tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN December 29, 2016 4:32pm-6:33pm EST
about president obama. i really like him. we have, i think i can say at least for myself -- i can't speak for him -- but we have a really good chemistry together. we talk. he loves the country. i will tell you, we obviously very much disagree on certain policies, but i really like him as a person. and i must tell you i've never met him before this and never spoke to him before. i really, i really do like him. [laughter] >> i like him too. [laughter] >> i love getting his ideas. so i think maybe to some of us who just, you know, through the campaign, i mean, to a lot of people i think in this room it probably feels a little like whiplash, right? what is your reaction to that? >> i understand why he likes him. [laughter] i guess i wish he'd gotten to know him sooner and had spent some time with him. i also think it reflects on president obama's attitude which is he's being very open and available and accessible. and, look, we've learned a lot
in eight years, and campaigns are different than governing. and to the degree that president obama can convey some of what he's learned and give the president-elect a little bit more detail into why we've done the things that we've done, that inyou ares to the benefit of the cup. so i'm glad the president-elect likes president obama. [laughter] i think it's a good sign. >> you give us any insight into how often they are discussing things, what the -- and what the role of the president, other than making it a smooth transition? how does the president believe he can be most helpful? >> i think by being as honest and candid with the president-elect as he can be, to be willing to spend the time to go into not just superficial conversation, but in depth as to why the president, president obama, made the decisions that he made, why he prioritized what he did, what worked, what didn't work. i think all of that is valuable counsel, and it's encouraging to see that president-elect trump
is receptive the that counsel. to that come. >> so, you know, as we watch the transition, we're seeing a lot of roles being mentioned. as somebody who's been in the white house, what is sort of the one role you would watch, sort of the behind the scenes job that has the unseen power in the white house? >> well, i think -- that's a very interesting question, because i think part of what has made our white house work is that there aren't centers of power. a true team is one where the president values not just his individual relationships with the members of the team, but how well the team works together. and i've heard folks mention that early on because of the crisis that the president inherited when he took office, he was really trying to get who are the smartest people in all these different areas as possible. but over time what i think he prides himself on and shared with us recently is how proud he is of the team and how well it works together. and so i think it's important for the president, as president
obama did, to insure that he's selecting people who share his values burr understand that a big -- but understand that a big part of their role is to work together. was the way it has -- because the way it has worked successfully for us, carrie, is to insure we have conversations before we get to the president, and we feel free to disagree with one another and thrash it out, because that's how we make the best incomed decisions -- informed decisions if there is permission to speak honestly. and when we do that, we often, more times than not, can go to president obama with a united recommendation. but if we don't, we go to him with a divided one x everybody's free to make their case. and because he runs such a good process, i really have not seen a time where even if he ends up taking a different position than the one you recommended, you feel as though your voice was heard. and i think, again, that's part of strengthening the team and insuring that people feel together. dennis mcdonoughs has done a tremendous job of managing a process.
in any white house, the most precious thing the president has is his time. and managing his time effectively and insuring that when recommendations are made to him, that they are well thought out and thorough, that's the job of the chief of staff in the first instance. but the chief of staff can't do that unless he has a cooperative team. >> so i want to turn to some of the personal transition stuff. >> i'm not sure what -- [laughter] >> you know, i know you and others in the white house were
very appreciative of george w. bush and how he carried himself after the election. he was, he basically disappeared. he allowed president obama to carry forth without really any commentary. it took years for us to hear from him. it doesn't, right now it doesn't sound like president obama may necessarily take the same course, in part because of the election outcome. is that the -- tell me what he is thinking in terms of how he views the role he will play, and
is he -- i can imagine he's or the of personally -- he's sort of personally torn about that role he does take after the election. that he would love to not have to say anything, but he feels as if he will have to. >> i think it's premature to jump to that conclusion. >> okay. >> i think already you've seen the president avoid commenting on individual appointments that the president-elect has made. he doesn't want to get into that. he wants to be helpful. and i think thatting being most helpfulling right now is giving the president-elect his wise counsel confidentially, which is why i didn't answer
your question when you said what do they discuss. i think that's important. i think it's important that they build as much trust between the two of them as they can. it's good for our country. so i don't want to get out ahead of the president and determine what he might say three months from now. i think he's a young man, he's only 55, he has a lot of very important work left to do. he's looking forward to being able to be that senior statesman on the world stage because he, obviously, enjoys great
popularity both here and around the world. and i think to the degree he sees something where he feels compelled to speak out, he will. he doesn't feel bound by tradition, but he also respects the fact that you have to give the president-elect and then the president a chance to do the right thing. and you shouldn't prejudge now how that's going to turn out. >> but will he feel compelled to do it? obviously, we know what the next administration's saying they will do, go to the heart of everything, a lot of things -- >> well, let's see. let's see. i mean, right now what we're trying to do is sign as many people up as we can for the affordable care act n. the first 12 days of this enrollment period, we signed up a million people. there are over 20 million people now who have health care, many for the first time. there are 150 million who are covered for pre-existing conditions and can have their children stay on their plans until they're 26 and women get preventive care. that is really a big focus of ours. we would be crushed to see those
benefits go away because there are americans all around our country who depend on health insurance and the benefits that go along with it. and so, yes, that would be very disappointing to see it dismantled, but you saw from the first conversation the president-elect already said he wants to let folks stay on their parents' plans. so i think what they'll find is it's a complicated piece of business to have the benefits of the affordable care act without also having a mandate and subsidies to make it affordable. but let's give them the runway to do that work. once he's in office. and so i think that, in a sense, you have a campaign, you have a transition, and then you govern. and let's not prejudge what's going to happen when he governs. let's give him a chance to do it. >> for you, are you planning to stay in d.c. after january 20th? >> i know i should know by now. it's getting increasingly to say i have no idea. [laughter] months ago i would say, well, why are you asking me that? blah, blah, blah. now people are like, you don't
have a plan? [laughter] my plan is to sleep, and i think i can do that whether i'm here or not. my daughter recently moved to washington, to that kind of disrupted my go back to chicago plan completely, completely. [laughter] i wish she could have done it eight years ago. but that's life. i don't know, as i said, my real priority is helping my folks land well, and i'm at the stage of life where i don't need to have a job january 21st, so i'm going to take a vacation and figure it out. and i will say this, and this is my elevator pitch to people who have never been in the public sector. i've spent about half my career in the public sector, half in the private sector. i began working for local government, city of chicago government, and as i compare my private sector experiences to the public sector, i say often -- and i mean it in the most heartfelt, sincere way -- my worst days in the public sector, and i have had some really bad days, were better
than my best in the private and so i just encourage people to do public service when you're in government or volunteering in your community. i know how much i have loved working in the white house in large, in complete part because of having opportunity to try -- this opportunity to try to be a force for good. and i'd like to continue that when i leave. >> do you have any specific -- >> no, i don't. i actually don't. >> nothing. >> do you have any ideas for me? >> anybody? [laughter] >> coming up quick. >> it is, but as i said, i'm taking -- i have a one-way ticket many i'm not going to tell you -- [laughter] that is warm with sand. and i will come back or not. [laughter] >> you know, i've heard from people, and i've wondered this myself, this'll be the first time, i think, we've had a president who stays in the capitol after he leaves -- capital after he lees office because of -- >> yeah. says a lot about him as a dad, guys and gals. >> what do you think it's going
to be hike for them to be here when you're not going to see them that much, they're going to be elsewhere as well, that this is a home base? what's it like to live -- i guess we don't know yet, but what do you think it'll be like to live in donald trump's washington as a former president? >> well, i think it's a great city, and i think -- let's face it, politico focuses on the politics. we also -- [laughter] >> no, but i mean that -- >> it's called politico. >> it is washington government-centric. as it should be, i'm not -- this isn't a criticism, it's a fact. there's a lot of washington that isn't actually focused in the government. and, i mean, my father grew up here, and his father was a dentist, and my father had never been in the white house until president obama was elected. so i think there is a world outside of the government here, and the obamas have a great circle of friends here that they've developed, some who came here from chicago, some who they've met since they've been here. so i think from the social perspective, they've got a great social network here. i think that they'll spend a lot
of time traveling and will be in high demand for speeches, and so this will be home base. and the reason they're staying here is they want to finish raising their teenage daughter, not an easy thing to do having done it, because they don't really want to be raised by the time they're this age. but it takes a lot of time and attention, and they made a very intentional decision the stay here so that sasha could finish high school. i think they'll have plenty to do without having to, you know, be in the headlines, which i don't think they intend to do here in d.c. on a regular basis. >> what is the great unfinished business from the past? >> oh, my gosh. be -- well, i would say to you three of our biggest disappointments, and i'll do them quickly. number one, it's just truly soul-crushing that we were unable to get congress to pass reasonable laws to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them, who are a threat to themselves or others. we lose over 32,000 people a year to gun violence.
