Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun discusses U.S. policy and strategy for achieving the denuclearization of North Korea and the transformation of U.S.-North Korean relations.
Good afternoon, everyone.
Welcome back to campus.
I'm Michael Barr.
I'm the Joan and Stanford Weil dean of the
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
at the University of Michigan.
I’m delighted to welcome you to all of this,
the first event of a series of
distinguished speakers to mark the
launch Weiser Diplomacy Center.
I want to start by thanking regent Ron
Weiser and Mrs. Eileen Weiser who are
with us right here today for their generous
Donation to establish the Weiser
Diplomacy Center. Ron was U.S.
Ambassador to Slovakia and
Eileen served alongside him in their
time, and they are both passionately
committed to the importance of diplomacy
and to the men and women to serve our
They are wonderful friends, and we are
grateful for their strong support of the
Ford School and the University of
Michigan more broadly.
So let me begin, please let me ask you
to join me in thanking Ron and Eileen
This Weiss diplomacy center serves as
a unique hub for academic and practical
training and policy dialogue, preparing
our students to become the nation's next
foreign policy leaders, diplomats and
experts in foreign affairs.
As a meeting point for practitioners,
men and women whose careers span the
apex of important policy and academics,
the WDC provides a bridge between
University of Michigan and the
foreign policy community.
With Ron and Eileen's help, the WDC can
become the country's leading institutions
for International affairs.
The previously the mission of the WDC has
First, hands-on practical training and
mentor ship for rising foreign policy
professionals who have access to, Sr.
diplomats serving as professor of
international diplomacy and visiting
professors here at the Ford school.
Second, oversee study and policy
engagement with internships and
engagement opportunities that span the
This summer students went to the forgs
an international migration in Jenn eve,
a the Asia.
The U.S. embassy in Bogota and a leaned
development organization in India,elingy
with the DWDC also funds shorter student
initiatives over spring break for
example last year four students went to
Guatemala to work with a leaned human
rights group on forensic anthropology.
community on a wide ray of topics Frank
peace and security to development
document to humility rights and the
This line-up this fall exposes our
students tie breadth of experience and
policy perspective including today's
speaker Steve Biegun as well as Steve
hadley, Samantha power, Condoleezza Rice
and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As well as leading former ambassadors
from many eras and countries.
You will note that this launch series
also supports our conversations across
As you well know, these are challenging
times in our nation with fractious
political discourse, gridlock and
partisanship and be an increasing lack
of trust in institutions everywhere.
It is in moments like this when the
craft of diplomacy is even more
essential, and when talking and
listening across political and other
differences is really essential.
We are thus honored to bring to the
campus a wealth of expertise this fall
and we could not be more delighted to
begin with the insights of today's
speaker U.S. special representative for
North Korea, Stephen Biegun.
I'm going to turn over the podium now to
faculty director of Weirs diplomacy
center Ford school faculty member John
who will introduce our speaker.
Thank you, Michael, and welcome to
all of you.
It's very much my honor to introduce
He's a Michigan man and he embodies
leader qualities and the commitment to
serve that we aim to foster at the new
Weiser diplomacy center.
Since his undergraduate studs here atum
in Russian and political science he's
pane a leader in the practice of a
attorney affairs through several
different channels on Capitol Hill,
through the executive branch and
business in the non-profit sector.
Shortly after the cold war at a critical
junk commuter in Russia he what is the
In country director in Moscow for the
International Republican Institute, a
leading non-profit organization
promoting freedom and democracy abroad.
He has held senior positions in the
house foreign relations committees as
well as been chief of staff to the
Senate foreign relations committee and
national security adviser to former
Senate majority leader Bill Frist.
In those capacities he's worked on a
wide array of issues including the
foreign aid budget, trade agreements
with various partners, defense,
intelligence, European affairs and more.
During the George W. Bush administration
he served as executive secretary at the
national security council.
This is essentially the NF treatment
chief operating soar ppts it's a crucial
roll in creating policies and effective
interagency process, exactly the kind of
of practical foreign policy knowledge
that we're trying to cultivate and that
our students are learning in the Ford
school's new course on the NFC this
Steve Biegun has extensive
leadership experience in the private
center having sender as a VP at
international affairs at Ford Motor
Company overseeing Ford's interanswers
around the world.
He returned to government I year ago as
U.S. special representative for North
Korea, ab pointed shortly after the June 2018 Singapore summit between
President Trump and North Korean leader
The summit was a bold and controversial
step, one of the signature foreign
policy initiatives of the trump
The president and secretary of state
Pompeo saw somebody who had the
diplomat skills to capitalize on the
political opening and drive progress
toward the very difficult issue of North
Korean denuclearization as well as
related challenges in the relationship.
The fact that they chose Steve Biegun
for that role testifies to the strength
of both his diplomatic skills and his
Over the past year he's led U.S. policy
toward the DPRK, that's the democratic
people's republic of Korea on North
Korea, and spearhead U.S. negotiations
Yong and engagement with reasonable
explies partners toward those pames
we're privileged to be able to hear from
Steve Biegun today about the challenges
and the opportunities and the reply
diplomacy undergoing noirks, and we're
also grateful for co-sponsorship of this
lecture by our friends and colleagues at
the name center for Korean stud it's a
Before he begins we'll have a time
toward the end of the session for
audience questions. Please write your
questions on the note cards that our
staff will provide and collect.
Ford school students Ryan van we and
Zachary will present the questions with
our own ambassador.
Now on behalf of the Ford center and the
name center give Steve Biegun a warm
-- Wolfe even welcome.
Thank you, Dean Barr.
Thank you, John, for that kind
And thank you all for inviting he here
I had a long day already here on campus.
I had an opportunity earlier today to
meet with a group of students, started
the program at the Ford school called we
It's geared to have civil discussion,
thoughtful discussion and to engage
each other on public policy issues.
It's a truly inspirational group.
And if you don't know about it, I'd
recommend you look up their website.
If you're a student here, I'd recommend
you think about it.
They're doing great work for the
I also had a chance to have lunch today
with a group students from the Ford
school, an incredibly impressive bunch.
Many of them already well into
And it was a real privilege and honor to
spend this time this morning with so
many we never students.
I can't tell you what a great pleasure
it is to be on the campus of the
University of Michigan where for me it
all began so many years ago.
Tomorrow marks exactly there go years
since I first sat down in a lecture hall
here at the University of Michigan.
Having left a small Michigan town where
I grew up, I stepped onto this campus to
begin an educational journey that has
served me my entire career.
It opened the world to me and, more
importantly, it opened me to the world.
I'm grateful for the incredible
teachers, visiting instructors, guest
speakers, the teachings, the rallies, the
protests and the vibrant, eclectic,
diverse and irrepressible student body
that the University of Michigan has
I've learned to think in ways that have
benefited me throughout my career.
It's great to be home.
