tv Amanpour on PBS PBS March 29, 2018 6:00am-6:31am PDT
. welcome to amanpour on pbs. tonight, mystery solved as china confirms the north korea's leader did make a surprise trip to beijing to discuss denuclearization. steven hadley, national security adviser to president george w. bush on what signaled that sense ahead of the trump summit with kim jong-un. also ahead, russia caught up with a diplomatic crisis as yet more countries kick out its officials. and caught up in a terrible national tragedy. the mall fire that killed scores in siberia. was corruption to blame? the former russian member of parliament sergei markov joins
me from moscow. amanpour on pbs was made possible by the generous support of roslalind p. walter. good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. i'm christiane amanpour in london. the winds of war have been blowing after months of brinkmanship between north korea's kim jong-un and donald trump. but diplomacy now seems to have a chance with kim leading the charge. he popped up in china this week, his first venture out of his country since taking power in 2011. china, of course, is his main ally. and leaders there say kim committed to denuclearization and to summit meetings with the united states as well as south korea. so does this all seem too good to be true? and how will the appointment of a hard line new trump foreign policy team including the notoriously hawkish john bolton
impact the negotiations? this was the new national security adviser's view just last month. quote, it is perfectly legitimate for the united states to respond to north korea's nuclear weapons by striking first. so what next? the world literally is waiting with bated breath. steven hadley knows about the challenges as serving as the senior most foreign policy adviser because for four years he was the adviser to president bush. and he's joining me now from washington. mr. hadley, welcome to the program. >> nice to be here. >> so let's sort of start at the beginning. first and foremost, what do you make of this sort of last-minute surprise visit by kim jong-un to china? what's the strategic picture around that visit? >> well, for china, it's very important because, in some sense, president trump's willingness to meet with kim jong-un had the effect of
sidelining china a little bit. this puts china centrally back into the picture. because they, of course, have real interests in how this dispute gets resolved. kim jong-un, it says another thing. even though china joined with the united states and other countries in adopting u.n. security council resolutions that china is still kim jong-un's ally. and finally, both the meeting with president xi and forthcoming meeting with president trump does something for kim jong-un. it puts him on the same level of two of the world's great leaders of two great countries. so it serves a lot of purposes all around. >> would you agree, as i sort of intimated in the lead-in to you, that actually kim has been leading this diplomatic charge, kim jong-un? >> in some sense, i think that's right. when he met with the south koreans and south koreas came to say to president trump that he had an offer from kim jong-un to
initiative.was a real and president trump flexibly and quick lly responded and said he was willing to meet. that has really transformed the landscape in terms of how -- what are the options for resolving this issue short of war. >> so it looks like these meetings, first with the south korea president and then with president trump, are going to happen. and i spoke to a previous -- actually he worked during the bush administration nuclear negotiator ambassador chris hill. he said the following about what would be the optimum and the most negative aspects of any such meeting between the u.s. and north korean leaders. just take a listen for a moment. >> i think success has to deal with denuclearization. and i think if kim jong-un repeats that he's prepared to give up his nuclear weapons but he needs to have some assurances and he's prepared to sit down with the americans on those
assurances, that's probably something that we can sell. success would not be kim jong-un saying you got to get those troops out of south korea and the president saying, good idea, we'll do that. that would be a disaster. >> so do you agree with that? and do you worry that disaster scenario or even the success scenario might be somewhat in jeopardy? i mean, look, the president doesn't have a confirmed secretary of state. all those officials that normally would do the leg work are not there in the state department. and he's got a new national security adviser coming in. where do you see pitfalls, if any? >> i think kim jong-un is not going to go to the meeting with president trump unless he's prepared to talk about denuclearization. if he shows up at the meeting with president trump and says, look, denuclearization is off the table, that's an invitation, if you will, for some military action. i don't think kim jong-un wants that.
