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CNN NEWSROOM

North Korea Possibly Planning Second Bomb Test in Face of U.N. Sanctions Because of Previous Test

Aired October 17, 2006 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.
HARRIS: I'm Tony Harris. Spend a second hour in the NEWSROOM and stay informed. Here's what's on the run down. North Korea, signs that a second nuclear test may be in the works. A strident stand as the U.S. secretary of State heads to Asia this hour.

COLLINS: The ground rules for terror prosecutions, President Bush's signature makes them the law of the land.

HARRIS: A Kentucky social worker found dead, now the hunt for this young mother and her baby on this Tuesday, October 17th. You are in the NEWSROOM.

The North Korea threat, here is what we know. Word there may be new evidence that North Korea is preparing for a second nuclear test in defiance of international warnings; that according to a U.S. official, who has access to intelligence information.

Meanwhile, the Communist nation is blaming Washington for the U.N. sanctions leveled against it. Today, North Korea blasted the resolution as "a declaration of war." North Korea's foreign ministry says the country wants peace, but is not afraid of war.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice launches a diplomatic mission this morning. She'll travel to Asia to lobby Asian allies, and Russia, to enforce the U.N. punishment. Rice is aware some countries like South Korea and China are uneasy about provoking Pyongyang. She says, quote, "We have no desire to ratchet up conflict either."

COLLINS: Now more on the new information of the North Korea threat and questions about a second nuclear test. Let's get right to it. Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr joining us now.

Hi, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWSROOM: Good morning to you, Heidi.

Defense and intelligence officials are being extremely cautious, extremely conservative on all of this, but make no mistake, they are concerned that North Korea might be preparing for a second underground nuclear test. There has been inconclusive evidence, but activity has been seen at a number of North Korean test sites.

What officials are telling us this morning is there is now a second site, however, where they are beginning to see the very same type of activity they saw at the first site a week ago, just before that underground test took place. Some of this, they believe, involves the -- buildings and other fabricated structures being put up on the surface at the second site, possibly to try and avoid any satellites overhead seeing exactly what the technicians are up to.

So, they will be watching this very carefully. It's going to be hard for them to come to any conclusions, they say. They know that North Korea has the capacity, and the interest in conducting additional tests, but whether they get that final signal, that final piece of intelligence that a second test is about to happen remains quite an open question.

What officials are also saying is they do see statements reportedly attributed to senior North Korean military officers that Pyongyang does have the intention now to conduct additional tests -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Unsettling to say the least. All right. Barbara Starr, thank you.

HARRIS: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice heading to East Asia this morning, rallying allies over North Korea sanctions. But she may hit a roadblock. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWSROOM (voice over): With confirmation that North Korea did, indeed, conduct a nuclear test and is possibly readying to carry out another, a measured warning from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It goes to say that that would further deepen the isolation of North Korea and I hope they would not take such a provocative act.

MALVEAUX: On the eve of Rice's trip to Northeast Asia, the Bush administration faces a critical test, whether it can convince members of the U.N. Security Council, which approved tough sanctions against North Korea, to follow through. China is already balking at interdicting cargo entering or leaving North Korea for fear it will escalation tensions.

WANG GUANGYA, CHINESE AMB. TO U.N.: Interception, yes. But I think inspection is different from interception and interdiction. I think in that area I think that different countries would do it in different ways.

MALVEAUX: Rice tried to down play those differences, as well as suggestions that China and others may be getting cold feet

RICE: I am not concerned that the Chinese are going to turn their backs on their obligations. I don't think they would have voted for a resolution that they did not intend to carry through on. MALVEAUX: But carrying through may be tough for some allies, who each have their own interests at stake. China, which shares an 880- mile border with North Korea, insisted that as part of the U.N. resolution, any inspections of North Korean cargo would be voluntary for each state. South Korea also fears an embargo could lead to a military confrontation with its northern neighbor.

