Return to Transcripts main page


Intelligence Suggests North Korea Could Fire Multiple Missiles; Interview with Ambassador John Everard; Tampa Children Kidnapped Found In Cuba, Returned to Grandparents; CNN Previews The Masters

Aired April 10, 2013 - 16:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Tensions on a knife edge.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When you talk about tensions on the peninsula, this is about as tense as it gets. South Korean soldiers, their backs to us, facing off with North Korean soldiers right on the other side.


FOSTER: As the U.S. warns North Korea it's skating near a dangerous line, a volatile border is on even higher alert.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.

FOSTER: Also ahead on the show, lurking beneath the capital city, a treasure trove of Roman artifacts. Why it's being hailed as one of London's most important archeological digs.

And, who will wear the next Green Jacket? Why the Master's golf tournament teeing off in just hours is so special.

North Korea's neighbors are on edge amid new warnings the country may be planning multiple missile launches. Pentagon officials call North Koreans masters of deception saying they may have planned all along to focus the world's attention on two Musudan missiles placed along North Korea's east coast. The officials say they've seen other launchers moving around, suggesting the possibility of multiple test firings. Today, the U.S. defense secretary called it a combustible situation.


CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: This country, the United States of America, our allies, the United Nations, has been very clear that North Korea has been with its bellicose rhetoric, with its actions, have been skating very close to a dangerous lie.


FOSTER: Both the United States and South Korea are warning a missile test could come at any time. Let's bring in Anna Coren in Seoul for the very latest on that. Anna, what about the timing of this. There's some suggestion it would happen earlier and it hasn't happened. Will it happen?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, according to South Korean and U.S. authorities they say, yes, it will happen possibly in the coming days. There's a significant date coming up, April 15, that is the anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founder Kim il-Song who, of course, is Kim Jong-un's grandfather. So that is probably the most important day on the North Korean calendar.

You mentioned those Musudan missiles that are in place on the east coast of the country. They haven't been tested before. And now the pentagon is saying that there could be multiple missiles, that perhaps North Korea's plan all along was for us to focus on those two missile launches, when in actual fact there will be other rockets fired from the country.

Now, what is really important to note, Max, is that everyone does believe that this will be a test as opposed to a strike. These medium- range missiles, they have a range of something like 4,000 kilometers, up to 4,000 kilometers. That obviously takes us enough here to South Korea, Japan, and U.S. bases in Guam. But once again important to note that likely to be a test and not a strike.

FOSTER: So why, then, are the South Koreans on a very high alert?

COREN: Yeah, certainly on very high alert. Both South Korean and U.S. troops, they actually raised it another level. And the U.S. has also come out, Max, and said that if these missiles pose any threat whatsoever, they will be struck down. You'd also have to assume there will be serious consequences from the international community, whether it be further sanctions or international condemnation. You can only expect that will be heading North Korea's way as well more than likely to fall on deaf ears.

But just to give you an idea of what the situation is like here on the Korean peninsula, my colleague, Kyung Lah, went up to the demilitarized zone, the DMZ, and this is what she found.


LAH: There is near absolute silence on the most militarized border on the planet. South Korean soldiers on the edge of a fight, staring down a sworn enemy that unblinkingly stares right back, sometimes through binoculars peaking out from windows.

The area that we're walking into is called (inaudible) these huts are actually divided in half. This side is South Korea, over there is part of North Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All cameras facing this way.

LAH: Rules are tight on this military guided press tour. Don't linger, don't point. This is cold war up close.

When we talk about tensions on the peninsula, this is about as tense as it gets. South Korean soldiers, their backs to us, facing off with North Korean soldiers right on the other side just feet away.

This room we're about to enter is actually divided in half. Shut down just so we can come in and capture some pictures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can maneuver around, just please stay within arms length of those soldiers.

LAH: The soldiers are here so we don't get grabbed and pulled into North Korea. We're only given a few minutes in here.


LAH: This is technically South Korea on this side. To get over to North Korea just on the other side of these microphones.


