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IAEA Head Responds to North Korea "H-Bomb Test"; "Charlie Hebdo" Marks One Year Since Deadly Attacks; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired January 6, 2016 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: North Korea says it's tested the H-bomb.
But is it true and what does it mean?
Our exclusive with the head of the IAEA.
And the American nuclear scientist with the best view of North Korea.
Plus, a year after the "Charlie Hebdo" attack ushered in ISIS gone global, our exclusive with the cartoonist known as Riss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RISS, CARTOONIST, "CHARLIE HEBDO": This past year has been very difficult. We had to rebuild the newspaper. We had to rebuild
ourselves, confront our pains.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): And back to the future: my trip to the Yongbyon nuclear plant back in 2008.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
AMANPOUR (voice-over): And with that, North Korea announced to the world that it successfully tested its most powerful weapon to date, a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That's a thermonuclear weapon much more powerful than the atomic bomb. Now the news, of course, sent alarm bells all over the
globe, the United States, Japan, South Korea, even Pyongyang's longtime ally, China, condemned the attack.
But the United States, the White House, has just said that initial reports are not consistent with a successful H-bomb test. And the White
House says the international community continues to investigate.
Now a head of a U.N. emergency Security Council meeting on this issue, the secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, demanded that Kim Jong-un cease any
further nuclear activities.
Despite the skepticism, as we've said, this test still marks a dramatic escalation of North Korea's capability, moving rapidly ahead, despite
"Deeply regrettable" is how the International Atomic Energy Agency described the test. And just last September, its director general,
Yukiya Amano, warned that North Korea was busy building up one of its nuclear facilities and he joins me exclusively, live from IAEA
headquarters in Vienna.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, Mr. Amano. And let me get straight to it.
Do you believe -- do you think it's possible that North Korea could have tested the hydrogen bomb?
YUKIYA AMANO, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IAEA: The international organization called CTBTO is monitoring a nuclear test. It is collecting information
on seismic events and they have detected an unusual seismic event. However, it is still in the early stage. It will take more time to have
a better understanding of the event.
AMANPOUR: Would it surprise you if it turned out to be an H-bomb?
And does the seismic event that you talk about, the tremors, does that match the size of an H-bomb test?
AMANO: A seismic event was around a magnitude of 5 and it is similar to that of 2013, when North Korea conducted a test. But conducting nuclear
weapons tests is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council and it is deeply regrettable.
AMANPOUR: That is absolutely true. All the testing that it does is in violation of international laws.
But what you've just said is that the seismic reaction was no bigger than its last test, so potentially laying doubt to this claim of a
What is the world to do about this, Mr. Amano?
You head the IAEA. Neither sanctions seem to have worked, nor has engagement worked. There was a period of engagement with North Korea
but that was very brief.
What must be done?
AMANO: I have North Korea to free implement relevant all resolution of from Security Council and IAEA. These resolutions expressed serious
concerns and called on North Korea to refrain from further such tests. IAEA is ready to contribute to the peaceful resolution.
We have the experience of -- from conducting safeguards in North Korea and --
AMANO: -- our inspectors are ready and to go at short notice when requested.
AMANPOUR: But the thing is, they're not there. The North Koreans threw them out. And you don't really have eyes on their program, what's going
on. And furthermore, you yourself warned in September about much more building going on at the Yongbyon nuclear facility.
You know, describe for us their plutonium process, which we thought had been put paid to and the uranium enrichment and the centrifuge process
that seems to be gathering apace.
AMANO: The IAEA does not have the inspectors on the ground now since April 2009. But we are monitoring the situation, mainly through
And as I stated in September, we have observed the activities in Yongbyon, like the construction of light water reactors or operation of
the five reactors or expanding on the enrichment facilities.
In 2013, North Korea stated that they would readjust and restart the nuclear activities in Yongbyon. All of these combined make me have
concerns. And that is why I made the statement in September.
AMANPOUR: So who do you talk to?
Who do you hope has leverage?
Again, my question and everybody's question is, how does the international community convince North Korea to stop and to roll back?
First, just to stop.
AMANO: Different stakeholders have different roles. IAEA has the responsibility on verification. The United Nations Security Council has
the responsibility to establish the response to such event.