RICE: We have no desire to ratchet up conflict either, but we'll have some suggestions on how precisely this will be carried out.

MALVEAUX: Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Let's get perspective from a veteran diplomat now. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He is joining us this morning, from Santa Fe.

Governor, good morning to you. Thanks for being here.

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON, (D-N.M.), FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Thank you.

COLLINS: North Korea, this morning, actually calling this U.N. resolution a, quote, "act of war." What do you make of those comments?

RICHARDSON: Well, they're obviously upset, and rightly so. I am not among those that feel the sanctions were insignificant. I think this is the first time the Security Council has acted, and there are two sanctions that are very biting at the North Koreans.

One, financial sanctions that are aimed at North Korean leadership. Some of their assets, their accounts. The second, the military technology exports, that are curtailed. Now, the cargo inspections, the fact that the Chinese won't inspect the cargo weakens them a bit, but nonetheless I see the statement about a declaration of war -- I'm concerned because it seems North Korea is hunkering down.

They went ahead with that missile test July the 4th. They had the underground tests last week. Now preparing for another one. My sense is that they're hunkering down, that they are not in the mood for any dialogue. That they are going to continue ratcheting this huge public and political pressure on the international community.

So, it is important that we build international support, especially in Asia. What we don't want is mixed messages like the Chinese really not standing up and helping with the embargo, like the South Koreans continuing development assistance.

So, it's a very turbulent time and the secretary of State has her work cut out for her. But she's doing the right thing, lining up bilateral support for tough sanctions with South Korea, with China, with Japan.

COLLINS: Governor, let's talk about China for just a moment, to be clear for our viewers at home. What they are doing, is they are stopping trucks, vehicles along these borders, if you will. And looking -- opening up the backs, or the doors of these vehicles, looking inside you been, but they are not taking packages out or anything inside and looking closer at them. So, some would say they are doing a little bit. But is it enough? Clearly you think no?

RICHARDSON: No, it's not enough. China really has to be the key because all the food, all the electricity comes from China. Unless China steps up -- but what China fears, you have to think of their motivation, that the North Korean regime collapses. You have millions of North Korean refugees coming into China. So, they are also very, very reluctant to apply maximum pressure.

Nonetheless, the Security Council resolution for the first time sends a message to North Korea that, you know, things are going to not get any better, that these sanctions are a little more biting, than the international press thinks. So they are reacting. And I believe that possibly a new dynamic, because of these sanctions by the U.N., should now leave for the United States, after Secretary Rice talks to these Asian allies, maybe the new dynamic is OK, let's have six-party talks, but the United States and North Korea talk bilaterally, face to face.

We send them a strong message. We try to make a deal, whereby in exchange for North Korea does not get attacked. They dismantle their nuclear weapons. That's a good deal that's kind of been out there the last year. So, there's an opportunity for diplomacy. We cannot let diplomacy die here. It's too tense. Everybody is kind of hunkering down, so you need a new dynamic, and that's diplomacy.

COLLINS: Sure, I think we're seeing that with Secretary Rice heading to the region today. Also, I want to go ahead and play a little bit of sound from Condoleezza Rice and get your comments as the itself what you think about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICE: The greatest challenge to the non-proliferation regime comes from countries that violate their pledges to respect the non- proliferation treaty. The North Korean regime is one such case, but also so is Iran. The Iranian government is watching, and it can now see that the international community will respond to threats from nuclear proliferation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: How much of the U.S. maneuvering here is meant to be a very clear message to Iran?

RICHARDSON: Well, that is another good reason why sanctions were adopted by the Security Council on North Korea. Because Iran gets the same message. But at the same time here, we're not dealing the same way with Iran as we are with North Korea.

The United States and European countries have given Iran a deal that basically says, you can have nuclear power, civilian reactor, yet we didn't do the same with North Korea, that has nuclear weapons, while Iran doesn't have nuclear weapons. I know it sounds a little complicated.

