Hearing :: Resolving Crises in East Asia through a New System of Collective Security: the Helsinki Process as a Model


Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe:  U.S. Helsinki Commission

Resolving Crises in East Asia through a New System of Collective Security: 
The Helsinki Process as a Model

Committee Members Present:
Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)

Carl Gershman, 
National Endowment for Democracy

Karin Lee,
Executive Director,
National Committee on North Korea 

Frank Jannuzi, 
Deputy Executive Director,
Amnesty International

The Hearing Was Held From 1:26 To 2:23 p.m. EST 
in SD-106 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., 
Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Chairman, CSCE, Presiding 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C. 
CARDIN:  Let me welcome you all to the Helsinki Commission hearing.  I want to 
apologize for the change in time.  The hearing was originally scheduled to 
start at 2:00.  We’re starting at 1:00 because there will be a briefing today 
on the Iranian sanction agreement and there is tremendous interest that all 
senators be there.  And Secretary Kerry will be making a presentation that I 
feel obligated to be personally present for.  So I want to thank you all for 
adjusting your calendar so that you could be here at 1:00.  I’m going to put my 
full statement in the record but just let me make a few observations to start.  

When the Helsinki process started in 1975, there were many naysayers in the 
United States. They were saying:  How can such a large regional organization be 
effective which only has consensus as a way of making decisions; there are no 
sanctions for failure to comply with the Helsinki commitments; that the Soviet 
Union would use this as propaganda rather than dealing with the real problems 
that their country faces in complying with the commitments that were made in 
1975.  There are others who said:  When you combine human rights with economics 
and hard security issues, human rights will get lost in the equation, and that 
this organization will just be another example of how we deal with hard 
security issues or perhaps some of the trade or economic issues but that human 
rights would not be front and center.  

I think history has proven both of those concerns to be without merit.  Now the 
OSCE, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has become a 
dominant factor, bringing people together to talk about problems and to advance 
causes in all of the member states, particularly on the basket of human rights 
and good governance.  It’s known for that globally.  And there are so many 
organizations that tie into the OSCE because they know they have a friend on 
advancing human rights.  

The U.S. Helsinki Commission has taken leadership on so many different issues, 
from trafficking to anticorruption to the protection of minority communities, 
and we have effectively brought about changes in not just the OSCE member 
regions but throughout the globe.  We have expanded within the OSCE.  We have, 
of course, partners in the OSCE outside of the OSCE region.  I’m particularly 
pleased about the advancement of the OSCE footprint in the Mediterranean.  We 
have partners from Afghanistan to Israel to Jordan to North African countries, 
and we have strengthened the Mediterranean dimension that has brought about 
significant progress.

When I was in Israel many years ago, promoting at the time the OSCME, the 
Organization for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East, I remember 
meeting with then-president Peres and asked whether Israel would be interested 
in joining such a regional group, recognizing that there would be many Arab 
states and just one Jewish state.  His answer to me:  We want any type of 
regional organization that allows us to communicate, because we think talking 
with our neighbors is the best way to work out problems, and that the OSCE has 
been so successful among countries with very different views that that model 
would work well in the Middle East.

So when President Park of South Korea was here in Washington and addressed a 
joint session of Congress and mentioned her support for a regional organization 
for East Asia, it got my attention.  I then traveled to the region and had a 
chance to talk to the leadership of China, Japan and Korea.  All three 
underscored what they thought made good sense for their own interests if there 
was a regional organization similar to the OSCE for East Asia.

The main concern is clearly North Korea today.  Now, that may change a decade 
from now.  We hope it does.  And North Korea is interesting because it’s not 
just the security issues of their nuclear ambitions – and there is unanimity 
among Japan, China and South Korea that they want a nuclear-free Korea 
Peninsula.  They all agree on that.  But it’s also the human rights and 
economic issues within Korea that – North Korea which is problematic.  The 
people there are some of the most oppressed in the world.  And their economic 
prosperity is near the bottom of the global world also, with people literally 
being starved to death.

So having a regional organization modeled after the OSCE or within the OSCE 
that can help dialogue between the countries of East Asia seems to me to be a 
very positive step in trying to resolve some of the long-term conflicts.  And 
of course I could mention China’s most recent activities concerning their air 
security zone, which raises tension.  It seems to me that if there was an OSCE 
for East Asia, that that mechanism could also have been helpful to deal with 
maritime security issues.

So it goes on and on and on, the type of matters that we believe this type of 
process could be very helpful in dealing with these concerns.  So it was for 
that reason that I was very pleased that today’s hearing could take place so we 
can start to establish a record as it relates to whether and how we can move 
forward on this type of proposal for East Asia.  I must tell you my interest is 
a little bit higher today because, in addition to chairing the U.S. Helsinki 
Commission, I also chair the Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific of the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  

I very much welcome the panel of experts that we have here today, all of whom 
have incredible credentials in this area:  Carl Gershman, the president of the 
National Endowment for Democracy, and one of the longstanding supporters and 
advocates for human rights across the globe, and has been a longstanding 
advocate of using our Helsinki process experience in East Asia.  Karin Lee, who 
is the executive director of the National Committee on North Korea.  In that 
capacity she oversees the committee’s work to facilitate engagement between 
citizens of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  
So she has a good deal of experience here.  And Frank Jannuzi, who is the 
deputy executive director of Amnesty International and is a former advisor to 
then-Senator Kerry, and also has experience at the State Department on – 
working on multilateral affairs.

So it’s wonderful to have all three of you here.  And we welcome your 
testimony, but more importantly we welcome your involvement as we try to find 
ways to use the success of the Helsinki process to bring better understanding 
and cooperation in other parts of the world.  And with that, we’ll start with 
Mr. Gershman. 

GERSHMAN:  Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.  And thank you to the Helsinki 
Commission for organizing this hearing at a critical moment in U.S. relations 
with Northeast Asia.  

It was almost eight years ago to the day that I and several others, active on 
human rights in North Korea, joined with policy in Korea affairs specialists to 
form a working group to consider how a comprehensive framework involving 
international security, economic cooperation, human rights and humanitarian aid 
could be developed for the Korean Peninsula and more broadly for Northeast 
Asia.  I’m very happy that Roberta Cohen, who is a member of that working group 
and who co-chairs the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea is with us 

Our decision to form this group followed the agreement reached in the six-party 
talks to explore ways of promoting a common political, economic and security 
agenda linking the two Koreas with China, Russia, Japan and the United States.  
This opened the door to creating a permanent multilateral organization for 
advancing security and cooperation in Northeast Asia, one of the few regions of 
the world without such a mechanism.

Ambassador Jim Goodby of our working group, who had played a key role in 
developing the “basket three” human rights provisions that became part of the 
Helsinki Final Act, drafted the first of several papers that spelled out how 
the negotiations to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and achieve a final 
settlement of the Korean War could evolve into a Helsinki-type process for 
Northeast Asia, leading to the eventual creation of a multilateral and 
multidimensional organization for collective security.  

The effort to encourage such a process had the strong backing of Ban Ki-moon at 
the time.  He was South Korea’s foreign minister, of course now the secretary 
general of the United Nations, who told a major gathering in Helsinki in 2006 – 
a gathering of Asian and European leaders – that – and I quote, “The challenge 
for Northeast Asia is how to draw upon the European experience to build a 
mechanism for multilateral security cooperation.”