but just because he's willing to talk about denuclearization is only the start of the issue. he needs to talk about it. he needs to agree to it. then he needs to carry through on any agreement that is made. and remember, we've been down this road twice before. the clinton administration had an agreement with denuclearization with the north koreans 1984. the north korean ds not stay in that agreement. the same with the agreements in the bush administration in 2005 and 2007. so we're early on in this play. really in the opening act. >> so what do you think kim's version of denuclearization looks like? is it precisely what the united states and the western allies want, which is as a matter of settlement to get nuclear weapons off the korean peninsula. is that something -- and particularly what chris hill said, you know, if he's willing to talk about denuclearization, should the
united states be willing to offer some kind of security guarantee? >> that's been on the table really for a long time. if you look at the agreement that was reached september 19th, 2005, that was really the package. complete denuclearization of the peninsula, north korea gives up any prospect for nuclear weapons. in return willingness to negotiate a peace treaty to replace the armistice so there would be a permanent peace arrangement on the peninsula. recognition by the u.s. government and some kind of economic assistance. that's always been the elements of the package. because security assurances to north korea is the cover that north korea needs in order to give up its nuclear capabilities. >> then would the united states agree to give up its exercises, its presence, and isn't that actually what china wants?
>> well, china, of course, is not happy that the confrontation on the korean peninsula is bringing the united states more actively militarily into the region. that's not something that china wants. but the focus needs to be on denuclearization. the united states in the early 1990s took its nuclear weapons off the peninsula. south korea has pledged that it will not develop nuclear weapons. so the southern part of the peninsula is already denuclearized. the northern part of the peninsula needs to be denuclearized. that's the problem. >> you mentioned two previous agreements. one the agreed framework under president clinton and then the others you mentioned, you know, during president bush's administration. and you were there. "the new york times" has written that no one worked harder to scuttle the agreed framework than john bolton, the incoming national security adviser. he doesn't like these
agreements. he thinks that they're, you know, for sissies. and he said, as i told you or i read to you, "the wall street journal" said that it was perfectly legitimate for the u.s. to strike first if there's nuclear weapons in north korea. i guess, how does he walk that stuff back, if he does? or is there now going to be some real friction within the administration? >> he walks it back the same way president trump has walked it back. a lot of bellicose rhetoric. remember president trump at one point said to secretary tillerson don't talk to the north koreans. save your breath. it's not going anywhere. negotiations won't work. and yet he turns on a dime and is willing now to meet with kim jong-un. in some sense, the bellicose statements that john bolton has made enhances the strategy of the trump administration which is to make it clear that president trump is willing to act to prevent north korea to be
able to threaten the united states with a nuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missile. that threat is what got china's attention to pressure north korea. it's what got north korea's attention in order to suspend its program and be willing to have a conversation with president trump. so in some sense, john bolton's statements strengthen the leverage that the trump administration has been seeking in order to set the table for seeking some resolution to this crisis. >> so let me challenge you a little bit on that last part. i spoke to the south korean president's national surity adviser or his key adviser in that regard o said that actually he didn't think it was president trump's bellicose record, but it was president trump's backing of south korea's desire for diplomacy with north korea and allowing south korea to see whether this might produce something. remember, famously, president trump called the south korean
president an appeaser in this regard. and i just want to ask you, because it's a bit concerning, chris whily, who as you know is the whistleblower on cambridge analytical, that john bolton had this super pac and one of the first to work with cambridge analytica he said that bolton wanted to do this. let me play it and then we'll talk about it. >> the thesis of the pac was that america and americans have become too limp wristed as it were. and in order for america to maintain its place in the world, john bolton and his pac wanted americans to feel more militaristic in their world views. >> i mean, that's really fascinating. i had never heard of that being used for this. we hear about elections and how to microtarget, but to actually affect people's views on national security, again, are you not worried about that? >> look, john is a very smart, very experienced, skilled bureaucratic player.
