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North Korea Launches Ballistic Missile; Trump versus the Media; Trump on the World Stage; New Jersey Governor's Approval Rating Plummet Fight for Charlie Gard. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 4, 2017 - 02:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes in Los Angeles.

And we are waiting for a major announcement from North Korea this hour. And it comes after Pyongyang fired a missile that may have landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone. South Korea's military says it traveled more than 930 kilometers. That's about 500 miles.

U.S. President Donald Trump responding to the launch on Twitter, quote, "North Korea has just launched another missile.

"Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?"

"Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all."

That from the U.S. president on Twitter.

CNN following this developing story with our correspondents throughout the region. Paula Hancocks is in Seoul. Journalist Kaori Enjoji joins us from Tokyo. Andrew Stevens is in Hong Kong.

Paula, let's start with you. You were hearing word about this announcement from North Korea following this launch.

What more have you heard?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, that announcement is expected at half past 3:00 local time, so that's about half an hour from now. A major announcement from North Korea is reported on Pyongyang radio.

Now previous big announcements that have been highlighted ahead of time in North Korea have been for the likes of nuclear tests or a satellite launch; for example, at the end of last year, a death of a leader. They are significant usually when North Korea does announce these major announcements.

Now what we're hearing as well from the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, is he said that the military here in South Korea says there is a possibility that what North Korea fired this morning was an ICBM, an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Now this would be significant as this is what concerns Washington the most, the fact that it could be a missile that potentially would hit mainland United States. And it's also something that North Korea has said for some time that it wants to be able to do. This is the end goal -- or at least towards the end goal for North Korea.

Kim Jong-un himself saying he wants to be able to hit mainland United States with an ICBM, potentially a nuclear-tipped ICBM.

Now what we're hearing from the facts and figures point of view is the Joint Chiefs of Staff say that it flew about 930 kilometers. We're just hearing from the Japanese side that they believe the altitude was 2.5 thousand kilometers and the U.S. Pacific Command said they tracked it for about 37 minutes.

So that's how long it flew. Put all that together and many experts in this field, this rocket science field, are currently trying to figure out whether or not that is an ICBM. Some are saying yes. Others are holding back, saying it may be the lower level.

Certainly there is an expectation from as high up as the president of South Korea that this could be what has happened today. We will hear in half and hour from North Korea itself as to what they claim they have achieved -- Michael.

HOLMES: We will have that and you right here on CNN, of course. Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo, now let's go to you. This missile apparently

landed in the exclusive economic zone.

What does that mean from Japan's point of view?

It's not the first time that's happened but some strong words from the Japanese leader.

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Absolutely. Our prime minister Shinzo Abe was fairly quick to issue a response to this and the defense ministry, just moments ago, has issued its second statement of the day, giving us a few more details as to how this missile launch was conducted.

As Paula was saying, the defense ministry here saying that the altitude greatly exceeded 2,500 kilometers and it flew 930 kilometers before it likely landed in the exclusive economic zone.

The prime minister has been using fairly strong language, saying that this is a clear sign that the threat from North Korea is increasing.

But at the same time, Prime Minister Abe, who is headed to Germany for the G20 meeting, said that it was imperative for the G20 to present a unified front and also to seek a more, what he called, constructive action from partners like China and Russia. And I think that is significant because I think it highlights the role

that Shinzo Abe wants to play, a role of mediator in trying to come, to bring these various parties to the table, not just Japan, China, the U.S., South Korea but Russia as well.

It also highlights the difficult that Japan faces --


ENJOJI: -- in challenging this threat on its own because there have been so many missile launches over the last several months -- Michael.

HOLMES: Thanks for that, Kaori.

Let's go to Andrew Stevens now in Hong Kong.

The U.S. president, Donald Trump, spoke with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, before this happened. They had a different view or different wording of how those talks went. The Chinese expressing some concerns about the relationship.

How might this play into that, especially with the G20 coming up, where North Korea is going to play very heavily?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: Well, China has said first and foremost that it does want to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and it's never backed away from that commitment.

You're right, there was a meeting on the telephone between the U.S. president and his Chinese counterpart, at which the Chinese are understood to have expressed the negative problems between the two superpowers, really revolving around two or three incidents recently: the U.S. warship in the South China Sea, the fact that the U.S. is providing arms to Taiwan, the fact that U.S. slapped some sanctions on a Chinese bank over their deals with North Korea.