And very importantly, on this issue, there is a framework of six-party talks that is consisting of the United States, Russia, China, South
Korea and Japan. And these countries can play a very important role.
And yet there seems no process to restart that six-party talks.
Director General Yukiya Amano, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight. Thank you so much for joining us from Vienna.
AMANPOUR: And now we turn to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the renowned American nuclear scientist, Siegfried Hecker, is. He has perhaps had
the best and most consistent access tracking North Korea's nuclear program and, he, too, has been warning that it's progressing by leaps
AMANPOUR: So Professor Hecker, thank you very much for joining us. You just heard what the director general said and you've heard what the
United States has said, pouring sort of some skepticism on North Korea's claims.
From your best analysis and vantage point, what do you believe happened?
SIEGFRIED HECKER, NUCLEAR SCIENTIST: Well, the most important thing, Christiane, is they fired a successful nuclear test. You know, whether
it was a hydrogen bomb or not, of course, is important but the most important aspect, they had their fourth nuclear test.
And with that test, either they've managed to potentially make a hydrogen bomb or they've been able to manage and make one of their
fission bombs, the simpler bombs, smaller and lighter and therefore more threatening.
So I don't consider this a failure of a hydrogen bomb. Certainly the explosive magnitude was similar to their third test and more in the
range of sort of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But that certainly is plenty. And I consider that test to have been successful.
AMANPOUR: You know, you talked about making it smaller and lighter. So obviously, they're looking for kind of a miniaturization, you know, able
to put it on weapons, on ballistic missiles and the like.
Is that what you're worried about most?
HECKER: That's correct. And I think that's the direction they've gone. If you look at their program over the last 12 years, it's grown both in
size -- in other words, in terms of number of nuclear weapons, that is the nuclear materials they've been able to produce, both the plutonium
and the highly enriched uranium -- and then clearly through the testing program they've tried to make it smaller.
And I would say that this test most likely was aimed precisely as to how to make them smaller and lighter. And one possibility in doing that is
not only to make a smaller and lighter fission or normal atomic bomb but perhaps to sort of go halfway between an atomic bomb and a hydrogen
And that is what we call a boosted fission bomb. In other words, it's one that's like turbocharged fission bomb.
HECKER: And this boosting process actually uses hydrogen isotopic fuels. So it would be a fusion process but it's really not a hydrogen
bomb. But it's possible that they went in that direction. That would also allow them, in the end, to make the warheads smaller and lighter so
they can mount them on a missile.
AMANPOUR: So whatever they've done, it's progress from their point of view and from their capacity.
You were there a few years ago when they showed you a secret, a hitherto secret facility for uranium enrichment. You've also been in China,
talking amongst a whole group of experts, about, as you rightly say now, their expanded stockpile.
Tell us what they have, as best as you or anybody knows.
HECKER: So in 2010, when I was there in November, they did show me -- and quite frankly, it was an enormous surprise to see a centrifuge
facility that's able to enrich uranium for the second path to the bomb.
What was surprising was the sophistication and the size of that facility. And the best as we know, that's the last time that we know
that anybody outside of North Korea has been in their nuclear complex.
The best that we can tell, you know, from overhead is that they've continued to expand that complex substantially. And so whereas the
plutonium path to the bomb, for which you use nuclear reactors, that they have one small, old reactor that, at best, can make one bomb's
worth a year.
Having opened up the centrifuge capacity, that perhaps today allows them to make as many as six bombs of highly enriched uranium variety per
So they had expanded, over these last five years, significantly their capacity to increase the size of the arsenal. And certainly one thing
I've argued for over and over is to try to get them not to test, so in order that they wouldn't increase the sophistication of that arsenal.
AMANPOUR: Well, Professor Hecker, that's the big question, isn't it, how does one -- it doesn't seem that anybody or anything has much
influence. As I posed to Director General Amano, neither sanctions nor engagement -- and both have been tried over the last 10 years or so
under several different U.S. administrations.
China doesn't seem to be making much inroads either.
What has to happen now?
HECKER: Well, of course, that's very difficult, especially for a scientist to answer. But what I have been trying to promote for a
number of years by watching how the size and the sophistication of the program has actually changed, is the diplomatic route to get North Korea
to what I call the three nos, no more bombs, no better bombs and no export.
