Conference of the International Luxembourg Forum "Nuclear Strategies and Strategic Stability". Geneva, June 11-12, 2018
- Press conference
- Press conference
President of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe Dr. Viatcheslav Kantor: “The Global Situation is Becoming Increasingly Fraught, Threatening and Hard to Predict”
GENEVA, June 11, 2018 // The Nuclear Strategies and Strategic Stability conference, organized by the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe opened in Geneva on June 11, 2018.
Leading experts in nuclear security, arms reduction and nuclear non-proliferation - renowned scientists, historians, political analysts, physicists and engineers from Russia, the United States and other countries, are coming together to discuss the most important and pressing issues of strategic and regional stability.
Luxembourg Forum experts are particularly focused on the dynamics of the strategic relationship between Russia and the United States, arms control, global nuclear weapons proliferation and its consequences for strategic stability, and the two leading nuclear powers’ plans to upgrade their arsenals.
“We have witnessed a heightening of tensions between Russia, the United States and China, and an increase in military confrontation and rivalry in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the western part of the Pacific Ocean and in the Arctic. The general trend in the political and military affairs that fall within the Luxembourg Forum's remit is such that the situation is becoming increasingly fraught, threatening and hard to predict,” thinks Dr. Viatcheslav Kantor, President of the Luxembourg Forum.
Dr. Kantor pointed out that nuclear weapons controls continue to weaken and the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles is in jeopardy, as Russia and the United States do not appear likely to settle their mutual grievances. Such crucial treaties and agreements as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, agreements on plutonium and the safety and security of nuclear weapons and materials are at a prolonged standstill.
“The strategic arms limitations talks are still on hold, which is unprecedented in almost fifty years. Today, the prospects for a new agreement between Russia and the United States are non-existent. Even a five-year extension of the Prague START Agreement, which is due to expire in 2021, is not being seriously discussed,” added Dr. Kantor.
The conference put special focus on North Korea and Iran, which have recently fueled a new round of international strife.
“It is virtually impossible to predict right now what the prospects for a settlement of the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula will look like following contacts between U.S., South Korean, and Japanese leaders. All that can be done for now is to contemplate various scenarios, which we must examine at this conference,” said the President of the Luxembourg Forum.
“If the Iranian deal breaks down following decisions by the U.S. administration, it would take Iran only a couple of years to build a nuclear warhead for its missiles. Therefore, it would be advisable for the U.S. leadership to soften its policy on the Iranian nuclear deal so as to protect the agreement from the threat of implosion.”
Among other issues, Conference attendees paid special attention to nuclear security and threats of nuclear terrorism, as well as the global security impact of regional situations in China, India, Pakistan, Europe and the Middle East.
Luxembourg Forum experts expressed major concerns regarding the increasing probability of catastrophic nuclear terrorism and the general situation marked by discord and rising animosity in society at large, which is playing into the hands of ultra-leftist, ultra-right and terrorist movements, which, in turn, increases the threat of terror attacks.
The results of the Conference will be summarized in a final declaration in which the Luxembourg Forum experts will set forth their proposals and recommendations addressed to key nuclear organizations and the leaders of major countries on strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and nuclear security.
The event was attended by leading international experts in nuclear security, disarmament and non-proliferation, including Viatcheslav Kantor, Luxembourg Forum President; William Perry, Professor at Stanford University, former US Secretary of Defense, Member of the Supervisory Board of the International Luxembourg Forum; Roald Sagdeev, Member of the Supervisory Board of the International Luxembourg Forum, Professor at the University of Maryland; Director Emeritus, Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Academician, RAS; Yury Nazarkin, Professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, former Representative of the USSR at the Conference on Disarmament, Head of the Soviet delegation at the USSR-US Nuclear and Space Talks (START-1), Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation; Stephen Flanagan,Senior Political Scientist (RAND Corporation Washington),former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Defense Policy and Strategy at the National Security Council Staff (U.S.); Brad Roberts,Director of the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Vladimir Dvorkin,Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the International Luxembourg Forum, Principal Researcher at the Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), former Director of the 4th Central Scientific Research Institute, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation; Tariq Rauf,Consulting Advisor for Policy and Outreach, Office of Executive Secretary, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO); Principal, Global Nuclear Solutions.