I'd like to add my thanks to the
University of Michigan's Ford school
public policy and the Nam center for
Korean studies for hosting me this
afternoon, and it's an honor to be the
inaugural speaker of the Weiser
diplomacy center's speaker series.
Ron Weiser has for many years been a
friend, and for a few years even a
colleague in government.
I know firsthand of his and his wife
Eileen's devotion to public service and
to the advancement of American interests
and ideals around the world.
This new diplomacy center is a fitting
embodiment of that devotion.
Thank you, Ron.
In the three decades since I left Ann
Arbor I have had the opportunity to work
on many challenging and interesting
issues in government and the private
But none that approaches the
consequences of the issue that I'll
speak on today as the United States
special representative for North Korea.
Prior to taking this job, I wasn't
really looking to return to government.
In fact, I was quite happy in a job I
loved at wunt great American auto -- one
of the great American auto companies,
Ford Motor Company located just up the
It was there that my grandfather and his
father before him made their livings,
and it was a great place to work.
But as is the case with Ron Weiser and
with so many other graduates of this
great university who, over the decade,
have answered the call of public
service, last year I accepted the
challenge of Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo to take up and carry forward a
remarkable diplomatic opportunity, an
opportunity created by President Trump
In June of 2018, the decision of the
president to meet at a summit in
Singapore with chairman Kim Jong-un of
North Korea was truly momentous.
At the con dilution first-ever meeting
between the leaders of our you two
countries, they shed a simple strayed
forward statement outlining a plan to
change the course of events on the
Korean peninsula through the
transformation of relations through the
establishment of a permanent peace and
the complete denuclearization of the
And while there's still much work ahead
of us, if we are to fulfill those
commitments, the this fact of bold
leadership and the simple roadmap it
produced may well prove to be the key to
unlocking the puzzle of the Korean
Peninsula that has bedeviled the world
since the end of World War II.
Since that historic commit meeting in
Singapore, the president has maintained
a strong and focused deployment search
for a lasting peace on the Korean
He refuses to accept the fact that 66
years after fighting ended in the careen
war we have yet to find a successful
path to transforming relations and
establishing a permanent peace.
But the president has also been clear
that doing so will require the daunting
task of eliminating the growing threat
of weapons of mass destruction on the
Korean panes law.
The president has directed the starter
state, myself and the entire U.S.
national security team to spare no
effort in our negotiations to fulfill
the commitments that the two leaders
made at Singapore.
We are aware that this diplomatic
opening is fragile.
We fully understand the consequences if
did I diplomacy fails, and we are
clear-eyed about the dangerous reality
of ongoing development by North Korea of
weapons of mass destruction and the
means to deliver them to the region and
to the world.
This is in defines of international
It is in violation of United Nations
security council resolutions.
And it is in contravention of Muppet
promises made by North Korea to never
possess such weapons.
For to us make progress towards peace
and to take major steps towards
transforming our relationship, North
Korea must be willing to fulfill its
commitment to achieve complete
North Korea will never be able to
realize its full economic potential or
enjoy true economic security and
stability if it clings to weapons of
The United States and the world will not
And we and other countries in the region
need to understand that the outcome of
this diplomatic process will have
ramifications well beyond the Korean
Last year, after taking on this
assignment, I had the rare and special
opportunity to sit down with former
Secretary of State Henry kissinger to
discuss the way forward.
As he shared his observations and
thoughtful advice, one comment made a
particularly deep impression upon me.
Dr. Kissinger noted that we were charged
today with working toward the
elimination of North Korea's nuclear
weapons, but, he said, if this effort
fails, we will be working tomorrow on an
Asia wide nuclear proliferation
It does not require a leap of logic to
understand what Dr. Kingser was
A North Korea that retains the ability
to threaten its neighbors with neecialg
weapons risks breaking the international
noamples non-proliferation built over 50
While a number of countries and
economies in Asia have the scientific
wherewithal and the technical capacity
to develop nuclear weans they have made
the judgment that po sense such weapons
creates more risk for their security and
for their people.
Allies such as Japan and South Korea
have fore sworn nuclear weapons programs
in part because they trust the
protection of extended deterrence has
included in their alliance relationships
with the United States of America.
But how long will that conviction hold?
If such weapons air mere short range
ballistic missile night away from their
At what point will voices in South Korea
and Japan and elsewhere in Asia begin to
ask if they need tro consider their own
And what will this mean for a region
whose prosperity and growth has been so
inex entribly tied to long-term
stability and peace.
It is very much in the interests of the
United States of America and every other
nation in the region to avoid this
If we are to escape an outcome that will
press nations in the region to consider
new and more dangerous strategic
choices, we must work together as allies
and partners in east Asia to achieve the
vision that was laid out at the sing
As always, there are consequences for
And I fear Dr. Kissinger is correct,
that if the international community
fails in the undertaking, in this
undertaking, North Korea will not be the
last nuclear ceaps state in
nuclear weapons state in Asia.
At this moment to achieve further
progress the most important step we can
take is for the United States and North
Korea to work together, to overcome the
policies and demonstrations of hostility
that compromise the simple ability of
our diplomats to talk and to sustain the
rhythm of negotiations.
If we are to succeed, North Korea must
set aside its search for obstacles to
negotiations and instead seek the
opportunities for engagement while that
We have made clear to North Korea we
are prepared to engage as soon as we
hear from them.
We are ready, but we cannot do this by
Between the United States and North
Korea there has been too little
communication, too much room for missal
accumulation and misunderstanding,
and almost no room at all for error.
Through direct engagement we must create
space and momentum for diplomacy.
We must set in motion anens intensive
set of negotiations and only if we do
that will we able to fulfill the our or
One we begin intensive negotiations we
can have action that both sides can take
to create more and better choices for
our leaders to consider.
Following the outline of the joint
statement issued last year by President
Trump and chairman Kim at the Singapore
summit, we can construct a set of
actions that are undertaken to elevate
relations from a place of hostility and
distrust toward an agreed and state that
fulfills the vision of our two leaders,
provided that there is a clear
commitment to fulfill all the
requirements of the agreements made
between the two leaders.
Now, either the United States --
neither the United States nor Korea has
to accept all the risk of moving
forward, and there are immediate actions
that we can take if negotiations make
Judging by the talks President Trump has
had with chairman Kim and those that our
team has had over the past year with our
North Korean counterparts, it is clear
that both siding quickly agree to
significant actions that will declare to
our respective peoples and to the world
that the United States-North Korea
relations have taken an irreversible
turn away from convict.
Actions, much more than any words, can
infuse this diplomatic moment with more
the Korean peninsula and the Dorothy
orthodox is and necessities of at at the
deternses to which they gief rise make a
peaceful-U.S. North Korea's relationship
hard to imagine, hard to imagine in the
way our current strategic and economic
relationship with Vietnam was hard to
imagine a mere 20 years ago, hard in the
way that alliances with Germany and
Japan were unthinkable in the waning
days of World War II, hard in the way
the e unification of Jeremy and a Europe
whole and free were difficult to imagine
even as the Berlin wall was falling.