Building such a mechanism was the focus of one of the five working groups of 
the six-party talks, but efforts to implement the idea were aborted when the 
talks broke down at the end of 2008.  Since then, international relations in 
Northeast Asia have become much more confrontational.  The region suffers from 
what South Korea’s President Park has called Asia’s paradox, which is an acute 
discrepancy between the region’s dynamic economic growth and interdependence on 
the one hand and the rise of nationalism, conflict and distrust on the other.

Clashes over disputed maritime space in the East China Sea, North Korea’s 
nuclear threat and provocative brinksmanship, intensified military competition 
and historically rooted tensions even between such ostensible allies as Japan 
and South Korea have heightened anxiety over prospects for violent conflict in 
the region.  The situation has just become, of course, even more dangerous with 
China’s unilateral establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone 
overlapping with Japan’s own air defense zone, and encompassing South Korea’s 
Leodo reef as well.  In the words of The Economist, “China has set up a causus 
belli with its neighbors and America for generations to come.”  

Ironically, whereas North Korea’s nuclear program was the catalyst for the 
six-party talks and the possible creation of a system of collective security 
for Northeast Asia, it is now the grave deterioration of the security 
environment in the region itself that could act as such a catalyst.  The crisis 
certainly dramatizes the critical need for such a system, though that is a 
long-term goal while the immediate need is for measures to reduce risk, enhance 
communication through military hotlines and other instruments that might 
prevent miscalculations, and to begin to develop military confidence-building 
measures similar to those negotiated in the CFCE framework.

Nonetheless, it’s not too early to begin thinking about a more comprehensive 
architecture that would provide a forum for regional powers to discuss 
security.  The Economist suggested that such a forum, had it existed in Europe 
in the early part of the last century, might have prevented the outbreak of 
World War I, and that there are disturbing parallels to the situation in 
Northeast Asia today with the Senkaku Islands playing the role of Sarajevo.  

For such a forum to be sustainable and effective, a security dialogue would 
need to be buttressed by a broader program of exchanges and economic 
cooperation.  It has been said that adding a “basket three” human dimension 
would not work for Northeast Asia because the region’s autocracies are well 
aware of the liberalizing consequences of the Helsinki process in Eastern 
Europe and the Soviet Union, but it’s hard to imagine a system of collective 
security working out without more interaction at the societal level and having 
a broader context for negotiations that would make possible tradeoffs that 
might facilitate reaching an agreement.

Northeast Asia may be different from the region encompassed by the Helsinki 
process, but the “Sakharov doctrine” regarding the indivisibility of human 
rights and international security has universal relevance and should not be 
abandoned even if it has to be adapted to the circumstances of the region.

In addition to the incentive provided by the current crisis to explore a new 
system of collective security for Northeast Asia, I want to note two other 
factors that can be helpful.  The first is the vigorous support given to the 
idea by President Park when she addressed the joint session of Congress last 
May, as you have noted, Mr. Chairman.  Her statement has of course now been 
overshadowed by the momentum toward confrontation in South Korea’s declaration 
of an expanded air defense zone partially overlapping China’s and including 
Leodo only adds to this momentum.  

Still, South Korea’s understandable response to China’s over-reaching may help 
to establish the strategic balance needed to negotiate an end to the current 
crisis.  And President Park’s commitment to a system of collective security 
shows that she may want to use this crisis to make the case for a broader 
architecture.  Her capacity to provide leadership at this critical time should 
not be underestimated.  

She demonstrated both toughness and a readiness to negotiate when, after a 
period of heightened tension following North Korea’s nuclear test explosion 
last April, South Korea reached an agreement with the North to reopen the 
Kaesong Industrial Zone.  This experiment in economic cooperation shows the 
potential for President Park’s “trustpolitik” through North Korea’s 
cancellation – though North Korea’s cancelation of family reunions that were 
part of the Kaesong agreement also shows how – how difficult it will be to 
sustain any kind of engagement with Pyongyang.  

Still, her steadiness of purpose is encouraging, as is her desire, as she told 
the Congress last May, to use the trust-building process that she has started 
“beyond the Korean Peninsula to all of Northeast Asia, where,” she said, “we 
must build a mechanism of peace and security.”  That goal would be 
significantly advanced, I think, if she would apply her “trustpolitik” to 
Japan, as well.

The other helpful factor is the potential role of Mongolia.  In a recent paper 
contrasting the challenge of building a collective security system in Europe 
and Asia, the Japanese diplomat Takako Ueta wrote that Northeast Asia – and 
this is a quote – “lacks a neutral country with diplomatic skills and efficient 
conference support comparable to Austria, Finland, Sweden or Switzerland.”  But 
that is not true, because Mongolia is such a country.

Last April, when Mongolia chaired the 7th Ministerial Conference of the 
Community of Democracies, its president, Elbegdorj, announced the Ulaanbaatar 
Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security, an initiative to broaden – I quote – 
“from our Mongolian friends, a dialogue mechanism on security in Northeast Asia 
that will give” – again, quote – “equal consideration of the interest of all 
states and set a long-term goal of building peace and stability in the region.

Mongolia has an unusual geopolitical situation.  Sandwiched between China and 
Russia, it has maintained what President Elbegdorj called neighborly good 
relations with these two big powers, as well as with the other nations in the 
region, which he – which he calls our third neighbor.  It even maintains good 
relations with North Korea, which were not spoiled when President Elbegdorj 
concluded a state visit to the DPRK on October 30th with a speech at Kim 
Il-Sung University in which he said, and I quote, “no tyranny lasts forever, it 
is the desire of the people to live free that is the eternal power.”  He also 
told his North Korean audience that 20 years earlier, Mongolia had declared 
herself a nuclear-free zone, and that it prefers ensuring her security by 
political, diplomatic and economic means.  

Mongolia’s international position is rising.  In addition to chairing the 
Community of Democracies, it recently joined the OSCE – I know it had your 
support in doing so – and may soon become a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic 
Cooperation Organization.  Last September, at the opening of the General 
Assembly in New York, President Elbegdorj was the only head of state invited to 
join President Obama in presiding over a forum of the administration’s Civil 
Society Initiative, that seeks to defend civil society around the world against 
growing government restrictions.

Henry Kissinger, writing about Austria’s chancellor, Bruno Kreisky, observed 
that – and I quote – “one of the asymmetries of history is the lack of 
correspondence between the abilities of some leaders and the power of their 
countries.” President Elbegdorj is such an outsized leader of a small country, 
and the fact that he is now positioning Ulaanbaatar to play the kind of role in 
Northeast Asia that Helsinki once played in Europe could be an important factor 
leading to a system of collective security in Northeast Asia.