i'm giving two speeches today to tate legislators and advocates, because there is a lot of traction going on in the states. so our hope is it's not the perfect solution because, i mean, i live in chicago. indiana has very flexible laws even though chicago has tight laws, and guns just come over the borders. and so a national solution is ideal, but there'll be a lot of action in the states. that's one. immigration reform, comprehensive immigration reform is another one similar to the guns where the vast majority of the american people supported a comprehensive solution to immigration reform, and then politics are what got in the way. and that's disappointing. and then the final piece where i am really optimistic that there is, again, huge momentum is criminal justice reform. and, again, you're seeing action in states, a lot of developments. the president has granted clemency to over a thousand people, more than the last 11 presidents put together. but the solution isn't helping people at the back end of the process, the solution is to
insure they don't get caught up in the system to begin with. and our mandatory minimum sentences -- particularly for nonviolent drug offenses -- just don't make any sense whatsoever. and this is great bipartisan support. i just ran into chairman goodlatte the other evening, and he supports it. chairman grassley, both the house and senate judiciary committee chairs strongly supporting it. you have bipartisan bills that have come out of both of those committees. you have a broad network of stakeholders from the business community to the faith community, to advocate, all who support it. i don't know where else you'd have both the aclu and koch industries working together for a common goal. [laughter] and so i feel like that should certainly happen at the federal level, but if not, you will -- the vast majority of people who are incarcerated of the 2.2 million people incars rated are at the -- incarcerated are at the state and local level. so it makes sense to do it state by state, county by county. >> on that point, will we see more pardons before he leaves
office? >> yes. the president is working every single day through his justice department and the white house counsel to process as many of the pardon requests that he deems where people have earned that second chance as he can. and he'll do that until the last minute. but that -- and he's proud of that record and having met some of the folks who he has pardoned, one guy in particular, i don't know why i fell for norman, but he had a mandatory minimum life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense because of enhanced requirements. the president, he just referred to this a few days a received a letter from a central judge who said that when the president started commuting these sentences, the judge said he would look through the list of people every single time it published and that, maybe about a month ago a person who he had sentenced under the mandatory sentencing requirements 20 years ago appeared on the list. and he said to the president,
you've now allowed me to be at peace. i have, this perp, it has tortured me for 20 years that i had to sentence him and destroy his life as i did. and the fact that you saw that he was worthy of a pardon just makes me feel whole again. i mean, the letter just moved me to tears. and so the judges recognize how unfair it is. and i will say eric holder early on and loretta lynch has continued to instruct their u.s. attorneys to use discretion and not reward the prosecutors who have the number of convictions and length of sentences, but whether or not they were fair. whether or not it was a just system. and so we've done what we can through the executive branch, but you really do need federal legislation. and we need to take the $80 billion a year we pend on criminal justice reform and, my goodness, can't we spend it on early childhood education or improving our school system or making college affordable? [applause] and, i mean, there's plenty we could do with that money besides destroying lives. and just one last note on this
because it's one where the president has given me responsibility for criminal justice reform. i was just recently, a month or so ago, out at san quentin in the bay area, and i visited a class where they're teaching the inmates how to code. i don't know how to code, to you guys know how to code? probably not many of you do. but i'm heartened to see, they have 3,000 volunteers over the course of a year who help people try to get their lives back on track so when they leave, they'll have a job. one of the initiatives we launched we're enurge cooing the private -- encouraging the private sector to commit to ban the box and not ask people about their prior record until they're at the end of the process as a way of saying the only way you break the revolving door and the cycle of crime and keep our community safer is that you give people a second chance when they've earned it. >> so we're almost at the end. i just want to do a couple takeaways, things that i've learned here today. >> oh, good. [laughter]
>> one is kellyanne has been lobbied by valerie jarrett to go into the white house, so if we see her do that, we can say it happened here. [laughter] the election was a gut punch, and you have no place to live in a month. [laughter] but that's okay -- >> i do have a place. i have an apartment on a month to month lease. [laughter] i can take care that at least. >> i just want to end with one question which is sort of, you know, other than sleeping, other than seeing your family, what is the one thing you day dream about? come january 21st? what is it you -- >> i'll tell you exactly what it is: not picking up my iphone in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning with just, you know, fear. i would look forward to rolling out of bed gently -- [laughter] as opposed to catapulting out going, oh, my gosh, what happened overnight. so i say that really quite seriously. it is, it's an awesome responsibility to serve our
country from the highest place, the white house. and i can say that having had the privilege of working for a president who wakes up every single day thinking of you and how to take that responsibility as seriously as he can has trickled down through the organization. and it's been a privilege, but i'm turning that phone off. [laughter] >> i'm going to check back and see if you actually do that. i have to say, it's like an addiction. >> i think i can break that addiction. [laughter] >> good. you can teach the rest of us. thank you, valerie. it was a pleasure. >> thank you all. >> yeah, thank you. [applause] and thanks for attending. i just wanted to say thank you to our partners, google and tori burch foundation. without whom this incredible thing could not have happened. >> go save the world. >> yes. [laughter] and please, as we make our way out, go to the marketplace. there's lots of women-owned businesses where you can buy some good stuff for the holidays. thank you so much, it was a pleasure. look forward to seeing everyone
soon. >> bye-bye, everybody. [applause] >> tonight it's booktv in prime time with a look at notable books of 2016. starting at eight eastern, nathaniel philbrick discusses his book, valiant ambition: george washington, benedict arnold and the fate of the american revolution. then mary roach looks at grunt, the curious science of humans at war. after that, antonio garcia marted necessary discusses chaos monkeys: obscene fortune and random failure in silicon valley. and finally, eric fehr on his book, consequence: a memoir. booktv constant starting at eight eastern on c-span2. and on c-span3, programs on world war ii. we'll begin with a discussion on the fate of nazi and japanese war criminals following the war. see it on c-span3.
