do see as the major incentive in the process today is this – the new
security situation, which is extremely dangerous. I would not get obsessed
about North Korea as we think about how to carry this process forward, because
I think that the much more immediate and dangerous problem is what China has
done in expanding its Air Defense Identification Zone, which is extremely
dangerous. I mean, it could lead to the shooting down of civilian airliners.
And a way has to be found to avoid miscalculations, to avoid these kind of
horrible events to take place. And I think it makes the case as graphically as
anything could that you need a system for anticipating problems and resolving
Now, that doesn’t address the kind of issues that Frank was talking about with
North Korea, but I do think that in a way that is now on a separate track with
the process that has been started with the Kaesong agreement, which I think is
quite significant, even though it’s run into some real difficulties with North
Korea. And I think these processes have to move simultaneously. And in both
processes, I think ultimately you’re going to need to have a way to connect the
societies in addition to having the militaries talk to each other and the
governments talk to each other. And I think that’s possible because it in my
view, serves the interest of everyone in a globalized world.
CARDIN: Ms. Lee, I’m going to give you a chance to respond. First let me
acknowledge that we have here today Ambassador Robert King, the State
Department special envoy for human rights in North Korea. He’s also a former
staff director of the House Foreign Affairs Committee under the leadership of
my dear friend Tom Lantos, who we miss these days. It’s a pleasure to have
Ambassador King in the room.
Ms. Lee, I want you to respond to the question, but I want to just focus on one
part of your testimony where you talk about people-to-people and the importance
of people-to-people. And you give many examples where the United States has
been difficult in facilitating the people-to-people exchange. And it seems to
me, from North Korea’s point of view, participation in a regional organization
that includes the United States with its defined principles that encourage
people-to-people would make those types of arrangements a lot easier to
accommodate and could be a major point for North Korea’s interest in such a
LEE: Thank you very much.
I would say, on the issue of visas, I do think it would be of great benefit to
rationalize that process. In general, it’s possible to get visas – for North
Koreans to get visas to visit the United States on humanitarian issues, and
some – on some educational issues. But anything that strays beyond very
limited range of topics can be very problematic at times of tension. And so
when Frank mentioned earlier that the big package of the agreed framework was
never realized, one of the things that was never realized was normalization of
relations, or the kind of exchanges that we really would have wanted to see,
with North Koreans being able to come over on a regular basis.
And I wanted to comment a little bit on your question of, is there any hope?
One of the big benefits of the four-party process and the six-party process was
constant communication among the parties. And when we talk about the
escalation of threats and danger in the region today, I believe it’s because
that kind of regional dialogue isn’t taking place. I don’t believe in the
dismissive phrase “talking for talking’s sake.” I actually believe that those
conversations kept relations moving on a much more even keel.
And in that regard I would say that the actual topic in some ways is less
important than the actual process. And in that regard, I’m really intrigued by
the statement you made in your opening comments that North Korea might be the
focus now but it might not be the focus 10 years from now. That kind of
perspective to me really opens the door for much more creative thinking on how
to move a regional process forward.
CARDIN: Oh, absolutely. Depending of course on member countries, we would
expect that there would be a variety of reasons beyond one country for creating
this type of regional organization.
Mr. Jannuzi, you mentioned being bold. Ms. Lee said it would take considerable
U.S. investment to get this going. Is this possible, and how much effort will
JANNUZI: Senator, the United States is a great power. It’s capable of doing
many things simultaneously. We have talented diplomatic personnel like
Ambassador King, who I believe, frankly, we’re not making the most use of at
the moment. And it’s not because they’re uninterested or haven’t shown
initiative. It’s because it really requires, at the end of the day, a decision
from the top to take some political risks in order to see whether there will be
That risk calculation is a political decision far above my pay grade, always
has been, but I think the key thing is to appreciate that the strategic
patience approach also entails risks. The escalating risk of violence in the
region is manifest. North Korea’s conduct is not improving. Other regional
problems that could be successfully mitigated through a Helsinki-style
engagement process are in fact growing more acute. So we shouldn’t assess the
level of investment required against a zero sum. You know, we need to
appreciate that what we’re doing right now entails a cost.