In other words, to stop it from getting worse. And, in my opinion, that diplomatic engagement has actually not been sufficient. I think we sat
back, the entire world -- this is not just the United States; it's China and the rest of the world -- and have actually watched North Korea go
from -- you know, 2003 is most likely when they built their first bomb.
In 2005 to 2008, I used to say, well, they have the bomb but not a nuclear arsenal.
Well, today they have a nuclear arsenal. And by continuing to test, they make that arsenal more threatening. So I think one does have to go
-- we've missed too many opportunities, the international community, over the past dozen years.
One has to go back.
One has to recognize and understand why does North Korea want the bomb in the first place?
And certainly their most important part is for national security. One has to recognize that. And then in the end, you have to make it more
attractive for them to give up the bomb and, you know, hopefully more expensive for them to continue the path that they are on.
AMANPOUR: Professor Hecker, thank you for your unique insight. And it is indeed a troubling situation.
AMANPOUR: But now we turn to Paris, the City of Light that spent much of last year cloaked in darkness after multiple terror attacks. It
started one year ago at "Charlie Hebdo." Cartoonist Riss reflects on that grim and painful day, an exclusive interview just ahead.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back.
Now this special anniversary edition of the French satirical magazine, "Charlie Hebdo," hits French newsstands today. It marks one year since
the deadly terror attacks on its offices in Paris.
On the 7th of January 2015, two gunmen stormed the building and opened fire, killing 12 people.
The latest cover simply depicts God carrying a gun and the cartoon, "One year on, the assassin still at large."
It was drawn by Riss, who survived the attack and sat down exclusively with our Jim Bittermann to reflect on that nightmare day and to ponder
what it all means for freedom of speech in the future.
RISS (through translator): This past year has been very difficult. We had to rebuild the newspaper. We had to rebuild ourselves, confront our
pains. So it is, on the one hand, a personal struggle. It was a personal fight.
So here we are, one year later, with a vision which might be even a little more pessimistic today than it was one year ago.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Is it more difficult to be funny now than before?
RISS (through translator): No, it's -- we always manage to find the urge to laugh because we have the will to live; to laugh is like going
to the restaurant. It's like going to a bistro for drinks. It's a pleasure that one has to continue to have. We don't have less of an
urge to laugh.
BITTERMANN: I think you said that you're no longer going to do any caricatures of Muhammad.
Why is that?
RISS (through translator): I didn't say that. I said it was a question of circumstances and that we don't rule out anything. Maybe one day
again we'll draw Muhammad as a matter of principle.
BITTERMANN: Are you worried today about another attack?
Are you always looking over your shoulder?
RISS (through translator): We always have to be careful. We still have police protection. And at the newspaper, we installed top security
But, yes, we work with that idea in the back of our mind, that maybe something, someday may happen again.
Is freedom of speech more difficult to happen than before?
I think it is still as hard. I think it wasn't easier before.
We need to separate two things. French law allows for a lot of freedom. In the end, that's what counts, that the law prevails and protects us.
After that, one has to have the courage to seize that right and put it to use. We can't sink into self-censorship.
BITTERMANN: How do you put in perspective the two attacks, the one you were involved in and the 13th of November, which involved several
RISS (through translator): I may be wrong but I'm under the impression that after January 7th and maybe even before, the authorities feared
this type of thing could happen.
But how do you get a population to understand something before it has even happened?
Maybe we had to wait until November 13th so that everyone could realize that such attacks could hit everyone and not only cartoonists. I get
the feeling things were out of sync between what the political powers had understood was going to happen and the population, who could not
imagine such events could take place.
I would say that, perhaps since November 13th, it has become easier for the political powers to take measures, such as a state of emergency. I
don't think a state of emergency would have been accepted before then.
BITTERMANN: You're printing a million copies this week of "Charlie Hebdo" on the anniversary issue. Here's the cover.
Can you explain what that cover means?
RISS: (Speaking French).
BITTERMANN: What is it exactly?
BITTERMANN: For our English-speaking audience.
RISS (through translator): It is a caricature representing the symbolic figure of God. To us, it's the very idea of God that may have killed
our friends a year ago. So we wanted to widen our vision of things. Faith is not always peaceful. Maybe we should learn to live with a
little less of God.