as 2016 draws to a close, c-span remembers the passing of important public affairs and political figures. our in memoriam program begins with former first lady nancy reagan who died in march at the age of 94. here's a portion of her funeral as well as a conversation we had with her in 1994. >> the cold war that president reagan did so much to end brought them together. in 1950 the name nancy davis appeared on a list of communist sympathizers. would the hollywood blacklisters know that this was a different person and not the young actress? he took her problem to her -- she took her problem to her union boss, the president from the screen actors guild, ronald reagan. they met in a hollywood restaurant. the dinner or would be brief -- dinner would be brief, they agreed, because each had an
early casting call. in fact, neither had an early casting call. [laughter] an early casting call was the standard hollywood excuse to put a quick end to unpleasant dinners. [laughter] but when i opened the door, she wrote later, i knew he was the man i wanted to marry. >> do you think that ronald reagan could have been elected president without nancy reagan? >> oh -- [laughter] oh, my. [laughter] well, i i think i may have helped a little, maybe. [laughter] i hope so. [applause] >> that was just part of our in memoriam program which looks at the passing of several key political figures in 2016. we'll also feature programs with
supreme court justice antonin scalia, news anchor gwen ifill and former utah senator robert bennett, all who died this year. see it tonight at eight eastern on c-span. >> new year's night on q&a -- >> while people were starving, van dohrn was having these fancy parties in the white house. so it was part of the image making where harrison was the candidate poor man for the poor people, and here was this rich man in washington sneering at the poor people. harrison had thousands of acres in his estate, so he was actually a very wealthy man, but he was portrayed as the champion of the poor. women came to the parades, and they waved handkerchiefs, some gave speeches, some wrote pamphlets, and it was very shocking. they were criticized by the democrats. it said that these women should be home making pudding. >> ronald schafer, author of "the carnival campaign: how the
rollicking campaign changed presidential elections forever." sunday night at eight eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> the george w. bush institute recently held a forum looking at u.s. policy toward north north a and national security. former president bush discussed the impact of the north korea human rights act of 2004 and was then followed by a panel discussion on the foreign policy priorities of the incoming trump administration. this is an hour. >> good morning. i'm the director of global initiatives here at the bush institute. thank you for taking time out of your busy schedulings to join us for this forum on freedom in north korea and welcome to the bush institute where we focus on developing leaders, advancing policy and taking action to solve today's most pressing challenges. on the screen behind me is a
satellite image of the korean peninsula. it shows a startling contrast between north and south. while south korea is alive with light, north korea is shrouded in darkness. more than 24 million people live under the tyranny of communism and the kim regime. in recent years the united states and other free societies have focused growing attention on the plight of the north korean people, but more must be done. since 2014 the bush institute has convened unprecedent awareness-raising and consensus-building meetings, commissioned original research and helped break new ground in our understanding of one of the worst human tragedies of our time. the result has been a call to action for governments, the private sector and civil society to work together in a bipartisan way to improve the human condition in north korea. as you'll hear this morning, we believe this includes advocating for a new u.s. policy that integrates the cry for human
freedom with denuclearization. we also believe it means supporting the north korean escapees who are building new lives and freedom here in the united states. all of you can be a part of this call to action if you visit bushcenter.org/nk. you'll find several concrete ways you can help. learn more about the human rights security nexus by downloading original graphics, videos and research including the policy recommendations that the bush institute is releasing today. help expose the suffering of the than people and why it matters to american security by sharinging this content on -- sharing this content on social media. let members of congress though how you feel. we know the national leaders like those who are in the audience today care deeply about these issues. find ways to support north korean escapees and other refugees in your community. and support the ongoing work of the bush institute to advance human freedom including our north korea work with your cricks. contributions. the will for human freedom
cannot be tamped down forever. north korean society is changing and growing more independent. since the late 1990s more than 30,000 north koreans, men, women and children, have managed to escape. most live in south korea today. some have made the long journey to the united states. one of those brave souls is joseph kim. in 2006 joseph escaped north korea into china and eventually made his way here with the help of an organization called liberty in north korea. today he's a hard working college student and a voice for north koreans who still do not know freedom. joseph visited the bush institute in 2014, and we are thrilled to welcome him back. ladies and gentlemen, joseph kim. [applause] .
was it like living in china and what my dream was. i answered his questions partially because i was nervous and mostly because i wasn't sure what my dream was. i talked on and on without really answering his question. everybody in the room was wondering when this kid was going to stop talking. [laughter] except president bush, he listened so patiently without interrupting me and trying his best to understand. i think that really touched me, his interesting caring that really moved me. later on as i learned more about the bill that was signed into law i began to realize how significantly it affect it life
for north korean refugees including myself. as a result of that over 200 north korean refugees had an opportunity to come to the u.s.. today some of these individuals are running their own businesses and some are studying in college with the hope of returning to their motherland. it may sound silly but some are are -- [inaudible] they are real people though. for some people this may seem like trivial and ordinary things but for many north korean people the kind of life, the inconsequential life that they have in the u.s. or the life that they have dreamed of for so long.
that is not to say that everything is fine living in the u.s.. we definitely have and continue to face new challenges and i believe that's why we are here in this room together. we are still in the process of moving forward and making an impact. in a small but collective way in which we are able to. this is why i would like to take a moment to thank president bush sincerely and with all my heart. not only for making these realities possible but also for his ongoing care and commitment to the north korean people. ladies and gentlemen it is my honor to introduce president george w. bush.
a pasta. >> thank you. [applause] thank you all. thank you all for coming. we at the bush center think this is an important conversation to have. after all, we are focusing our attention on freedom, freedom for the people of north korea and south korea. first of all it brings great joy to my heart to be introduced by joseph kim. this guy is one incredibly courageous person. he has seen the full horrors of oppression in north korea. he was our friend during the famine.
he scrounged for food on the streets of north korea. he eventually escaped to china and he came to america. he attends college, he has written a book. it's called under the same sky and i am thrilled that joseph came back to the bush center and i want to thank him for keeping the promise that someday korea will be whole and free. you are about to hear from grace as well. she too is a north korean refugee. she goes to montgomery college. she is a sweet soul and we are honored to have her here. thank you grace for coming. their other north korean refugees here. we thank you for coming. we appreciate your courage and we look forward to your input about how fast the bush institute and those who are with
us can help you. i know there are some distinguished people here, laura [laughter] joe lieberman, the great senator from connecticut who is one courageous person when it comes to doing what is right for freedom in the world and we are thrilled you are here. you look. refreshed being outside of washington. someone who isn't so refreshed that is doing a fabulous job in washington, cory gardner. we appreciate your service and i want to thank you for being one of the architects of tougher sanctions on north korea and officials for human rights violations. ambassador robert king special envoy for north korean human rights has joined us. robert, thank you for coming.
appreciate your good work paid you will hear from robert and the other two i'll introduce in. members of the korean-american community. part of the purpose here is to encourage all americans but the best leaders will be korean-americans who have benefited from living in america to help those who have sought freedom. we have notables with us, the great kj joy, golfer, coke captain of the cup team coming in second to the americans. [laughter] anyway, a really good guy and chan park a great major league baseball karen actually pitch for the rangers for a while. we thank you for coming and my great friend roy rue south korean citizen who cares deeply about the people of north korea.
after all he married a woman who was born in north korea and is a great friend of mine and 41's so we appreciate you being here. kim hearst run their center. kim is a smart guy who has really brought a lot of energy to this building and we appreciate it and holly operating officer is with us. my friend is the chairman of human freedom advisory council and tommy we thank you for helping, a lot. amanda schnetzer who you heard from, lindsay lloyd is the deputy tracked day and the moderator of today's conversation is michael gerson, columnist, former speechwriter for president bush and one of the really strong advocates for freedom. so people ask you know we can do a lot of things here and we do. we think they are very important and for those of you who don't know please look it up and i think you'll think it's
important. of all the places, why should the bush center be thinking about north korea and there are several reasons. one is north korea surrounded of the last century. it's one of the last cold war conflicts. it's the last gasp of totalitarianism calmed the last fortress of that kind of tyranny that is beginning to leave the earth. one such tyrants that left the earth happened last week, fidel castro. like north korean leaders, he imprisoned his own people. like the north korean leaders he ruined his country's economy and like the north korean people the cuban people deserve better. north korea represents a grave security threat.
it shows how the proliferation of the deadly technology can allow small leaders, failed cruel and criminal leaders to threaten and disrupt the world on a grand scale. with every successful missile test the reach of great danger advances. from stohl to tokyo to across the pacific. there is no easy policy solution but any serious response must begin by accepting reality. there is no way to detach yourselves from events in east asia. their future and the future of that region are closely linked. eventually there is no isolation from proliferation, no safety in distance. north korea also presents the greatest sustained humanitarian
challenge of our time. the whole country is a prison run by warden. the north korean people have suffered decades of oppression and famine and violence. by controlling access to the broader world, the north korean government has tried to make this nightmare seem normal to its thick dumps. some argue that the spirit of the north korean people has been eaten into submission so that is so total the opposition is unthinkable. we don't believe that here. the desire for freedom like the dignity of the person is universal. hope in place by god cannot he removed by kim jong un. the regime attempts to control
every mind, every tongue, every life but the refugees with us today demonstrate that no oppressor can control the soul. the north korean people are pleading in their silence for freedom. and the world needs to listen and the world needs to respond. these two elements the security challenge and the humanitarian challenge are closely linked. the threat we face arises out of the nature of the north korean regime itself. the lesson of history is clear. a country that does not respect the rights of its people will not respect the rights of its neighbors. this is one of the main arguments of an excellent -- that's victor cha and robert gallucci have put together. thank you all for coming. these men are the two most
experts on north korea. one is a democrat and one is a republican. they make a strong case that security and human rights are inseparable. they make a strong case that the promotion of human dignity is not a distraction from security policy. it is a distinct advantage in pursuing that policy. i was there. the north korean human rights act of 2004 which i was honored to sign. we set out to expand health for north korean refugees and to expose the horrible conditions faced by their countrymen. over the years the tightening of sanctions against specific north korean officials have complicated the work of what is essentially a criminal enterprise. and the groundbreaking united nations commission of inquiry report has further isolated north korean government by focusing global attention on its
brutal and aggressive nature. victor in bob's report sets out a range of options for renewed north korean policy. reassuring important allies in the region, integrating nonproliferation and human rights sanctions, going after slave labor exports that fund weapons development, encouraging information flows into the north and expanding diplomatic pressure. they put together a good roadmap this is a timely moment. after all our countries about to have the new administration which of course has every right to choose its own direction. they can take advice or not that there is one option that can't be chosen, the option of drifting because that current would lead to disaster.