There have been prior irrelevant it
negotiations with North Korea
over the past 25 years, to slow or
reverse the development weapons
of mass destruction but none of have yet
succeed in overcoming the legacy of a
brutal war and the decades of hostility
Of course we are mindful that there is
no guarantee that our current diplomatic
efforts will succeed where others have
failed, but with the president's
direction and strong support, we are
committed to try through did diplomacy to do
more, not pleps over the past year we've
been able to sustain political space and
momentum at home with bipartisan
agreement that diplomacy remains the
Our team has invested significant time
and effort in consultations with
Congress, and we continue to draw
support from both sides of the aisle to
continue to test this opportunity.
Ion our borders, policies on
denuclearization of North Korea stand on
eye firm foundation of international
Guided by a series of resolutions,
unanimously supported in the United
Nations security council and actively
supported by allies and partners in
Asia, Europe and around the world.
We are fully committed to bring an end
to the vestiges of hostile relations to
the Korean peninsula to follow the path
of security for north and South Korea
answered and to build the trust that is
the necessary foundation for a lasting
peace. And through this, achieve the
elimination of weapons of mass
destruction and their means of delivery
on the Korean peninsula.
And if we are successful, there is so
much potential for opportunity ahead of
Our two countries in the Indo Pacific
region as a whole would greatly benefit
from enhanced connectivity through the
More open sea lands and overflights in
and around the peninsula, combined with
high-quality infrastructure investment
in North Korea would diversify and
shorten transport routes, open new
export markets for North Korean goods,
and open up vast additional areas for
economic development in North Korea and
in neighboring countries.
Energy flows in and out of North Korea
would lift the North Korean economy in
new diversified trading relationships
would improve living standards
throughout the peninsula and the region.
In terms of security, lowered tensions
will mean that our military forces will
no longer need to stand and train
perpetually ready to fight a war.
They could instead serve and cooperate
to build a foundation to support a
And if we can forge a sustainable peace,
forge the modalities of cooperation, we
will reap the mutual rewards that will
spring from Frank discussions and many
other issues that divided the United
States and North Korea over all these
This is President Trump's vision and it
is a vision he is confident that
Chairman Kim shares.
When the president took as of more than
two years ago, North Korea represented
the most urgent national security
priority waiting on his desk.
What has moved the Korean peninsula off
of a path toward conflict and onto a
path of peace has been the bold
leadership of President Trump and
Whereas the experts cownsd
incrementalism, the president understood
that the situation called for a clear
break with the past.
We needed to do something different,
something dramatic to head off conflict.
The president's decision to hole two
summits and to seek agreement at the
highest levels with the North Koreans
was not to say the least the
conventional wisdom of the Washington,
DC, foreign policy establishment.
The decision two months ago to propose
ap impromptu meeting with chairman Kim
had no guarantee of success, in fact,
Chairman Kim could have rejected the
last-minute invitation out of hand.
But he didn't.
And as a result of each of these
engagements between our two leaders, the
door to diplomacy has been held open a
little longer. Over the course of
this past year, the president has made
clear to North Korea and to the world
that he has made this choice for the
He has given our negotiating team clear
instructions to deliver on his deep
commitment to transforming U.S.-North
Korean relations through diplomacy, as
agreed with chairman Kim at Singapore,
and he has said he is confident that
Chairman Kim will not sploint disappoint
Bringing lasting piece to the Korean
Peninsula will ultimately only succeed
with the leadership of President Trump
and chairman kill.
Both must be able to see opportunity
where others inside their respective
systems do not.
Opportunity that could blossom from the
successful transformation of our
relations, the establishment of a
permanent peace regime on the Korean
peninsula, and the complete
denuclearization of the Korean
To succeed, both must choose this course
and follow through with actions that
will seize that opportunity.
The president is fully committed to
making significant progress toward these
goals in the year ahead and should
Chairman Kim share in President Trump's
commitment to advance the ideas I have
laid out today, he will find our team is
ready to turn this vision into reality.
To start off with our
question-and-answer session, I'm going
to have a few questions for Mr. Being be
UN to give Ryan and Zack a bit of time
to review some questions that you have
submitted from the audience and then
we'll open up the rest of the session to
hear your queries.
If I may, I'd like to start with a pair
of questions, one that's more a medium
term question and one that's more a
immediate short-term question.
A medium term question is this.
For many years the United States' policy
and expressed goal of negotiations with
North Korea has been to achieve a
complete verifiable and not easily
reversible denuclearization of the DPRK.
And surely Kim Jong-un and other leaders
in North Korea look at the cases of Iraq
and Libya and think of the weapons, the
nuclear weapons program as both an
extremely important bargaining chip with
the international community and some
form of insurance for a deeply
And so I'm sure you agree that even if
the goal is realistic websites a very
challenging one to achieve.
The question is what do you see as the
key conditions under which this North
Korean regime would give consideration
to the types of serious and potentially
even irreversible reverse alsz als of their
nuclear program that the United States
Thank you, John, and certainly
something that we've spent a lot of time
One of the -- there are several things
that are different about this diplomatic
initiative than how we have engaged
North Korea in the past, but one area in
particular that addresses the underlying
question you asked is that we're seeing
do a lot more than issue weaches mass
The Singapore statement that I referred
to in my remarks actually has two parts
or four pillars as we refer to them.
The first is that the two leaders
committed to transform the relations
between our two countries.
The second is that the two leaders
committed to the establishment of a
permanent peace regime on the Korean
I imagine not everyone here is an expert
on the history of Korean peninsula, but
it's worth pointing out that the war
when it ended in 1953 ended in an
Technically that war has not been
concluded with a treaty.
Establishing a permanent peace regime is
going to be critical to changing the
The two agreement they made was the
The last, the fourth pillar which we
don't talk about as much is a
It's to recover the remains of the U.S.
soldiers and Marines who fell during the
Korean war, invest in other countries to
recover and account for their losses in
the Korean war, and we've expanded it
also in our discussions with the North
Koreans to include finding ways for
Koreans inside and outside North Korea
to reunify as families to meet each
other after a period of long division.
It is challenging.
As I said in my remarks, we're trying to
overcome 70 years of hostility on the
That's a long time.
One of the anecdotes that was mention
to me that has really Meads me was that
North Korea has existed longer than the
Soviet Union existed.
The Soviet Union is now the historical
blink of an eye.
North Korea-U.S. relations for seven
We have a way find more than just
weapons of mass destruction issue.
We have to change the incentives.
And by changing the trajectory of our
policies, it's our hope that we can
likewise change the trajectory of
North Korea doesn't need nuclear
The United States does not intend any
hostile action toward North Korea but
we're going to have to build trust in
order to get them to a point where that
conviction is reflected in their
I promise aid shorter term question,
and that is the immediate question of
how to get the North Korean delegation
back to the table.