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The International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophewas established pursuant to a decision of the International Conference on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, held in Luxembourg on May 24-25, 2007. It is one of the major non-governmental organizations bringing together leading international experts in non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, arms reduction and limitation.
The Forum’s priorities are:
• To facilitate the process of arms limitation and reduction and counteract growing threats to the nuclear non-proliferation regime and erosion of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), including the escalating danger of nuclear terrorism and attempts by certain states to gain access to nuclear materials and technologies;
•To promote international peace and security through new approaches and to provide decision-makers with practical solutions to critical issues of non-proliferation and arms control.
In 2018, the Luxembourg Forum celebrated its 10th anniversary. Since its inception ten years ago, the Luxembourg Forum has held 26 conferences, seminars and workshops in Moscow, Washington, D.C., Luxembourg, Berlin, Rome, Vienna, Paris, Prague, Geneva, Warsaw, Stockholm and other cities.
Conference of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe
Nuclear Strategies and Strategic Stability
(June 11-12, 2018, Grand Hôtel Kempinski Genève, Quai du Mont-Blanc 19, 1201 Genève Switzerland)
June 11 (Monday)
10:00 – 11:00
Opening of the Conference (Ballroom B)
VladimirDvorkin, Chairman of the Organizing Committee, International Luxembourg Forum, Professor (Russia).
Viatcheslav Kantor, President of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, Ph.D. (Russia).
William Perry, Professor at the Stanford University, Member of the Supervisory Board of the International Luxembourg Forum (USA).
Roald Sagdeev,Distinguished Professor of the Department of Physics at the University of Maryland, Member of the Supervisory Board of the International Luxembourg Forum (Russia/USA).
Andrew Weiss, James Family Chair and Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (USA).
11:00 – 12:30
First session(Ballroom B)
The Russia-US Strategic Dynamics I(Russian and U.S. nuclear modernization plans, arms control, global proliferation – implications for strategic stability)
Chairman – VladimirDvorkin, Chairman of the Organizing Committee, International Luxembourg Forum, Professor (Russia).
Alexey Arbatov, Deputy Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the International Luxembourg Forum; Academician, RAS (Russia).
Stephen Pifer,Non-resident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution (USA).
12:30 – 12:45
Coffee break (Ballroom C)
The Russia-US Strategic Dynamics II(Russian and U.S. missile defense,advanced conventional weapons development plans, militarization of space, other factors – implications for strategic stability)
Chairman – Eugene Rumer, Director and Senior Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Ph.D. (USA).
VladimirDvorkin, Chairman of the Organizing Committee, International Luxembourg Forum, Professor (Russia).
Brad Roberts, Director of the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Ph.D. (USA).
PRESS-CONFERENCE, Ballroom C
15:45 – 17:30
Nuclear Safety and Security, Nuclear Terrorism
Chairman – James Acton, Co-Director of the Nuclear Policy Program and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Ph.D. (USA).
Anatoly Diakov, Senior Researcher of the Centre for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology; Professor (Russia).
Tariq Rauf, Consulting Advisor for Policy and Outreach, Office of Executive Secretary, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Ph.D., (Сanada).
Sergey Oznobishchev, Deputy Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the International Luxembourg Forum; Professor at MGIMO (University), MFA (Russia).
10:00 – 12:00
Fourth session(Ballroom B)
The Impact of Regional Developments on Strategic Stability
Chairman – Sergey Oznobishchev, Deputy Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the International Luxembourg Forum; Professor at MGIMO (University), MFA (Russia).
“Third Countries” (China, Pakistan, India, UK, France, Israel)
Robert Legvold, Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science and the Harriman Institute, Columbia University; Ph.D. (USA).