So, the North Koreans are saying, OK, now you're putting all sanctions on us. We have nuclear weapons and you let Iran go Scott- free, so I think it is important that Iran get the message that there are consequences for defying the international community.

COLLINS: You know, Governor Richardson, I want to pull something up here live, if we can possibly do that. You mention North Koreans hunkering down and what we are seeing here is some pretty incredible pictures. This is a union founded, that was Down with Imperialism. It has been around for about 80 years so. And it's a parade and celebration to mark that anniversary. Your thoughts on this? I'm not sure if you can see the monitor, but it's a very large group, it seems to be, and interesting timing, indeed.

RICHARDSON: Well, you have to believe that the North Koreans are, right now, being prepared by their leader that these are going to be very tough times. That there potentially is going to be a military conflict. I don't believe that's the case, but that's a way you psychologically prepare your people for additional sanctions, for possibly disruptions in their daily lives. So, this is a very militaristic country, a cult-like nation.

COLLINS: Yeah, it really looks like a rally there.

RICHARDSON: Yeah, well this is what they do. They whip up the passions of their people, they march the troops out, they showcase their weapons. And then, you know, it's possible that this nuclear test is part of that effort, to just control the mentality of the North Koreans. And send a message to the international community, look, you have to take us seriously. It's almost like children asking for more attention. It's psychological.

When you deal with the North Koreans, they don't think like we do. They don't negotiate like we do. And this is why we have to be careful, but smart and this is why, I think, diplomacy, face-to-face talks are what I would recommend to the administration after Secretary Rice gets a reading of the region of our allies, and where they want to go next.

COLLINS: Certainly, and that will be an imperative trip for her, over to the region. All right, Governor Bill Richardson, we appreciate your time.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

COLLINS: Thank you.

HARRIS: Fighting terrorism now, just moments ago, President Bush signed a bill that sets rules for interrogating and prosecuting terror suspects. That includes high-value Al Qaeda suspects link to 9/11. The bill would approve military commissions to conduct trials. It would ban certain forms of detainee torture, but grant the president some flexibility in deciding what interrogation techniques are legally permissible.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This bill complies with both the spirit and the letter of our international obligations. As I have said before, the United States does not torture. It's against our laws and it's against our values. By allowing the CIA program to go forward, this bill is preserving a tool that has saved American lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: The first trial before a military commission may be just months away.

COLLINS: Investigators in the House page scandal now looking past Mark Foley to other capital allegations.

HARRIS: Is it time for a strategy overhaul in Iraq? The calls for change, even from President Bush's own party. A look at both sides, in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: A mother and her baby, both at the center of an Amber Alert. This developing story, coming up in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: A deadly October, more than 50 American troops killed in Iraq in the first half of this month. Will there be a change in strategy? CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STARR (voice over): Days before the midterm election, the war strategy for Iraq is under review by the Bush administration for one reason.

GEN. GEORGE CASEY, COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES IN Iraq : We shouldn't try to sugar coat this. The levels of violence over the last few weeks are as high as they have been.

STARR: The stay-the-course president has this message for General George Casey.

BUSH: If you are going to devise a new strategy we are with you.

STARR: Republicans are now leading much of the call for change.

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL, (R) NEBRASKA: We clearly need a new strategy, obviously by any measurement, we're in a lot of trouble in Iraq. Our options are, are limited on how much influence we now have.

STARR: Senator John Warner put down this declaration.

SEN. JOHN WARNER, (R-VA), ARMED SVCS. CMTE.: In two or three months, if this thing hasn't come to fruition and if this level of violence is not under control, and this government able to function, I think it's a responsibility of our government, internally, to determine is there a change of course that we should take.

STARR: The White House isn't arguing the point.

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You may recall the president told all of you he agrees with Senator Warner, that you do have to adjust.

STARR: One Pentagon option, force Iraqis to set target dates for taking over security province by province. A commission co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker is also expected to report its ideas on Iraq after the U.S. elections, but sources say the only consensus so far, is the need for a change in strategy.

