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JPI PeaceTalk
Subject JPI PeaceTalk with Malcolm Turnbull, Former Prime Minister of Australia
Author JPI  (admin)
  Malcolm Turnbull.JPG  (92KByte)
2019-08-09 오전 9:31:31


Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull discussed a range of new issues and new regional arrangements for dealing with emerging issues. New awareness about the global risk of climate change is one example—he said that it is just as existential as nuclear conflict, but the difficulty that of climate change is in persuading people today about the risks that are going to come in years hence. An additional issue facing countries today, Prime Minister Turnbull said, is that leaders today have grown up in the core concepts of the Cold War. He believes this is a big mistake, because it means focus solely on the superpowers and the China-US relationship. What he set out to do as prime minister of Australia, he said, was ensure that the middle-sized powers worked more closely together and directly. With Korea, Prime Minister thinks Australia and Korea have so much in common, including political values and cultural values, and there is space for further cooperation, such as in green energy. Prime Minister Turnbull emphasized the importance of regional and global cooperation to ensure the rule of law across issue areas. This connects to his definition of peace: when people are able to live together with respect and in harmony. One way to do that, he prescribes, is through regular dialogue.


Q1. It was once believed that the nuclear weapons eventually put an end to human race. Today there has been other growing threats such as climate change, fine dust pollution that are called ‘global risk’. People’s awareness, however, hasn’t really kept up with the emergence of these non-traditional threats. You had expressed grave concern over North Korea’s ICBM tests and shown support for climate change policies.Your thinking on and perception of threats have quickly evolved to reflect the rise of new threats. What explains the agility in your thinking?

I think the threat from climate change, for example, is existential, just as is the threat from nuclear conflict. The difference is it’s a long-term threat. It’s a little bit like the frog that’s in the saucepan—it thinks the water is warm, it’s quite pleasant, and then before too long he discovers that it’s boiling and he’s dead. The difficulty that we face with climate change as an issue is persuading people today about the risks that are going to come in years hence. I think the argument as an exercise in political advocacy is becoming easier to this extent, in that younger people are much better informed about the science of climate change and we’re also starting to see greater frequency of droughts, greater frequency of storms, so many of the consequences of higher global temperature that has been predicted.


Q2. What is the meaning of peace to you? What is the biggest threat to peace and security in your opinion?

Peace is when people are able to live together with respect and in harmony. Respecting each other’s’ rights to lead their lives as they see fit, not hindering or restricting the freedom of others. Now, the regrettable thing is that in so many parts of the world, where people from different backgrounds and races and ethnicities were able to live together in relative harmony over many centuries, are no longer able to do that today. The Middle East used to be a much more multi-religious, multicultural part of the world than it is today. If you look at the plight of the Christians in Iraq—these are communities that are as old as Christianity itself. They’re really no longer tenable because they’re caught between the Shia and Sunni anvil. It’s extraordinary that at a time of such advanced technology, yet we’re unable to live as harmoniously as we were hundreds or thousands of years ago. In terms of the challenge of peace in this region, the critical thing is to maintain the rule of law. To ensure that the strong are not able to do as they will. To ensure that medium-sized nations are able to pursue their own destiny, according to their rights.


Q3. The Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper introduced during your term of office has received wide attention. The Paper devotes a good part to the rise of China. How do you think US allies like Australia and Korea should respond to the increasing schism between US and China?

I think our job is firstly to stand our ground on maintaining the rule of law, and to encourage where there are differences between China and the United States—on trade, for example, to encourage them to settle them. I’ve done that directly myself in discussions with President Trump and with President Xi. I think in terms of trade, it’s a mistake to look at trade simply in terms of whether there is a surplus or whether there is a deficit. As I said once in a meeting with President Trump and Prime Minister Abe, Australia has a trade deficit with the United States, and we have a trade surplus with Japan. We don’t think the deficit is unfair and Japan doesn’t think our surplus is unfair. The important thing is to ensure the playing field is level, so there is fairness in trade. That’s why the Trans-Pacific Partnership is so important. Prime Minister Abe and I have worked to keep that deal alive after President Trump pulled out, and we did. I hope sometime in the future Korea will decide to join it.


Q4. What’s the significance of the Indo-Pacific region? What role do China and Korea are to play in the Indo-Pacific initiative?

The addition of the word “Indo” to “Pacific” was simply meant to ensure that when we talk about the Asia-Pacific that we don’t overlook the Indian subcontinent. India, of course, Pakistan, Sri Lanka—they’re connected in every conceivable way—historically, culturally, economically, strategically. The key concept is that we have all grown up—my generation—in the core concepts of the Cold War. It’s very easy to look at China and the US through Cold War glasses. But it’s a big mistake. It’s also very easy to focus solely on the superpowers. What I set out to do as prime minister of Australia was ensure that the middle-sized powers worked more closely together and directly. I went to considerable lengths to promote stronger ties with Japan, with Indonesia, as well as all the other countries in our region. With Korea, I think Australia and Korea have so much in common: political values, cultural values, very large Korean community in Australia. We are the most successful multicultural society in the world. But I don’t think Korea and Australia do much together. I think there’s more to do. From the perspective of Seoul, you’re focused on Beijing and Tokyo and Washington. But it’s important to look further afield.


Q5. The relationship between Korea and Australia has been amicable without having remarkable conflicts. How can Korea and Australia work together to improve their relations even better?

Dialogue is very important—things like this forum. Cooperation in science and research is important, and that is increasing. Korea has made green hydrogen a priority, and there is a big opportunity for green hydrogen in Australia. We have extraordinary solar resources in Australia. So, Australia will become a renewable energy giant if it chooses to, because of its geography and the ability to these big solar and wind plants. We’re getting into a world where you’re going to have more zero-marginal cost generation. Electricity that has no marginal cost to produce. What that’s going to mean is that at different times of the day, electricity will be very cheap.


Q6. What kind of role do you think think-tanks can play in dealing with climate change or the North Korean nuclear issue?

Think tanks—any organization that is able to provide informed debate and insight into the issues—play a very valuable role. We’re in a crazy media environment now. The mainstream media companies have seen their economic models threatened if not wrecked by Google, Facebook, and other online platforms. At the same time, social media has atomized audiences, so that people increasingly are vulnerable to lies and “fake news” as Donald Trump calls it. It’s more important for there to be more quality insight, more rational and informed voices in the public debate. Because of social media, the think tanks, universities, and anyone with a considered view are able to get their views across at a much lower cost than they used to. This is very important—getting those voices out there. The other thing is that 5G is going to be one of the big enabling technologies of our time. There’s a lot of concern about the fact that there’s really only four complete full servers in the world, located in China and Scandinavia. There’s a big opportunity for Samsung—and I know it’s moving rapidly in this area—to become the fifth vendor of 5G telecommunication services. That is a really important initiative on the part of Samsung, and it would be really well received in the West.


Q7. What do you think security dialogues like Jeju Forum can do in the future?

It’s important for people to talk, to get a better understanding of what’s at stake and getting a better understanding of getting the perceptions of our different parties. One of our great problems is that we spend so much time listening to voices that confirm our own predispositions and not paying attention to other sides of the debate—and being able to empathize with them. Forums like this are valuable.