FOSTER: Kyung Lah there. And thank you to Anna Coren in Seoul.

Let's get some perspective now from an expert who knows North Korea far better than most of us. John Everard is a consultant for the United Nations on North Korea. He's also a former British Ambassador to the same country, who lived there from 2006, the year Pyongyang conducted its first nuclear test until 2008.

Do you think -- I mean, what is this -- I mean, will it be a test, will it be a strike. I mean, what do you understand about what you're hearing from North Korea?

JOHN EVERARD, FRM. BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO NORTH KOREA: Well, I doubt it will be a strike at this stage. I think a test is more likely. But there, again, even if they don't test by flying the missile over Japan, which they've done in the past, which would kind of annoy the Japanese, at least, a test of course violates a series of United Nations security council resolutions. It's bound to provoke further security council reaction and is also going to seriously annoy the Chinese who have been watching with growing dismay as North Korea has indulged in this great series of antics.

FOSTER: They gave the impression, though, it would happen today, earlier on, you know, before now. It hasn't happened. How do you understand that?

EVERARD: This is a standard North Korean game. They will raise expectations and then make nothing happen.

FOSTER: Will it happen?

EVERARD: I think it's going to happen, but they will keep us guessing about the timing for as long as they can.

FOSTER: In terms of the United States, how are they supposed to respond to all of this, because you would think that North Korea wouldn't want to take on the United States, but it's pushing the United States, so how should the United States respond?

EVERARD: I have to say I'm not an apologist for the United States foreign policy, but I think that the American reaction to events so far has been very sophisticated and absolute text book diplomacy. The United States has drawn a line in the sand. It has made very clear to Kim Jong-un that if it does anything so stupid as to attack South Korea, remember in 2010 North Korea sank a South Korean warship and shelled a South Korean island, that you've seen the B-2s, you've seen the B-52, just don't do it.

They've also taken steps to deescalate. And I think the announcement the other day that they will delay a missile test was excellent. I mean, that gives Kim Jong-un a ladder to climb down if he wants to. He can claim victory to his own generals.

FOSTER: North Korea, it is trying to engage in diplomacy, they would argue. Let's hear now from Dennis Rodman, a basketball player met the leader of North Korea, was asked when he returned if there was any message from North Korea. Let's hear what he said.


DENNIS RODMAN, RETIRED NBA PLAYER: One thing he asked me, give Obama something to say and do one thing. He wants Obama to do one thing, call him.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC ANCHOR: He wants a call from President Obama?

RODMAN: That's right. He told me that. He said, if you can, Dennis, I don't want to do war. I don't want to do war. He said that to me.


FOSTER: Well, it's interesting, isn't it, because Obama suggests that he wants to be involved in diplomacy, but he's not dealing directly with the leader of North Korea.

EVERARD: No. But America has reached out on several occasions trying to establish a meaningful dialogue with these people. Remember the Leap Day deal that fell apart, that North Korea picked apart almost as soon as it was signed. It's become evident that over the last months several senior American envoys have been in Pyongyang and clearly got nowhere.

Now, what Kim Jong-un is saying is that he wants to be treated with respect, as gang leaders tend to put it. He wants America to negotiate on his terms. He wants America to recognize North Korea as a nuclear weapons state, which Secretary Kerry made very clear a couple of days ago is simply not going to happen.

It's not just about the phone call, it's all that goes with it. And I can quite understand that President Obama is not going to go down that road.

FOSTER: Certainly not now. John Everard, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Later on CNN, another special edition of The Situation Room: North Korean Crisis, Wolf Blitzer takes a deeper look at the latest developments in the story with analysis and more tonight at 11:00 in London, midnight in Berlin here on CNN.

You're watching Connect the World.

Still to come, an announcement from this jihadist group about its involvement in Syria. The details ahead.

Found by CNN hiding in a boat in Havana, the couple accused of kidnapping their sons and sailing to Cuba. More on that story next.

And right now, four clubs are vying for two places in the Champion's League semifinals. All that and much more when Connect the World continues.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Max Foster. Welcome back to you.