Petr Topychkanov, Senior Researcher at the Stockholm International Peace ResearchInstitute (SIPRI), Ph.D. (Russia).
The DPRK and Iran problems
Vladimir Sazhin, Senior Researcher of the Department of Middle East, Institute for Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia).
12:00 – 12:15
12:15 – 13:30
Discussion on the Final Document(Ballroom B)
Chairman – Alexey Arbatov, Deputy Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the International Luxembourg Forum, Academician, RAS (Russia).
14:45 – 16:00
Continued Discussion on the Final Document(Ballroom B)
List of Participants
Conference of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe
"Nuclear Strategies and Strategic Stability"
(June 11-12, 2018,Geneva, Switzerland)
President of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, Ph.D. (Russia).
Co-Director of the Nuclear Policy Program and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Ph.D. (USA).
Deputy Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the International Luxembourg Forum; Head of the Center for International Security at the Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS); Academician, RAS (Russia).
Senior Researcher (former Director) of the Centre for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology; Professor, Ph.D. (Russia).
Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the International Luxembourg Forum; Principal Researcher at the Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences (former Director of the 4th Central Scientific Research Institute, Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation); Professor, Ph.D.; Major General (retired) (Russia).
Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation Washington (former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Defense Policy and Strategy at the National Security Council (NSC) Staff), Ph.D (USA).
Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science and the Harriman Institute, Columbia University; Ph.D. (USA).
Professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the USSR and Russian Federation (former Representative of the USSR at the Conference on Disarmament, Head of the Soviet delegation at the USSR-US Nuclear and Space Talks (START-1), Deputy Secretary of theSecurity Council of the Russian Federation), Ph.D. (Russia).
Professor at the Stanford University, Member of the Supervisory Board of the International Luxembourg Forum (former US Secretary of Defense), Ph.D. (USA).
Non-resident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution (former Senior Adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and United States Ambassador to Ukraine), Ph.D. (USA).
Consulting Advisor for Policy and Outreach, Office of Executive Secretary, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO); Principal, Global Nuclear Solutions (Former Director, Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Program, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute; Head of the Verification and Security Policy Coordination Office of International Atomic Energy Agency); Ph.D. (Canada).
Director of the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy), Ph.D. (USA).
Director and Senior Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (former National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the US National Intelligence Council), Ph.D. (USA).
Distinguished Professor of the Department of Physics at the University of Maryland; Director Emeritus, Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS); Member of the Supervisory Board of the International Luxembourg Forum; Academician, RAS (Russia/USA).
Senior Researcher at the Department of Middle East, Institute for Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences; Professor, Ph.D. (Russia).
Senior Researcher at the Stockholm International Peace ResearchInstitute (SIPRI), Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation Programme; Ph.D. (Russia).
James Family Chair and Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (former Director of the RAND Corporation’s Center for Russia and Eurasia and Executive Director of the RAND Business Leaders Forum), Ph.D. (USA).
Consultant of the Organizing Committee of the International Luxembourg Forum (Russia).
Host.Ladies and gentlemen, we are starting our press conference. The President of the Luxembourg Forum will give opening remarks, and then you may ask your questions and address them directly to the person you would like to answer.
Viatcheslav Kantor.Thank you. Dear media representatives! I would like to thank you all for the attention you have given to our conference.
The existing status of strategic and regional stability in the world, unprecedented turbulence of political and military relations between major coalitions and states in a rapidly changing context are becoming increasingly tense and menacing, despite a few seemingly positive local developments.
Since the last anniversary conference ofLuxembourg Forum in October 2017, we have witnessed heightened tensions between Russia, the United States and China, as well as increased military confrontation and rivalry in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the western Pacific Ocean and the Arctic. The general trend in military and political affairs that fall within the Luxembourg Forum's purview is such that the situation is becoming increasingly fraught, threatening and hard to predict. Nuclear weapons controls continue to weaken, and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is in jeopardy as Russia and the United States are unable to settle their mutual grievances. Strategic arms limitations talks are still on hold, which has not happened for almost fifty years. Today the prospects for a new agreement between Russia and the United States are non-existent. Even a five-year extension of the Prague START agreement, which is due to expire in 2021, is not being seriously discussed.