The region certainly has its own distinctive characteristics, and Helsinki does 
not offer a readily transferrable cookie-cutter model for East Asia or any 
other region, but as Ambassador Goodby said in one of the papers he wrote for 
our working group, so long as nation-states are the basic building blocks of 
the international system, the behavior of these units within that system is not 
likely to be radically dissimilar.  History suggests that autonomous behavior 
by powerful nations, behavior that ignores the interests of others, sooner or 
later, leads to disaster.  The corollary of this lesson is that some mechanism 
has to be found, be it implicit or explicit, to allow for policy accommodations 
and for self-imposed restraint within a system of nations.  To fail to do so is 
to make a collision almost inevitable.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CARDIN:  Thank you very much for your testimony.

Ms. Lee.

LEE:  Thank you very much, Chairman Cardin.  It’s an honor to appear before you 
today to discuss the Helsinki process as a model for resolving the crisis in 
Northeast Asia.  I have submitted a longer written statement and will now take 
this opportunity to highlight the main points of my written remarks.

I have been the executive director of the National Committee on North Korea 
since February 2006, and my first visit to the DPRK was in 1998, and my most 
recent visit was this part October.  I just wanted to comment that these 
remarks reflect my own views and are not necessarily the views of my 

First, I will reflect on the differences and similarities in the United States 
and Europe in the 1970s and Northeast Asia today, then I will discuss private 
sector or civil society activities in the DPRK.  I will make three key points:  
First, the history of the two regions in the historical moments are very 
different. To implement a Helsinki-like process in Northeast  Asia would take 
considerable U.S. investment.

Second, despite limited government support, productive work is taking place 
inside the DPRK and with North Koreans elsewhere in humanitarian, education and 
medical fields.  The United States can contribute to these efforts by delinking 
security policy from what the Helsinki Process called Basket 3 activities and 
streamlining its visa process.  Finally, exchanges on topics of genuine 
regional interest may contribute to a foundation for regional problem-solving.

The final act asserts that states will respect each other’s sovereign equality 
and individuality, as well as all the rights inherent in and encompassed by its 
sovereignty.  Nevertheless, the Helsinki Process is sometimes credited with 
contributing to the changes that later swept through Eastern Europe.  The OSCE 
is best known today for its current work on human rights and democratization.  
Therefore, the DPRK would likely look at a Helsinki Process for Northeast Asia 
as a Trojan horse, synonymous with a covert strategy for regime change.

Yet, the Helsinki Final Act as it was originally conceived, a process aiming to 
increase regional stability by addressing the most salient interests of the 
opposing forces, may have merit for Northeast Asia.  However, attention must be 
paid to creating an environment where such a process would be possible.

In my written testimony, I highlighted seven points of comparison between 1970s 
Europe and Northeast Asia today.  Now, I will address just one issue, 
willingness to compromise.  As the – as the commissioners know, the Helsinki 
Process began with a proposal from the USSR to finalize post-World War II 
boundaries and guarantee territorial integrity.  Neither the U.S. nor its 
allies were eager to set boundaries; however, the West was willing to 
negotiate, because the dialogue included topics that were in its own interest.

In order to apply a Helsinki-like process to East Asia, the mechanism will need 
to bring everybody’s concerns to the table.  The U.S. and its partners in the 
region need to re-examine the incentives that have been offered to the DPRK in 
exchange for denuclearization.

I will now turn to people-to-people exchanges.  Whereas the U.S. had a glowing 
array of private contacts and exchanges with the Soviet Union throughout most 
of the Cold War, such connections with the DPRK have been slow to develop.  
After North Korea issued its first appeal for international assistance to 
respond to the 1990s famine, humanitarian aid expanded rapidly.  After the 
famine, a handful of U.S. and other NGOs remained active in the DPRK, 
developing agricultural, medical and capacity-building programs.  There is now 
an impressive number of Western actors in the DPRK, as shown by the engaged 
DPRK mapping initiative.  This web-based tool demonstrates the range of private 
sector activities that have taken place in North Korea over the last 18 years.  

While not comprehensive, the online map lists over 1,000 discrete projects 
carried out by 480 organizations coming from 29 different countries.  Here are 
just a few examples:  World Visions’  Community Development Project in 
Dochi-Ri, a community of 12,000, is building water systems and providing solar 
energy for schools, clinics and local residents’ homes.

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology is the first private 
university in the DPRK.  It currently has 400 graduates and 110 graduate 
students and plans to expand enrollment in 2000 (sic).  All of its teachers are 
foreign.  The majority of the teachers are from the United States.

The University of British Columbia Knowledge Partnership Program brings North 
Korean university professors to UBC for a six-month study program on topics 
such as modern economic theory, finance, trade and business practices.  Such 
projects help build relationships between the DPRK and the West.  The 
nongovernmental sector also engages with North Koreans on security matters in 
Track 2 and Track 1.5 dialogue.  This dialogue at times makes important 
contributions to official diplomacy.

The most fundamental way the U.S. could support people-to-people diplomacy is 
the issuance of visas for North Koreans to visit the United States.  The 
Helsinki Final Act declared that progress in one area was delinked from 
progress in other areas.  However, for most of the last two decades U.S. policy 
has been to approve visas as an incentive or reward to the DPRK while denying 
them to signal U.S. displeasure.

Cultural exchanges provide a good example of the sharp contrast between U.S. 
policy toward the Soviet Union and toward the DPRK.  The visit of the New York 
Philharmonic to Pyongyang in 2008 was very successful and widely broadcast 
throughout the DPRK.  Musicians and organizations in both countries hope to 
arrange a reciprocal visit by a North Korean orchestra to the United States, 
but U.S. visas for such a visit have never been issued.

Another area for growth may be science diplomacy and regional programming on a 
range of humanitarian environmental issues such as disaster and preparedness 
for public health – or public health.  The Mt. Paektu Changbai Shan volcano, 
which straddles the Chinese-North Korean border, provides a useful example.  
Mt. Paektu is considered to be the most dangerous volcano in China.  Recent 
monitoring has shown signs of worrying activity.  Planning future eruption 
scenarios requires gathering and sharing data across political borders.  
Comprehensive information sharing is necessary to plan a robust response to any 
volcanic activity.

In 2011, the American Association for the Advancement of Science began a 
scientific collaboration project with the DPRK on Mt Paektu seismic activity.  
But this is a rare example.  The DPRK is not a member of regional networks.  
Institutionalizing North Korean participation in regional and bilateral 
research would improve disaster preparedness while also strengthening regional 

Another particularly beneficial area for scientific exchange could be medical 
consortiums.  Medical cooperation in Northeast Asia is weak and the DPRK is not 
included in relevant existing medical networks, yet regional collaboration on 
infections disease benefits citizens of all countries.  Tuberculosis may be of 
interest to Northeast Asia.  Only Sub-Saharan Africa has higher reported TB 
rates than the DPRK.  Integration into regional health networks would build 
upon this strong in-country work of the WHO, the Global Fund and U.S. 
organizations such as the Eugene Bell Foundation, Christian Friends of Korea 
and Stanford University.

NGO activities in the DPRK are addressing unmet humanitarian needs that 
contribute to the exchange of values and ideas.  Cultural and educational 
exchanges add to the effectiveness of these ongoing efforts.  Such activities, 
including regional networks, should be encouraged for the immediate practical 
benefits they can bring.  This could begin to establish a pattern of 
cooperative regional behavior for the future.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to testify today, and I look forward to 
your questions.