Now British lawmakers have cut short their Easter break to debate the legacy of Margaret Thatcher. In a special sitting of parliament, some MPs weren't as kind as others, but from Prime Minister David Cameron there was nothing but admiration.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Margaret Thatcher was one of the very few leaders who changed not only the political landscape in their own country, but in the rest of the world too.


FOSTER: Thatcher's funeral will be held next Wednesday with full military honors. She was the first woman to become British prime minister. Later in the program, we'll look at the influence she's had on other women.

A warning from the European Commission, Slovenia and Spain have until the end of May to get their finances under control otherwise they face financial penalties. Speaking exclusively to CNN's Richard Quest, these Slovenian prime minister said her country needs time, not money.


ALENKA BRATUSEK, SLOVENIAN PRIME MINISTER: I believe that we can and we will solve our problems ourselves. First of all, our economy is export oriented, our debt is lower than the EU average, and we already made a few reforms last year. So I really believe that we will solve our problems ourselves.


FOSTER: And a word of warning for Germany, too, billionaire fund manager George Soros says he expects Europe's largest economy to slip into recession by September, that's when Germans are due to vote on national elections.

A Syrian jihadist group says it has pledged allegiance to al Qaeda. The statement comes in an audio message purportedly from a spokesman. The al Nusra Front, who also says that the group can only achieve an Islamic state in Syria, who are working with other rebels, even secular groups. The spokesman denies a claim that al Nusra has merged with al Qaeda's Iraq affiliate.

Leaders of the Syrian opposition are in London for this week's G8 meeting. They are trying to boost support for their efforts to force out President Bashar al-Assad. Also on the discussion table, North Korea unsurprisingly. Let's bring in Jill Dougherty.

And Jill, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov among G8 leaders -- foreign ministers, rather, in London. What have they been saying on this?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they met here in London. And obviously it's a big concern, because Russia has been very active in trying to put some influence on North Korea if that is really very possible. So at that meeting -- in fact I asked Sergey Lavrov the Russian foreign minister what can you do about North Korea? And I'd like you to listen to his answer. It was short, but kind of significant. Let's take a listen.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): On North Korea, we have no differences with the United States. One just shouldn't scare anyone with military maneuvers. There's a chance that everything can calm down.


DOUGHERTY: Yeah, so shouldn't scare people with military maneuvers, but he didn't, Max, make it clear was he talking about North Korea or was he talking about South Korea and the United States which have been carrying out military maneuvers.

But if you look at his statements the last couple of weeks, he's been actually urging both sides to, in effect, coo it, to not let anything get out of hand, but it's obvious that the United States and Russia are pretty much on the same page on this. It's -- right now what he would argue is that you have to keep the tension as low as you can and that's the rub, how you do that.

FOSTER: And in terms of John Kerry's tour, his significant tour of course. He continues on to the region. Just describe what you expect to hear from now on.

DOUGHERTY: Well, I think it's a strong message of support for South Korea. Number one, tomorrow, which is Thursday, he will be traveling to the region. He's going to South Korea, to China and to Japan. And certainly in South Korea it will be both we are on your side. We are ready to protect you. That's obviously a very strong message to North Korea.

But it's a subtle message as well, because they don't want to -- the Americans don't want to overplay their hand and to make it even, let's say, more fraught with tension than it is.

And then also in the region. China, his message will be that China should do more, should do as much as possible to try to influence North Korea.

And then finally Japan, which could theoretically be -- you know, in the -- let's say the trajectory of any type of missile that would come from the North, so there's grave concern there too.

FOSTER: The U.S.-Russia relationship so important when you consider the potential crises that align on the global map right now. How are you reading a relationship between Kerry and Lavrov, for example, because it's a new relationship. I'm sure you've seen it develop. Are you getting a sense it's developing in some way?