There have been periods of on
Recently the North Korean leadership has
suggested that negotiations may be tied
in some fashion the to nature and extent
of U.S. joint exercises with its South
What do you see as the key steps that
the trump administration needs to take
to encourage or incentivize the North
Korean delegation to come back and talk?
After all, as you said in your remarks,
there is a sense in chts window of time
available for seizing this opportunity
is not infinite.
So of course we have to be ready.
We have to be prepared.
And we have to convey to the North
Koreans that we're prepared to have this
discussion on all parties, both sides.
We can and we have communicated that tom
We've done it directly and indirectly.
We have down it through third parties.
We've I didn't publicly we've I didn't
The North Koreans know where we are.
The North Koreans know what the
The North Koreans have a decision to
make on engagement.
We're prepared to do so when they're
As I said a moment ago.
And it's worth repeating, that we're
ready, but North Korea has to make that
I want to turn now to our excellent
students Ryan and Zack and allow them to
ask some of the questions that you all
Ryan and Zack, if you could each
introduce of your very briefly before
you lead into the questions.
We want to give everyone in the room a
little illustration of what some of our
students are working on related to the
Thank you, professor.
Thank you, sir, for being here us with
us p I'm my name is Ryan am eye second
year national public policy student.
My focus for research has been on
international security policy.
The first question from the audience is
to what extent has the trump
administration withdrawn from the
comprehensive plan of action with Iran
impacted negotiations with North Korea?
So the Iran nuclear corridor, the JCP
JCPOA certainly is an issue that the
North Korea answered would notice and it
goes to an underpinning concern that
they will certain have as to how any
agreement we reach together will be
I'm not responsible for the JCPOA but I
am undertaking the direction of the
Secretary of State and the president
diplomacy on that not entirely
dissimilar set of issues and a not
entirely dissimilar set of
But our answer, what's going to be
different about our efforts with North
Korea, is that we're trying to do much
more than the JCPOA did.
The JCP government, the Iran liewcialg
agreement targeted very narrowly the
issue of Iran's nuclear weapons programs
and suspended for a period of time those programs in hopes that some
other changes might occur in the
external environment that would allow
for the progress but also allow for fact
that Iran could revert back to the full
operation of its nuclear enrichment
after the conclusion
of that agreement.
That agreement was also intentionally,
the agreement intentionally excluded the
broader set of issues in the U.S.-Iran
And so what the United States saw in
the aftermath of that agreement being
reached was that the increased economic
resources and the immediate gains that
Iran made in some of the settlements
that came Mel after the agreement
provided them with resources that they
chose to spend to further engage in
the destabilization of many nations in
region, including Yemen, Syria where
they had an active combat presence
undertaking brutal, brutal treatment of
the Syrian people, and also to strengthen
their hold on Lebanon
through Hezbollah, and those eroded the
environment in which progress might have
been made with Iran, even with the
tenuous nature of the nuclear agreement
that had been reached in the temporary
In the case of North Korea, we answer
that question in our engagement with the
North Koreans because we're trying to do
We actually -- the president has
committed to transforming our
relationship with North Korea to
bringing about a permanent peace regime
to the Korean peninsula, to find areas
of cooperation to move forward in this
relationship at the same time that we're
also addressing the compelling and
dangerous threat of weapons of mass
It's going to be hard.
I don't for a second take lightly the
mandate that the president has given us.
The North Koreans are willing to do the
same, we have a lot of potential to put
together a very durable agreement
between our two countries.
And I'm also very honored to help
welcome you back.
My name is Zachary.
I'm currently a fourth year
undergraduate at the Ford school with a
focus in diplomacy, and my first
question to ask you is historically the
North Korean problem is also a China
To what extent, in your.
, have the tariffs, rhetoric and
adversarial posture toward China
So a big country like ours and a big
country like China are going to have a
lot of interests around the world, and
to simplify it, we have to be able to
walk and chew gum at the same time.
The economic issues that we're
negotiating with China right now are
very important issues.
They aren't just important for the
They're important to the economy and to
the future economic security of the
United States of America.
And that is a very tough negotiation
because we're trying to shift the
direction of China's economy to try to
convince them to shift the direction of
their economy in a way that has been
established over the course of the last
We work very closely, China on North
Korea, needless to say.
China has the largest land order of any
country in the world outside the
Choon is going to be instrument instrumental in the
cities success of international
diplomacy with North Korea as we go
We have invested quite bit of a time in
working with our Chinese counters parts.
We have developed a close relationship.
The Chinese in our SUV sent the right
messages to North Korea at every Surin.
And my Chinese counterpart told me when
we first met several months ago is
notwithstanding the other areas of
tension in the U.S.-China relation, that
China would compartmentalize North Korea
and their cooperation on that.
I told them that we would accept that
until we had evidence to suggest
otherwise, and we don't have any
evidence to suggest otherwise.
That's not as to say it's not,, of
course, there are enormous tensions in
hufs China relations.
Not only do we have the economic issues
that we're seeking to negotiate.
We have various national security
We have differences over Taiwan.
The student -- the street prophecies in
Hong Kong have exacerbated tensions in
the relationship even though we're not
driving that, China is feeling besieged.
There are many things China is doing in
places like Shenzhen and other parts of
of the south China sea that are add her
ents to us and we've raised concerns
So it's not easy.
It's not easy to compartmentalize but
we've been successful so far, and I'll
tell you why.
Because China is not doing -- China is
not pursuing its policies in North Korea
as a favor to United States of America.
China's pursuing its own interests in
What I have told people before when
asked this question is my assessment of
China is they're 100% with us some of
China wants peace and stability in the
China wants the elimination of weapons
mass destruction on the Korean
There's a lot of thing we won't agree
Our military alliance with the South
Koreans, other things like that.
But China for its own interests
parallels our interests, and that's the
basis for countries to work together.
I'm a big fan of countries acting in
their own interests and finding a way to
work with other countries that share
In the case of North Korea so far we've
been able to do that pretty well with
Let me follow up very quickly with
that and ask you to expand on what you
see as China's constructive roles with
regard to North Korea.
There are sanctions enforcement,
I'd love to hear a bit more on that.
First, just the messaging that comes
from the Chinese leader to the North
Koreans for the need to engage in a
intensive diplomatic process towards the
achievement of a peaceful and stable
Korean peninsula and elimination of
weapons of mass destruction.
China is not shy about that.
China voted for every UN security
council resolution by definition because
they can only pass with the unanimous
vote of the permanent five members of
the UN security council.
China has given voice to the policies
the same as us.
We share our objectives and our strategy
to a certain degree with the Chinese.
They give us useful feedback about they
have a lot of experience the in region.