CARDIN:  Thank you very much for your testimony.

Mr. Jannuzi?

JANNUZI:  Thank you, Senator Cardin.  It’s my pleasure to be here today.  Two 
previous witnesses have covered some of what I had intended to cover, so I 
will, with your permission, summarize my remarks and really get right to the 

CARDIN:  Thank you.  And all of your full statements will be made part of the 

JANNUZI:  Thank you, Senator. 

Senator, discussing North Korea and how to effect changes there really requires 
us to think about the theory of change that we’re operating under.  And there 
are those who believe that denuclearization of North Korea is the key which 
unlocks the box which holds all of the other changes on human rights, economic 
policies, regional integration, and peace and security on the peninsula.  I 
believe that that belief is misguided and false.  It is unrealistic to expect 
North Korea to denuclearize first and integrate and make peace with its 

Second, this doesn’t mean that the international community, in its efforts to 
engage North Korea, must somehow reward bad behavior, appease North Korea or 
lift sanctions on North Korea that have been in place by the international 
community and the United States because of North Korea’s misconduct, but it 
does mean that the hope of denuclearization, to me, rests as part of a process 
that changes fundamentally the strategic environment within which North Korea 
makes decisions about its future, and changing that environment is what the 
Helsinki process for North Korea could offer.

Now, the recent leadership change in North Korea has put it back on the front 
pages, but to me this only underscores the realization that North Korea’s 
challenge to us is, in fact, multidimensional.  We would not be having the same 
concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program if its human rights record were 
not what it is.  And that human rights record, let me say on behalf of Amnesty 
International, is of course appalling.

Recent satellite imagery analysis done by Amnesty International has confirmed 
the continuing investments in North Korea’s architecture of repression:  the 
gulags which house perhaps 100,000 North Korea citizens, including men, women 
and children, without hope of parole or a life after prison.  The gulags are 
not fading and disappearing.  In fact, our recent analysis shows that they 
continue to be enlarged in some cases and modernized.  It is against this 
backdrop of unbelievable human suffering in gulags, as well as severe 
restrictions across every other human right – freedom of speech, freedom of 
association, freedom of movement – that the North Korean issue must be 

There is no longer any doubt about the severity of the human rights challenges 
in North Korea.  And in fact, the U.N. has established a commission of inquiry 
examining it, which will report to the U.N. next spring.  But neither is there 
any doubt about the nuclear dimension of the problem.  We all know what it is.  
North Korea is producing fissile material.  They have tested at least three 
nuclear devices.  They continue to work on long-range missiles.

Over the course of six visits to North Korea, I’ve had the privilege at one 
point of visiting the Yongbyong nuclear complex and seeing some of the 
plutonium product that they had produced as a result of reprocessing spent fuel 
from the Yongbyong nuclear reactor.  This problem, like North Korea’s human 
rights problem, is only getting worse as time goes by.

Now, for the better part of 30 years the United States has attempted to address 
this challenge by persuading North Korea to abandon its pursuit of nuclear 
weapons, with very disappointing results.  Most of the attempts to change North 
Korea’s trajectory have been focused on that narrow goal of denuclearization.  
And even those like the agreed framework – which, as my colleagues have pointed 
out, included an explicit basket designed to get at the other regional 
dimensions of the problem – still frontloaded the nuclear issue and left 
everything else to be sort of the kinds of things that would be addressed when 
time was available later, once the North had demonstrated the sincerity of 
their commitment to denuclearization.  

But I think the critics of engagement of North Korea have at least one thing 
right:  North Korea is not sincere about denuclearization yet, and to expect 
them to make the so-called strategic choice to denuclearization in the current 
environment of a Korea divided and at war, and a nation under sanction, a 
nation isolated without hope of a better future for its people through economic 
engagement, through educational exchanges and scientific exchanges and other 
forms of integration is unrealistic.

So we need to shape the playing field.  How to do it?  It’s time for the United 
States to lead decisively.  The United States must create the conditions that 
existed at the time the Helsinki process was launched.  It’s important you, 
Senator, understand, the members of the commission understand, that the 
Helsinki process did not precede détente.  In fact, the original openings for 
arms control and engagement with the Soviet Union had already been made by the 
time the Helsinki process was launched.  But the Helsinki process was the 
critical expansion of the pathways of engagement that enabled what began as an 
arms control initiative really to take on strategic significance.

In the case of North Korea, the United States needs to reach out, at a senior 
level, whether it’s privately or publicly – it’s a matter of tactics – but to 
communicate the fact that a new day is dawning with respect to how the United 
States intends to work with its partners in the region, and indeed to engage 
North Korea, to bring about a change in the strategic environment.  

The Helsinki approach would begin with a modest agenda, not the complete, 
irreversible denuclearization – although, to be clear, that has to be part of 
the end goal.  You know, for the United States to abandon that would be folly 
of the highest order.  It’s a question of how we get there from here.  You 
know, engagement would have to be given time to work.  A change doesn’t happen 
overnight, but there are signs of change in North Korea, change that we ought 
to be encouraging rather than ignoring.

The alternatives to a Helsinki-style process don’t offer us a quicker solution 
to the problem.  I mean, this is one of the fundamental things that I’ve come 
to realize over a career of 25 years dealing with this problem.  You know, the 
folks who say, well, first we’ve got to solve the nuclear problem and we don’t 
have time to wait for engagement to yield the fruits of engagement in terms of 
a change of North Korea attitudes.  If we had just started this process 25 
years ago we would be in a different place now.  And there’s no reason to 
believe that the North is going to change without outside and internal stimuli.

So let’s be candid:  The United States has to lead.  The strategic patience 
approach of the United States is not one that is likely to bring about change 
in the coming years.  The good news is that there are many willing partners of 
the United States.  As you mentioned, Senator, every other country in the 
region is crying out for U.S. multilateral engagement with North Korea.  And 
our core strategic ally in the region, South Korea, President Park – with 
respect to the situation in North Korea, the core ally – has put forward a 
Seoul process, “trustpolitik” initiative, which to me should be the root of 
this Helsinki-style form of engagement.

Is any of this politically feasible in the United States?  Where is the 
constituency for such an initiative?  Well, look, I’ve been advising members of 
the Senate for 15 years in my prior life.  There is – there are very few people 
in this town clamoring for President Obama to jumpstart diplomacy with North 
Korea, but the fact is that the American people may be more receptive to such 
an initiative than the members of congress generally believe.  

The recent polling data on Iran is a case in point.  Despite all of the 
mistrust which characterizes U.S.-Iran relations and the nuclear outreach that 
the administration has launched, by a 2-to-1 margin the American people support 
striking a deal with Iran even if that deal might eventually require sanctions 
relief and even if the results of that deal might not yield the complete 
elimination of Iran’s nuclear program as a near-term result.

Now, I know from first-hand experience that there exists a constituency for 
reform inside North Korea.  I have met with them at the Academy of Science, at 
the universities, in the agriculture field, in the trade field.  But they have 
been marginalized, undercut by years of failed nuclear diplomacy and heightened 
military tension.  