DOUGHERTY: It's a new relationship, but Sergey Lavrov has been in his position for quite a long time. And so I don't think that you're going to see any great difference. Certainly he can have a relationship of equals in that sense. Both men know the subject, but they really do answer to their president, so Sergey Lavrov is an interesting person, a very good diplomat, but ultimately it's Vladimir Putin who makes the decisions on foreign policy, and the same thing for Secretary Kerry. Although at this point, Secretary Kerry is new and he wants to make a difference and he wants to change things, so that will be very interesting to watch.

FOSTER: Jill, it's been a fascinating tour of the regions. Thank you very much indeed for joining us. We'll hear from you, of course, in the coming days on CNN.

An American couple accused of kidnapping their two sons and sailing to Cuba are due in court on Thursday meanwhile. The family were handed over to the U.S. Department -- State Department after CNN actually found them in Havana. CNN's John Zarrella joins us for the latest, but first let's take a look on this latest report on how this story actually unfolded.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From her home in Tampa, Patricia Hauser placed a 911 call.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, what is your emergency.

PATRICIA HAUSER: Yes, hi. My son-in-law just kidnapped my two -- my two grandchildren. They've been in my state custody.

ZARRELLA: That was last Wednesday, another in a series of desperate events involving Joshua Hakken, described as an anti-government protester, and his wife Sharon. The couple had just lost parental rights back home in Louisiana. Authorities say Hakken kidnapped his children Chase and Cole from the home of their maternal grandparents, the Hausers, who had been given state custody of the boys.

The same day the boys were abducted, the family pick-up was found at Madeira Beach not far from St. Petersburg. Surveillance video showed Hakken and his wife Sharon at a dock in Madeira preparing a sail boat, The Salty. As Tampa police hunted for Hakken, his wife, and the two boys, they knew they were dealing with a man who could pull off a daring escape.

DET. LARRY MCKINNON, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF'S SPOKESMAN: We've said all along that, you know, making irrational decision doesn't always make you unintelligent. I mean, we know he's a very intelligent individual. He's an engineer.

ZARRELLA: To say what they did was risky is an understatement. In the 25 foot boat they sailed in rough waters for days before turning up in Cuba. The Hakken saga began nearly a year ago in Slidell, Louisiana. Police there responding to a disturbance at a hotel say they found weapons and drugs in the Haken's (ph) room. The children were there with them.

What concerned authorities just as much was how the Hakkens were talking.

DET. DANIEL SEUZENEAU, SLIDELL POLICE SPOKESMAN: They were speaking some bizarre terms to the officers in reference to traveling across country to beat the Armageddon. Things were just very strange.

ZARRELLA: The children were taken and put in foster care out of concern for their safety. Two weeks later, according to Louisiana authorities, Haken showed up at the foster home with a gun demanding his kids. He ran off when 911 was called.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911. Where you're emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need a police. I need a police. I have a guy at my house with a gun.

ZARRELLA: It was some time after that the boys were sent to their grandparents.

It's not clear how Hakken and his wife had planned the abduction and escaped to Cuba, or what they may have planned to do once they got there.


FOSTER: And in terms of the latest information on this story, it's fascinating as you see it unfold. John, what more details have you had?

ZARRELLA: You know, Max, it really is incredible how quickly this story developed yesterday. As you mentioned, we learned about it from our own CNN correspondent Patrick Oppmann in Havana yesterday just after noon eastern time here. And by 10:00 pm last night, U.S. authorities, state, federal and local authorities, were on their way down to Cuba to pick up Joshua, Sharon and their two children. And by 1:30 this morning, the Hakkens were back on U.S. soil. They were brought to the Hillsborough County Correspondtial Facility, the jail. They were processed into the jail after, of course, they walked into that facility in handcuffs.

Now, we know that the boys were reunited very quickly with their grandparents here in the Tampa area.

We also know, now, that the Hakkens are not going to face federal charges, they're going to face the state charges, significant charges. Both Sharon and Joshua face charges of kidnapping, two counts of kidnapping, child neglect, and interference with child welfare.

Now the two kidnapping charges alone carry the possibility of life imprisonment for the Hakkens. So this venture to run down to Cuba to take their children is going to have some very, very significant ramifications for them.