And finally, I would just say that the beauty of a Helsinki-style engagement is
that the foundation on which it’s based is one of sovereignty and equality
among sovereign states. Now, that may be something that sticks in the craw of
a lot of us when we think about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but
I think that those who have engaged successfully in diplomacy with North Korea
have done so on the basis of a certain level of respect.
I briefed President Carter prior to his 1994 mission to Pyongyang, and I’ll
never forget that at the end of that briefing he turned to those of us at the
State Department at the time – and we had spent all day briefing him and
Rosalynn Carter about the realities of North Korea since he had left the
presidency. And he turned to us and he says – he says, now, none of you have
told me what I need to know. And I hung my head along with everyone else in
the room – Robert Gallucci and others. He says, I need to know, what does Kim
Il-sung want? And again I kind of looked under the table and tried to look for
the answer that might be buried there. And finally President Carter said to
all of us, he says, I’ll tell you what Kim Il-sung wants. He wants my respect,
and I’m going to give it to him.
Now, at the core, solving this problem requires a certain suspension of
disbelief and an engagement with North Korea as a sovereign nation, which means
that it’s not just their human rights record which will be on the table.
They’ll be allowed to raise human rights concerns that they have about the
misconduct of the Japan during the colonial era. The United States may be able
to raise concerns that we have with China about the treatment of North Korea
refugees on Chinese soil.
You know, this dialogue is not a one-way street where all of the concessions
and all of the change has to happen in one direction. But that also holds the
key to why it may be attractive to even a state, you know, such as in the
circumstances of North Korea, because it gives them a sovereign opportunity to
raise the concerns they have.
CARDIN: All right, let me give you three options and get your view as to which
option you think would be the most fruitful to pursue.
One option could be to build on the partner status that we have for countries
that are not in the OSCE but under the umbrella of the OSCE to try to assist
and help understand what is happening within the OSCE in their own bilateral
and regional contacts. There are a lot of organizations in which that could be
used that currently exist, but not creating any new organization but simply
using the current available opportunities to get more partners in the region.
The second option could be to build within the OSCE a regional organization for
Asia, East Asia or Northeast Asia, that could build on the principles of OSCE
with modifications as the region believes are necessary but not reinventing the
principles of Helsinki.
And the third is to create a separate regional organization patterned after
Helsinki, which would require, of course, the member states to agree on the
principles that they would abide by and the structure of the organization,
which may be similar to OSCE but there’s no assurance until after negotiations
Do you have a preference as to which of those three options the United States
should invest its energy in?
JANNUZI: Senator, if I might, for North Korea their assessment of the end
goals of such a regional process will be affected by how it come into being and
their own assessment of what the goals and purposes and outcomes were of the
And so I guess the one caveat I would have about – or the one concern I would
have about building a special regional organization under the auspices of the
OSCE directly is that we all know today that the Soviet Union no longer exists.
Now, that wasn’t the objective of the Helsinki process but it may very well be
viewed as sort of the necessary outcome of such a process by some in North
I think having a tutoring, mentoring, skills-sharing process – the first option
that you outlined – as the beginning is the place to start, because there’s
great questioning going on right now in Pyongyang about how they attempt to
improve their – their international situation, which is pretty dire, and
educating and sharing what the process might look like would be the first step
in getting them to buy in. And then I think you could decide later about
whether, ultimately, it’s a structure that is an outgrowth of the OSCE or a new
standalone sui generis novel idea.
I’m an incrementalist at heart, and I kind of am frightened by the notion of
having to stand up something brand new. We have three years of negotiations
about that process rather than replicating what’s already working someplace
else. So I think that there’s a lot of reasons to favor your sort of a hybrid
of that first option that you suggested, and then possibly, you know, see what
becomes possible afterwards.
