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- 연구원소식 - JPI PeaceTalk
JPI PeaceTalk
Subject JPI PeaceTalk with Shivshankar MENON, Chairman, Advisory Board Institute of Chinese Studies, India
Author JPI  (admin)
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2018-11-29 오후 7:27:26

 

 






Q1. Could you briefly introduce yourself to JejuTube viewers?
 

 


I'm Shivshankar Menon. I used to work for the government of India. I was the National Security Advisor and before that, I was the Foreign Secretary. I'm now a professor and I am also the distinguished fellow at Brookings in the US. Now actually, after 42 years of government, I am now doing what I enjoy most which is teaching.

 

Q2. What are the geo-economic implications of the notion of the “Indo-Pacific” region, recently advanced and promoted by the United States? Could you please discuss the possibilities for concretization and expansion of the economic cooperation in the region ranging from the Pacific Ocean to the Persian Gulf, as actively encouraged by the US and Japan within the framework of the Indo-Pacific Strategy? In particular, what are the geo-economic implications of the economic interests and diplomatic leverage in security relations that the Indo-Pacific initiative may offer to potential participants in their pursuit of common strategic goals?

 

Well, I think it's an interesting concept because it's based on a geographical fact which is that the seas are really one. If you look at the world map, the world from Antarctica, you will see that the Indian Ocean, the seas near China, the inert seas and the Pacific. They're really all linked actually, and this is what makes them so important to commerce. The water is the cheapest form of transport and, as the center of world's economy and politics, has come to this region. I think naturally people now think of it as one region because it's interconnected. You can't say it is just one bit or the other. So this is why I think the idea of the Indo-Pacific. Actually if you look at it in practice, Japan has been talking about economic integration across this region for a very long time, from Prime Minister Kishi (Nobusuke) in 1956.

 

India has been following the Look East policy since 1992, which now this government calls Act East and has been stressing. Because today for India, for instance, most of our trade now goes East. When we started reforms in 1991, more than half went west through Suez. Now most of it goes through Malacca, South China Sea to the east coast of the US to Japan, Korea, China, and Korea is a huge partner now. So it's a logical concept. There's an economic basis, some economic basis. That certainly is a geographic fact. Will it become more geographical fact? That's more complicated because when you look at the kinds of issues, security issues, political issues. They are very different between the Indian Ocean, the seas near China, and the Western Pacific. The Western Pacific is still primarily the US league. The US has overwhelming preponderance. The Indian Ocean is an open geography. Even in history, nobody has ever managed to control all ten of the choke points around the Ocean at the same time, even the Royal Navy at the height of the British Empire, whereas the seas near China are really closed seas. So this is why over history the Indian Ocean has never been a great battleground because it's such an open ocean and it's always been an area of trade and interchange of cultural mingling. That's not true of the Sea of China and so as I said, the security situation is very different.

 

Countries, I think, worry about keeping all this open for trade. Keeping the sea lanes free and keeping them secure. And that's something, that's one reason why I think you see these concepts. But if you look at the amount of money and efforts they're actually putting into it, it's difficult to see. There's no institution to actually deal with it as one geopolitical space. So my summary would be that. Yes, it's a geographical fact. There's a huge degree of economic integration going on across this region. But that's true since the 80s when global supply chains first started being formed. And geopolitically, let's see, I have an open mind about how far this will become one geopolitical region.

 

Q3. Building conditions for peace in the Korean peninsula have been in full swing since the inauguration of the Moon Jae-in administration. With North Korea’s participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics serving as the momentum for two Panmunjom inter-Korean Summits, North Korea-China Summit and US-North Korea Summit, the North has been pushing forward for negotiations with the US to exchange its denuclearization for regime security guarantee. Now appears to be a timely moment for the larger, more powerful neighbors – such as the US, China, Japan, and Russia - to put in a “concerted effort” in close coordination with South Korea in order to contribute to the denuclearization of North Korea and tension reduction on the Korean Peninsula. What do you think is the most important roles that they should play?

 

I think the world was watching with admiration what President Moon has done in the last few months both to avert worse outcomes, because I think there seemed to be a real threat of war that the crisis are piling up. And to begin a process of discussion of denuclearization of lowering tensions or improving the situation on the peninsula. I think that's remarkable because it was very important for the rest of us. We know, I mean it's true, that Korea has paid the biggest price for war in the past but it also affected the rest of the continent and it's very important to the rest of Asia as well. And a crisis in the Korean peninsula would affect everybody's prospects. And especially now when if you look at the world situation, the world economy could be doing better. World politics is complicated enough today, so it is the last thing anyone needs. So I think frankly the world has really looked with admiration and we in India are very, very happy. We, for all of us, I think it's important that the denuclearization as a goal be maintained and that we make progress to it.