(On camera): The bottom line, the pressure is on the Bush administration to do exactly what the president said he didn't want to do, set a timetable for troop withdrawal. Think of it as turning cut and run into a phased withdrawal. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: So, what's next in Iraq? Is it time to leave or stay the course? Maybe we can do some good work here this morning. Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He also advised the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. And Rory Stewart, also worked with the Provisional government. His book is "The Prince of the Marshes." It describes his experiences as deputy governor of two marsh regions in southern Iraq. He joins us from London.

Gentlemen, good to see you both this morning. Thanks for your time.

MICHAEL RUBIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Good morning.

RORY STEWART, AUTHOR, "PRINCE OF THE MARSHES": Thank you, Tony.

HARRIS: Rory, let me start with you. When we talked in New York a couple of months ago, you said -- at that time -- that there were two ways that our presence in Iraq is making the situation worse. What are they?

STEWART: The two ways, the first, see, by being there, we are encouraging a lot of support for the insurgency. A lot of the insurgency support is anti-foreign. If we weren't there, a lot of that support for the insurgency would die away and there would be less conflict between Sunni and Shia groups.

The second way in which we are making problems is we are providing an incentive, a perverse incentive for the Shia politicians not to come to an understanding with the Sunnis. They are relying on us to bail them out. If we left, I believe they would be forced to find a compromise position and they can find that. They're much more competent, much cannier than we give them credit for being. HARRIS: A couple issues to pick up with Michael there.

Michael, what do you think, Shia politicians playing hardball and not negotiating in a way they might if American forces, coalition forces, weren't there on the ground?

RUBIN: Well, frankly, from my own experience it's the Sunni politicians that are being the most maximalist. The real problem seems to be rule of law, that's an obvious. One out of every 60 Iraqis fled the country under Saddam, when they settled abroad they had no trouble adjusting to democracy. That points the finger at rule of law. The last thing you want to do is create a vacuum, which the militias and insurgents can fill.

HARRIS: Rory, what do you want to do? Do you want to see American forces, coalition forces pulled out of the country, or to the borders, the borders of the cities, the borders of the country?

STEWART: I think we move first to the borders. Iraqis have been asking for this. When I was working in southern Iraq they were asking for this as early as the end of 2003. People do not like seeing foreign troops tromping through their villages. There is very little control that we're exercising at the moment. With respect to Michael, I'm not quite sure what this vacuum is. It seems to me it's a lot of Iraqis, already a vacuum. We are not improving the situation significantly. We need to accept that and we need force Iraqis to take responsibility.

HARRIS: And we'll get to that point with Michael in just a moment. Michael, do you believe there needs to be a new strategy, and what would your articulation of that new strategy be?

RUBIN: Of course there needs to be a new strategy and I would agree that Iraqis don't like having coalition troops in their face. I have also been saying that since 2003.

Now, that said, the predominant perception in Iraq, matters more than reality. Both among the Sunnis and among the Iraqi Shia, in southern Iraq right now, there's a predominant conspiracy theory that we are handing Iraq over to Iranian influence, to the militias. Polls of Iraqis show only 3 percent of Iraqis support political parties in general and support militias.

The last thing we want to do is play into the psychological trauma that we caused in 1991, where we pulled back and allowed, frankly, genocide to occur. That would be highly irresponsible. Iraqis don't like occupation, but they don't necessarily want a vacuum. And simply pulling up, and leaving, and rewarding violence by leaving would indicate that the -- that would be grossly irresponsible.

HARRIS: Rory, the heart of that point, for Michael, is that if you pull back, pull out this morning, you have a total collapse in Iraq by noon.

STEWART: I don't believe that. I think we need to be realistic about two things. First thing we need to be realistic about how limited our power is. Of course, this is not an ideal option.