CARDIN: Good diplomatic answer. Ms. Lee?
LEE: I very much appreciate what Frank has said and would endorse it. And I
would just add something that Gershman said in his opening testimony, which is
that the Northeast Asia peace and security working group, established as part
of the six-party talks, they created a set of guiding principles for a regional
structure, and that was based, in large part, on the Helsinki process.
So the DPRK – all six parties agreed to that process. So that idea is already
out there. You mentioned it yourself in your testimony. Unfortunately, when
that negotiation process broke down, that idea, that concept, those
conversations went into hibernation, but I think they could be brought back.
GERSHMAN: I think there’s an awful lot of advice – sharing of experience that
can be transferred from the Helsinki process to what’s going on today in
Northeast Asia, especially in the area of military confidence-building
measures, to look at exactly what was done in the Helsinki process and – as a
basis for what might be done in Northeast Asia today. And so there can be a
lot of those kinds of contacts, but everything I’ve – you know, all the
discussions that I’ve had with people in the region and what I’ve read is that
there’s a strong feeling that Northeast Asia is different. And I think we
should start with that basis.
And I really think we should see what our Mongolian friends have started there
as an opportunity. And maybe if the U.S. got behind it – Mongolia is a small
country; it was not part of the six-party talks, but it’s strategically placed.
It’s very appropriate in the region to start a process. That’s what they want
to do. And it needs, I think, a little bit of buy-in from higher levels. And
I think if the U.S., maybe in cooperation with its allies in the region, Japan
and Korea, maybe starting a discussion with China which is, you know, neighbor
of Mongolia to try to begin to encourage this idea because you now have the
potential for a regular forum. It doesn’t have to be the only one, but I think
that, to me, is a more creative way to go, because it sort of recognizes the
distinctiveness of the region and leaves them in charge of where this is going
and not making it part of a structure which is largely seen as a trans-Atlantic
structure, even though it reaches to other regions.
CARDIN: I think your reference to Mongolia several times is very interesting.
Of course, Mongolia, a member of the OSCE – full membership moving towards
democracy has a working relationship with North Korea. All that’s a positive
to try to pattern their involvement in what has worked. I would also observe in
regards to the concerns on liberalization that I think China has recognized the
need for reform. I mean, they understand that. They understand their future
is very much dependent upon becoming more respectful with regard to
internationally-recognized basic rights. And they’re moving in that direction;
they’ve made tremendous progress, and they still have so far to go.
So I think that there are some steps that have been taken in that regard. Now,
Mr. Jannuzi, you mentioned the fact that they’ll look at the demise of the
Soviet Union into 10 separate countries as a concern – or seven, depending on
how we define the Baltics, but no one is suggesting that North Korea will
become smaller states. It’s a little bit different circumstance.
JANNUZI: It is indeed.
CARDIN: And so I’m not sure that that analogy is exactly of concern, but you
do raise a question for me, and that is, what do we do about working with
Russia? In all my conversations with the players from the region, they
acknowledged that Russia needs to be part of a regional organization for it to
be successful in that region, and that Russia, of course, does have the direct
experience of its involvement within OSCE.
I think I disagree with your assessment about Russia’s initial involvement. I
was not around at the time, but it was brought out to us that Russia wanted to
get international recognition for their democratic reforms at the time, that
they were open, and they thought that they were – that they complied with the
Helsinki commitments and wanted the legitimacy of international recognition.
But I understand that there may be different motives today. So I would welcome
your thoughts as to the politics for Russia being willing to join this type of
a framework within Northeast Asia, recognizing, of course, the six-party talks
and the working group.
GERSHMAN: Well, it was part of the six-party talks, and I think to exclude it
now would almost be seen as excluding –
CARDIN: And I’m not suggest that.
GERSHMAN: No, I know – but still, I think Russia – with all the problems we
have with Russia, they want to be recognized as part of a process. I think
it’s Russia – and this is my own personal view, Mr. Chairman. I think it’s a
very vulnerable power today for demographic reasons and for many other reasons.