Now what Donald Trump wants to do -- as we saw in that tweet -- and what the U.S. administration has said repeatedly is they want China to bring more pressure economically on North Korea. As Donald Trump says, he wants to see a heavy move by China.

China does hold the key. There is no doubt about that. China, for its part, says we are doing everything that we are being asked to do under the U.N. auspices. The U.N. has put sanctions down. We are honoring those sanctions. Indeed, they have stopped North Korean coal imports going into China.

But on the other side of that, there is still massive amounts of oil flowing from China into North Korea. There's all sorts of trade going between these two. So there is a standoff.

While there's certainly a big difference of opinion about which way to tackle the Korean question, President Xi and Donald Trump are expected to meet at that G20 meeting, perhaps to flesh out some details there. Have to wait and see. HOLMES: Yes, China, of course, very concerned about North Korea's actions on the nuclear front but reluctant to do anything that might threaten the stability of North Korea because that then becomes a regional problem.

Our thanks to you Andrew Stevens, there in Hong Kong; Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo; Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea; we'll get back to you after this announcement. Thanks so much.

No doubt, of course, President Trump is going to be raising the issue of North Korea as he does meet with the G20 leaders later this week in Germany. But administration sources say don't expect him to talk with Vladimir Putin about Russia's attack on the U.S. election.

Meantime, Mr. Trump is waging his own war on journalists in the U.S. Sara Murray with that.


SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Days before a series of high-stakes meetings of world leaders, President Trump is turning his attention to bashing the media. Trump taking to Twitter over the weekend to post a video, showing him pummeling a CNN logo and using a speech honoring veterans to lob attacks at the media.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fake media is trying to silence us but we will not let them because the people know the truth. The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House but I'm president and they're not.

MURRAY (voice-over): Trump continued to air his grievances today on Twitter, saying, "At some point, the fake news will be forced to discuss our great jobs numbers, strong economy, success with ISIS, the border and so much else."

While some say Trump overstepped with the wrestling video, White House officials like Homeland Security advisor Tom Bossert insist it didn't go too far.

THOMAS BOSSERT, WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: I think that no one would perceive that as a threat. I hope they don't. But I do think that he's beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to.

MURRAY (voice-over): But more members of Trump's own party are sounding the alarm about his toxic tone toward the press. Republican senator Ben Sasse accused Trump of trying to use distrust in the media as a weapon to undermine American freedom.

SEN. BEN SASSE (R): There's an important distinction to draw between bad stories or crappy coverage and the right that citizens have to argue about that and complain about that and trying to weaponize distrust.

MURRAY (voice-over): But urging Trump to tone it down could be a futile pursuit. He defended his Twitter habits this weekend, saying, "My use of social

media is not presidential. It's modern day presidential."

Trumps attempts to tweak the media just the latest distraction from weightier policy matters. He spent the weekend and Monday prepping for his overseas trip, which includes stops in Germany --


MURRAY (voice-over): -- and Poland by calling the leaders of Germany, Italy, Japan, China and Saudi Arabia. The G20 meeting in Germany will mark the first time Trump is meeting Russian president Vladimir Putin face to face. Trump has lavished praise on Putin in the past.

TRUMP: If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability.

MURRAY (voice-over): But the president is expected to use this meeting to focus on pressing matters for the White House, including disputes in Syria and Ukraine. What's still unclear, according to administration officials, is whether Trump will raise Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

MURRAY: Now as for that wrestling video, it's still not clear where it came from. The Anti-Defamation League did its own analysis and tracked it back to a Reddit user with a history of posting racist and anti-Semitic comments. But a White House official says the president did not get that video from Reddit -- Sara Murray, CNN, the White House.


HOLMES: Joining me now is California talk radio host, Ethan Bearman, and California Republican National Committee man, Shawn Steel.

Gentlemen, a lot I'd like to talk about. I want to get to Donald Trump's tweets as well but the pressing international story at the moment is North Korea.

What are your concerns about the position the U.S. is putting -- and the reason is -- and I'll run it by you.

January 2nd of this year, Donald Trump tweeting, "North Korea just stated it's in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen."