 

It's not going to happen tomorrow and it's not a very easy goal to aim at. Especially because we have the experience of Libya and other countries which make it more complex. But anything we can do in the meantime while working towards that goal to try and lessen tensions, improve cooperation and improve mutual stakes in peace is frankly welcome for all of us. Because of Korea's position, because of Korea's importance to the world economy and especially to the Asian economy, and because the spillover effects would be so great, I think, on everything that we take for granted you know, the free open trading system and on freedom of navigation security of the sea lanes, etc., etc. I mean there's whole list of reasons.

 

For India, therefore, it's very important. For us right now our primary task is to transform India. It's to improve India's own condition. For this, we need an enabling external environment and that environment must include a peaceful Asia, not just a peaceful South Asia, but the Indian Ocean and the Indo-Pacific. And therefore what happens in Korea affects us directly, quite apart from the fact that Korea is the neighbor of our biggest neighbor China. But it's also something that worries us if things were to go out of control. So President Moon, therefore, is really quite a hero in India today because of this. But I think we would do whatever we could to help this process that you have begun in Korea and to see you take it forward. If there's anything we could do, we certainly will. As you know, India was involved in the past and in the 50s and the early 50s during the Korean War before, after, during, but we have to see. We'd be happy to contribute in any way that Korea would want us to contribute.

 

Q4. Korean peninsula is on the precipice of ‘thinking the unthinkable’ geopolitical game. In the game of pushing back against each other, many experts seem to be quite skeptical about the possibility that Trump and KIM Jung Un can resolve one of the world’s most intractable geopolitical conflicts. Some went so far as to say a best-case scenario would be the preservation of the status quo. But the goal is clear: denuclearization of Korean peninsula. No matter how tenuous a hope for peace may be, we need to seize this opportunity. Watching and analyzing how this geopolitical game unfolds will be our utmost concern. What is your assessment of the major achievements of the recent summit meetings? How do you evaluate the future prospects for the inter-Korean and US-DPRK relations, not to mention China-DPRK relations?
 

 

Well, I take a broader view of not just inter-Korean relation but also the relations between the parties in Northeast Asia. Because for me frankly the denuclearization is the hardest thing to do. At this time I personally find it difficult to conceive of a simple pathway to denuclearization. But, secondly, and I'm not sure that the status quo is stable either or acceptable to everybody to all the parties. I'm not sure that this kind of insecurity that we saw happen last year for instance and the kinds of tension and concern and worry that we had. I don't think that's good for any of us. I don't think it serves anybody's interest to see that. So if the status quo is not acceptable and the final goal of denuclearization is hard, that does not mean there isn't a whole set of things in between that we can do, including confidence-building measures, including building economic stakes across the border, including working with each other to lessen tension and crisis management steps. And there's a whole series of things that could be done both on the peninsula but also between all the parties concerned because this is not something that concerns not just immediate neighbors, not just China, Japan, Russia. The US, of course, is a participant.

 

But it would also concern the entire region how you do that. So I think the world would be ready to help the process in any way but the ultimate ownership of the process has to be Korea. And it has to be by Korea that decides which way to go, what speed, what kinds of things to do first, what to do later. And I think that's very important because the worst outcome from my point of view would be for the process to break down and for everybody to then revert to, okay, let me do what I have to protect myself. And that's not a sustainable situation where you have maybe one or two nuclear weapon states and the others are not. I mean the kind of insecurity that would generate. So you need to progress towards denuclearization in the meantime. You need to do a whole range of other things on the economics, on the security side, and also avoid the worst case outcomes, I think. And that I think is doable. So that's a very long answer to say that I'm really optimistic because, as I said, I take a longer view if you look at where Korea was in 1953 and where Korea has come today, I think you've already proved that you know statecraft, that you know the economics, that you can handle the most complicated issues on earth, some of the most complicated issues on earth, and so I'm fairly confident. 

 


Q5. Under the substantial progress of the denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula after the series of the summit meetings, many people assume that the multilateral security regime for East Asia is still an effective policy measure. What would be an effective way of constructing a multilateral security regime for Korea that includes super power countries such as the US, China, Japan, and Russia?