But, of course, above all in the
maintaining the pressure on North Korea,
as we search for a diplomatic solution
there's no country that's more important
China is North Korea's largest trading
It shares a large land border and has
territory territorial waters add Jay
tent to North Korea.
So China's role in that dimension of the
critically important to the cities.
Again, we meet regularly with the
We just had a turnover in China of their
representative on North Korea did --
lead rep Tift on North Korea.
We are just in the beginning stages of
building a relationship.
But my counterpart over the past year
has been a tremendous partner, and I'm
looking forward developing the same
modicum of cooperation with their new
Sir, given the centralized authority
of North Korean regime, have you
encountered difficulties when working
with your counterparts in the North
Korean diplomatic core having the
initiative and leverage to negotiate on
terms without seeking higher guidance?
So in any system of government, ours
included, there has to be some
connection to the direction of the
In our case with separate branches
government, that includes me being
attentive to the interests of Congress,
but ultimately I serve at the pleasure
of president, Secretary of State, so I
need to know that what I'm doing is
consistent with the president's
decisions on these policies.
If that's the case in our system, which
is a democratic system in which we have
divided branches government, multiple
voices in the democratic debate, it's
all the more so in the North Korean
system which really is a centralized
rule where chairman Kim Jong-un runs
that country in every dimension.
And as such, as the leader North Korea,
it's incumbent upon him to create the
space that his negotiators have in order
to enter into an discussion with us, in
order to enter into the kind of of
give-and-take that's necessary to
explore solutions of the very
complicated issues like the ones we're
working on now.
But that's also why it was so important
for us to change the trajectory of the
diplomacy on the Korean peninsula with
Hopefully what President Trump can do
with chairman skim give chairman Kim the
confidence that if he opens that space
to his team, that he will find it will
be a fruitful diplomatic process that
will allow us both to Chief Executive
our goals as -- achieve our goals as
laid out in the Singapore summit just a
So it is a strictly controlled system.
It's a rigid system.
It is leader driven in its entirety.
But that also is why we think that it's
a very constructive step forward for the
president to engage directly and try to
create that diplomatic space for the
people inside the system.
As a leader-driven system, it's also
been clear that despite how closed off
it is, we've been able to see that North
Korea is a major violater of human
rights, so in this case and with your
educational, what place does human
rights play in this sort of U.S. policy?
So the United States, of course,
assigns high value to human rights
around the world.
We have historically.
It's part of the core of who we are.
This has been an issue of some tension
and discussion between the United States
and North Korea over many years.
And it is and remains an issue of
The United States is not -- has not
listen its voice through resolutions and
international organizations, through
corporation driven reporting process,
and through the kind of designations
that we undertake as the United States
government not only to fulfill our
ideals but to fulfill our laws.
I should also be very clear that my
negotiating priority is not human
rights of North Korea.
My negotiating priority starts with
the elimination of the weapons of mass
descrowcts Korean peninsula.
It sentenced into transforming
relations, it sentenced into creating
more peaceful and stable Korean
peninsula and to addressing some of the
harder edges between our two societies
that trace back all the way to the
In this process we open up space for
discussions on a number of i that have
divided the United States and North
Korea over many, many years.
We've got to start with the highest
We have to address all of our
interests and ideals. And, of course,
these negotiations and the United States
needs to continue to give voice to I'm
human rights around the world.
Sir, do you think that this potential
lowered U.S. operational readiness on
the screek, screek talks need to
The question from the audience is would
that also be possible to decrease the
overall footprint of the U.S. military
in South Korea in exchange for total
We're well away from that, but
certainly in my speech when I talk about
the U.S. military presence can move away
from being a state -- being in a state
of preparedness and training for
perpetual war to playing a constructive
and stabilizing role towards a durable
peace, it includes a lot of strategic
reconsiderations that might be available
to us as we make progress in all the
issues I laid out.
Again, we're a long way away from there.
And I think we have to start with the
objective of solving the problem,
lowering the threat, lowering the risk.
Then we need to leave to it our military
leaders to may be make a sober judgment
on the level of risk and the appropriate
response the United States has an an
allied partner of South Korea.
But, of course, the forces are driven by
the perception of threat.
If we can address the threat, we give
ourselves a lot more options.
Going back to China, you spoke about
forging ties with North Korea.
Now, in your opinion, would China permit
a border nation that they support to
grow closer with the U.S.?
And if so, how much closer, in your
So I say China is 100% with us some
of the way.
Not that far.
That is not the way.
We and China, we have a lot of issues,
the miedz and China need to sort out as
China rises and as we try to find a set
of global norms that both of our nations
are willing and able to support and
abide by that will produce an
opportunity for our peoples, our
respective peoples to thrive.
We're not there yet.
That underlies a lot of the issues that
Jenn theme underlies a lot of the issues
and tension with China and those you are
Of course, China not welcome a U.S.
military ally on its border, and the
Chinese have said as much in the past.
But that's not our goal, either.
So this isn't going to be a major point
I think it's fair to say that the
Chinese would judge that a stable and
peaceful relationship between the United
States and North Korea has attend
benefits for the people's republic of
I laid out some of the security benefit
duty also the economic benefits a moment
The domestic benefits for that Ranger
This part of China that neighbors the
Korean peninsula is among the poorest
areas of the people's republic of China.
It's an industrial area, heavy
industries that historically have been
something of the industrial driver of
China, but like so many of our
industrial cities here in the midwest,
time has taken its toll and an infusion
of cross-board trade and economic
invention would be hugely beneficial.
The same for Russia.
One of the most economically challenged
of the Russian federation is the far
Population is in declain client.
Opening frayed and opportunity for that
part of Russia would likewise be hugely
I talked about the opportunities for --
I've talked about today about the
opportunities for South Korea as well
that would evolve from that. You have
to think about South Korea as an island.
South Korea is one of the largest
trading nations in the world, but
there's not a single good that comes
into or out of South Korea that isn't on
a ship or an airplane.
There's no land drops.
South Korea is isolated from the rest of
Asia by North Korea.
Imagine the benefits that could come
from an infrastructure that would be
built across the Korean peninsula tying
all of these economically challenged
areas together along with infusions of
international investment, international
trade, the United States would engage
It's not -- it's a great outcome.
But we have a lot of work to do to get
And it's -- it is a lot of work, and
it's going to take us some time to get
to that point, and the North Koreans are
going to have to decide on what terms
they want to enter that world, if that's
the choice that they make, and we hope
All of this is premised upon also
addressing the national security risk,
and as an American diplomat I have to
keep coming back to the central
interests of the United States of
America, which is to address the issue
of weapons of mass destruction on the
None of this vision is going to really
come to fruition if we can't make
progress on that, but we have to
convince the North Koreans is the
benefit of that, is the future for North
Korea for North Korea.
That's what we're trying to do here.