It looks like it could anytime soon. I mean they're getting close. They're getting very close.

What does Donald Trump do?

That's a red line.

ETHAN BEARMAN, CALIFORNIA TALK RADIO HOST: Oh, boy, I think at this point we have to put the pressure on and this is the problem with our relationship with both China and Russia. Those are the two countries that hold the key to North Korea.

We don't have the relationship yet to exert a lot of pressure on them, to say you have to shut down what North Korea is doing. The military option is not one that we want to go down that path at all.

That is very dangerous to our allies, South Korea, Japan and the United States itself and we don't have the relationship yet with China and Russia. I don't see a good outcome here.

HOLMES: Well, there's no good military option. Everyone tends to agree on that.

Shawn, what are your thoughts on that?

What position is Donald Trump -- what is he going to do about it?

SHAWN STEEL, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Republican and Democrat administrations have kicked this can down the street for decades now and Trump stuck with it.

I think if we're worried, the Japanese have got to be petrified because now the missiles can go through Japan, over Japan and around Japan. I think you're going to see a lot more defensive action taking place by the Japanese, that we're going to encourage, and maybe some offensive capabilities.

I think a boycott is going to have to be much more strong and robust. We have to starve the kind of money that the Koreans are using, North Koreans are using, to develop their weapons. I think you're going to look at probably a blockade.

I think you have a great deal of sources and banks that are cooperating with the North Koreans and through the Chinese that have got to be cut off. It's going to get a lot more serious. And frankly, we just can't pretend there's not going to be a military action to this because --


HOLMES: You think there will be a military action?

STEEL: Well, I think Om (sic) is unstable, he's unstable himself because he's not that strong within his own country. So in order to keep the cutting edge and to keep the focus on him, he wants to be aggressive. And this is according to experts in the field.

HOLMES: Well, yes, I think if you're in South Korea and you're 40 miles from the DMZ, you're not going to be wanting to see any sort of retaliatory action and conventional --

STEEL: Not at all.

BEARMAN: And the Koreans just elected a new prime minister.

(CROSSTALK) HOLMES: -- who's a lot more dovish than Donald Trump on this. He would like to see dialogue and compromise. And whether the U.S. president is feeling compromising is --

STEEL: That's what we've done for 20 years and it's not working very nicely.

HOLMES: Nothing has.

The G20 is coming up. The president is going there. We saw Sara Murray's piece there on the president's tweets, when it comes to that CNN mean video, when it comes to what he said about the MSNBC anchors.

I'm trying -- as somebody who travels the world a lot -- to see Angela Merkel or Mr. Macron in France tweeting that sort of thing. Now he's going to the G20. He's going to be meeting with world leaders.

Does this harm his standing in the international community?

BEARMAN: Well, it's already been harmed. I mean, Germany, we've never been so distant from Germany since the signing of the peace treaty at the end of World War II. This is dangerous territory.

Our allies are no longer as good of allies because of actions that this president has taken. I am uncomfortable with where he is going. I don't like the idea that he does have a set agenda for a meeting with Vladimir Putin. I just don't see a good outcome here unless, suddenly, which has never happened yet, he changes his tune and approaches things differently.

HOLMES: Shawn, it is an important issue to raise, while we've got time. The U.S. President going to be meeting with Vladimir Putin. The whispers coming out of --


HOLMES: -- the Trump camp is he might not talk about Russia and the meddling in the election. It seems incomprehensible that he'd meet with Vladimir Putin and not raise that.

STEEL: I'm sure he's going to raise it because that's something that's been on his mind quite a bit. He's taken a lot of abuse, taken a lot of hits, a lot of false news reports on that as well, including perhaps even this story, that he won't be talking about something.

I think the other side of it, too, is that the Europeans really are on their back. Demographically they're not reproducing it. They're actually a dying continent in many respects. Trump, on the other hand, has really got --

HOLMES: How so?

STEEL: -- well, you know, they need to have babies to continue the population. We did a lot of studies on that.

But in the meanwhile, NATO's actually finding themselves actually increasing the funding that the countries -- there's a lot of mocking Trump. He didn't do well at the G7. They were kind of laughing behind his back.

And now the secretary of NATO said, yes, we're increasing funding. We're actually going to have a much more robust contribution. So Trump draws the line, makes clear his position. A lot of people don't like it but they eventually follow it. This is -- it's an assertive presidency.