denial provides only the shallow and temporary illusion of security and leadership on this matter cannot be delegated to others. a successful response will require an precedent it local corporation but it can only be led by one country, the united states. there is another way to show our commitment to human rights for the north korean people, by supporting the refugees in our midst. the bush institute's human freedom initiative is issuing a second report today based on a survey of north korean refugees who live in our country. it shows a small but highly motivated community of exceptional people. it also reveals the areas of education and employment. this is a set of problems for the private sector, including the korean-american community and by the way we have got some young korean-americans from new
york city who helped fund the project who have flown down to be with us. coming to the aid of men and women who have fled the worst tyranny in the world is in our national interest. it's in the interest of the korean-american community. it's in the interest of those who have got hearts for those who suffer in our country. a warm welcome of refugees is one of the truest expressions of our national character. it shows the broad reach of american ideals in the good heart of our people. refugees often risk everything, everything including their life to come to america. whatever their background they deserve our sympathy, not our contempt. the threat from north korea and the cruel oppression of its people are urgent and related problems. free nations can accept a future
on terms set by this brutal and unstable regime. technology is bringing closer the threat of a dangerous world. technology can also carry a message of god-given rights and dignity the other direction. and that is a form of power as well. the untamed power of freedom to reach the darkest corners of the world. it's not foreign-policy realism to ignore the deepest aspirations of humanity. yes, we defend ourselves in the demilitarized zone and we are grateful to american and republic of korean troops to stand guard on the last rampart of the cold war but we also defend ourselves by taking the side of the north korean people. they deserve better than brutality and tyranny. they deserve to determine their
own future and that would bring real peace to the korean peninsula. the only true and lasting peace, a peace founded on human freedom thank you all for coming. god bless. [applause] [applause] >> please welcome the human rights and security nexus panel moderated by michael gerson, columnist for the "washington post." >> good morning. i'm really honored to be with you at this for my freedom in north korea and to be with these
distinguished panelists. there is a portion of president bushes second and not euro address. we are led by events and common sense to one conclusion, the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. the best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. america's vital interests and deepest beliefs are now one. north korea is really the test of this assertion. and could be its demonstration under the right circumstances. can freedom really grow in the rocky salted soil of our korea? but what the long-term solutions to the problems of the peninsula and even exist without that freedom? these are some of the questions on the floor today. by way of background,
historically there have been two groups of north korea watchers, those that focus more on human rights and those who focus more on security issues. the bush center has been a force working to bring these groups together. the paper authored by victor cha and robert gallucci is a milestone in that effort. it outlines a new approach for a new administration which will face the north korean challenge from its first day in office. it rings together human rights and security concerns and argues that they cannot be separated. this is a notoriously difficult than high-stakes policy matter but our national discussion begins with it. a rare foreign-policy issue in which there is broad bipartisan agreement represented on this
panel today. but turning consensus into policy will require leadership and much of that leadership will come from u.s. congress. so let me start with introductions to allow maximum time for discussions i will keep it brief. senators cory gardner has spent just a few years in the senate but he has already become a recognized and respected leader on north korean policy. as chairman of the subcommittee on east asia-pacific and international cybersecurity strong sanctions and focus paralleled passion of the north korean human rights abuses. senator joe lieberman served 24 years in the u.s. senate and was vice presidential nominee of the democratic party in 2000 which did not turn out quite as planned. over the years he has strongly
and sometimes single-handedly defended the great internationalist tradition of franklin roosevelt and john kennedy of the freedoms and the new frontier. he is defending those ideals that aei is cochair of the american international institute. victor cha was asian direct or the nfc. he's the author of several books including the impossible state. he now serves simultaneously as the director of the asian studies at georgetown university , a korean chair at the center for strategic and international studies and the human freedom fellow at the bush institute which sounds exhausting just saying it.
and robert gallucci is perhaps the most experienced and chief negotiator during the north korean nuclear crisis of 1994. the former dean of the school of foreign service at georgetown, now he is a professor at georgetown and a consultant to the bush institute on this project. welcome to all of you. let me start with the authors of the paper released today. fichter, you were making the claim in this paper that quote freedom and security are indivisible. why is that true? >> well thank you michael. first, i think president bush actually put it to us. our thinking going into this is that as a security problem, this has been really unsolvable for the united states for the past quarter century despite the best efforts of numerous administrations on both sides of the aisle.
part of the reason it has been unsolvable is because we have not acknowledged that at the core of the security is the nature of the regime and a regime that treats people as poorly as it does cannot he trusted to keep agreements, cannot be trusted to treat its neighbors fairly and respectfully so in that sense any new administration cannot look at this in one dimension. there is more than one dimension with the security problem at the core of the security problem is the question of human liberty. >> bob at very basic matter what you see as the nature of the security threats to the united states and our allies today? >> thank you, michael. i think we all would start with the nuclear weapons issues and say that north korea has been a
problem for the u.s. national security experts for decades and decades going back to the korean war but that situation materially change when north korea acquired nuclear weapons and then went about acquiring ballistic missiles to be able to attack note not only our allies in northeast asia and japan and korea but also his on its way to being able to reach the continental united states with intercontinental missile arms with a nuclear weapon. if we are talking about a security threat that is the principle one but let me just quickly add and i have gone on too long that we worry every day that the regime in north korea which has a history of doing provocative things off the coast along the dmz will do something maybe because it has nuclear
weapons and can deter a response by the united states will do something that will spark another conflict on the peninsula so that's the second concern. a third, which is for me personally one that rises to the top of this is the north korean propensity to transfer to other countries both ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons capabilities. people know pretty much you are in the business that the iranian missile is a node from north korea. what they may not recall in 2007 the israelis executing their own version of the policy flattens a facility with a plutonium production reactor angleton ceria which was a country once
and that was being built by the north floridians. so the idea that they would transfer this to knowledge he and production capability to syria suggests they would transfer it anywhere and that opens up our own vulnerability to the possibility and the source for that would be north korea. we have a range of concerns here from conventional war to attack by a ballistic missile on our allies to the transfer issue and there is more but that's at the top of my list. >> censor gardiner we have seen strong consensus between republicans and democrats on capitol hill on this issue and strong leadership from the congress in the last administration, what are the most important priorities on north korea for the new congress? >> thank you michael for that question and thank you to the
institute. the new congress has to first of all make sure that this isn't one of those forgotten issues during transition. we have seen over the past several years as issues in the middle east have rightfully taking a leading role in our foreign-policy but that doesn't mean at the same time that we can turn away from what is happening in north korea and what is happening on the korean peninsula so i think a new congress has to make sure that the new administration focuses and resurfaces policy in north korea as one of its most important foreign-policy priorities to understand that right now the concerns in south korea are significant about what the new administration is going to be continuing policies. we have to make sure the new congress reiterates our commitment to defend security of south korea, that our deterrent and all of the various ways
continues to extend as strongly as ever to south korea, that our strength through show of force operations activities and training continues. matters that reflect that commitment for the security of south korea and to make sure as provocations from north korea will undoubtedly surface over the next several months we have a cohesive and well thought plan in place to address them. i think the new congress has to address what is coming out of the united nations tomorrow it looks like in terms of the resolution and make sure that is in force and continue to reiterate the commitments that we have in enforcing strong sanctions against north korea in the regime and other nations that make us to locate their programs, working with china in particular to ensure they are enforced and then making sure we have a policy of strength, something the senate has focused on putting early over the past year when it comes to free enforcing and strengthening the
trilateral lines between japan, korea and the united states which is absolutely critical to any change in north korea. >> senator lieberman can you explain why it's important for this to be a bipartisan issue in north korean policy? >> glad too, thanks michael and thanks to president and mrs. bush for convening this group and really for continuing through the bush center and the bush institute they are principled public service which has always in my opinion been based on the centrality of the american ideal of freedom which is the mission that our founders gave us and the declaration of independence about all those self-evident rights we have two the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which clearly was were not just given by our creator to americans.