A new problem is the United States’ withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran. Our experts have detailed a whole range of flaws in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council on July 20, 2015 and is intended to last ten years. It includes a 15-year obligation for Tehran to possess no more than 300 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 3.67 percent, and to not produce highly enriched uranium and weapons-grade plutonium, amongst other things. But in ten years’ time, unless there is another agreement, Iran could, as far as we know, create its first nuclear weapon in one or two years. The JCPOA does not prohibit further development of long-range ballistic missiles, which could threaten European and other countries. Those involved in the painstaking negotiations with Iran, which lasted 11 years, understood all this.
I remember when Benjamin Netanyahu came to Moscow in 2000, not yet as prime minister, he asked me to arrange a meeting with the business community in Moscow. His number one priority has always been the danger of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. Since then, negotiations have been underway for 11 years in the active phase and much longer in the inactive phase.
That was the best possible result, and without it Tehran might already have built nuclear weapons by now. But if the deal breaks down, it will take Iran just a few years to build a nuclear warhead for its missiles. Those who assert that Tehran hoodwinked everyone by claiming that it was not developing nuclear weapons bring no fresh news. What matters is that now all of Iran’s actual steps are verified by IAEA staff, who say that the terms of the nuclear agreement are being complied with.
Therefore, it is vital that a new agreement with Tehran be hashed out to limit delivery vehicles for nuclear warheads and conventional payloads and to prolong the term of the JCPOA. Talks with Iran will be extremely difficult and protracted, and fresh, stringent sanctions could be envisaged if Tehran decides to shun a new agreement.
At this point, it is virtually impossible to predict what the prospects for settling the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula will look like following contacts between U.S., South Korean and Japanese leaders. All we can do now is contemplate various scenarios that we will examine at this conference.
Crucial treaties and agreement such as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, and agreements on plutonium and on the safety and security of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials are at a prolonged standstill.
All of this is having a very damaging effect on the principles of strategic and regional stability and on the nuclear non-proliferation regime, which are both receding into the background, if not further, as leading states attempt to address new global issues of contention. Nor are there any opportunities for renewed joint efforts aimed at curbing the threat of catastrophic nuclear terrorism.
Leading experts in this field insist that the question is not whether such a terrorist attack will occur, but when. Do we have to wait for a nuclear attack with all its catastrophic consequences to actually happen before we understand the threat? For a number of reasons, the current atmosphere of discord and animosity is playing into the hands of far-left, far-right and terrorist movements, which, in turn, increases the threat of terror attacks. Therefore, we must try and convince political leaders as soon as possible of the need to work together, despite all their disagreements, in order to prevent such a catastrophe.
I would like to point out that the Luxembourg Forum’s previous declarations have made the case that during such crises, diplomatic efforts must be made in parallel to a full-scale sanctions regime. This can be understood as our general conclusion and recommendation as to what should be done if similar situations occur.
Our proposals and recommendations to key international organizations and leaders of major states on how to enhance the nuclear non-proliferation regime in order to strengthen nuclear security and avert catastrophic consequences will, as always, be prepared in the final declaration of our conference. Thank you for your attention.
Host.Please ask your questions.
Question.Moscovskiy Komsomolets newspaper, Sergey Valchenko. Even though Mr Dvorkin asked us to address our questions to a specific person, I would like to ask everyone. Can you answer briefly whether the threat of a nuclear war in the world is growing or the situation can be halted?
Host.I believe that there is a gradual escalation that has not yet reached a critical point. All of this is happening because two major nuclear powers are making no effort to agree on the principles of strategic stability and are not setting an example to keep other states motivated for negotiations and consultations.
