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Cat-4 Hurricane Irma Heads Towards U.S.; International Offers of Aid Slim after Hurricane; Friction Between the U.S. & South Korea; Fears Over North Korea Spark Emergency Shelter Sales in Japan. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired September 5, 2017 - 02:00   ET


ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: and displays of military might from South Korea.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Talking about the United Nations, the US ambassador has accused Kim Jong-un of begging for war Nikki Haley also says the UN strategy is not working She now wants the strongest sanctions possible on Pyongyang.

SESAY: In South Korea, more live-fire drills intended to show solid ability to wipe out Kim's regime, plus a new willingness from the South Korean defense minister to review plans for US tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

VAUSE: We being our coverage now with Kristie Lu Stout live in Seoul Kristie.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, South Korea and the US are increasing the military pressure on North Korea President Moon Jae-In and Donald Trump spoke by phone finally on Monday.

They agreed to lift restrictions of just how powerful Seoul's ballistic missiles can be Barbara Starr has more on the South's show of force.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: This live fire exercise by South Korean forces, a direct military response to the North's largest nuclear test.

Army and air forces simulating an attack on North Korea's nuclear test sites even as North Korean state media issued new threats to the US, including Guam One editorial saying, "Every time the US goes crazy talking about sanctions and war, our will of vengeance will become hundred and thousand times stronger."

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley very much in the hard line mode back at Kim.

NIKKI HALEY, US AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: His abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war War is never something the United States wants We don't want it now. STARR: Rising tensions pushing Defense Secretary James Mattis to exactly where he never wants to be, center stage at the White House.

JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies, would be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.

STARR: But are there credible military options without thousands of casualties.

GEN MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: What I think Secretary Mattis was doing was simply trying to convince the North that we have this option and they cannot be certain we would never use it under certain circumstances.

STARR: It may be the most critical decision ever for Donald Trump

STEVE WARREN, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: How much of a price we're willing to pay, how much we are willing to bleed to accomplish our objectives This is a decision not for military members This is a decision for elected political leaders to make And they always have to weigh the cost versus the benefit.

STARR: Short of US attack, the Pentagon could send an aircraft carrier offshore The Ronald Reagan is nearby More bombers could be sent South Korea and Japan both upping their missile defenses and cooperation with the US, but there is no indication Kim Jong-un is listening.

JANG KYOUNG SOO, SOUTH KOREA ACTING DEPUTY MINISTER IF DEFENSE POLICY: We predicted North Korea could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile to show that they have obtained the means of delivering a nuclear bomb to the United States.

STARR: Some US military assets could move closer to the Korean Peninsula in the coming days Nothing has been announced yet But the bottom line is, would any of this change Kim Jong-un's mind about proceeding with his weapons program? The betting money is it won't

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


STOUT: CNN has reporters covering this story around the world Ian Lee joins me here in Seoul and Alexandra Field is standing by for us live in Tokyo.

Let's go to Ian first Ian, another day, another live fire military drill by the South Korea military, this time involving the navy Tell us what happened and the intended message here

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, this message is the one we've been seeing since that sixth nuclear test, and that is a strong show of force that South Korea can retaliate against the North Korean regime and their nuclear program in the event of a war And this time, we're seeing the navy carry out these live-fire exercises So, now we've seen the navy, the army and the air force conduct these exercises.

Now, we also are following this phone call between President Moon Jae- In and President Donald Trump that happened earlier today In it, they talked about further strengthening the cooperation between the two countries.

And they also talked about, as you pointed out, lifting the limits on the size of their ballistic missiles that South Korea can develop Currently, they're at 500 kilogram warheads They want that to be an unlimited amount.

[02:05:03] They also talked about buying weapons, billions of dollars of weapons that South Korea is going to buy and that would definitely beef up their arsenal.

The one thing also that has been brought up here in Seoul is the potential of bringing US nuclear missiles to South Korea Now, the president here has said that he's committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but the minister of defense said that he's willing to look at that option.

I asked people here on the street what they thought of it and they were split about 50/50 Some people saying that it's a good idea, it's a good deterrence Others saying that it would just further escalate the crisis.

The one thing that they were all united behind was their president They say they believe that he has the tools and the ability to bring down the temperature in this conflict.

Then when I asked them about President Trump, they were less enthusiastic A lot of them saying that he is unknown Some calling him even reckless, even though they say that the United States is South Korea's most important ally.