BITTERMANN: So this is not Muhammad?
RISS (through translator): No, this is not Muhammad. It's above him. It's the God of all believers.
BITTERMANN: In the end, the attacks on "Charlie Hebdo" were because you printed the caricature of Muhammad. You lost a lot of friends. You
yourself were wounded.
Was it worth it?
RISS (through translator): We don't look at it that way. We don't think, we'll draw because it's worth it. We'll draw in a calculated
We draw spontaneously because, for us, it didn't seem such a big deal. In the beginning to us, it was -- it was a spontaneous, uncalculated
gesture. We didn't force ourselves to draw Muhammad. No. It was an obvious thing to do.
Therefore, we don't ask ourselves, was it worth doing?
It's as if we were to say, is it worth living, laughing, having fun?
If that were the case, you wouldn't do anything.
So we didn't ask ourselves a question like that. For us, it seems obvious that in a country such as France, a secular country, we had the
right to draw whatever we wanted.
BITTERMANN: Well, thank you very much.
RISS: Merci beaucoup.
AMANPOUR: Riss with our Jim Bittermann in Paris.
And after a break, we return to North Korea as we imagine a world where the Hermit Kingdom works with the West to bin its nukes. It sounds like
the stuff of dreams right now. But not so long ago it was a reality that I witnessed. The North Korea that was -- next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where secretive, paranoid North Korea looked like it was playing ball by eliminating its
nuclear threat. That's the North Korea that I, along with a small handful of journalists, witnessed in 2008.
We thought it would be interesting now to look back at our trip to the Yongbyon nuclear plant in light of what's just happened.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): We are 60 miles outside the capital, Pyongyang, driving down a long, bumpy road on the way to a tightly shuttered
outpost at the center of worldwide controversy.
AMANPOUR: Thank you for having us. We're very interested to see what's going on here.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): This is the top-secret Yongbyon nuclear plant, where North Korea used to make energy and has made plutonium --
AMANPOUR: -- for nuclear weapons.
AMANPOUR: Shall we?
AMANPOUR (voice-over): This is the last place we thought the North Koreans would ever let us film. But they want to make a point to CNN
and to the world.
AMANPOUR: Oh, it's black as anything in there. Oh, it's scary as hell.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): In February 2007, North Korea agreed to disable Yongbyon in exchange for fuel oil, trade and being removed from the U.S.
list of state sponsors of terrorism.
AMANPOUR: Is it strange for you to have press here?
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Though some might call this a carefully choreographed show --
AMANPOUR: You said the heart has been removed and only the shell remains.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): -- the tour appeared to be a sincere effort to prove that they have shut the plant down.
On a hillside, overlooking the Yongbyon nuclear plant, North Korean officials set up a reviewing stand and seats for the U.S. State
Department delegation and the others, who had come to witness the destruction of their cooling tower.
As dignitaries, technical experts and the handful of invited press waited, an official from the plant gave the signal.
First, a warning flare and, three minutes later, a massive cloud of smoke. As the tower crumbled, the sound of the blast finally hit the
air. There was a moment of stunned silence as it sank in. And then a quiet handshake between Sung Kim, the U.S. point man on North Korea, and
Lee Yong-ho, the director of safeguards at Yongbyon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a complete demolition of the cooling tower. This is a very significant disablement step.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Dr. Lee said that he was sad to see his life's work destroyed. And yet --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
AMANPOUR (voice-over): -- he said, "I hope the explosion of the cooling tower will make a contribution to peace, not only for the Korean
Peninsula but for the whole world."
It had taken North Korean experts two weeks to carefully lay the explosives. U.S. monitors watching with bated breath were impressed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not very simple to blow it up and make it come down and they did a very good job.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): After surveying the rubble, the State Department's Sung Kim said the stage is now set for the next phase of
negotiations, to fully dismantle Yongbyon and hand over the plutonium, including the bombs it has produced.
AMANPOUR: That was then. And that was it for plutonium processing. But two years later, as you've just heard, just earlier in the program,
our guest, Siegfried Hecker, was shown a new secret facility right there for enriching uranium, the other route to the bomb.
At the end of last year, North Korea fully and efficiently restarted the facility and it started this new year with a big and ominous bang.
That is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always now listen to our podcast, see us online at amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook
and Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.