that's a declaration of universal human rights and we forget that sometimes. that is our mission as americans but it also happens to relate to our security in a very real way and that can be lost. why is it important that support for human rights in north korea and for a change of regime in north korea and the unification of korea, because that comes from our basic values. so this is not a partisan matter in any sense in the discussion we have had when you think about it was easy enough to say to north korea that kim jong un is really crazy people really suffered there.
us have said and know, we're at the change of an administration in washington. and i don't mean this derogatorily. this is an administration whose foreign policy in detail really has not been sketched out. so that unsettles people, including our allies in korea, places all around the world. but it also creates an opportunity -- [laughter] the if i can put it that way for groups like this, the really broadly bipartisan group brought together by the bush institute to try to speak the truth about north korea to those who will exercise power in the next administration. because the reality is that north korea will be in the face of the next administration whether it chooses to look at it or not. >> you're recommending a new approach to your security strategy and human rights.
how would it be different from what we're doing now, and what would these objectives be? >> well, i think, first of all, one of the big differences is that we're making a statement about how security and human rights are interlaced. this is not something that has been done in the past. i think we see the sanctions regime over the past eight years now moving in a direction where there is more targeting of some things that might be related to human rights. but i think it's very important for the president-elect to come out very clearly and say, to make a very strong statement about the north korean threat and about the need for human rights and a policy that isn't just focused on one dimension, but is focused on several dimensions. we have bob king here, the ambassador for human rights with the obama administration, and he
and the administration have done a good job ott trying to -- at trying to target some of the areas where north korea, revenues from humans rights violations may go to funding so some of their proliferation and the development of some of their programs. but there's a lot more there that can be done. we go through in the report some of the areas where a new administration or a new sanctions regime could target additional businesses, additional activities by both companies, state-run companies, front companies and others that provide funding for proliferation in north korea. so, and then, of course, with the new administration we will also have the opportunity to renew the north korean human rights act that president bush signed, signed the first version of that. and this is a lot of -- there is a lot of opportunity there in terms of sort of modernizing the act particularly when it comes to technology and flow of information. so there's really a rich menu of
things that make, could make -- as senator lieberman said -- an opportunity for a new policy to really cover new ground. >> bob, what should china's role be in influencing the situation in north korea? does it have the will to do this? and can we -- how does this relate to our broader relationship with china? >> michael, it always seemed to me that any durable arrangement in northeast asia that addresses the north korean challenge has got to have china aboard. i mean, so that has, that's a minimum. others have suggested that maybe this should be china's responsibility. it's right in their backyard, and they have influence in pyongyang where nobody else does and so much economic leverage,
they should take this on. but the political reality is that the chinese do not have congruent interests with us. they fear more than the north korean human rights situation or nuclear weapons issues or ballistic missiles, they fear instability in american military and naval presence in northeast asia. and as long as that's true, they are going to be what they have been over the last 20 years or so, moderating sanctions so that they can't have that impact that some people have in mind for sanctions iran-model-like. so what i'm saying to you here is i think there's a role for china. i think we ought to be pressing the chinese to bear some of the responsibility here and to do some heavy lifting in pyongyang. but at the end of the day, they will be limited because of how they define their interests. and second, i should say that from my interspective -- perspective i don't think we
should be subcontracting the, arguably the most important issue in the asia-pacific region to our principal competitor in that region. and i'm not shrinking from saying "competitor." that being true, this is not a china problem. i think as the president said before, there's only one country that can lead in this situation, and that is the united states of america. >> senator, i'd actually like to hear your view on that topic, on is this -- how does this relate to our broader chinese relationship? it's going to be on trade, on a lot of things. could this get lost? how is it raised? and what do we do to convince china to play a more constructive role? >> this in many ways, this is a twining corner piece of our relationship -- defining corner piece be of our relationship with china.
certainly willing to launch any number of missiles to expand its capabilities, to test that, a regime that is willing to torture its own people, 200,000 people right now in political concentration camps. and you've got a nation that controls 90% of its economy, that has been unwilling so far to flex the full might of its ability, the levers that it controls to influence the behavior of the north korean regime. and so i do think this has to be a corner piece of our relationship with china. and we have to be willing to use every lever at our disposal in order to influence that relationship as china acts towards north korea. what are those things? in our legislation passed this past congress, the north korea sanctions act, we not only put in place mandatory sanctions, but we put in place sanctions that can be used against businesses that do business, entities that do business with
north korean entities. when that money goes back -- and it will go back -- to proliferation activities or other sanctionable actions, items, businesses, practices in north korea. the administration has rolled out some around, i think, september, actions against a chinese entity. but the fact is that china was not very happy with this entity themselves. and so we were asking china to do manager against an entity -- to do something against an entity they weren't pleased with. but have we taken the next step of actually going further into other areas of secondary sanctions? we haven't, and we should. and that's what congress should insist upon. every conversation we have with china ought to include an element of north korea, whether -- and you can't really say that we'll just focus on proliferation or nuclear issues. you also have to bring in the human rights issues. because as victor said, as bob has pointed out in the report and writings that they have made, a regime that is willing
to torture its own people, deprive them of food while they're building a nuclear program is willing very much to put that in the heartland of the united states, that same nuclear weapon. and so we, we ought to strengthen our resolve against china and its willingness and determinations to use its powers to influence the behavior of kim young unand the -- kim jong un and the regime. >> but china is uncomfortable with raising human rights issues more broadly, right? >> look, china has its own human rights issues that we should focus on too. >> right. >> so to me, are they afraid to address north korea's human rights violations when they know they have their own? these are two things we should and ought to address at the same time. but there's -- in the report that victor and bob put out, they talk about why don't we have reports naming nations that import the labor from north korea. that's a great idea. let's start naming nations that are enabling north korea's bad behavior and violations of human rights.
let's bring attention to this. let's make sure everamerican understands what is happening to the 24 million people in north korea, what they are subjected to each and every day under the brutality of this regime. and so i don't think we should be afraid to use these levers of power that we know china -- against others who are unwilling to use those levers of power. >> just a follow-up, victor, what is the new york stock nexue labor and the military programs in the north? how do you describe what's going on with money laundering and all these attempts to get hard currency? i'm just curious how slave labor fits in that. >> right. so north korea is terribly mismanaged economy. they've made some very bad choices going back to the establishment of the state. and the sum total of which is that they have very little that they can trade in the open market for hard currency.
so one of the ways they see hard currency is through proliferation, right? and the other, which there's been more focus on lately, is the export of their labor. small armies of laborers that get sent to different countries, that do projects, often construction projects, other hard labor projects outside international labor organization laws and rules. and then the currency that's made from that goes back into state coffers. and we believe then goes to activities related to proliferation, to buying dual-use items perhaps if chinese for centrifuges or to other sorts of activities. so that's one element. the other element is that north korea does a lot of exporting coal. it's about the only export they have to the chinese. and one of the organizations involved in that is an organization called comid which has already been sanctioned by the north korean enforcement
sanctions act and other acts. and so they are already a sanctioned company for violation of proliferation. and revenues from that are going back to supporting the program. so we believe that there's a direct link there. there's still a lot more research that could be done on this. the amount of money, there's a lot of speculation it's between 80 million to $200 million a year of hard currency that, for the most part, we don't suspect once that money comes back, that it's going to, i don't know, fund after school programs or other things in north korea. [laughter] we're pretty certain that's going to the weapons program. >> senator lieberman, talk about this issue in the context of u.s. leadership in the world. why is this, why is it important for the united states to lead on this, not to delegate, to really lead the international community?