So I think, Senator, it’s time to be bold.  It’s time for the United States to 
set the stage for a Helsinki-style multilateral, multidimensional engagement 
process, one that would absolutely need to include the voices of countries like 
Mongolia and Singapore and Australia and New Zealand, countries that 
participated in the last attempt at anything like a strategic engagement, which 
was the agreed framework of 1994.  Those countries were all a part of it to one 
degree or another.  They should be brought back into the process.  

This process won’t offer a quick fix, but one of the things that Amnesty 
International believes and that I believe is that the principal beneficiaries 
of such a process in the near term will be the North Korean people.  They will 
be among the first to see meaningful benefits.  And a policy that therefore 
puts the people of North Korea before the plutonium of North Korea can yield 
results for both.  

Thank you, Senator.  I look forward to your questions.

CARDIN:  Well, thank you for your testimony.  And I agree with your conclusion 
that we have to be bold.  

The six-party talks as it relates to North Korea was viewed as a one-issue 
effort to deal with nuclear ambitions of North Korea and aimed at one country:  
North Korea.  The establishment of a regional organization is a much broader 
aspect:  not one country, not one issue.  

Ms. Lee, you mentioned that it would – could be perceived by North Korea as a 
“Trojan Horse” for regime change.  I think that looking at this from a broader 
perspective, there’s an argument that can be successfully made to counter those 

Mr. Gershman, you talk about it being viewed as liberalization of policies in 
autocratic countries.  Once again, I think looking at it from a broader 
perspective, that argument can be successfully overcome in the countries that 
may have those concerns.  

The success of Helsinki was first trust.  There is a lack of trust among the 
various players here.  They believed each other’s countries’ intentions were 
not honorable.  I’ve witnessed that firsthand in my visit to China and their 
view of U.S. intentions.  And the Helsinki process helps establish trust by 
consensus.  You can’t get anything accomplished other than through consensus.  
We thought that would be a weakness and it ended up being the strength of the 
Helsinki process.

Secondly, the principles are universal principles.  They’re not Western 
principles.  And I think that’s a key ingredient of the success of the Helsinki 

And then, third, diverse membership.  When you look at Northeast Asia or look 
at East Asia, and you look at the countries that would be asked to participate 
in a regional organization, you look at Russia and the United States and China 
and North Korea, I don’t think there would be anyone accusing us of stacking 
the deck in a consensus organization.  

And lastly, by way of example, we’ve had our problems in the United Nations.  
No question about it.  The United Nations has a unique structure with the 
Permanent Council and the five members, but it has brought greater consensus 
when decisions are made.  

So I just would like to get your assessment as to how realistic it is to get 
the major players to invest in a regional organization for Asia that – 
concentrating on Northeast Asia we may go a little bit beyond that – whether 
this is a doable task or whether the concerns of “Trojan Horses” and 
liberalizations are too difficult to overcome.  

GERSHMAN:  I think if you have the local parties negotiating this, they will 
shape something that is acceptable to the local countries.  And even today, you 
know, with the Kaesong agreement there’s a process underway there and it 
involves the beginning of, you know, its economic activity, but there’s also 
human contact that is taking place there.  

So the human contact that was encouraged in part of the Helsinki process is 
already part of this, and it has to be.  There’s no way in the world that – in 
the interconnected world that we live in today that you can dispense with this 
dimension.  I think it’s terribly unfortunate that North Korea cancelled the 
family visits.  But, you know, I believe that President Park is determined and 
these visits will eventually, I hope, continue.

The one thing I think we have to remember which is different about this process 
than Helsinki was that back in the time of Helsinki the Soviet Union wanted an 
agreement to formalize the borders from World War II.  That was, in my view, 
their main incentive in wanting the Helsinki agreement.  And as I understand it 
– and I welcome your own views; they may be different – that what we wanted as 
part of that was a “basket three.”  And I don’t see that kind of tradeoff in 
the process today.

What I do see as the major incentive in the process today is this – the new 
security situation, which is extremely dangerous.  I would not get obsessed 
about North Korea as we think about how to carry this process forward, because 
I think that the much more immediate and dangerous problem is what China has 
done in expanding its Air Defense Identification Zone, which is extremely 
dangerous.  I mean, it could lead to the shooting down of civilian airliners.  
And a way has to be found to avoid miscalculations, to avoid these kind of 
horrible events to take place.  And I think it makes the case as graphically as 
anything could that you need a system for anticipating problems and resolving 

Now, that doesn’t address the kind of issues that Frank was talking about with 
North Korea, but I do think that in a way that is now on a separate track with 
the process that has been started with the Kaesong agreement, which I think is 
quite significant, even though it’s run into some real difficulties with North 
Korea.  And I think these processes have to move simultaneously.  And in both 
processes, I think ultimately you’re going to need to have a way to connect the 
societies in addition to having the militaries talk to each other and the 
governments talk to each other.  And I think that’s possible because it in my 
view, serves the interest of everyone in a globalized world.

CARDIN:  Ms. Lee, I’m going to give you a chance to respond.  First let me 
acknowledge that we have here today Ambassador Robert King, the State 
Department special envoy for human rights in North Korea.  He’s also a former 
staff director of the House Foreign Affairs Committee under the leadership of 
my dear friend Tom Lantos, who we miss these days.  It’s a pleasure to have 
Ambassador King in the room.

Ms. Lee, I want you to respond to the question, but I want to just focus on one 
part of your testimony where you talk about people-to-people and the importance 
of people-to-people.  And you give many examples where the United States has 
been difficult in facilitating the people-to-people exchange.  And it seems to 
me, from North Korea’s point of view, participation in a regional organization 
that includes the United States with its defined principles that encourage 
people-to-people would make those types of arrangements a lot easier to 
accommodate and could be a major point for North Korea’s interest in such a 
regional organization.

LEE:  Thank you very much.  

I would say, on the issue of visas, I do think it would be of great benefit to 
rationalize that process.  In general, it’s possible to get visas – for North 
Koreans to get visas to visit the United States on humanitarian issues, and 
some – on some educational issues.  But anything that strays beyond very 
limited range of topics can be very problematic at times of tension.  And so 
when Frank mentioned earlier that the big package of the agreed framework was 
never realized, one of the things that was never realized was normalization of 
relations, or the kind of exchanges that we really would have wanted to see, 
with North Koreans being able to come over on a regular basis.

And I wanted to comment a little bit on your question of, is there any hope?  
One of the big benefits of the four-party process and the six-party process was 
constant communication among the parties.  And when we talk about the 
escalation of threats and danger in the region today, I believe it’s because 
that kind of regional dialogue isn’t taking place.  I don’t believe in the 
dismissive phrase “talking for talking’s sake.”  I actually believe that those 
conversations kept relations moving on a much more even keel.  

And in that regard I would say that the actual topic in some ways is less 
important than the actual process.  And in that regard, I’m really intrigued by 
the statement you made in your opening comments that North Korea might be the 
focus now but it might not be the focus 10 years from now.  That kind of 
perspective to me really opens the door for much more creative thinking on how 
to move a regional process forward.  

CARDIN:  Oh, absolutely.  Depending of course on member countries, we would 
expect that there would be a variety of reasons beyond one country for creating 
this type of regional organization.