And what’s happening with Ukraine today is a serious crisis for Russia, where
clearly the people of Ukraine want Europe. They don’t want to be part of the
customs union. But still, I think Russia therefore, probably because it has a
lot of vulnerabilities, a lot of problems, would welcome being part of this.
And when they were part of the six-party talks, they actually chaired the
Northeast Asia peace and security mechanism working group.
And everything I could tell – I was not part of those negotiations, but the
views that Americans had of the way they were behaving within the six-party
process was very positive. They played a constructive role. Maybe it’s because
of the way their interests weren’t engaged here as they were, maybe, on their
Western side or in the Middle East. But I think they should be a part of the
process, but, you know, it’s going to be a large process. It’s going to be a
large process, and obviously, the main drivers of this process today are going
to be, you know, China, North Korea and Japan along with the United States, and
– but I see no problem with having Russia part of this process.
LEE: If I could just add something, I would say that the DPRK has no concern
about being broken into constituent parts, but it does have some concern about
being absorbed by the south, and that’s why the recognition of sovereignty is
CARDIN: But on that point, aren’t they better being a full member of a
regional organization that requires consensus than sitting out there sort of
LEE: Absolutely – absolutely – but it’s the question of, what’s the ultimate
goal? And the unfortunate thing is that conversations about human rights have
been coupled with conversations about regime change in the past, and that has
two problems. One, they can improve human rights without changing their
government, and two, it gives them an excuse not to talk about human rights.
So, I absolutely agree with you; being part of a regional structure that
recognizes their sovereignty actually diminishes the fear that this process is
being used to make them disappear.
JANNUZI: And Senator, to your point – and I agree with both of my panelists
here – I think Russia can and will want to participate in such a process. And
I think one of the great advantages for the United States is that we’ve got
human rights concerns about Russia. Amnesty International – I was proud to
testify before your other committee – the Foreign Relations Committee a couple
of months ago about the concerns that Amnesty International has expressed about
the crackdown on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and especially LGBT
rights in Russia right now.
Wouldn’t it be great to have another forum at which the international community
could raise some of these issues in a spirit of regional cooperation and
integration – not in one which is designed to be punitive or overthrow
governments, but would really affect the opportunity for the United States and
other players to express some of those concerns. Russia’s human rights record
right now leaves, you know, to say the least, much to be desired.
CARDIN: You’re not going to get any argument from me on that one. Mr.
GERSHMAN: Chairman, I just also want to add another element to this
discussion. You know, we’re focused very, very much on inter-government
relations. And the assumption here is that somehow, recognizing North Korea as
an independent and sovereign state would somehow reinforce the system. Well,
you know, East Germany was recognized as an independent and sovereign state,
and what good did it do when revolutions took place?
And North Korea – this is just the objective facts. It’s in a very vulnerable
position, being next door to a very, very successful Korean society. Andrei
Lankov has talked about this over and over again. And, you know, just simply
the process of breaking down isolation – simply the process of breaking down
isolation in the economic sphere, in the information sphere in all these
different ways is going to open the North Korean people up to what’s happening
in the outside world and what’s happening in South Korea. I think, frankly,
this is a major factor here that accounts for what’s happened in Burma when
they realized how far behind they were lagging.
So I have no problem with, you know, recognizing them as a sovereign part of
these talks and so forth. I think the underlying processes are ultimately
going to change North Korea, because it’s in a – it’s in a hopeless position,
being a neighbor to a successful Korean society and being a failed society
CARDIN: Well, I agree with you completely. With or without a Helsinki
process, with or without Helsinki, the realities are that if a country cannot
adjust to the economic reality of its region, its political realities and
security realities, its future is not going to be very bright. That has been
true in Europe; it’ll be true in Asia with or without a Helsinki process. The
globe is getting smaller. People see what’s happening with their neighbors,
and they demand a future for their families, and that’s going to happen on the
Korean peninsula. It’s going to happen in China, and changes are going to
happen with or without Helsinki. The advantage of Helsinki is that you have an
orderly process where your sovereignty is recognized and you have an equal
status at the table and you have a chance to not only improve, but to express
your concerns about what’s happening among your neighbors. Yes?