But, right now, the real push seems to be in the international community to further isolate North Korea, both diplomatically and economically, Kristie.

KRISTIE: All right Got it, Ian Let's bring up Alexandra Field for us standing by in Tokyo And, Alex, South Korea, we've seen another day of that show of force We have yet to see a similar visual display response from the Japanese, a response to that North Korean nuclear test Why is that and what are Tokyo's options?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPONDENT: Right You don't see that flexing of military muscle coming from the Japanese military forces This is a country with a pacifist constitution But we do know that they are regularly engaged in drills with the US military and they say that that is towards the end of maintaining a defensive posture.

And, certainly, the defenses of this country are top of mind right now They've actually got sniffer planes that have been up in the air the last few days, trying to scan and look for any signs of hazardous materials after that sixth nuclear test.

Don't forget also, we have seen this barrage of missile tests from North Korea in recent months, really an unprecedented amount that have continued to threaten the safety and security of Japan You've had a number of these missiles splashing down in the waters off of Japan and, most recently, you have that intermediate range ballistic missile that actually flew over the northern island of Hokkaido right here in Japan.

Certainly, the government has been doing everything that it can to maintain preparedness should they need it and to reassure people that Japan's defenses are ready to combat a threat from North Korea

But as far as a solution, as far as what kind of position Japan finds itself in now and how you proceed forward, well, government officials have made it clear that they see diplomacy as the solution there

You've had Prime Minister Shinzo Abe making a loud case for further sanctions against North Korea (INAUDIBLE) potentially fueling its ballistic program that endanger not just the region, but really the world now.

So, you are seeing the full emphasis from the leadership of Japan on making sure that the sanctions that are already in place become fully enforced and they're also throwing their weight behind further sanctions to be taken by the United Nations.

Prime Minister Abe did speak to President Trump after that nuclear test, but he also spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin He said he is trying and working to make sure that Russia is supportive when it comes to these UN Security Council meetings, and Prime Minister Abe will have an opportunity to meet face to face with Putin in coming days for a previously scheduled meeting Kristie, he will also be meeting out with the South Korean President Moon Jae-In.

STUOUT: All right A flurry of diplomatic activity ahead Alexander Field joining us live from Tokyo Ian Lee live in Seoul Big thank you to you both.

Now, Daniel Pinkston joins us now, he is a Professor of International Relations based here at Seoul, the Troy University He is also the author of a book called "The North Korean Ballistic Missile Program." Thank you for joining us And it's through all these tests, we have a sense of North Korea's weapons capability, right, but we don't know its motivation And that's the question I want to ask you Why is Kim Jong-un doing this? What does Kim Jong-un want?

DANIEL PINKSTON, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AT TROY UNIVERSITY: Right That's a very important question So, over the past two or three decades, we've watched them go through this progression to acquire these weapons.

Now, since they have them, we have to realize or we need to remember that these weapons are not an end They're a means to an end So, how are they going to use them we have to ask, under what conditions, against whom and to achieve what. So, we have to start paying close attention to their military doctrine, their nuclear doctrine and their nuclear posture.

STOUT: There's a number of theories out there Survival of the Kim family business Is that the reason why? Survival?

PINKSTON: Well, of course Survival is your first agenda item You have to survive to achieve any of your other goals.

So, of course, during the famine in the 1990s, they were under extraordinary stress The regime was in the threat of collapse But, now, things are much better and they can look beyond simple survival, I think.

[02:10:06] There are other objectives and they say it very clearly If you look at their media and their literature, they often speak of achieving the final victory, completing the revolution in the South, which means, as they say, liberate the South and unify Korea on its terms.

Secondly, they'd wish to expel the United States from the region, terminate the alliance system that the US has with other countries in the region and, of course, lift all sanctions, so that they can maintain a normal economic relationship with the rest of the world.

STOUT: Yes And that's a long view Another thinking that's out there about why North Korea is amassing these weapons and testing them is blackmail, to get back to the negotiating table or to earn some sort of international prestige Your thoughts on that.

PINKSTON: Oh, yes Particularly when states acquire nuclear weapons, early on, they will try to see how they can use them for coercive purposes or to use them for blackmail.

No one has been able to demonstrate how you can use them for blackmail other than deterrence It is very difficult to use nuclear weapons There would be certain situations in a war, I think, where they would resort to their nuclear chord if, in fact, they were on the verge of suffering a conventional defeat Then they would use that as a last resort.