Mr. Jannuzi, you mentioned being bold.  Ms. Lee said it would take considerable 
U.S. investment to get this going.  Is this possible, and how much effort will 
it take?

JANNUZI:  Senator, the United States is a great power.  It’s capable of doing 
many things simultaneously.  We have talented diplomatic personnel like 
Ambassador King, who I believe, frankly, we’re not making the most use of at 
the moment.  And it’s not because they’re uninterested or haven’t shown 
initiative.  It’s because it really requires, at the end of the day, a decision 
from the top to take some political risks in order to see whether there will be 
a reward.

That risk calculation is a political decision far above my pay grade, always 
has been, but I think the key thing is to appreciate that the strategic 
patience approach also entails risks.  The escalating risk of violence in the 
region is manifest.  North Korea’s conduct is not improving.  Other regional 
problems that could be successfully mitigated through a Helsinki-style 
engagement process are in fact growing more acute.  So we shouldn’t assess the 
level of investment required against a zero sum.  You know, we need to 
appreciate that what we’re doing right now entails a cost.  

And finally, I would just say that the beauty of a Helsinki-style engagement is 
that the foundation on which it’s based is one of sovereignty and equality 
among sovereign states.  Now, that may be something that sticks in the craw of 
a lot of us when we think about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but 
I think that those who have engaged successfully in diplomacy with North Korea 
have done so on the basis of a certain level of respect.  

I briefed President Carter prior to his 1994 mission to Pyongyang, and I’ll 
never forget that at the end of that briefing he turned to those of us at the 
State Department at the time – and we had spent all day briefing him and 
Rosalynn Carter about the realities of North Korea since he had left the 
presidency.  And he turned to us and he says – he says, now, none of you have 
told me what I need to know.  And I hung my head along with everyone else in 
the room – Robert Gallucci and others.  He says, I need to know, what does Kim 
Il-sung want?  And again I kind of looked under the table and tried to look for 
the answer that might be buried there.  And finally President Carter said to 
all of us, he says, I’ll tell you what Kim Il-sung wants.  He wants my respect, 
and I’m going to give it to him.  

Now, at the core, solving this problem requires a certain suspension of 
disbelief and an engagement with North Korea as a sovereign nation, which means 
that it’s not just their human rights record which will be on the table.  
They’ll be allowed to raise human rights concerns that they have about the 
misconduct of the Japan during the colonial era.  The United States may be able 
to raise concerns that we have with China about the treatment of North Korea 
refugees on Chinese soil.

You know, this dialogue is not a one-way street where all of the concessions 
and all of the change has to happen in one direction.  But that also holds the 
key to why it may be attractive to even a state, you know, such as in the 
circumstances of North Korea, because it gives them a sovereign opportunity to 
raise the concerns they have.

CARDIN:  All right, let me give you three options and get your view as to which 
option you think would be the most fruitful to pursue.  

One option could be to build on the partner status that we have for countries 
that are not in the OSCE but under the umbrella of the OSCE to try to assist 
and help understand what is happening within the OSCE in their own bilateral 
and regional contacts.  There are a lot of organizations in which that could be 
used that currently exist, but not creating any new organization but simply 
using the current available opportunities to get more partners in the region.

The second option could be to build within the OSCE a regional organization for 
Asia, East Asia or Northeast Asia, that could build on the principles of OSCE 
with modifications as the region believes are necessary but not reinventing the 
principles of Helsinki. 

And the third is to create a separate regional organization patterned after 
Helsinki, which would require, of course, the member states to agree on the 
principles that they would abide by and the structure of the organization, 
which may be similar to OSCE but there’s no assurance until after negotiations 
take place.

Do you have a preference as to which of those three options the United States 
should invest its energy in?

JANNUZI:  Senator, if I might, for North Korea their assessment of the end 
goals of such a regional process will be affected by how it come into being and 
their own assessment of what the goals and purposes and outcomes were of the 
Helsinki process.  

And so I guess the one caveat I would have about – or the one concern I would 
have about building a special regional organization under the auspices of the 
OSCE directly is that we all know today that the Soviet Union no longer exists. 
 Now, that wasn’t the objective of the Helsinki process but it may very well be 
viewed as sort of the necessary outcome of such a process by some in North 

I think having a tutoring, mentoring, skills-sharing process – the first option 
that you outlined – as the beginning is the place to start, because there’s 
great questioning going on right now in Pyongyang about how they attempt to 
improve their – their international situation, which is pretty dire, and 
educating and sharing what the process might look like would be the first step 
in getting them to buy in.  And then I think you could decide later about 
whether, ultimately, it’s a structure that is an outgrowth of the OSCE or a new 
standalone sui generis novel idea.