 

You know that if you look at nuclear security regimes, some of it is objective, of course. I mean there has to be some balance of forces on which it's based, and balance means it can't be too much asymmetry. You know it can't be just one side has all the weapons and the other side has none. And there has to be some balance, some realistic basis. But more than that, the rest of it is subjective. Deterrence works because other person believes it works. It's not only, you know, “do you have the weapons” or, he must believe that he has the capabilities to use them and the will and so on. So part of it is the objective part is one part of it. But whether extended deterrence - US extended deterrence- is credible today, tomorrow, the day after is as credible as it was before, these are subjective issues that frankly can be only decided among the leaders themselves. For me the ideal goal until you reach the denuclearization is to have a credible system of deterrence in place for the region. It cannot be only two Koreas. It has to include the region as a whole, and that is not so easy to do. I'm not saying it's easy but it's worth trying for because the process of trying it means that you're also assuring security for all those who might affect security on the Korean peninsula. You can't just draw a line and say, “Okay we'll settle it here and we'll have some form of credible deterrence here,” but we forget the rest of the world, because it's going to have effects outside as well. So I think you need to tackle both and the goal should really be, until the denuclearization, a credible regional system of deterrence which guarantees the peace. Within that you can look at all the elements, you know, whether it's extended deterrence, US extended deterrence, whether it's South Korea's position, Japan etc., China's nuclear program, etc.

 

Q6. The confrontation between two major powers, the US and China, has aggravated regional peace and security. How do you evaluate the current status of the US-China relationship and its influence in Asia, in particular in terms of the evolving of China’s “Belt and Road Initiatives” and US-proposed “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” strategy?

 

Well, in one sense, both Belt and Road and the US free and open Indo-Pacific are saying the same thing: that this is all one area and that the Chinese are starting from economic end of the program, building connectivity railways, ports, roads infrastructure, etc. The US is looking at it from the security end of the problem, saying, keep it free and open, secure the sea lanes and looking it as it is. So in a sense, they are both saying that this area is critical to their security and their economic future and their geopolitics. And they are both willing to make the investments. Of course, Chinese are making much bigger investment and the US, I think, committed about 1.5 billion dollars over five years to enhance her presence in the area, in the Indo-Pacific. But that's not much actually by these standards. Look at the size of the region. But both are saying the same thing that this region is now critical to their future. Now how will they deal with it? I think in the last few years we've seen China-US contention getting much sharper whether we look whether it's the South China Sea and whether it's on trade issue. But they've also worked together on some issues. They do cooperate on the Korean nuclear issue for instance. They did cooperate to a greater extent in the last few years and they did before. Maybe not ideal, maybe we want more, but still the movement is in the right direction, because they are both codependent. I mean if you look at their economically joined heads, they're like Siamese twins almost. They depend on each other economically, both China on the US and the US on China.

 

So there's a basis there where, to me, it seems that the relationship will continue to include both contention and cooperation. And neither of them is going to be a hundred percent either contention or cooperation. Problem is that the balance between them is shifting and today the balance seems to be shifting in favor of more contention. And that's the worrying part for the rest of us, because the rest of Asia doesn't want to have to choose between them, and we don't want them to actually vitiated the atmosphere to destroy this environment within which we have prospered.

If you look at the last 30 years, the greatest beneficiaries of this, what ultra-globalization I think Krugman called it this morning, are really in this region. It's really Asia, which has done the best out of it. So, I think that's the real worry. Where do I think it will go? I assume that people are rational, I must. Because if they're not rational, then frankly, no amount of logical analysis would work. If you assume they're rational, then surely the logic of cooperation of co-dependents of avoiding crisis and war and conflict should work. But it's going to be complicated getting there because of domestic politics in both China and the US. In both countries as a form of nationalism, almost ultra-nationalism, which I think has grown with success in the past which will have to be dealt with. But that's a domestic political issue that they have to deal with themselves.

 

Q7. How will multilateral talks such as the Jeju Forum contribute to promoting peace better? What direction do you think the Jeju Forum should take in the future?

 

Well, I think Jeju Forum is very important because it gives everybody a voice and a place to say what they think and to exchange ideas. And that's very important because especially the great powers hear this: you know Edward Luttwak used to say that great powers suffer from great power autism.  In other words, lack of sensitivity to work. They are so engrossed in their own world and in their own interest that they don't understand how it affects the rest of world, and they're not sensitive in that sense. Places like the Jeju Forum is really where we can actually talk these issues out in public among ourselves and where you get enough opportunity to hear a whole range of views not just from the great powers, but from middle powers and everybody. And that, I think, is its greatest benefit that it helps us all to actually think through these issues and come to better conclusions and to understand why international cooperation is so important, why the normal give and take bargaining and the negotiating that goes with diplomacy is so important. And I think it's clear that what the Jeju Forum has done over the last few years is really quite remarkable in terms of building opinion to support what Korea's doing.
 

 

Q8. Any last words to JejuTube viewers?

 


Well, all the very best and I do hope you continue to be as successful as you have been in the last decades.