During your speech you talked about
how the potential forral fail could
result in increase proceed lifer as a in
the regional if North Korea has able to
develop and maintain a successful
The question is has the administration's
calls for an increased burden sharing or
at least that perception among allies,
cast out on the long term U.S. extended
deterrence policy, and does that have
implications for long-term cooperation.
We're not there yet and I don't
expect we will get there.
We will work closely with our allies to
try to find a balanced solution to
address usuals of burden sharing that
have plagued the United States with its
alliance partners around the world since
World War II.
The burden-sharing debate didn't begin
in 2017 when President Trump took office
I cut my teeth in Washington on European
affairs for almost 15 years before I
took on this portfolio.
And I can tell you that the issue of
defense spending in Europe has been a
plague on the U.S. alliance with NATO
practically since its very founding.
And it's just an objective fact that in
many cases the allies don't even meet
the minimal commitment in defense
spending that they committed to achieve
in order to make those alliances real.
The worst thing in the world for us
would be to have an alliance
relationship with a country in which we
were tied to their national defense but
they didn't take adequate steps
themselves to defend themselves.
And so what we want to see from all of
our alliance partners is a full
commitment in that regard.
Certainly, a modicum of stability on the
proliferation front does come from
confidence in the extended deterrence.
But that extended deterrence can be
brought into question for reasons on
hern the failure of thal lions.
NATO was still a viable institution in
the 1980s when the Soviet Union began to
deploy new missile systems that were
designed specifically to sever security
ties between the United States and
The Soviet Union sought in the 1980s to
create a scenario in which one or the
other might choose to sit it out in the
case of a war because it really wasn't
their business, what was going on, and
they didn't want to take the hit if they
stuck their nose into it.
President Reagan, work can with many of
our European allies, president mitt
rafned France, chancellor Cole of
Germany, prime minister that Cher in
Britain, made a very controversial
decision to employ the Persian 2
missile, deploy the euro missiles into
Europe to signal the U.S. security
against the face of external threat.
These are the kind of debates that we
put behind us at the end of the cold
We were able to move into a much more
optimistic posture ash the world, but we
have seen the rise of new missile
systems in other parts of the world, and
we've also seen development new
capabilities like those in North Korea
with its weapons of mass destruction.
Any foreign policy, any national
security expert will tell you that this
creates stresses on the strategic
choices that every country in the region
And that's to everybody's detriment.
We do not want more nuclear weapon
states in the world, full stop.
China doesn't, either.
Russia doesn't want it, either.
So we have to work together even with
countries like China Russia.
We have other areas of disagreement to
sustain also this 50-year commitment of
non-proliferation that arose out of
Each time we confront a breach in that,
we face the possibility of a dam burst,
and so it's very much in our interests
to cooperate and succeed not just on the
denuclearization of North Korea North
Korea but in the broader sense in the
full sets of transformational steps that
I feel like you guys are asking me these
I know they're coming from all of you.
But these are great questions, and thank
you much, very much for them.
These are all questions that we really
are wrestling this.
These are Reagan realtime.
You should know that these questions
you're asking are the same ones that are
asked nide is halls of government eye
daily basis, and we have to have answers
to these because these are the stakes.
So thank you.
Please go ahead.
Let me undertake to say that we have
dozens of questions here.
And we don't have time to -- for to you
answer them, but we'll undertake to at
least send you the questions so that you
have a sense of the audience and the
sense of what our students are thinking
and others in the audience.
We don't expect an answer, but just to
give you a sense of the rest of the
audience because we're never going to
get to all the questions.
Anyway here comes the next question.
Given the U.S. decision to pull out of
the JCPOA agreement and with the
president calling it a one-sided
transaction, at the same time President
Trump announced a decision to remove
additional sanctions from North Korea
despite having violated UN security
resolution -- violated UN security
resolution and having conducted recent
ballistic missile tests.
How would you explain the source of
disparate in foreign policy with the
approach between Iran and between North
So just a slight correction.
I don't know if the transcription or a
mistake in perception.
We have not lifted any sanctions against
North Korea at palm in fact, the
sanctions of North Korea by the United
Nations secure council are
But this comes back to the issue of the
JCP oovment which is the larger issue --
and it is to some degree the question
answered a moment ago.
Let me just say that we're going to have
to do things differently.
The mandate that I have and the mandate
that the international community has
agreed to in the UN security council
resolutions dating back to 2:00 is the 2:00 2006 is
the complete elimination of nuclear
It's not the sus tension of uranium to
test if and see if other elements in the
relationship with change.
What we're trying to do with this
diplomacy is transform the relations
with North Korea in a way that also
shifts incentives. When a country
doesn't feel like it's at risk from
invasion or a threat or hostile policies
week can we work together with them to
also address dangerous technologies like
weapons of mass destruction that
ironically are also the source of that
risk and that hostility.
We've got a lot of work to do with our
counterparts in North Korea to test and
see if this is possible.
But what we're trying to do is much
bigger than the JCPOA represented with
Iran, and it's probably, not to
foreshadow too much what my colleagues,
it's probably very much the nature where
we go with Iran if engagement does, in
fact, begin between us and the Iranians.
If I could, I'd like to interject a
question to make sure we address a
little bit of what's happening in
Washington and what's different about
You've got a lot of experience with the
George h W. and George W. Bush
You were serving in Congressional roles
throughout the Clinton years, certainly
following and intimately familiar with
the Obama administration.
Each president is unique but this one is
obviously so in om respects.
And I want you, if you would, to tell as
a little bit about how that empowers you
in diplomacy and what are some ways in
which it causes you to have to adjust to
the way in which you conduct diplomacy.
In the case of North Korea, it probably
offers some significant examples, to
answer your question, because the
president is personally invested in this
President Trump very much feels
ownership of the course of our diplomacy
in North Korea.
And he has personally given direction to
me and to my team and to the secretary
of state on where he wants to go and
what he wants to do with this.
As an aside, I am a public servant.
I serve at the pleasure of the president
and Secretary of State.
But I also have to think he's right.
I think what he's trying to do here is
long overdue and I think there's a
chance that we can do it.
And so that's also motivating, is when
you are fully engaged with support of
the policies, professionals in
government work on all sorts of policies
that they don't always agree on.
I have the great opportunity to be right
on the issue in the place I believe.
Now, the advantages that have come from
that, of course, the president in our
system has cleared the space.
The will the has given direction on what
he wants done.
That helps a lot.
We have a big and sprawling government
with a variety of views, well-informed
views and well-substantiated scepticism
or concern about various elements of
policy, but when the president has
provided the direction, that's kind of
empowering, to Zais the least.
The -- say the least.
The president has consistently messaged
to chairman Kim Jong-un his commitment
to do this in a way that, as I
described earlier, in our view is
important to opening up and changing the
direction in North Korea to meet us and
to achieve these goals.
Very important that's very important.
Every time the president tweets, our
counterparts in North Korea read it
They study it closely.