Of course, Michael and I and most Iraqi people would prefer that we were able to create a human rights respecting, stable, democratic government. But we clearly have proved over the last three years we do not have the capacity to do that. We need to be realistic about that.

We also need to be more confident in the Iraqi politicians. I don't believe it's true that they are incapable of administering that country. I believe that we don't have the power to do it. They do. And, therefore, we need to pull back and force them to do it if they don't want to.

HARRIS: Michael, if coalition forces haven't been successful in the first three years, what makes you think three more years will make a significant difference? What changes? What is the dynamic? Is it all about the government?

RUBIN: There's been areas where we have been successful and areas where we haven't. I agree with Rory that oftentimes we don't give the Iraqi politicians enough credit. Anyone who has dealt with them sees that and I think that's why we are in agreement.

Now, the Iraqi security forces have been a success because we've imbedded coalition advisors with them at every point from the foot soldier up to dispatch and command. We haven't done that with the Iraqi police. The reason we haven't is because people say Iraq is not secure enough to. That becomes a catch 22. We've got to deal with the Iraqi police, we have to deal with the militias. Withdrawing is only going to leave the country at the -- I mean, at the command of the militias, and that's not going to do anyone any good.

HARRIS: OK, one final question to Rory.

Rory, you can't leave the country worse than you found it. What, 60 percent unemployment right now, 30 percent inflation over the last year. You can't leave, or even pull back significantly from Iraq , with those kind of conditions on the ground. Bad water, bad sewer system. You have to fix it first.

STEWART: What you are talking about here -- and we keep hearing this again and again -- and this has been the problem from the beginning is everybody keeps says we can't do this, we ought not to do this, this is terrible. Instead of asking those kind of questions, we need to face the limits of our power. We need to be realistic about what we can actually achieve.

Instead of talking about ideals, instead of saying we can't leave now. If you start talking like that you will be stuck there for the next 20 or 30 years. We need to accept that 80 percent of the situation is caused by Iraqis, 80 percent of the solution will lie with Iraqis and that we need to get away from the mindset of believing it all comes down to us.

HARRIS: Rory, thank you. Michael, let's leave it there.

RUBIN: Thank you.

HARRIS: Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Rory Stewart, who worked with the provisional government. His book is "The Prince of the Marshes".

Gentlemen, thank you both.

COLLINS: Want to quickly take you back to some pretty interesting pictures out of North Korea. This is the 80th anniversary celebration for something called the Down With Imperialism Union, again, founded 80 years ago today. So, some celebrations there, been founded under Kim Il-Sung, not Kim Jong-Il.

So, this is something that goes on quite frequently. Not completely out of the ordinary, where groups of people are called to gather and take part in celebrations for whatever reason. Once again, this one for the Down With Imperialism Union.

So, interesting, with Secretary Condoleezza Rice heading to the region, to Japan, South Korea, China and Russia. We see this. And we see the sanctions that were voted on over the weekend, and a possible second nuclear test being conducted as we are learning more about that today. It's 11:26 p.m. there, in North Korea.

HARRIS: Still to come, a social worker dead. Now a mother and her baby both at the center of an Amber Alert. This developing story, still ahead in the NEWSROOM

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: A killing in Kentucky, and now an Amber Alert. Let's get straight to T.J. Holmes who's in the NEWSROOM working this story.

T.J., what do we know now?

T.J. HOLMES, CNN NEWS ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Well, we know, Heidi, the Amber Alert was issued after the social who was caring for this child was found dead. That is 10-month-old Sage Terrell -- you're looking at there -- with his mother, Rene Terrell.

The social worker, who was caring for that child, Sage, was found dead after the social worker took the child to the mother's home for a visit. The mother that you are seeing there, is 33-year-old Renee Terrell, who does not have custody of her son. The child actually in custody of the state.

Well, the social worker took the child to the mother's home for a visit. The social worker did not return to work. Of course coworkers got concerned, called police, and police went to the home and found the social worker, who was 67-year-old Bonnie Frederick, found dead.