Kantor.May I add something?
Kantor.We had a very interesting discussion during the meeting. Ambassador Nazarkin, who was among the leaders of the Russian delegation when actual joint work started after the long Cold War, quoted Henry Kissinger, who said that the threat of a nuclear conflict is growing because people who pursue this policy have lost the fear of war. And their predecessors, who stood behind the negotiators, were frightened by the previous war, WWII. Both on the American and Russian side. This is an objective fact. This is time, which passes and erases this fear within your skin, the fear within your thoughts, the fear within each cell of your body. Therefore, as Ambassador Nazarkin concluded, now is not the time to wait for unilateral concessions. There have to be mutual concessions if we want to launch the negotiation processes and reduce the threat of nuclear war. I would like to draw your attention to this.
Host.Bill, do you want to answer?
William Perry.I believe that today the probability of a nuclear war between the United States and Russia is very, very low. That’s the good news. But since it would be such an unprecedented catastrophe, we need to be concerned about the trends in the opposite direction. And the political hostility between the two countries today is starting to erode the forces that kept that probability low; it started to erode what we call strategic stability.
So I think both the United States and Russia need to pay particular attention to this, and whatever other reasons we may have for that hostility, whatever the problems we have that we cannot resolve, we need to pay special attention to dealing with the problem that would profoundly affect both countries, which is the danger of a nuclear war, and therefore it’s very important that both the United States and Russia, political leaders, place as the highest possible priority on maintaining the forces that keep that probability low, and re-enter a dialog for that purpose. The danger today, I say and think, is that we don’t have a meaningful political dialog between the U.S. and Russia on what do we do to keep that probability low.
Question.Thank you. A question for Mr. Kantor. What do you expect from the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un that will happen tomorrow, hopefully? That’s one part [of my question]. Is the North Korean leader ready to abandon nuclear weapons? Isn’t he thinking that what happened to former leaders of Iraq and Libya could happen to him after the denuclearization of North Korea? Thank you.
Kantor.We discussed this issue at the conference today. I believe progress can be expected in this direction. It is a very good sign that these negotiations have started or will start tomorrow; however, we must not expect any quick or immediate solutions to the issues. And Bill Perry, who is present at this press conference, dealt with the North Korean issue when he served as the United States Secretary of Defense. Even then, it was clear that it is a lengthy process. Today, we’ve been thrown back decades from the initial positive results.
It will be a protracted process, and we must not expect quick solutions. However, that will change today’s political architecture. This is how I see it.
Host. Questions please.
Question. Evgeny Sova, RTVi. This question is addressed to all participants, but mostly to Mr. Perry. Mr. Perry, like all the participants, I listened very carefully to your story about North Korea, and it was a very interesting story. But the argument that economic sanctions are not effective is contrary to the arguments made by President Trump, and probably by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who say that Iran agreed to the nuclear deal precisely because of the sanctions, because of economic pressure. And today, we see that Iran is making statements contradicting this deal. They say that if Europe withdraws from the treaty, they will resume enrichment of uranium within a few weeks. That gives rise to the question of whether the deal is worth anything. The country first receives guarantees of something, and then in a few weeks can resume uranium enrichment. We do not want them to have the opportunity to enrich uranium, do we? Thank you.
Perry.In the case of North Korea, they are far ahead of Iran in the nuclear field. Iran had an extensive program for enriching uranium, and therefore posed a future threat for nuclear weapons; North Korea has already developed nuclear weapons. They have a moderate-size nuclear arsenal, and therefore the challenge for President Trump today and tomorrow would be how to deal with that issue. And it seems clear to me that the reason that North Korea developed that nuclear arsenal was to deter the United States from being able to destroy its regime through a military attack. They are not going to give that up unless they have some reason to believe that there’s not going to be a military attack. So, it’s a difficult negotiation for the president; he has to, on the one… And I think it’s not going to result in a solution in one meeting. But if we can arrive at that meeting at the statement of principle, that we want a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula, and the statement of principle that North Korea will not be threatened if they give up nuclear weapons, then we can start moving on a process of denuclearization and a process of normalization of relations between the North and the South, on the one hand, and between North Korea and the United States, on the other hand.