I’m an incrementalist at heart, and I kind of am frightened by the notion of 
having to stand up something brand new.  We have three years of negotiations 
about that process rather than replicating what’s already working someplace 
else.  So I think that there’s a lot of reasons to favor your sort of a hybrid 
of that first option that you suggested, and then possibly, you know, see what 
becomes possible afterwards.
CARDIN:  Good diplomatic answer.  Ms. Lee?
LEE:  I very much appreciate what Frank has said and would endorse it.  And I 
would just add something that  Gershman said in his opening testimony, which is 
that the Northeast Asia peace and security working group, established as part 
of the six-party talks, they created a set of guiding principles for a regional 
structure, and that was based, in large part, on the Helsinki process.
So the DPRK – all six parties agreed to that process.  So that idea is already 
out there.  You mentioned it yourself in your testimony.  Unfortunately, when 
that negotiation process broke down, that idea, that concept, those 
conversations went into hibernation, but I think they could be brought back.
GERSHMAN:  I think there’s an awful lot of advice – sharing of experience that 
can be transferred from the Helsinki process to what’s going on today in 
Northeast Asia, especially in the area of military confidence-building 
measures, to look at exactly what was done in the Helsinki process and – as a 
basis for what might be done in Northeast Asia today.  And so there can be a 
lot of those kinds of contacts, but everything I’ve – you know, all the 
discussions that I’ve had with people in the region and what I’ve read is that 
there’s a strong feeling that Northeast Asia is different.  And I think we 
should start with that basis.
And I really think we should see what our Mongolian friends have started there 
as an opportunity.  And maybe if the U.S. got behind it – Mongolia is a small 
country; it was not part of the six-party talks, but it’s strategically placed. 
 It’s very appropriate in the region to start a process.  That’s what they want 
to do.  And it needs, I think, a little bit of buy-in from higher levels.  And 
I think if the U.S., maybe in cooperation with its allies in the region, Japan 
and Korea, maybe starting a discussion with China which is, you know, neighbor 
of Mongolia to try to begin to encourage this idea because you now have the 
potential for a regular forum.  It doesn’t have to be the only one, but I think 
that, to me, is a more creative way to go, because it sort of recognizes the 
distinctiveness of the region and leaves them in charge of where this is going 
and not making it part of a structure which is largely seen as a trans-Atlantic 
structure, even though it reaches to other regions.
CARDIN:  I think your reference to Mongolia several times is very interesting.  
Of course, Mongolia, a member of the OSCE – full membership moving towards 
democracy has a working relationship with North Korea.  All that’s a positive 
to try to pattern their involvement in what has worked. I would also observe in 
regards to the concerns on liberalization that I think China has recognized the 
need for reform.  I mean, they understand that.  They understand their future 
is very much dependent upon becoming more respectful with regard to 
internationally-recognized basic rights.  And they’re moving in that direction; 
they’ve made tremendous progress, and they still have so far to go.
So I think that there are some steps that have been taken in that regard.  Now, 
Mr. Jannuzi, you mentioned the fact that they’ll look at the demise of the 
Soviet Union into 10 separate countries as a concern – or seven, depending on 
how we define the Baltics, but no one is suggesting that North Korea will 
become smaller states.  It’s a little bit different circumstance.
JANNUZI:  It is indeed.
CARDIN:  And so I’m not sure that that analogy is exactly of concern, but you 
do raise a question for me, and that is, what do we do about working with 
Russia?  In all my conversations with the players from the region, they 
acknowledged that Russia needs to be part of a regional organization for it to 
be successful in that region, and that Russia, of course, does have the direct 
experience of its involvement within OSCE.
I think I disagree with your assessment about Russia’s initial involvement.  I 
was not around at the time, but it was brought out to us that Russia wanted to 
get international recognition for their democratic reforms at the time, that 
they were open, and they thought that they were – that they complied with the 
Helsinki commitments and wanted the legitimacy of international recognition.
But I understand that there may be different motives today.  So I would welcome 
your thoughts as to the politics for Russia being willing to join this type of 
a framework within Northeast Asia, recognizing, of course, the six-party talks 
and the working group.
GERSHMAN:  Well, it was part of the six-party talks, and I think to exclude it 
now would almost be seen as excluding –
CARDIN:  And I’m not suggest that.
GERSHMAN:  No, I know – but still, I think Russia – with all the problems we 
have with Russia, they want to be recognized as part of a process.  I think 
it’s Russia – and this is my own personal view, Mr. Chairman.  I think it’s a 
very vulnerable power today for demographic reasons and for many other reasons. 
 And what’s happening with Ukraine today is a serious crisis for Russia, where 
clearly the people of Ukraine want Europe.  They don’t want to be part of the 
customs union.  But still, I think Russia therefore, probably because it has a 
lot of vulnerabilities, a lot of problems, would welcome being part of this.  
And when they were part of the six-party talks, they actually chaired the 
Northeast Asia peace and security mechanism working group.
And everything I could tell – I was not part of those negotiations, but the 
views that Americans had of the way they were behaving within the six-party 
process was very positive.  They played a constructive role. Maybe it’s because 
of the way their interests weren’t engaged here as they were, maybe, on their 
Western side or in the Middle East. But I think they should be a part of the 
process, but, you know, it’s going to be a large process.  It’s going to be a 
large process, and obviously, the main drivers of this process today are going 
to be, you know, China, North Korea and Japan along with the United States, and 
– but I see no problem with having Russia part of this process.
LEE:  If I could just add something, I would say that the DPRK has no concern 
about being broken into constituent parts, but it does have some concern about 
being absorbed by the south, and that’s why the recognition of sovereignty is 
so important.
CARDIN:  But on that point, aren’t they better being a full member of a 
regional organization that requires consensus than sitting out there sort of 
LEE:  Absolutely – absolutely – but it’s the question of, what’s the ultimate 
goal?  And the unfortunate thing is that conversations about human rights have 
been coupled with conversations about regime change in the past, and that has 
two problems.  One, they can improve human rights without changing their 
government, and two, it gives them an excuse not to talk about human rights.  
So, I absolutely agree with you; being part of a regional structure that 
recognizes their sovereignty actually diminishes the fear that this process is 
being used to make them disappear.
 JANNUZI:  And Senator, to your point – and I agree with both of my panelists 
here – I think Russia can and will want to participate in such a process.  And 
I think one of the great advantages for the United States is that we’ve got 
human rights concerns about Russia.  Amnesty International – I was proud to 
testify before your other committee – the Foreign Relations Committee a couple 
of months ago about the concerns that Amnesty International has expressed about 
the crackdown on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and especially LGBT 
rights in Russia right now.
Wouldn’t it be great to have another forum at which the international community 
could raise some of these issues in a spirit of regional cooperation and 
integration – not in one which is designed to be punitive or overthrow 
governments, but would really affect the opportunity for the United States and 
other players to express some of those concerns.  Russia’s human rights record 
right now leaves, you know, to say the least, much to be desired.
 CARDIN:  You’re not going to get any argument from me on that one.  Mr. 
 GERSHMAN:  Chairman, I just also want to add another element to this 
discussion.  You know, we’re focused very, very much on inter-government 
relations.  And the assumption here is that somehow, recognizing North Korea as 
an independent and sovereign state would somehow reinforce the system.  Well, 
you know, East Germany was recognized as an independent and sovereign state, 
and what good did it do when revolutions took place?
And North Korea – this is just the objective facts.  It’s in a very vulnerable 
position, being next door to a very, very successful Korean society.  Andrei 
Lankov has talked about this over and over again.  And, you know, just simply 
the process of breaking down isolation – simply the process of breaking down 
isolation in the economic sphere, in the information sphere in all these 
different ways is going to open the North Korean people up to what’s happening 
in the outside world and what’s happening in South Korea.  I think, frankly, 
this is a major factor here that accounts for what’s happened in Burma when 
they realized how far behind they were lagging.
So I have no problem with, you know, recognizing them as a sovereign part of 
these talks and so forth.  I think the underlying processes are ultimately 
going to change North Korea, because it’s in a – it’s in a hopeless position, 
being a neighbor to a successful Korean society and being a failed society 
CARDIN:  Well, I agree with you completely.  With or without a Helsinki 
process, with or without Helsinki, the realities are that if a country cannot 
adjust to the economic reality of its region, its political realities and 
security realities, its future is not going to be very bright.  That has been 
true in Europe; it’ll be true in Asia with or without a Helsinki process.  The 
globe is getting smaller.  People see what’s happening with their neighbors, 
and they demand a future for their families, and that’s going to happen on the 
Korean peninsula.  It’s going to happen in China, and changes are going to 
happen with or without Helsinki.  The advantage of Helsinki is that you have an 
orderly process where your sovereignty is recognized and you have an equal 
status at the table and you have a chance to not only improve, but to express 
your concerns about what’s happening among your neighbors.  Yes?
JANNUZI:  Senator, I just wanted to jump in because what you’ve just said is so 
important and worth underscoring.
CARDIN:  Well then, jump in.  (Laughter.)
JANNUZI:  North Korea, in its present configuration, with its present policies, 
with its present international circumstances, is not on a good trajectory, and 
I’m convinced that the leadership of North Korea, and more and more, the people 
of North Korea, know that.  And really, the question is not whether there will 
be change.  And by change – by – you know, I’m not talking about regime 
collapse or – necessarily, and there are many different scenarios under which 
change can happen.  But the point is that every day that goes by without a 
Helsinki-style engagement process is a lost day to the international community 
in trying to promote and bring about those changes.
It will happen much quicker, in a much more stable way, with greater 
transparency and with greater – with lesser risk of miscalculation and 
violence, with more cohesion and with less risk of great power 
misunderstandings, about the future trajectory of the Korean peninsula if it 
handles within the context of this process.
I sat down with Senator Kerry in March of 2012 in New York along with Henry 
Kissinger and Jim Steinberg and Ri Yong-ho from North Korea and Volker Rühe, 
the former German defense minister during the time of re-unification of 
Germany.  We had a multilateral Track II conference in New York a year and a 
half ago, and the one thing I can assure you is, the North Koreans are not 
lacking in confidence.  They understand that a process such as this would open 
them up to certain kinds of risks.  But they’re not imaging they’re going to 
come out of the end of it as the loser, necessarily.  They’ve got their own 
ideas about the superiority of their own system vis-à-vis the south ultimately.
I mean, it may seem strange for us, sitting here – you know, those of us who 
have been to both places to imagine that that could be true.  But I can assure 
you that the reason why this process, to me, is not a nonstarter in Pyongyang 
is because they can imagine a future in which they realize what they call 
“Juche,” which is being masters of their own fate.  And they don’t believe that 
this process, necessarily, is contrary to that.  I think – I agree completely 
with what’s been said, which is that we should be maximizing – the 
international community should be maximizing – the international community 
should be maximizing its opportunities to help shape the direction.
 CARDIN:  We’ve spent a lot of time today talking about North Korea and a 
regional organization.  We’ve talked a little bit about security issues with 
the maritime security challenges and that potential blowing up – the comparison 
to World War I is certainly frightening but real.  Absolutely, there could be 
an incident that could mushroom out of control, and it’s something that is of 
great concern to the United States and to all of the countries.
We could be talking about environmental challenges, which are tremendous in 
that region; real security issues particularly with the coastal areas but also 
with the air quality, and particularly in China but in other countries as well. 
 But we could be talking about two of our closest allies, the Republic and 
Korea and Japan, and their frosty relationships and the need to have a dialogue 
organization so that they can, hopefully once and for all, resolve their past 
differences and be able to move forward as close allies.  