JANNUZI: Senator, I just wanted to jump in because what you’ve just said is so
important and worth underscoring.
CARDIN: Well then, jump in. (Laughter.)
JANNUZI: North Korea, in its present configuration, with its present policies,
with its present international circumstances, is not on a good trajectory, and
I’m convinced that the leadership of North Korea, and more and more, the people
of North Korea, know that. And really, the question is not whether there will
be change. And by change – by – you know, I’m not talking about regime
collapse or – necessarily, and there are many different scenarios under which
change can happen. But the point is that every day that goes by without a
Helsinki-style engagement process is a lost day to the international community
in trying to promote and bring about those changes.
It will happen much quicker, in a much more stable way, with greater
transparency and with greater – with lesser risk of miscalculation and
violence, with more cohesion and with less risk of great power
misunderstandings, about the future trajectory of the Korean peninsula if it
handles within the context of this process.
I sat down with Senator Kerry in March of 2012 in New York along with Henry
Kissinger and Jim Steinberg and Ri Yong-ho from North Korea and Volker Rühe,
the former German defense minister during the time of re-unification of
Germany. We had a multilateral Track II conference in New York a year and a
half ago, and the one thing I can assure you is, the North Koreans are not
lacking in confidence. They understand that a process such as this would open
them up to certain kinds of risks. But they’re not imaging they’re going to
come out of the end of it as the loser, necessarily. They’ve got their own
ideas about the superiority of their own system vis-à-vis the south ultimately.
I mean, it may seem strange for us, sitting here – you know, those of us who
have been to both places to imagine that that could be true. But I can assure
you that the reason why this process, to me, is not a nonstarter in Pyongyang
is because they can imagine a future in which they realize what they call
“Juche,” which is being masters of their own fate. And they don’t believe that
this process, necessarily, is contrary to that. I think – I agree completely
with what’s been said, which is that we should be maximizing – the
international community should be maximizing – the international community
should be maximizing its opportunities to help shape the direction.
CARDIN: We’ve spent a lot of time today talking about North Korea and a
regional organization. We’ve talked a little bit about security issues with
the maritime security challenges and that potential blowing up – the comparison
to World War I is certainly frightening but real. Absolutely, there could be
an incident that could mushroom out of control, and it’s something that is of
great concern to the United States and to all of the countries.
We could be talking about environmental challenges, which are tremendous in
that region; real security issues particularly with the coastal areas but also
with the air quality, and particularly in China but in other countries as well.
But we could be talking about two of our closest allies, the Republic and
Korea and Japan, and their frosty relationships and the need to have a dialogue
organization so that they can, hopefully once and for all, resolve their past
differences and be able to move forward as close allies.
I mean, there are so many underlining issues here that go well beyond just
North Korea, which is certainly getting the headlines today, or the maritime
issue, which is certainly getting headlines today. So, yeah, I think we do
somewhat of a disservice if we don’t make this a much broader initiative. And
that’s why I used the comparison originally to the six-party talks. And I
understand the dialogue came out of that and North Korea has been the focal
point of it, but it seems to me from the U.S. perspective and from the regional
perspective there’s a much broader agenda here.
GERSHMAN: Well, I’d like to use what you just said as a way of making one
In October I was in Korea for the launch of something called the Asia Democracy
Network, which brings together the democracy actors from the entire Asia
region, and then there will be subregional networks part of it. And it brings
together cross-regional networks dealing with the very issues you’re talking
about: the environment, transparency, conflict resolution and so forth. And
there will be a Northeast Asia democracy forum established out of this.