What would, we could hope, come out of this meeting is not only a statement of principle that both sides would agree to, but starting to move in this positive direction towards achieving the steps that can lead to that. That would mean that North Korea, for example, would have to agree immediately to stop testing, to agree not to transfer any nuclear technology, and both sides would start to move in a process of denuclearization, on the one hand, and normalization, on the other hand, but both those processes are going to take a number of years, I think, to take place. So, we have to have a certain amount of patience about what’s going to come out of this. That’s the best, I think, we could hope for. The worst is that because of impatience for results, both sides would end up not agreeing and leaving the summit meeting with recriminations and declaring failure. So, what we can hope for, I think, is a meeting that results in a harmonious statement of principles and positive and concrete steps towards achieving those principles.
Host. This does not abnegate the impact of sanctions. Next question, please. Please state your name and outlet.
Question.Kim Sengupta from The Independent in London. A question for Mr. Perry. Mr. Perry, you described your work and Mr. Carter’s in organizing the framework with North Korea, which appeared at the time to be progressing and working, and, as you pointed out, the Bush administration came and basically tore it up. One of the men in that administration who certainly claimed credit for tearing it up is of course John Bolton, President Trump’s National Security Advisor, who just before, you know, just a few weeks ago was saying that… I’m getting to that. That Kim Jong Un should take the Libya option. And I just wondered, if you have got people like John Bolton there, what chance has Mr. Trump of achieving a deal with Kim Jong Un? And second, you also asked for patience, and Mr. Trump has said that he will know in the first minute or so whether or not the deal is working. Now, that doesn’t show much patience either, does it?
Perry.From what Mr. Bolton has said in the past, there’s no reason to expect him to be recommending President Trump move towards the solution through negotiation. But the history now has been that President Trump has rejected Mr. Bolton’s statement of the goals, statement of comparing with the Libyan process, and is going ahead anyway, and we also see that the Secretary of State, who is not the key advisor to the president, has been in favor of this meeting and trying to reach a solution. So, it would be more helpful if we had a national security advisor who was pushing for that same solution, but I don’t think that the fact we don’t is going to mean that we will not succeed.
Question.Good afternoon, * Associated Press. I just wanted to ask all of you, actually, perhaps Mr. Kantor and Mr. Perry in particular, what role Russia can play in terms of the U.S.–North Korea dialog. As you know, Mr. Lavrov was just there recently and met with Kim Jong Un. Does Russia have a… What is Russia’s interest in seeing a deal worked out, and how can it contribute or take away from those efforts? Thank you.
Kantor.I’m sure of one thing, which is that Russia is extremely interested in making progress in these bilateral relations and will be very supportive to make it happen. For me, this is absolutely clear.
Perry.I agree with Dr. Kantor that this is in Russia’s interests to see a positive outcome from this summit. I have thought that a very significant role Russia could play is dealing with the problem that North Korea will have; if they give up the nuclear weapons, will they be in danger of an attack from the United States? The times I negotiated with them some years ago, I offered them written security assurances, which would have been helpful, I think. It’d be even more helpful if those security assurances were backed up by other nations. In other words, this could be a multiple-nation agreement, and Russia would be a key nation, being one of those; I would say in particular that all of the members of the six-party talk should be co-signatories of any agreement that assured North Korea of their security.
Host.Russia voted along with all the other members of the Security Council for all the sanctions that were applied against North Korea. And, of course, it is interested in ensuring that there is no destabilization in the region, especially nuclear destabilization in a region that is directly adjacent to Russia.
Questions, please! The lady in the last row, please.