>> well, i think the first reason is that this matters to us. it matters, as we said earlier, in terms of our national values, our purpose, but it also matters quite directly in terms of our security. there'll be a debate as the new administration takes office as to what our role will be in the world, and the president-elect said certain things during the campaign that suggested we were going to go back to -- i don't like to use the word isolationism, but we were going to withdraw somewhat from the world and concentrate on america. but the world doesn't allow you to concentrate on america. what happens in america, our security, our freedom, our prosperity depends a lot on what happens around the world. and the example of north korea is a powerful example of it. the other thing to say is that we live in a world of instantaneous communications globally so that what we do in
one place is immediately known elsewhere. so, for instance, whatever position you took on the iran nuclear agreement, the fact that the agreement was signed and that it appeared that our allies in the region both in the arab world and israel were very upset about it, i think, unsettled people. i found out in my conversations with allies in asia, for instance, that, wow, if the u.s. did that in that case, what are they going to do if china moves aggressively on us or kim kim jong un proposes some kind of compromise deal again. so what i'm saying what we do with north korea, what the new administration does with north korea will establish a very important precedent for what its leadership will be in the world. and it will, to be explicit, either -- well, it will either encourage or discourage or
unsettle, whatever, our allies. and it may also encourage or discourage our enemies. so the way we handle this is important beyond north korea. but north korea, in my opinion, is probably the most urgent, immediate threat that the new administration will face to our security. and i think it's, we've got to acknowledge as president bush said at the outset here, this is not easy. but whatever we've tried so far hasn't worked. because the people continue to live in terrible conditions, totally repressed, enslaved, and kim jong unking has increased his nuclear and missile capacity. so to me, it's a time to get tough both on the freedom agenda , support opposition groups, nongovernmental organizations. try to get into the people more acts, of north korea, more access to the internet and
knowledge about what's happening around the world. get tough with these sanctions which are very important, the secondary sanctions. this man is not going to make an agreement as everybody seems to agree unless he thinks the survival of his regime is on the line. and we've got to convince him that we're -- that's how serious or we are including the potential for military action which none of us want to take, but if all else fails. >> senator gardner, how strained or insecure are those relations right now with japan and south korea? there's been some question there. >> i think one of the constants we have tried to focus on, of course, is building a stronger relationship between japan and south korea because, as i mentioned earlier, that trilateral alliance really will be an important part of forcing action from china and enforcing the sanctions against north korea. we've made great, i think,
strides over the past year or two in terms of helping build that relationship between the two nations. issues of japan and south korea over comfort women having some movement on that issue, those historical issues that we hadn't seen in the past, i think, has helped build the relationship between the two. we've seen recently, in the past two weeks, the signing of an agreement to share intelligence. and the legislate that we put forward in the senate, one of the keys was really focusing on eye-level coordination of our administration and the trilateral alliance. so that has been a constant focus, making sure those high level meetings, the opportunities to converse about what needs to be done with north korea continue between the three nations. obviously, the intelligence sharing is a critical part of that because in the past we had situations where japan might have information, they would have to go to the u.s. military, air force, give the information to the air force, then the air
force would give it to korea instead of just the two countries working together. so that's been very good advancements. of course, we have issues in south korea now in terms of the government or that are going to be worked out and resolved in some fashion or another. but we can't let what's happening in south korea today within the administration impact or affect the relationship between japan and south korea. and that's an important role for the united states to play. as whatever is occurring in south korea, whatever moves forward, the united states must be, continue to bring those two nations together as the three of us work on this issue. i do think the fact that they signed the intelligence-sharing agreement in the midst of what's happening in south korea right now was a very important indication that they realize the importance of that relationship and improvements they have made and they are not going to let go of advancements made between the two nations.
>> bob, if the north gets a reasonably accurate icbm, how does that change the diplomatic balance of power in asia, the military balance of power? what would be the effect on the regime's actions, what they would be willing to do? >> that, michael, that's a great question. lots of folks are struggling with it. some have said things in answer to that question like when the north koreans actually have a deliverable icbm with a nuclear warhead that can reach with some confidence the american homeland, it will change everything. that's one proposition. and i think what people mean by that is that we will be, our allies are now vulnerable to a ballistic missile threat, but it will be different when we are so vulnerable. and while most of us believe deterrences has worked over the years, decades with the soviet
union, now russia, with china that there's something different about this north korean state that we've all been talking about, and we shouldn't have such confidence in a psychological concept, deterrence, when our ability to defend -- as in defend by denial -- is quite limited to our ballistic missile capabilities. so this is a long way around to saying i don't think we are quite sure what this will mean. my own view is deterrence will workven with north korea. but the new thing that will happen is that north korea will become vulnerable to preemption in a way that it is not now. i recently had an opportunity to meet with north koreans six weeks ago in kuala lumpur, and i -- since their proposition is everything change when we get this capability, i suggested what might really change is their vulnerability. they will become eligible for
preemption under that circumstance. i don't believe a president, an administration would tolerate the launching of a north korean ballistic missile at the united states of america if he or she could do something about it. so preemption would be on the table in ways it isn't now. and that will be new. and not from, -- not from a norh korean perspective good news. we don't know what they think about their current capability. do they believe if they get into an adventure again, shelling an island, sinking a south korean ship or something like that, that the united states and the republic of korea will hesitate because north korea now has nuclear weapons? from our perspective and long decades now dealing with soviet union, then russia, china, we wouldn't expect nuclear weapons to have that kind of influence
over another state's activity because they're not usable in the same way. but thinking this through, one wants to ask the question what does jim -- kim jong un think about his nuclear weapons? i actually don't know the answer to that. this is a very longwinded answer that is going to the issue of what a good question it is, that it's on people's minds. it is something to think about. but there are two ends to this stick. and i'm suggesting that the names may put themselves -- the north koreans may put themselves in a position that when they figure it out, they will not be too pleased about it. >> victor, would it change everything? i'm interested in your view. >> yeah. >> and that answer in that question in the back of the president's mind determines whether this is a real red line or not. i mean, it has real consequences. >> right. two points, the first building on what bob said.
so let me, let me try to even crystallize even more clearly what bob just described, all right? [laughter] north korea in the last year has basically said or demonstrated or shown photos messaging that they have standardized the design of a miniaturized nuclear war, that -- warhead, they have at least tested a medium-range missile, they've demonstrated solid fuel rocket propellant, they've demonstrated mobile launch capabilities. and they've, they've messaged that they're trying to develop the submarine-launched ballistic missile. so i think everybody in the audience has seen at one point or another a cnn story where they say north korea is stacking another rocket on the launch pad. what's different this time is they would then, they would be doing this when they have
already said that we have a miniaturized warhead now. and so if you're a u.s. national security planner and there's footage from cnn showing that they're stacking a missile, you have to wonder what's on top of that missile. they can say it's a satellite, which is what they would probably say, or a dummy warhead or something, but you just don't know. and, you know, maybe there's a 5% chance it actually -- they're lying and it actually is a nuclear warhead, do you want to take that 5% chance? i think most national security planners would say, no, they don't want to take that chance. so it does raise questions of preemption. so it has all sorts of impact on u.s. declaratory policy and how we think about these sorts of things militarily. i think the other place where it will raise a lot of questions is allies in the region. the united states and to the obama administration's credit has created a series of new dialogues with south korea on extended detenderness which is
important -- deterrence which is important as north korea continues to develop capabilities that can hold u.s. cities hostage. but at the same time, there is a not-insignificant group in south korea that says, well, maybe we should have our own nuclear weapons, or maybe the united states should reintroduce tactical nuclear weapons. japan sits on thousands of pounds of plutonium, reprocessed blew tone up. there's a clear nuclear allergy in japan, but as the security situation changes dramatically with a north korean ability to target the mainland of the united states, we don't know what the political and strategic conversations in these countries are going to be like in a situation like that. despite the best efforts of the united states to say we have your back, right? that extended deterrence works. >> senator gardner, one last question. do you think americans are prepared to do difficult things on an issue like this? it was pretty decisive in the
syrian intervention that americans were not willing to do this. it actually weighed on the president's decision. is america at a point where it's willing to do large things? >> you know, the first time that i had -- on the committee -- the opportunity to visit korea, it was august of 2015 as chairman of the east asia subcommittee. and i remember going up to the zone and went to the rows of blue houses where they have the reunification facility and the freedom house. and as we approached the line and looking over into north korea, there was a group of students on the second story of the building in north korea. and i didn't know who they were, so i asked the colonel that was showing us the area, you know, who is that? they said, well, that's most likely a group of students from the area that are, you know, must be fairly well situated in north korea to be able to be there.