HOLMES: You could say that. A lot of the NATO leaders, they are big on unity, especially when it comes to Russia and interference in their own elections, the French election and elsewhere as well. They're not feeling very unified with Donald Trump.

BEARMAN: No. Not at all. Again, Germany has made it very open how distant our relationship has come. We have a cold breeze that's blowing between Angela Merkel and President Trump right now.


HOLMES: -- let me quote Angela Merkel.

"Whoever believes that you can solve problems through isolation and protectionism is making a grave error."

It doesn't sound very ally-ish, does it?

STEEL: Well, except Merkel's the problem. It's not Trump. Merkel is the one who has been --


BEARMAN: Angela Merkel can't be the problem because she overanalyzes --


STEEL: You happen to have American troops on the Russian border now that Trump has been supporting. He's very upset about the Ukraine and the problem that was engendered and created by Obama. And we had a missile defense system that Obama took down.


BEARMAN: But President Trump has done nothing about Russian aggression in Ukraine.

STEEL: Well, he's not going to go and declare war but he wants a stronger NATO.

Don't you think that's the best alternative?

BEARMAN: And what has he done, though, to support Ukraine in all that?

I just don't see anything. He's done nothing to confront Vladimir Putin on this.

STEEL: And Putin hasn't moved on the Ukraine in the last six months.

BEARMAN: That's actually not true. There's been battles going on. There have been document -- unless that's fake news to you. But there's been extensive coverage of the battles that are continuing --

STEEL: -- what is not fake news is that NATO is better today than it was six months ago.

HOLMES: There a lot of people would disagree that there's nothing going on in Ukraine. There's a lot going on in Ukraine and a lot of people have no doubt that Russia is behind it. That is a continuing issue.

I wish we had more time. Shawn Steel, Ethan Bearman, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

All right, next here on CNN NEWSROOM, New Jersey governor Chris Christie speaking out about what some jokingly call Beachgate. And he's not sorry. Ethan Bearman and Shawn Steel, we're going to discuss that next. Stay with us.






HOLMES: Welcome back.

No apologies. New Jersey governor Chris Christie defending his decision to spend time at the beach and announcing his state has now reached a budget deal to reopen its government.

Now this shutdown, which began on Friday, closed some New Jersey beaches and parks just ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend in the U.S.

Barricades greeting disappointed visitors, outrage erupting on Monday after aerial photos -- that one there one of them -- emerging of Governor Christie, his family and guests enjoying one of those beaches all to themselves at the governor's residence on Island Beach State Park. Because of the shutdown, it was off limits to the public.

Now at a news conference a short time ago, Christie said he's not apologizing for spending 40 minutes with his family.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), N.J.: The way I took Claude's (ph) question was, hey, were you like out laying out, getting a tan today? That wasn't what I was doing and that's not what those pictures show. Sitting there with a baseball hat and shorts and a T-shirt, talking to my wife and talking to our guests. I don't apologize for it. I don't back away from it. And I think my poll numbers show that I don't care about political optics.


HOLMES: Well, New Jersey beaches and parks that were closed because of that shutdown will reopen later on Tuesday because a deal has been done to get a budget to the governor.

And we're back again now with California talk radio host, Ethan Bearman, and California Republican National Committee man, Shawn Steel.

It's interesting, when Governor Christie said my poll numbers reflect that I don't care, his poll numbers are around 15 percent approval. This probably wouldn't have helped.

BEARMAN: Yes, if anything, the 15 percent will now be 9 percent after this incident. I mean, this is just a perfect example of the Republicans being disconnected from the American people.

It's just like the health care plan, where we give tax cuts to the rich so the people of lesser means are going to have to suffer more. The beach is closed to the public but, yes, the man in charge gets to enjoy it as he wants.


HOLMES: And, Shawn, you give us your thoughts on that, too, but it was interesting that, at a news conference before those photos came out, the governor said he did not get any sun today.

And then one of his aides came out later, after the photos came out and said, well, he was wearing a baseball hat so he didn't get any sun today. It's about the optics, surely.

STEEL: It's a very large baseball hat.