I mean, there are so many underlining issues here that go well beyond just 
North Korea, which is certainly getting the headlines today, or the maritime 
issue, which is certainly getting headlines today.  So, yeah, I think we do 
somewhat of a disservice if we don’t make this a much broader initiative.  And 
that’s why I used the comparison originally to the six-party talks.  And I 
understand the dialogue came out of that and North Korea has been the focal 
point of it, but it seems to me from the U.S. perspective and from the regional 
perspective there’s a much broader agenda here.

Final comments.

GERSHMAN:  Well, I’d like to use what you just said as a way of making one 
additional point.  

In October I was in Korea for the launch of something called the Asia Democracy 
Network, which brings together the democracy actors from the entire Asia 
region, and then there will be subregional networks part of it.  And it brings 
together cross-regional networks dealing with the very issues you’re talking 
about:  the environment, transparency, conflict resolution and so forth.  And 
there will be a Northeast Asia democracy forum established out of this.

So I think as we speak about the Helsinki process and the intergovernmental 
system, we should not overlook the nongovernmental dimension of this, which I 
think is much, much stronger today than it was in 1975.  There are just many 
more hundreds, thousands of NGOs.  They have a lot of influence.  They are able 
to encourage and influence the policies of governments.  And it’s even 
beginning to develop in China.  So I think we should keep this dimension of the 
scene in Asia very much on our minds.  Thank you.

LEE:  First, I want to thank you again for the opportunity to testify today, 
and to say I was really impressed by Frank’s optimistic testimony when he said, 
yes, we can do it, and we can put all the energy into it and we can make all 
this happen, because I’m a real incrementalist and I was thinking more in terms 
of promoting some of these regional civil society networks and ensuring that 
the kind of exchanges on issues of regional importance that people – countries 
participate out of their own self-interest and not because they’re trying to 
contribute to some greater cause.  

These really can build a foundation, and that it’s an excellent thing when the 
OSCE member countries can be engaged in those kinds of efforts and just bring 
in the experience of regional relationship building.  And I mentioned only two 
topics, but there’s a number of topics out there, and just to build support and 
the idea for this, it falls short of the vision of the process that you’ve 
raised today, but it can start immediately.  And so support for those kinds of 
efforts to me is something we can work on this afternoon.

CARDIN:  Good. 

JANNUZI:  And, Senator, I also want to thank you for this opportunity to 
appear.  And it’s true what Karin says.  I’ve never been accused of being a 
pessimist.  My brother is a physicist out in the University of Arizona, and 
when I talk with him about optimism and pessimism he always points out to me, 
he says:  Frank, you know, you see the glass is half full.  I know that the 
glass is always full completely, half of water and half of air.  And we have to 
view Northeast Asia today as a place not of just peril but of incredible 
opportunity and possibility.

In terms of what can be accomplished, when you’re starting from a low point 
where two of your treaty allies can barely talk to one another, where one of 
them – Japan – has territorial disputes with three of its major neighbors – 
Russia, China and South Korea – where human rights inside one of the member 
states of the region – North Korea – are at a nadir and at a point that is 
arguably one of the most horrific human rights conditions on the planet, you’ve 
got nowhere to go but up.

And this process offers us opportunities to yield early harvest, especially if 
the advice that Ms. Lee has offered is followed and we begin where we can, and 
then by showing the possibility of such engagement we draw more and more 
political support to this process, which I think ultimately is an inevitable 
one and a necessary one to bring peace and security to Northeast Asia.

CARDIN:  Thank you.  And I appreciate you mentioning NGOs.  They’re a critical 
partner of the Helsinki process.  And we would clearly want any initiative for 
a regional organization to partner and build with the NGO community.  

And I might just say, our annual meeting this year of the Parliamentary 
Assembly is in Azerbaijan and our participation is very much contingent upon 
NGOs having complete access, including from Armenia.  And we’re going to make 
sure that that is done if – with U.S. participation.  So it’s a very important 
point and I appreciate you mentioning that.

I think this discussion has been very, very helpful.  I fully understand the 
challenges of getting any type of regional agreements in Northeast Asia.  I 
also understand the stakes are very high.  And I think your comment about the 
start of World War I is a reminder that these somewhat regional issues can 
mushroom into very difficult international circumstances.  The shipping lanes 
are critically important.  They air lanes are critically important to 
international commerce.  So there is a direct interest of the globe in what’s 
happening in Northeast Asia today.  

And of course the threat of nuclear proliferation is an issue of global 
interest, and the environmental issues go well beyond just the region.  So 
these are issues that affect all of us.  And of course the United States, being 
a Pacific country and being a country that has always been interested in Asia, 
now with the rebalance that President Obama has talked about it’s a good 
opportunity for us to exercise greater leadership to develop more permanent 
ways that we can resolve issues among the countries of the region to strengthen 
each country and to make the region a stronger region for security, for 
economics and for human rights and good governance.

And that’s our objective and that’s why we are looking at this.  And we very 
much appreciate the regional leaders who have come forward with suggestions, 
including in the six-party talks.  And we intend to follow this up in the 
Helsinki Commission and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  And we very 
much appreciate your participation here today.  Thank you all.

With that, the committee will stand adjourned.  (Sounds gavel.)

[Whereupon, at 2:23 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]