an organized activity. and i couldn't help but wonder do the people of north korea as they're looking at us, those students, do they look over at us, and is there hate in their heart? and then i wondered, all right, so can we change that? do they look into south korea and say, wow, maybe someday we will be able to thrive like they have been able to thrive? and then that question went to what happens here at home if something does happen on that line again. will the american people understand what happened in the 1950s, will they understand our commitment to the people of korea, to the freedom that so many of our men and women fought for so long ago? but we noticed in syria that there are different shades of redlines. and i think that's a very big concern to leaders in south korea, leaders around the world and certainly in congress.
and so we have to do a better job in congress of sharing with the american people leaders from the white house to congress and throughout our country of sharing with the american people what it means, what's happening in north korea to give them the reasoning and the resolve that helps them understand why we have such a commitment and defense commitment, security commitment to the people of the korean peninsula and the republic of korea. so we must be absolute in our resolve that our red line is deep, deep red. that show of force, equipment, training, military exercises, they must continue without hesitation. that the full deterrent of the united states extends to south korea. we must be unequivocal many that statement. in that statement. but at the same time, we're sharing that with the region. we have to share that reason with the american people so that they understand as well. >> if i may, just briefly i agree exactly, with everything corey said. this is all about leadership, and part of leadership is
education. so, i mean, i believe in the case of syria that once the president had et the red line, if he actually followed through on it and responded to assad's use of gas that he would have had great support from the american people. in this case, if we get to the point where the red line, where it appears that the north koreans had the ability to hit the western part of the united states with a nuclear-armed missile, then it'll take leadership to point that out. but i think that a president in that circumstance and a congress will also have to wrestle with the consequences of not acting. ..
>> now has the capacity -- i think the american people would not prefer that but would certainly supported. as opposed to being vulnerable to a madman missiles and nuclear weapons. >> it's a fun to do a panel with the very best people in the field, thank you. [applause] >> former first lady, laura bush delivered remarks at this event on north korea. she was joined by refugees from that country who gave their perspective in life story. how the north korea human rights act of 2004 impacted them. this is 40 minutes.
>> good morning. my name -- on the chief operating officer, a family office office space to new york city. i serve on the board of liberty in north korea. a remarkable organization that helps north koreans escape to freedom. this is an issue that is near to my heart. in 1947, my grandmother, then a 27-year-old single mom, and my mother, then a 5-year-old girl began the long hair wayne journey to escape north korea. traveling over 200 miles for 21 days, and, moving about only in darkness to avoid contact with north korean police and soldiers. they miraculously arrived in
seoul. fatigued and overwhelmed, but also overjoyed and thankful. they donated all of the money in their possession to a local church and restarted their lives from the bottom. they face many challenges, but they were inspired by the following words from mrs. laura bush. literacy builds the foundationot for freedom, for poverty, freedom of her disease, and freedom for oppression. my grandmother self taught how to read and lead. my mother saw the opportunities in south korea, followed her during and became a professor of nursing, serving countless it children, students, patients, and elderly citizens. in citizens. in doing so, they also provided me and my brother with a foundation from freedom up
after, disease, and oppression. it has been my honor and joy to have been part of a conversation with the wonderful staff at the bush institute and also like-minded korean and otherds americans, and helping our north korean friends to build the same foundation for freedom that was unleashed their own opportunities, dreams, and potential. to that end, i am delighted to introduce mrs. bush, who has been instrumental in shaping freedom for children and womenn around the world through the power of education. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming mrs. laura bush. [applause] >> thank you all. thank you. thank you for introducing me and
thank you for telling us the story of your courageous mothero and grandmother. refugee stories like your families inspire all americans.a public opinion research conducted by the bush institute shows that 70% of americans are aware of the human rights abuses in north korea. the same percentage of americans believe it is important that we help refugees from the north korea. what people knows there's a small but growing community of north korean refugees living right here in the united states0 in 2004, president bush signed the north korea human rights act into law.in that legislation supported funding for efforts to bring information to north koreans.ret even though north koreans are at risk of arrest, they still seekr
information, news, and entertainment from foreign radio, television, and othere bv sources. we believe they have the right to receive it. the north korean human rightsofe law led to the creation of the office of the special envoy for north korean human rights. tebassador bob king has done a terrific job to ensure that american diplomacy could give north korean rights the attention it deserves. thank you for your service. most in portland, the north korean human rights law created a pathway for north korean refugees to seek asylum in the united states. today, approximately 200 men, women, children have traveled to the united states for a chance at a new.y we j think for a moment about the journey we just witnessed in the video. m you living in the most isolated country under. you make the decision to escape.
you know you might be caught, arrested, or executed. you illegally cross into china, where you risk of being deported back into north korea. if you are woman, you might become a victim of trafficking. or forced prostitution, or prostitution, or marriage against your will. yo you journey across china to another country in southeast asia. if you're lucky enough to make it that far, you face the choice, for most, for most the only reasonable option is goinga to south korea where the language and culture are familiar. but a very brief you make the decision to come to america. as you'll hear in a moment, they are remarkable men and women. like any any refugees that they face countless challenges. refugees typically receive about six months a formal support upon arrival in the united states. they are guided as they look for
a place to live and a first job. they're taught some of the basics of how to navigate life in america. but then, refugees are, refugees are expected to make it on their own. over the last two years the bush institute has conducted two studies of north north koreans thving in the united states. what we found was encouraging. although it is difficult, most north koreans are adjusting well. they're working in some cases multiple jobs and providing for theirnd families. when we asked about their dreams and goals, several spoke of their desire to improve themselves through education. but they find it difficult given the high cost of education.nnou
and their own commitments toms family work. that the bush center we want to help these refugees on their path to success. so today, i'm pleased to announce the bush institute scholarship and mentoring program for north koreans living in the united states. we have worked with people around the country, especially in the korean american community to raise money to kickstart the funds. nearly $300,000 has been raised for the scholarship. that surpassed our initial goal. eligible applicants can seek support to study at accredited four-year universities, community colleges, as well as a trade and vocational programs. applications can be submitted beginning january 2017 and the and the first awards will be announced the spring. we look for to work with our neighbors at the communities foundation of texas which will house and manage the fund. the bush center sprout to work with leaders in the korean american community on this important initiative. as you'll you'llar hear in the next panel, manyduce
refugees are working to educate the public about the realities in north korea.rth ko by standing with them we can help prepare the refugees to be ambassadors for the north korean people and to be voices for those who remain trapped.suppore thank you to all of you here today to support of this effort. now, we invite others to join us. the success of these bright men and women bring us closer to the day when all north koreans can live in freedom. thank you. [applause] >> please welcome our second panel, history north north korean refugees moderated by michael.oval off
>> our discussion turns to the human dimension of these global events. i was often with president bush in the oval office with the residence when he met with refugees, including those from north korea. these meetings often started stiff and formal, it, it can be intimidating to meet the president of the united states. by the end of every meeting the dissidents and refugees into factors new that the president of the united states was on their side. i remember one meeting, at the end the president prayed with them and said, now when i hear about human rights in china, i will think of you. these frequent meetings gave thought to the bush era foreign-policy face. that's part of our goal today,a
joseph and grace are two of the most outspoken escapees living in the u.s.be we should remember that this is a role with risks and costs. c that is the topic of the second study released today focused on the lives and struggles of north korean escapees living in the us. one way we can demonstrate a commitment to commitment toa human rights in north korea is to support those who escaped it. many of whom help to return someday to a free and united korea. our panelists are grace, escaped escape from north korea after the great famine, in which her family suffered unspeakable horse. worse was repatriated twice to china but pursued her freedom with tenacity and courage. she is not built a life and become a citizen. her sister is with us in the audience today.