And we also know, of course, that the United States today, the State Department heaping a lot of praise on Cuba for how quickly they responded and turned the Hakkens over to U.S. authorities -- Max.

FOSTER: Which is interesting itself, isn't it. John, thank you very much indeed.

Live from London, this is Connect the World.

Coming up, golf fans are gearing up for the Masters tomorrow. Ahead of the tough competition, we'll look at whether Rory and Tiger are good friends or bitter rivals?


FOSTER: Expect golf fans around the world to be glued to their TV screens over the next few days. The Masters in Augusta, Georgia tees off in less than -- excuse me -- 24 hours. In a moment, all the preview buzz, but first a look at what makes this golf tournament so very special.


STEVE EUBANKS, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, PGA.COM: Masters is the first major golf event of the year and it's the unofficial start of spring.

The Masters is much different than anything else, because it's held at the same golf course every year, Augusta National. The reason the tournament is so exclusive is it's still an invitational, it's very much like getting invited to the member guest at your local club. They bring people from all over the world to play in this thing and it's the greatest invitation that you can get in the game.

The course changes almost every year. The course that they played in the 1930s bears no resemblance to the course they're playing today. Every year, something is tweaked, something is changed.

President Eisenhower was one of the most famous members of Augusta National. And he always had difficulty with the big pine tree to the left of the 17th fairway. Ike was a slicer. And he started that ball right at the tree and most of the time it got hung up in there. He threatened to chop it down. And Clifford Roberts told him that he might have freed to world, but that tree was remaining.

The Masters is the most sought after ticket in all of sports, because there's no place to go buy it. The tickets that have been around people have had them for decades and in some instances generations. You can get on the lottery program for either practice rounds or the par 3 tournaments, but to get in it's a very, very special treat.

Perhaps the two most significant events were golf were Jack Nicklaus's win in 1986, still considered perhaps the greatest golf tournament of all time when The Golden Bear came charging back and became the oldest Masters winner.

The other was in 1997 when Tiger Woods burst on the scene as an amateur and became the youngest Masters winner, setting a record for margin of victory in the event.

The Green Jacket was originally established so that people would know who the members were at the club. They wanted the members to all be wearing something distinctive so that if a spectator, or as they call them, patrons at the Masters had a question, they would know who to walk up to and ask. The first winner to receive a green jacket was Sam Sneed in 1949. It was an idea that Bob Jones thought would make the tournament a little more special and set it apart.


FOSTER: So who has got their eyes on that illustrious green jacket? Well, Tiger Woods has one of them, of course, and as Patrick Snell explains, it's been a long time between fittings.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He has four green jackets to his name, but not one since 2005. And that's an eight year lifetime for a player like Tiger Woods. But he arrives at the Sears Masters, world number one again, full of confidence off the back of three PGA Tour victories this year. And he says that he's in just the right place at just the right time.

TIGER WOODS, GOLFER: Life is all about having a balance and trying to find the equilibrium and not getting things one way or the other and feel very balanced.

SNELL: Tiger recently replaced Rory McIlroy as the top ranked player in the world, but the two time major winner from Northern Ireland is confident recent indifferent form is behind him. The 23 year old finished runner up at the Texas Open in San Antonio last weekend. And, he says, nothing inspires him more than a trip to the season's first major.

RORY MCILROY, GOLFER: I love it. I mean, it's -- you know, my favorite tournament of the year. I've -- you know, I think everyone knows that, I think. It's a lot of guys' favorite tournament of the year. It's the one you're looking forward to the most.

JUSTIN ROSE, GOLFER: You've got to learn how to manager your emotions and the golf course and do them all at the same time. So, I feel like it is a course I can win on.

SNELL: Well, Rose tees off just after 9:15 in the morning Thursday here local time. An hour and a half later it's the turn of Tiger before Rory McIlroy gets his 2013 Masters up and running just before 2:00 pm in the afternoon. That's the second to last grouping of the day.

Patrick Snell, CNN, Augusta, Georgia.


FOSTER: The latest world news headlines just ahead.

Plus, (inaudible) criticized Margaret Thatcher...