And the president has been consistent in
his messaging about diplomatic
Some challenges do arise from this as
We have -- it's no secret that it's been
challenging to get the North Koreans to
engage at the working level and do the
real daltd negotiations that are going
to be necessary to bring to life, to
bring to reality the vision that the two
leaders have laid out.
They're going to have to work with us.
These are complicated issues that that
require enormous expertise and
thoughtful, thoughtful exchange in order
to realize solutions that are acceptable
to both sides.
It has to happen.
And that's my message to you today is
we've got to get this going.
It's time for us to get started. The
North Koreans, not surprisingly, have
wanted to talk to the president, and so
the Hanoi summit was an opportunity
where the North Korean side brought
their ideas directly to the president's
meetings, and unfortunately it
illustrated the challenges of reach an
We were unable to reach an agreement.
We haven't done the work necessary to
really test these ideas and get
sufficient feedback on ha was viable and
The process isn't going to work unless
it's got both the top and the bottom.
The challenge, of course, is when the
president is so directly associated with
it, he's going to own that as well.
With the totality of circumstances that
we have, it works.
We have space for diplomacy.
We still have time to be able to resolve
And I'm confident we can do it.
But I think it's quite clear in both my
remarks and in my answer here, John,
we've got to get going.
You discussed the good working
relationship that you have with your
counterparts in Russia and China, and
the question from the audience is how
does the isolation of the North Korean
diplomatic personnel working on the
negotiations impact the process and are
there any -- that you can elaborate on?
I know you didn't ask the question,
but let me address it more generally.
So North Korea has a ministry of foreign
It has very skilled diplomats p it's got
seasoned negotiators who have worked
with the United States on these issues
for 25 years.
In fact, some of the very people that
we're working with today in a more
junior capacity were involved in the
first iteration of these negotiations in
the early 1990s.
Framework negotiations they were called
And so North Korea has a set of skilled
and experienced diplomats.
North Korea has embassies around the
They don't have an embassy here in the
United States of America but they do
have a permanent representation, but the
United Nations and New York, they have
diplomats who live abroad, who work
abroad, and they interact with many
countries around the world on a daily
North Korea has a number of -- the
North Korean government has a number of
relationships historically that have
been closer, including China, including
Russia, including some of the other
countries with whom it was in common
cause during cold war.
So Poland and the Czech Republic and
Bulgaria and these countries still to
this day have embassies in Pyongyang as,
incidentally, do the Germans, the
British, the French.
Well, the French have a diplomatic
representation and the Swedes and many
So North Korea is definitely an insular
government and it's very difficult for
us to communicate directly with and
But but I think both sides know each
other very well and I and I know weave a
lot of experience working together and
there's a lot of work we can do together
More of a personal question.
As a former we Wolverine what advice would
you give to a current student to achieve
a career in foreign policy such as
You already made the first important
Being at a University of Michigan student.
And I will say this, in all seriousness,
having on my resume at a young age
University of Michigan was a helpful and
impressive credential, even when I had
no experience in anything else.
I can only tell you how I did it, for
whoever is asking me that question, and
there's no one way you can do it.
But what I -- over the course of the
years I had the opportunity to work very
closely with the university in other
For many years I was a board member of
the Michigan and Washington program,
which is the university's semester in
Washington program where a cohort of 25
to 30 students will to ... full semester
coursework while interning, working in
the institutional government, none of
profit NGO, in Washington, DC.
For those of you who might be interested
in a career in waisht highly recommend
that program you can still carry a full
class load and you can have a very
interesting career experience that opens
doors for you later.
So I'm no longer on the board of that.
I had to resign when I took this
But the professor from the political
science department now leads that
We have a -- the university has a
permanent team in Washington, DC.
So that's an option.
But I mentor, all of us who are on the
board mentored Michigan students who
came through and gave them career
My number one piece of career advice for
any student who is getting ready to
purchase sigh career in Washington is
move to Washington.
You can't phone it in.
There is a land of constant opportunity.
Jobs are opening and jobs are being
filled on a constant basis, but being
there is half of it.
You have to take a chance.
But chances are if you're a student at
this university, you have a friend or a
former roommate or a classmate who has
got an apartment, who has got an open
You can get out there and you can knock
Second is ask people for help.
All of us, myself included, somebody
helped give us a leg up in our careers.
When I went out to Washington, DC, I
knocked on doors, some people were kind
enough to sit down, spend a little bit
of time with me, and they did it because
there's a lot of interest in helping
young people and it's a great spirit in
Washington but they also did it in many
cases because that's what someone did
for them when they got their start.
And so they're willing to do it as I'm
willing to do it, as I have done over
many, many years with other students as
well but with a particular bias towards
University of Michigan students.
I guess that's how I got my start.
I started out on Capitol Hill.
And I know the Congress is the subject
of a lot of derision.
I know that the political stalemate and
the caustic nature of our politics takes
some of the shine off of it.
It is a great place to start your
You will find that you can match up with
a member of Congress or senator whose
policies you support, whose issues you
can be passionate about, and it's a
great upwardly mobile place.
Virtually everyone who starts here I
don't know care what your degree,
everyone starts as a staff assistant, a
phone answerer, a secretary, but the
advancement is fast because there's
constant turnover as young people are
moving to other jobs, other
opportunities, grad school and oh on.
It was a great place for me to start and
that worked for me.
But there's other great ways to start
Of course, the sphorn service exam for
those of you who are interested in
international relations, take the
foreign service exam.
It's the doorway into our professional
And by the way, it's a start to a
tremendous career opportunity,
particularly for young people to see a
lot of the world and to work on behalf
of their country.
So I commend that to you as well.
I'm not going to go on too much more
with that, but you have a lot of great
reseizures sources in the university --
resources in the university.
My search started at the career planning
I looked at the public service
We didn't have the Michigan in
Washington seminar program when I was a
student here, but it's a tremendous
resource for the student body now.
You have a lot of options.
Just have to go out and find them.
Sir, given the public nature of the
ongoing negotiations and difficult
problems, implications across the U.S.
interagency team, can you expand on your
role, especially unique role how it
interacts with its national security
experts broader U.S. government.
The national security council plays a
hugely important role in this, in any
foreign policy issue.
It is the location where all the views
of the agencies are consolidated and
synthesize into what want you hopes is a
coherent policy, and so we have a
process inside the national security
council that I attend on behalf of the
department of state at times usually
with the deputy Secretary of State.
For those of you who are a little bit
more informed of the ways of Washington,
you know that the MSC actually is a
stratified organization. It has the
principles, which is a national security
adviser, the Secretary of State,
secretary defense, CIA director.
It's got to departments which are the
number 2ness each of those agencies and
it's got a whole set of foreign policy
professionals in different rairchtionz
assistant scerts, deputy assistant
secretaries, et cetera.
So it's a layer dollars process and
ultimately at the top is the national
security council, and really the
national security council is not the MSC
National security council is the
president of the United States with his
or her national security team
surrounding them to discuss issues.