So I think as we speak about the Helsinki process and the intergovernmental
system, we should not overlook the nongovernmental dimension of this, which I
think is much, much stronger today than it was in 1975. There are just many
more hundreds, thousands of NGOs. They have a lot of influence. They are able
to encourage and influence the policies of governments. And it’s even
beginning to develop in China. So I think we should keep this dimension of the
scene in Asia very much on our minds. Thank you.
LEE: First, I want to thank you again for the opportunity to testify today,
and to say I was really impressed by Frank’s optimistic testimony when he said,
yes, we can do it, and we can put all the energy into it and we can make all
this happen, because I’m a real incrementalist and I was thinking more in terms
of promoting some of these regional civil society networks and ensuring that
the kind of exchanges on issues of regional importance that people – countries
participate out of their own self-interest and not because they’re trying to
contribute to some greater cause.
These really can build a foundation, and that it’s an excellent thing when the
OSCE member countries can be engaged in those kinds of efforts and just bring
in the experience of regional relationship building. And I mentioned only two
topics, but there’s a number of topics out there, and just to build support and
the idea for this, it falls short of the vision of the process that you’ve
raised today, but it can start immediately. And so support for those kinds of
efforts to me is something we can work on this afternoon.
JANNUZI: And, Senator, I also want to thank you for this opportunity to
appear. And it’s true what Karin says. I’ve never been accused of being a
pessimist. My brother is a physicist out in the University of Arizona, and
when I talk with him about optimism and pessimism he always points out to me,
he says: Frank, you know, you see the glass is half full. I know that the
glass is always full completely, half of water and half of air. And we have to
view Northeast Asia today as a place not of just peril but of incredible
opportunity and possibility.
In terms of what can be accomplished, when you’re starting from a low point
where two of your treaty allies can barely talk to one another, where one of
them – Japan – has territorial disputes with three of its major neighbors –
Russia, China and South Korea – where human rights inside one of the member
states of the region – North Korea – are at a nadir and at a point that is
arguably one of the most horrific human rights conditions on the planet, you’ve
got nowhere to go but up.
And this process offers us opportunities to yield early harvest, especially if
the advice that Ms. Lee has offered is followed and we begin where we can, and
then by showing the possibility of such engagement we draw more and more
political support to this process, which I think ultimately is an inevitable
one and a necessary one to bring peace and security to Northeast Asia.
CARDIN: Thank you. And I appreciate you mentioning NGOs. They’re a critical
partner of the Helsinki process. And we would clearly want any initiative for
a regional organization to partner and build with the NGO community.
And I might just say, our annual meeting this year of the Parliamentary
Assembly is in Azerbaijan and our participation is very much contingent upon
NGOs having complete access, including from Armenia. And we’re going to make
sure that that is done if – with U.S. participation. So it’s a very important
point and I appreciate you mentioning that.
I think this discussion has been very, very helpful. I fully understand the
challenges of getting any type of regional agreements in Northeast Asia. I
also understand the stakes are very high. And I think your comment about the
start of World War I is a reminder that these somewhat regional issues can
mushroom into very difficult international circumstances. The shipping lanes
are critically important. They air lanes are critically important to
international commerce. So there is a direct interest of the globe in what’s
happening in Northeast Asia today.
And of course the threat of nuclear proliferation is an issue of global
interest, and the environmental issues go well beyond just the region. So
these are issues that affect all of us. And of course the United States, being
a Pacific country and being a country that has always been interested in Asia,
now with the rebalance that President Obama has talked about it’s a good
opportunity for us to exercise greater leadership to develop more permanent
ways that we can resolve issues among the countries of the region to strengthen
each country and to make the region a stronger region for security, for
economics and for human rights and good governance.
And that’s our objective and that’s why we are looking at this. And we very
much appreciate the regional leaders who have come forward with suggestions,
including in the six-party talks. And we intend to follow this up in the
Helsinki Commission and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And we very
much appreciate your participation here today. Thank you all.
With that, the committee will stand adjourned. (Sounds gavel.)
[Whereupon, at 2:23 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]