Now this happened in Henderson, Kentucky, which is in western Kentucky. Now police are on the lookout for the mother, Renee Terrell, this child, of course, Sage Terrell, but also the boyfriend of the 33-year-old mother you are seeing there. His name is Christopher Lou Terrell. He's a 23 years old. Now the mother, again, does not have custody of the child. This is -- police concerned here as well for the child, because they say the child is developmentally disabled, and they want to give a description here as well of a car they believe the couple and the child might be in, which is a station wagon, a white Daewoo station wagon, with Kentucky plates "675 DRV." That is the car of the 67- year-old social worker who was found dead, and that vehicle is now missing.

So a lot of concern right now for the child and where this couple could possibly be, but they do believe all three are together. They are asking people, do not approach them if you see them.

Rather, just simply call your local police. But again, 10-month- old Sage Terrell missing and believed to be with his mother, Renee Terrell, and also Christopher Lou Terrell. So this is a story that police are certainly hoping to get out there, and certainly hoping to find this child because he does have some medical issues, police say, and don't really know what the intentions are of the mother and the boyfriend, but certainly concerned as well since the social worker, who was caring for that child, was found dead. Police aren't saying exactly how that social worker was killed, but are calling it a brutal, brutal murder. So we are keeping a close eye on this story. We will continue to follow it and bring you those updates -- Heidi.

COLLINS: All right, T.J. Holmes, thanks for watching that one for us.

HARRIS: Bringing justice to those responsible for 9/11. President Bush signs, or says the bill he signed into law last hour will do just that. It outlines rules for interrogating and prosecuting terror suspects. Specifically it legalizes, the military commission struck down by the Supreme Court in June, and it allows CIA interrogations of terrorists. The president calls that the most valuable tool against terrorists.

COLLINS: The holy month of Ramadan ripped apart by deadly violence. Ahead in the NEWSROOM, the toll it's taking on the people of Iraq.

HARRIS: The home of a Congressman's daughter searched by FBI agents, part of a new Capitol Hill probe. That story, straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: The North Korea threat. Here's what we know, word there may be new evidence that North Korea is preparing for a second nuclear test in defiance of international warnings. That according to a U.S. official who has access to intelligence information.

Meanwhile, the communist nation is blaming Washington now for the U.N. sanctions leveled against it. Today, North Korea blasted the resolution as, quote, "a declaration of war." North Korea's foreign ministry says the country wants peace but is not afraid of war. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice launches a diplomatic mission this morning. She will travel to Asia to lobby Asian allies and Russia to enforce the U.N. punishment. Rice is aware some countries like South Korea and China are uneasy about provoking Pyongyang. She says, quote, "We have no desire to ratchet up conflicts either."

HARRIS: See these pictures from just a little bit earlier. We want to show them to you again. Look at what is going on right now in North Korea, in the capital, at Pyongyang. This is the "Down With Imperialism Union," which was founded by North Korea's late leader, Kim Il-Sung.

COLLINS: Yes, this is huge. There are thousands of children, young adults there, and we've been watching it. It's really interesting.

HARRIS: It's festive. It's beautiful. When you look at all the colors and the pageantry -- I mean, look at this.

COLLINS: It's very well choreographed. I mean, like they must have practiced for this for months. But we should tell you also that the Down With Imperialism Union was founded by North Korea's late leader. This is Kim Il-Sung, way back in 1926. This was before the independence of the country.

HARRIS: Right.

COLLINS: So, it's fascinating to watch this now as they still continue to celebrate, Down With Imperialism.

HARRIS: And it's important to note that this is in no way, in any kind of response to what is going on in the international community right now. This is something that happens every year, has been happening for 80 years. So, there you are, a lot of fireworks and festivities. Pyongyang, this evening.

Let's get you to CNN's White House correspondent Elaine Quijano, who is watching the North Korea story for us this morning.

Elaine, good morning.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Tony.