Question.Thank you. Ellie Hochenberg from i24NEWS. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed earlier this year this so-called smoking gun, the Iranian nuclear archive; now, there was much debate over whether it means that Iran. The fact that Iran maintains such an archive means that it necessarily wants to use it in the future. Now, I’m not talking from the political standpoint, but rather from the professional or scientific aspect of it: if someone is to maintain such an archive, with blueprints and detailed instructions and everything, does it mean that they have the intention of using it again in the future? Thank you.
Host.Of course, Iran has all the documents necessary to build nuclear weapons. Especially since such documents were always accessible on the Internet in a general form, right? Naturally, there are design specifics not only for the simplest nuclear weapons, but also for more advanced weapons. And, of course, Iran has all of this. Moreover, they have already tested protection systems for the head parts of ballistic missiles against heat load, which is dangerous primarily for nuclear warheads.
The fact that they currently do not have weapons-grade uranium or plutonium, and that the heavy-water reactor operating on plutonium was completely destroyed, shows that they do not have the capacity. Unless there are some secret previous acquisitions, for example, weapons-grade uranium.
Question.Hello! Tom Miles from Reuters News Agency. The CTBT requires, in order to come into effect, still requires ratification from North… Oh, well, maybe to Mr. Kantor, but anybody who’d like to comment, I’d be happy to hear from you. About the CTBT. It requires ratification by North Korea, and China, and the United States, in order to come into effect. And we’ve heard previously in Geneva from Mr. Lassina Zerbo, the head of the CTBT organization, that he’s hopeful that in the next few years, you know, we could see this treaty come into global effect. Do you think there’s any way that progress on North Korea could be turned into progress on the CTBT? Thank you very much.
Host. There are no agreements with North Korea on the ban. North Korea proclaimed that it will discontinue its nuclear tests. But to guarantee this, there must be a valid CTBT. And it was not ratified by the United States, in first place. Russia ratified it. The United States and China have not ratified it yet. So, we need this agreement to come into force and North Korea to join it. Then we can talk about some guarantees.
Question.I’m sorry, maybe my question wasn’t clear, or maybe I misstated something. But my understanding is that some people think that as part of a North Korean nuclear deal North Korea would be asked to join the CTBT. And the North Koreans themselves have said at the conference on disarmament that they would join an effort to stop nuclear testing. So, I’m… Sorry, I’m confused by your answer. Maybe I’m getting my facts wrong, but is this not something you might see as a potential outcome of a North Korean nuclear deal? Thank you.
Host. I think you are getting ahead of yourself. There is no deal yet. There is only an intention. As for now, we only have North Korea’s verbal agreement to abandon testing, and several underground tunnels for nuclear tests were destroyed. But there is no deal, and I think we need time before we see results. Let's look at the results of the first negotiations.
Question. One more question to Academician Sagdeev. As far as I know, he was the head of the Apollo–Soyuz project then, responsible for implementation of this project. Taking into account the complexity of relationship between Russia and the United States, do you think such projects are possible today?
Roald Sagdeev.I think whatever is happening with International Space Station is even on a bigger scale, a much bigger scale than it was at the time of Apollo–Soyuz. And we still have five, six, seven years more to operate with the International Space Station, and there are some conversations about potential for Russia to participate in manned lunar exploration, which NASA is talking about. They apparently have support from President Trump. But there is, obviously, there are some internal domestic problems related to the Russian space program, and a series of mishaps, you know, brought a lot of doubts. So, we will see how the new government in Russia, a new arrangement would help to improve the situation. I’m not very optimistic about it. Because of the general situation, with a decline in education, in science, and organizational problems. There is too much focus on what they call “effective managers” instead of on scientists and engineers.
Host. Thank you for the questions. As the cherry on this cake, I would like to say that I remember very well an interview with three astronauts: Soviet, American and European. They were asked: "What do you think about disputes between America, Europe, and Russia?" The three guys hugged each other and said: "This is our answer". So, we will count on the continuation of space cooperation. Thank you all, thank you!