he's very hawkish in his views. he pushed during the negotiations we had in the bush administration for negotiators to take a stronger line to get a tougher agreement. i'm sure john will be pushing that here as well. and i think john understands that in order to give north korea and china some incentives to cooperate, we need to show there's credible military options. remember, general mcmaster, who john is replacing, also was out very publicly about saying, yes, we have credible military options that we could use if we cannot solve this diplomatically. >> go ahead. >> i think this was a way by the trump administration to set the table for the president to try to get to this moment. there's risks involved in that. we'll have to see how it plays out. but for the moment, they have opened the door on a diplomatic option. we'll have to see where that depose. >> the reason i am pressing is
because it's obviously so crucial. but remember you just said that john bolton affected the bush administration's negotiations with north korea. you think in a positive way. others will say the bush administration thought it was so tough that it could throw out the agreed framework, which led north korea to throw out the npt, the iae and basically get to where it is now, with nuclear devices, with intercontinental ballistic missiles. and now we have john bolton and president bush and mike pompeo not liking the iran deal. so in your view, at this time, what if the iran deal or the u.s. pulls out in may as president trump is on his way to meet with kim jong-un? >> reer, christiane, the thing that derailed the agreed framework was that we learned in 2001 and 2002 that north korea was cheating on that agreement
and actually had a covert enrichment program that gave it another path to a nuclear weapon. that was really the problem. the iran deal, look, there are a lot of -- you can have a lot of criticism of the iran deal, but the issue really now is is it in america's interests to pull out of that deal at this point. and the question really would be what would be the consequence for something that john bolton and president trump have said they want to do, which is to get our allies to pressure iran, to maybe extend the duration of the iran nuclear agreement, to rein in its nuclear -- it's ballistic missile program and to rein in its disruptive activities in the region. we need our allies if we're going to achieve that objective. if the administration pulls out of the nuclear agreement, can you really rally the allies to that outcome or will they, in fact, abandon us and stay with the iranians and maintain that agreement? >> yes, indeed. it's very crucial at the moment
to know which that outcome will be. if i could just ask you to turn to russia with this crisis and with president trump having expelled 60 diplomats and all these other countries doing the same. does this signal a change in president trump's view of russia right now and of some of the negative aspects of his international behavior or is it just a one-off in regards to this poisoning attempt that the russians deny? >> we'll have to see. my bet is probably it's more of a one off of what the russians did in the united kingdom was so brazen in terms of poisoning a man and his daughter. and the need to show solidarity with the united kingdom was so strong that i think the trump administration had to take this action. and remember, this kind of tit for tat expulsions of diplomats
who are really spies masquerading as diplomats is a well-crafted art. we expel, they expel. generally then people call it quits and call it even. i think that's what we're seeing play out here. >> we're going to ask our next guest. but in the meantime, steven hadley, thank you so much for joining us from washington. the diplomatic expulsions come at a time of national tragedy in russia. the country is holing a day of mourning af a lethal fire swept through a shopping mall 2,000 miles away from moscow in siberia. that happened on sunday. authorities say 64 people have died, 41 of them are children. the details are shocking. officials say fire exits were blocked and an alarm system was turned off. citing incompetence and corruption, thousands of angry mourners and protesters are demanding a full investigation. and president putin has called it criminal negligence, and he promises to punish those responsible. although some of the anger over the blaze has been directed at the kremlin itself.
so what next in moscow? sergei markov is a former russian member of parliament and he joins me from there live this evening. mr. markov, welcome to the program. first, if i might, just talk about these expulsions before i get to the tragedy that you're all undergoing. you heard what steven hadley said, the former national security adviser, that this tit for tat may have now, you know, put a full stop on it. but is moscow going to retaliate for these expulsions? it's been threating to do ithr yet we've heard nothing yet. >> i think moscow were experiencing same number of diplomats. it's clear, but i think this is a deal not about diplomats. it's for western coalition to try to claim russian authorities responsible for use in weaponry. and i think it's very dangerous development because on one hand, we could see the effect. secondly, they clear violated about chemical weaponry.