Well, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Asia, she will be bringing with her a strong message, particularly for her Chinese and South Korean counterparts. She will reiterate that it is in their best interests to enforce the tough sanctions against their neighbor, North Korea. Now already, of course, Chinese officials have expressed reservations about actually intercepting, not just inspecting, cargo at their border, with North Korea. Well, yesterday, Secretary Rice tried to downplay those differences, and she stressed the need for cooperation in order to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECY. OF STATE: We must remind North Korea that a positive path reminds open to it through the six-party talks. Thus far, North Korea has chosen the path of confrontation, and all that that entails -- deepening isolation, a failing economy, and few opportunities for its oppressed peoples.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUIJANO: Secretary Rice's trip comes amid fears that North Korea may, in fact, be trying to prepare for a second nuclear test. An intelligence official, a U.S. intelligence official, says that there has been activity recently at several sites in North Korea, but it's not clear, according to this official, whether or not those activities amount to preparations for this test. This official saying that the intelligence is ambiguous, and not conclusive.

Now when asked about the possibility of a second nuclear test this morning, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow says that it would not be unreasonable that North Korea would want to try something again. Snow noting that the first test had a low yield, and that the North Koreans have made no secret, in his words, of their desire to be provocative.

Back to you, Tony

HARRIS: CNN White House correspondent Elaine Quijano for us. Elaine, thank you.

COLLINS: Federal agents search the home of the daughter of a Republican Congressman, the offices of her company and other sites. Sources tell CNN the Justice Department is looking into whether Representative Curt Weldon steered contracts to his daughter's firm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CURT WELDON (R), PENNSYLVANIA: When I saw the story, I was extremely upset, because I -- my daughter has never done anything wrong, and never would. She's an honest person. And so, you know, I can't explain the timing. I don't know why. I would have thought in the last year and a half, if there were questions that weren't answered, that somebody would have come to me and asked me to explain those questions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: The Pennsylvania Congressman calls the investigation politically inspired and timed to the upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, there may be more to come in the House page scandal. New, unspecified allegations, one of them comes from the only Democrat on the board that oversees the page program. He is Michigan Congressman Dale Kildee. And he insists the new claims are not about Mark Foley's e-mails. Kildee wouldn't say whether the allegations were about a member of Congress or a staffer. He is a bit more talkative about the Foley scandal, asking why concerns about Foley never crossed his desk. The Mark Foley scandal lags behind other issues on people's minds. A new CNN poll asked Americans what topics are extremely important to how they vote. Terrorism and Iraq were tied at the top, followed by the economy, North Korea and then the Foley scandal.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BUSINESS HEADLINES)

HARRIS: The storm clouds fear, but flooding is still a big concern in southeast Texas. Chad Myers looks at today's wet forecast for much of the country.

And paying the price, and not just a slap on the wrist. Did you see these pictures from the weekend? Consequences of the brawl game. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WEATHER REPORT)

HARRIS: Chad, take a look at this video, setting an example, two universities now handing out harsher punishment for this brawl over the weekend.

COLLINS: Good.

HARRIS: Absolutely. Florida International University kicking two players off the team. This is -- there's no place for this in a game, otherwise. Sixteen others suspended indefinitely, and they'll have to go to anger-management classes. For the university of Miami, one player suspended indefinitely for using his helmet as a weapon. What about this, this stomp here?

COLLINS: Does that turn out to be assault there, if you use it as a weapon?

HARRIS: Well, you wonder, right?

COLLINS: I do.

HARRIS: I mean, this is stomping. Anywhere else you would get -- all right. Have to move on.

COLLINS: We do need to move on.

Meanwhile, want to talk about North Korea little bit, calling it a declaration of war. Washington says it is a path toward peace. Talking about the new sanctions, the U.N. action against North Korea.

HARRIS: A mother and her baby, both at the center of an Amber Alert. This developing story, in the NEWSROOM.

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