joseph was orphaned in the great famine. he was left to fend for himself as the president mentioned he escaped to china where he was connected to a christian community there and eventually. came to the united states as ais refugee.o now he was in college and issuing a degree. a remarkable story of success. we are honored to have the investor robert king with us today for the discussion. while you know he is a special envoy for the north korean humae rights, for three decades he has been a tireless and effective advocate for human rights and american foreign policy.d this includes his time working with the remarkable and much missed tom . in best king has done as much a. anyone to raise the profile of these issues and our government. thank you for joining us. to begin joseph, why did you decide to come to america. the
place where you had to learn a new witch and navigate the strange culture. tells the tells the story of how and why you came. >> i think there are a fewe was reasons. one is that i was health, assisted by american a nonprofit organization based in america and the person who came to ask me a lead me to american consulate in china lived in america, so going to south koret i did not know anyone. going to america know at least one person. [laughter] so that is one reason. and also while i was waiting for my silent case to be processed the american consulate in chinao
i had an opportunity to watch dramas and i learned so many things about south korea about dramas but one thing i realizedg was that south koreans are highly valued english-speaking individuals for hiring jobs and whatever the purpose. so i realized i might as well i will go to america to learn english. those in part of it. later on i realized how controversial the issue of south korean government is a government to not really wantean north korea glory to america just go to america because the definition of refugees and i'm assuming the south korean government also thought that as
an embarrassment of sending north korean to u.s.out. it's not something that should be embarrassed about, i think south korean government has in a great job. i do not think it is something that they should be embarrassed about. my point is is that when i was having an interview pastie me what what i want to go to america and they said i wanted to have freedom. and at the time i didn't even even know what freedom means that i'm still processing it.that in the interview it asked doesn't south korea also have freedom? and i said that it's not something i do not thinkt t about.n. but there was some tension that i didn't know what, but i just n did not feel like to be pushed
same i will go to south korea. so i'm not sure why you keep whu asking me but for reason i would just choose opposite of what you're recommending. [laughter] >> grace can you address the same question? how to to get to the united states? the story of how you got here and why? >> first of a it is my greatest honorable moment today in my life. also thank you to bush institute and president bush for health helping north korean refugees and myself included. i can say there are three reasons for me to come to america. first is my family. i left my father, my
grandmother, my two younger brothers and my older sister north korea during the famine. my mother here today and the audience, but she also had a lot of torture and hardship in north korea. so first the decision was made by my mother. she decided to come to america right after president bush assigned the north korean human rights act in 2004. korean american missionary, his name -- he lives in seattle, he brought the korean newspaper and helped us to read that. and then my mom read the newspaper and she changed her decision because the next day you're supposed to depart from china to south korea but she changed her decision to come to america.ce us
actually he actually try to convince us that the law has just passed it doesn't mean that you can go to america right away and we don't know when we have opportunity to help you to go to america. but my mom kept her decision and we stayed in china and after many years we are able to come to america for help. but the biggest reason is my mot didn't want to go to korea because of the family in north korea, as you know the north korean government is very -- how can i say this? like very -- from north korean government. so my mom mom tried
to get away from that continents. so south korea is very close to north korea we also learned there are a lot of north koreans as spies in south korea. we also learned in china that once the south korean refugee they were up pine for apartment and many north koreans live together. it is a little similar north korean communities to live to south korea. so for my mom i do not want to live north korean lifestyle anymore. so so she wanted to have a very different life, so that is why she chose america. the second reason is that a similar time we read anotherng news article mentioned about 60 years old grandma. she went back to high school and
she pursued her education and graduated high school is six years old. so my mom said in asian culture we don't have thae opportunity once you're over age -- but in america you have opportunity to study. so it's very important for youtm to go to america and get your than then. the third recent i cannot deserve family came to china for ten years .. and forth and we don't have any family members or relatives in china or south korea or the u.s. but korean american missionaries is the one who helped us that we know he lived in america. so it's a little easier for us to choose america because we know him.
>> investor, since united nations released its commission of inquiry reports in 2014, it seems like there is a greater level of awareness and scrutiny on north korea on human rights. are you seeing traction at the united nations with our allies to increase pressure on north korean human rights? >> i don't think there's any question that is in the case.e the decision to create the commission of inquiry in 2013, the report that came out was given a great deal of attention. the one statistic that mrs. bust mentioned that i was interested in was a 70% of americans are aware of the human rights problem in north korea. a lot of that has to do with the efforts of the commission of inquiry. it was headed by an australian supreme court justice and included was an indonesian a former prosecutor general of an indonesia. a civil society leader from of m serbia. the three did a magnificent job
not only of writing of reports but creating news information about was going on in north korea in regard to human rights. i think the raising of that profile has been important. the united united nations has been an important effort in terms of what we have done on racing the profile of human rights. at the time to do is create human rights act was passed in 2004, the united nations and at that time human rights commission had adopted a resolution criticizing north korea for its human rights record. we have continued, through the through the human rights council to adopt with overwhelming votes resolutions that are critical of the north koreans every year since that time.e we have been able to raise issue in the chunnel someplace will with a resolution that is on the verge of being passed this year for the 12th or 14th timen we
that we have adopted a resolution in the general assembly. the last two years we've been able to raise the issue of the north korean human rights at the security council. we'll be doing be doing that again sometime in the next couple of weeks where we will raise this issue. there is growing support and growing concern on the part of countries around the world with the human rights situation in north korea.titute efforts i i think the report and the information that's available and what we have done is helpful. i want to mention the bush institute's efforts in terms of raising this issue with reports that have published have been extremely well done and helpful. and with symposium like this, the other thing that is particularly helpful is thel effort to do something about it by raising funds and adopting t programs to provide
opportunities for north korean refugees who come to the united states. they deserve a good deal of credit as well. >> you are both students, has it been easy for you to pursue your studies? what what challenges have you faced in attempting to do that? >> for me i think the biggest nn challenge i face in the beginning was learning a new language. english is my third language, but still still i had a hard time to understand teacherme tos lecture and it was very hard for me to express my thoughts as well. so i had a hard time. the most hard time i felt was as a family member i was the first person who can learn english and
be able to speak a little bit of english. so i had have a lot of responsibility on my shoulder to make a choice for the family, ov translate the english version te korean for my my family and help my mom to decide and choose. so making a a choice was one of the hardest adjustment for me.ere is >> i came without knowing any english, but luckily i was placed in american family where is forced to learn english. amei i think it was better in that case. long story short i went t. high school, american public high school and started taking classes and i finished high school in four years. by the time i finished high school i thought yes i can speak english now.
after high school i decided to go on to college and i didn't feel -- i stay constant in my conversation with the level of english. but i didn't realize her after i transfer to a four-year higher, i started to realize there's a difference between conversational english. i just haven't learnedconversatn conversational english but i could express my thoughts and my feelings or even write a short essay. going to college was completely a different world. the first assignment i was asked to write about the difference
between wisdom and knowledge and socrates' terms. and i was like first of all do people actually write 5 - 10 pages? even when i go with my friends they would start asking mike by the way, what did you think about -- and i said i don't even know who that is.. so i think it is different. definitely different challenges from different stages. is but what a translate is that even though the challenge of learning the language and culture, yes those challengess were great in the sense that i did not know what to do, but at the same time our desire to help and change our mama and one day help make a better life is as
great as the challenges that we face. i think for that reason those are challenges for many of us.ae so i think in terms of learning language and culture it's not all about time and process and motivation, but 11 thing that is so difficult in common in north korean refugees and students in the united states is that financial is one of the biggest constraints. you don't really know the culture of information that we can apply to different scholarships. we don't know how to get there or apply them. so the lack of information i
think that is one thing that is so challenging for us. for me i had been lucky in a sense that my school has helped with over 80% of college expense. so i've been lucky. but. but i also know there's so many students who is not saying thato greater capacity than i do, they also are waiting to pursue their dreams. but time to time it is difficult to pursue. i think that's wise really grateful and glad that institute initiated scholarship program for the north korean and i think that is something that is really needed for our community and the north koreans.man
>> ambassador, how how does north korea react to human rights critique of an increasingly sensitive? do they ever change their behavior based on criticism? >> both north korea and south korea claimed to be the legitimate government of all korea.ov what you have is to regimes that are very different.. th economically, south korea's 40 times as large as north korea is. the number of cell phones in south korea, 1.3 per person. in north korea, don't ask me why that third of a cell phone is important. in north korea, we're probably talking about less than 10% of people have cell phones.
this is a situation where north korea has been sanctioned by the united nations frequently. of the same time, south korea has a former foreign minister minister who is thes. secretary-general of the united nations. /your south korean diplomat was president of the human rights council. these two countries are buying for legitimacy to make the claim that they are the government of all korea. north korea is in a bind. it has has very little to make that ren claim. with regard to human rights, the north koreans clearly are sensitive about what is going on. when north koreans were first criticized other human rights they made suggestions about north koreans to make progress in areas that were not sensitive politically. dealing with the issue of people with disabilities. the north koreans, when they reported a few years later to the human