STEEL: And I think there was a lot of clouds in the area at the time. Look, you saw the picture. That big home that you saw next to the beach, that's his home. That's where he lives. That's the governor's mansion and his front yard is the beach.

So he walked maybe 30 or 40 feet with his family. It was a perfect day, a perfect American opportunity.


HOLMES: It's optics, though, Shawn.

Does that look good when no one else can be on that beach? STEEL: You know what, it's so silly and unimportant. What's important is that New Jersey is going to be getting probably a Democrat, you know --


STEEL: -- stranglehold over their economy and people are going to continue leaving the state.

It's going to be another Democrat basket case and Chris Christie is putting his finger in the dike. He's the only Republican left in New Jersey. It's a really sad economic state And so the Democrats are playing the game of distraction. Look at the guy on the beach.


HOLMES: Chris Christie ran for president. I mean he had political ambitions. He had hoped to be in the White House as well. None of that's happened. He's polling at 15 percent.

His political career done?

What do you --

STEEL: I would never say that a person's political career is done. We saw what happened to Richard Nixon.

We've seen what happened to Obama who had no career at all, suddenly started to give a couple of great speeches. Or Bill Clinton, he was impeached, humiliated and he lost his place at the bar and he's the Democrats' number one most popular politician.


STEEL: You thought Hillary was going to go away. We thought we'd put the wooden stake through her heart. She keeps coming back. She'll be back again.

HOLMES: Ethan, get in here. Have an opinion.

BEARMAN: Michael, let's be honest. Chris Christie is done. Jared Kushner actually is the one who put the stake in Chris Christie's heart. There was animosity there, because Chris Christie put Jared Kushner's dad away in prison, because he was a criminal. And in this case, Chris Christie suffered because of it.

STEEL: Whose side are you on?


HOLMES: Well, I don't think anyone can deny the optics aren't good there, whether it's his front yard or not. It wasn't good timing, that's for sure.

Shawn Steel, Ethan Bearman, thanks very much, gentlemen. All right. Staying in the U.S., and Maine's three-day government shutdown has also come to an end with the signing of a budget bill. Governor Paul LePage signing a spending plan early on Tuesday morning, which got rid of a controversial tax hike. Now he says that the state government will now resume all normal operations.

Time for a quick break. "STATE OF AMERICA" with Kate Bolduan is coming up for our viewers in Asia. For everyone else, CNN NEWSROOM L.A. continues.

And we are expecting what is being described as a major announcement from North Korea within minutes in the wake of that missile launch. Stay with us. We'll be right back.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

HOLMES (voice-over): Welcome back, everyone.

We are expecting to hear from North Korea any minute now. South Korea's Yonhap news agency reporting that Pyongyang will make a major announcement literally any minute. It's meant to be about right now. We're keeping an eye on news coming out of North Korea.

This coming just hours after North Korea launched a ballistic missile that may have landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone. South Korea's military says it flew into the waters east of the Korean Peninsula. The missile traveling more than 930 kilometers. That's about 600 miles or so and that is further than a missile launch in May that analysts described as Pyongyang's most successful launch ever.

Let's turn to Bruce Bennett, senior international and defense researcher at RAND Corporation, to talk more about this.

You've seen some of the numbers there, 600 miles apparently, according to Japan, 2,500 kilometers in altitude.

What does that tell you?

BRUCE BENNETT, RAND CORPORATION: So North Korea's firing the missile very high so it doesn't travel over Japan and create a major international incident. You can't hardly fire a missile from North Korea that's got a 1,000-kilometer range without it going into somebody's exclusive economic zone.

The bottom line is they've flown it very high so that they can test the range of the missile. If they were to shoot it on a normal trajectory, it's probably going to go out 6,000 or so kilometers. And, by definition, anything over 5,500 kilometers is an ICBM.

HOLMES: Yes. I think Paula Hancocks is on the line now. She's going to join us

from Seoul.

Paula, what are you hearing from Pyongyang?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, the announcement has just come through from North Korean television, announcing that North Korea has successfully tested an ICBM, an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Now this is what they are saying on KCNA. We're just getting it through now, saying it was a success. They say that this ICBM test was ordered directly by Kim Jong-un just a little earlier. You actually saw an image, a photo of Kim Jong-un seeming to sign something.

We've seen this in the past, that he has been signing orders when it comes to missile tests like this.