on the streets of london, salisbury. and i think it's very dangerous development because on one hand we could see that it has no effect. secondly britain's government clear violator about chemical weaponry because, according to those conventions, there are some specific procedure which british government should follow, too, and british government denied to do it and violated such convention. what for? just for blaming russian government without no effects. and we're seeing that there's probably manipulated by british intelligence and its community by same way as colin powell has been manipulated by the american intelligence community during that provocation in the security
council of the united nations before the iraqi war. so those cases were in the iraqi war, but what now? you really want to do what? so attack russia? so it's very dangerous development. also -- >> yeah, it is. i don't think -- mr. markov -- i don't think anybody's talking about attacking russia. but certainly theresa may has called it basically an attack on a sovereign state. so they are very concerned about how they're pursuing the investigation. but i just want to know where you think it's going to end? is it just going to be an endless tit for tat or how is one going to get out of this diplomatically? do you think relations are
forever harmed? >> i think the pressure on vladimir putin and russia will continue. the next six years. and demands will be on vladimir putin when he will leave his position as russian president and should depend to somebody more friendly to the west to take this position next. so six years of the ice war, as people called it right now. it's very dangerous. because it will before the football world champions, and we are afraid that the regime will start the war in ukraine. and if russia supports and is
threatened by court to the football world champion or if russia wants to conduct such, they should give up russians with the oppressive regime to terrorize those for uprisal. >> mr. markov, you do raise some pretty fiery and scary sort of pictures there. by dunbass you mean parts of eastern ukraine and the world cup. but can i just change because obviously your state television and government continues to deny what happened in britain. and they have been really all day every day whipping up western phobia, if you like. but they haven't been able to over the last 24 hours because of a big tragedy in your country. it's always a tragedy, this kind of thing. but right now it comes right
after president putin's elections. there are lots of protests. people are citing and complaining about gross intelligence including the president himself. what do you have to say as to what's the likely cause of the fire in siberia? >> i think russian society is shook by such a mess and irresponsibility of the officials. and we have to accept that the level of corruption, especially on the middle level is very high. and now, you know, all morals now are controlling by soviets and also by group of activists. we believe that russia should change itself dramatically and very clearly to have -- we need to have more law and more order
in our country to save ourselves. >> mr. markov, let me just press you on that. because russia apparently does have some of the most stringent regulations for fire safety. and it has an army of enforcers. you know, people meant to be enforcing these fire regulations. and yet it has one of the world's worst fire records. so you've got laws. what do you think you really need if it's not working out? you seem to have the laws and the personnel. and we her reports that the fire exits were illegally blocked and lock and that there was a faulty not working fire alarm. >> yes, exactly. i think the system, the wrong system was something like this. the agencies come to the business with so strong demands
that such business cannot follow them and there is corruption deal. and the corruption deal already don't control the things which they must control. this system should be broke. the system should be changed. a lot of regulation ageies doesn't follow the law. they have specifically making very strong regulation demands for organizing corruption situation. >> and how do you propose this to change? i mean, it's one of the main complaints about russia today, and people point to the president himself not taking a strong enough hand to stamp this out. >> i think people don't point to vladimir putin, a very small u
unpopular group. people are angry. and now we have big discussions in society on how it should be changed. and one of the positions which is now discussed that maybe we should ask ourselves, maybe we should change ourselves because we use small bribe with the education system. we have small bribe and the corruption became too accepted by society. we should change our moral attitude toward corruption. maybe it's the main result, the main conclusion which should be made from such. in other words, we should change
the regulation agencies. maybe they should have as a result less motivations for corruption. >> all right, on that note, sergei markov, former mp there in moscow, thank you so much for joining us. that's it for our program tonight. thanks for watching amanpour on pbs and join us again tomorrow night. amanpour on pbs was made possible by the generous support of rosalind p. walter. you're watching g g g g g g