So that process brings all those views
from all those agencies in, and my
issue, the issue I work on cuts cross
eye lot of parts of of the federal
North Korea touches on economics and
trade and sanctions, treasury
department, Congress department are
deeply involved in North Korea policy.
Of course the Department of Defense, all
of the attendant issues related to
If presence of U.S. troops the in Korean
peninsula to our deterrent on the Korean
We have a lot of parts of the department
of state hav to come to the table
through our deputy secretary John
Sullivan or myself at these meetings.
Then, of course, you of the NFC staff
which is comprised of a lot of
Not surprisingly, there are differences
There People have different responsibilities.
They have different experiences.
They have different points of view.
And the goal of the NFC is to coherently
forge that into a set of policies that
can be recommended to the president of
the United States.
On its a push and a pull.
I talked about my issue and the issue
I've been asked to serve, North Korea,
as one that has a lot of push because
the president has set out what he wants
What we're trying to do is how to
succeed in the plam terrace of the
president how they play out for North
. Of This can be consent shus.
It has been across administrations. You
have people here in this room with me
who, like me, have served at these
levels of government and have
participated in that process.
Obviously, it should be easy.
These are heady issues.
These are important issues.
We want to hear a wide set of points of
I think it serves the president, serves
the country to have those all vetted.
And our North Korea policy, I think we
have a strong policy and I think we're
serving the president very well.
Now, given the timing of the -- of
the Vietnam summit and considering the
fact that not long afterwards North
Korea began to test more short-range
missiles, what effect have those actions
by the North Koreans had on our most
recent educational with them?
-- our most recent educational dealings with them?
So our view is that the most
important thing we can do in North Korea
is to set aside any vestiges of hostel
behavior and engage in the kind of
diplomacy that's going to be necessary
to build a stronger understanding and a
address the full range of the threats
and risk on the Korean panes law.
In recent weeks and recent months there
has been a lot of talk about short range
ballistic missiles by a of the North
Korean test, but this is against a
backdrop of a system that's also tested
intermediate range ballistic missiles,
intercontinental ballistic missiles,
that is clearly in possession of nuclear
ceaps with the demonstrated testing that
has been done a couple of years ago,
that's been reaching nuclear materials
in order to -- raw material in order to
And also it's widely reported to have
chemical and biological weapons
So the threat is there.
The risk is there.
The challenge is to find a way through
diplomacy to resolve it.
And the president has made clear that
the short range ballistic missiles don't
make him heap but it's not going to
disrupt our efforts in order to engage
diplomacy to resolve the very issues
that we're referring to.
So these are the kind of of things,
though, that also challenge the
diplomatic space we have in which we
have to operate weeks expo there's a, and so
there's a whole set of circumstances we
have to manage bilaterally, at home,
domestically in the interaction with
our corporation, with our press, with
our expert community in national
It's a surprise maintain, and --
-- and we're just going to do our very
best to work with it help?
This is the last question from the
As you seek and the administration seeks
transformational change between the
relationship between the U.S. and North
Korea, if you could just speak or expand
on the importance of verification
monitoring and what steps are being
taken in the process to ensure that
actions are enforceable in the final
We haven't gotten to a point in
negotiations where we have discussed in
detail an agreement on verification
But suffice it to say, meaningful and
verifiable steps are going to be
necessary for us to be convince that had
we have made the progress that we need
to make on the elimination of weapons of
It's not going to be easy.
Again, it's going to be another issue
that's going to be challenging for us to
But there's an absolute international
consensus, including our partners in
China and Russia that verification has
to be part of any meaningful steps on
We're going to have to work to figure
out how to do that.
That's something that's going to be an
important part of our negotiation, but
we don't have an agreement yet that
would lead me to the confidence to say
that we can do that.
So just a question about process,
which is often very important for
Could you talk a little bit about your
You've mentioned your team.
Who are they?
And how do you -- what do you do day by
What's sort of the pace of work when
you're dealing with an issue like this,
which is very tight and focused?
Let me take this as an opportunity to
give credit where credit's due.
The president has obviously
entrusted and the Secretary of State has
entrusted in me an important priority in
U.S. national security, but I could not
do this with without a team of
professionals working with me both
inside my organization, inside the
department of state, but also we have a
We really have two teams.
The second one is our negotiating team.
On the first inside the department of
state you have a mixed of foreign
service officers of civil service
experts in their field and also some
people who came from outside, political
appointees in the department, and they
There's a tremendous, tremendously
talented, motivated group of people,
many of them young, and the hours they
work and the commitment they make and
the rewards, financial rewards compared
to my experience in the private sector,
it's just intimidating to see, really
We get -- don't ever lose faith in your
We get the best and the brightest and we
have a bunch of them, and I'm fortunate
to have them on my team working on this
issue on behalf you all, on behalf of
our secretary and our president, on
behalf of our people.
We have a negotiating team that we
We have saw the to draw from the best
resources across the government.
So we have the best gliewpt United
We have the chief scientist of the
department of energy and the University
of Michigan graduate, I found out.
I have two Ohio state Buckeyes on my
Who are tremendous, incidentally.
We have representatives at the
department of treasure.
We have representatives at the
Department of Defense.
And we brought all this to bear in our
discussions with the North Koreans.
We invited them to engage us with the
same level of expertise in the same
breath, and to date I can tell you one
of the frustrations has been that the
North Koreans have not brought the same
level of expertise to the table, and as
a consequence we know a lot more about
some of the things that we're
negotiating with that are in their
country than they have known at the
table, and that makes it challenging
But it's always an honor to serve our
country, and I am deeply grateful to the
president and the Secretary of State for
giving me this opportunity.
For me, it's a return to government.
For those men and women who are
tirelessly working every day, my hat's
off to them.
It is a great great team.
This is wonderful and we greatly
appreciate you sharing all of these
I particularly appreciate the fact that
you have discussed a whole number of
different levels or are forums in which
It occurs working with your team in a
complex interagency process in a set of
relationships with alloys, ultimately
also, of course, with the nowshans North
In a moment I'll ask the audience to
join me in thanking you.
First I want to thank the Weitzer family
again for making possible for the Ford
school to welcome leaders in the
practice of foreign affairs to come to
campus and share insights that we are
sure are very helpful to those of you
who are interested until the topic or
those of you who plan to be
The second is to draw your attention
again, as Dean Michael said at the
outset, to the array of activity we have
coming this fall and beyond.
We have a simple website to remember,
Come visit us in Weill hall.
Come is on see many of the other
interesting events we have from public
forums to student-focused simulations
and workshops and a whole array of other
opportunities that the Weiser diplomacy
center is able to make available for the
University have Michigan community.
And so in a moment we'll start a
reception across the hall, but before we
head over there, can you please Ontario
me in thanking Steve bieng for being