According to North Korea, they say the altitude was 2,802 kilometers; the distance, 930 kilometers. That's pretty much in keeping with what we have heard from the Japanese and the South Korean and the United States side as well.

And they've called it the Hwasong-14. Just a couple months ago they had a Hwasong-12, which was slightly less in altitude and in distance.

But as far as North Korea is concerned, they have successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile. You can see the news anchor announcing it there, saying that Kim Jong-un was at the test site today and was there when they oversaw this successful ICBM test.

Now this is what we had been hearing from some experts. As you've just been saying as well, the altitude, the distance, the time that U.S. Pacific Command, for example, was tracking this particular missile would have suggested that that was possible.

And what we are also hearing from North Korea is that they are saying that this is an historical event for the country -- Michael.

HOLMES: Very worrying development. Paula Hancocks, on top of things for us there in Seoul. Thanks so much, Paula. We'll check back with you for any developments.

Let's go back to Bruce Bennett with RAND Corporation.

What you just heard there, what does that tell you?

I mean the altitude was a little bit higher than we were saying before, 2,800.


BENNETT: So a little longer range, more capable.

HOLMES: When it comes to a threat -- and we were talking a little earlier about this.

Donald Trump, January 2nd, "North Korea just stated it's in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen."

Did it just happen?

BENNETT: It appears to have just happened. This was Kim Jong-un's intent from the very beginning. When Trump said that, that was a challenge. And within his system, he is supposed to be a god. And so he took the challenge and he's now performed.

Now he looks like he's a powerful --


HOLMES: The keyword, I suppose, there, too, is "nuclear" and the discussion has been whether Kim Jong-un has been able to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to fit on top of --


HOLMES: -- an ICBM that could reach the United States. That's the key development.

The problem is, do we even know whether he's done that yet?

BENNETT: We haven't seen it. So we don't know for sure that he's done that.

HOLMES: But it's possible?

BENNETT: But it's certainly possible. He's had enough time. He's probably had some outside help from the Russians, maybe the Chinese. So it's logical to assume that he can do that.

But remember, 6,000 kilometers doesn't get you to San Francisco. So he's not yet able to hit the continental United States.

HOLMES: But he is able to hit U.S. bases, like Diego Garcia, places like that, right?

BENNETT: So he could hit places like the Aleutians, Alaska, possibly Hawaii, depending on what the final range turns out to be. But not yet with this missile, apparently --


HOLMES: -- the West Coast of the United States.

When you look at what has not happened in terms of getting North Korea to the negotiating table, when you look at the North Korean attitude, which has been one of we are going to have this capability and you can't stop us, it's the most heavily sanctioned country in the world. Nothing's working.

Do you worry about what is to come and especially if Donald Trump has drawn a red line there or a line in the sand?

Do you worry about this?

BENNETT: Certainly. I mean you look at Kim Jong-un.

Why did he kill his older brother in February?

You know, he kills him with a chemical warfare agent. I mean, this is an individual who is apparently paranoid. He's worried about his control of power. He's killed a lot of people. And he's probably concerned about internal politics.

So this is somebody who could act out.

His grandfather asked his military leaders in 1993, when there was the first nuclear crisis, what do we do if we fight the Americans and we lose?

And his father said, if we lose, I will be sure to destroy the Earth.

What good is the Earth without North Korea?

Well, he can't destroy the Earth, even with nuclear weapons, but he could do a whole lot of damage and an ICBM would be a part of that.

BENNETT: You've got the Chinese, who want there to be dialogue. You've got a new dovish South Korean president, who would like there to be dialogue. The North Koreans, by all intents and purposes and from what they have said in talks that have happened, not that interested in dialogue or at least dialogue that goes anywhere.

Then you've got the U.S. saying that they're looking at military options.

Is there a good military option?

One imagines there is not.

BENNETT: The problem is people talk about, let's go do a surgical strike. We look at the surgical strike that was done at Turkey with the 50 cruise missiles on an airfield and the airfield was operating in a day or two.

You know, North Korea, much harder targets, many more targets. There is no such thing as a surgical strike because North Korea will also retaliate. They've said they'll open artillery on Seoul. They'll fire missiles. This is not a good option.

HOLMES: Yes, and a lot of people don't realize with the geography, Seoul is not far from the DMZ and those artillery pieces.

I want to bring in Melissa Hanham now, she's a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, on the line from Monterey, California.

I've got to imagine you've been hearing all these details and the altitude of this test missile, which apparently was upwards of 2,800 kilometers. The distance was 900 or so kilometers.

What do you make of it?

MELISSA HANHAM, SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE AT THE JAMES MARTIN CENTER FOR NONPROLIFERATION STUDIES: Yes. And whenever we hear of ballistic missile tests like this, we're immediately looking for the range, the altitude of the launch and those types of information.

But what North Korea does is shoot a bullet almost straight up, to get as high as it can. And then when it returns down to Earth, you can imagine, even though it didn't go that far across the Earth because it went so high up, it actually demonstrated quite a far range.

In this case, the estimates of a group of scientists in the U.S. working on the open source, indicate that it's probably around 6,600 kilometers, which would put Alaska in range of North Korea's ICBMs.

HOLMES: We're just discussing this here with Bruce Bennett.

What do we know about the capability in terms of nuclear -- putting a nuclear-tipped warhead on such a thing?

What do we know about that?

HANHAM: So in the open source, we don't have perfect information on this. In March of 2016, they showed us several photographs of Kim Jong-un, standing behind a large silver --


HANHAM: -- orb. You know, unfortunately, we can't use our X-ray vision to determine what was inside of that, if it was anything.

But after five successful nuclear tests, it's not unseemly to think that it's possible they have made a compact nuclear warhead and that there were some details of that particular silver orb that seemed realistic.

So, no, we don't know whether they have a warhead that fits on a missile but it's to the point where I think we probably have to start behaving from a policy standpoint as though they do, simply because it's too risky not to.

HOLMES: When you watch, as we all do, the actions of the North Korean leader and what has been said and what has come out of the talks that have happened at certain levels and the attitude of, we're going to do this no matter what, we are going to be equal partners at the nuclear table, do you think that there is room for negotiation?

Or do you think Kim Jong-un is just going to do this, no matter what?

HANHAM: I think there's room for negotiation but it's not the kind of negotiation we want. There's been talk for decades about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and I don't think that North Korea is going to give up its nuclear weapons anytime soon. I think, unfortunately, we're now finding ourselves in the position

where we can't eliminate a program we don't want. What we have to work toward is limiting the program that they have and that they've already demonstrated.

So some steps that we would want is to, you know, end future nuclear tests, end future ballistic missile tests and, in addition, limit the production of fissile materials for weapons and limit any sort of -- and proliferation of any types of missiles.

But even getting that is quite challenging. We would have to give up a lot to extract those kinds of things from North Korea and we would have to trust them to do it. So it would take quite vigorous, impenetrable kind of verification mechanisms that would make the Iran deal blush, basically, to actually enforce those kinds of things.

HOLMES: Some worrying developments. Melissa Hanham, thanks so much.

Also here in the studio with us, Bruce Bennett, our thanks to you as well.

We're going to take a short break now. When we come back, the heart- wrenching case of a terminally ill baby, that one right there on your screen, grabs the attention of some of the world's most powerful figures. We'll discuss when we come back.




HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone.

Any day now, doctors in the U.K. plan to take a terminally ill infant off life support after winning a legal battle to do so. His parents had wanted to take him to the U.S. for experimental treatment. Now two of the most powerful people on the planet are weighing in on this life-and-death battle over little Charlie Gard. CNN's Diana Magnay reports.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The tubes that keep him alive will be turned off soon. His parents' last hope, to take him to the States for highly experimental medical treatment, blocked by the British and European courts. Their last wish refused, to take him home to die.

CHRIS GARD, FATHER: He's a little trooper. He's a soldier. He will fight to the very end but he's still fighting but we're not allowed to fight for him anymore. Our parental rights have been chipped away. We can't even take our own son home to die. We've been denied that.

You don't think we've been through enough? MAGNAY (voice-over): Little Charlie Gard was born healthy but diagnosed the following month with a rare genetic disorder, a form of mitochondrial disease, which has left him, his doctors say, with irreversible brain damage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're still fighting! Save Charlie Gard!

MAGNAY (voice-over): At the weekend, protests in London against the decision to turn off life support and after the pope sent a message to the parents from the Vatican, saying, he was praying for them in the hope that their desire to accompany and care for their own child until the end will be respected.

Now Donald Trump has weighed in, too.

"If we can help little Charlie Gard as per our friends in the U.K. and the pope, we would be delighted to do so."

MAGNAY: Charlie's case is extremely complicated. The treatment that the U.S. is offering is called nucleoside bypass therapy and it's never been tested on a strain of the disease as rare as Charlie's is.

And even the U.S. specialist who is offering it says he thinks it's unlikely that it will be able to reverse Charlie's brain damage.

That's why the British courts ruled the way that they did. They said they didn't want Charlie to be the subject of medical experimentation if there was no chance of him getting better, that his right to die with dignity must come first.

MAGNAY (voice-over): But that's not the way his parents see it. Sadly for them, the pleas of a pope and a president already too late -- Diana Magnay, CNN, London.


HOLMES: It's a tragic story, whichever way you look at it.

Joining me now from San Francisco, Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action. That's a U.S.-based pro-life organization which has been closely following Charlie Gard's case.

You know, it is just so awful. The hospital says, no, this treatment's probably not going to work. It could do harm in terms of hurting this little child. The courts support the hospital. The hospital says this is it. We're turning off life support.

What do you say?

LILA ROSE, LIVE ACTION: I think that this is a case that's obviously very difficult, very challenging. And our hearts go out to Charlie Gard and his parents.

I think the key thing here, though, that it is within the parents' rights to seek treatment for their child, to pursue treatments, especially when they're the ones who have raised the funds to do this. They have raised almost $2 million U.S. through GoFundMe with thousands of people trying to contribute.

And it's important to look at what the hospital and the court has said. It's not so much that they've said that this treatment would be painful or bad for Charlie. They just think that it's not going to help cure his condition or going to actually help him to recover.

That's a difference and that's a really important difference here because I think it's within the parents' rights to pursue these treatments and to try to achieve as much of a lifespan as they can for their son.

HOLMES: Yes, I think that was the argument in court from medical specialists, was that the treatment would not help. It's experimental --


HOLMES: -- might even cause continued pain and prolonged suffering in terms of extending his life and it not actually doing much for him, if anything.

Is that an argument that you can see?

It's such a hard call. I mean, I don't think any parent's going to say they shouldn't have the right to do what they can, even experimental or otherwise.

ROSE: Well, absolutely, Michael. It's a very hard call. But I think the key thing is, when you have such difficult decisions to make about treatment options, about how to manage pain when you're dealing with this child, this little infant, Charlie, the parents need to be respected.

And I think this is why thousands of people have donated and millions of people are concerned and calling for the parents to have their wishes fulfilled, which is that they have worked hard to do the research, to raise the funds.

And there's a doctor in the United States and other medical professionals who are willing to assist with the treatment.

It is experimental but it's not -- it's an orally taken treatment, so it's not something that's going to be, according to the doctors that are advising the parents, something that's going to be more painful for Charlie and that there is a chance that it can prolong his life and he can have more time with his family.

So I think the key thing here again is that the parents' wishes should be respected and that they should be given more of an ear than they have been given. And their rights, I believe, in this case are being violated. The hospital and the European court are making a decision that's not theirs to make.

HOLMES: It's just such a terrible situation.

Lila Rose, thanks so much, founder and president, Live Action. Thank you.

ROSE: Thank you.

HOLMES: Coming up here on the program, more on what North Korea says was the successful launch of an ICBM. Stay with us. We'll be right back.







HOLMES: Welcome back.

North Korea has announced it has successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile. Earlier in a televised statement, Pyongyang said Kim Jong-un ordered the test and that announcement comes a few hours after the launch of the missile.

And it may have landed -- and this is important -- in Japan's exclusive economic zone.

South Korea's military says it landed in the waters east of the Korean Peninsula. It traveled some 930 kilometers, around 600 miles or so. Japan's defense ministry says the missile reached an altitude of 2,500 kilometers or over 1,500 miles.

And you can work out the distance it could potentially travel from that and it's well over 6,500 kilometers.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Michael Holmes. We're right out of time. The news continues with Max Foster in London, though, right after this short break. Thanks for being with us. I'll see you tomorrow.