Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Man arrested after soldiers rammed by car; Trump: U.S. nuclear arsenal more powerful than ever; Tillerson dials back rhetoric after Trump`s harsh words; How Hawaii would respond to an attack Aired 11a -12p ET
Aired August 9, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETAY OF STATE: What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un would
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Fire and fury, the top U.S. diplomat tries to clarify what the American president really meant by those words. But will
the latest rhetoric only increase tensions with North Korea. CNN`s reporters are across Asia on this story.
Also, a day after the vote, Kenya`s opposition leader is disputing early results in the country`s presidential election. Coming up, we`re live in
Nairobi, plus --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACOB ZUMA, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: The ANC is there. It`s powerful. It`s big. It`s difficult to defeat the ANC.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: South Africa`s president survives a vote of no confidence narrowly. Is there more trouble for his party, the ANC, ahead? More on that
CURNOW: Hello and welcome to "Connect the World." I`m Robyn Curnow in Atlanta. Now, the U.S. Secretary of State says Americans should sleep well
at night despite a nightmarish new threat from North Korea. North Korea warns that it will turn the U.S. mainland into the theater of a nuclear war
at the first sign of a U.S. attack and it`s threatening of a pre-emptive strike against the Pacific territory of Guam.
Well, the new threat follows a stark warning from President Donald Trump but Secretary Rex Tillerson says the president`s blunt language is the only
way to get through to North Korea`s leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TILLERSON: I think the president and what the president is doing is sending a strong a message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un
would understand because he doesn`t seem to understand diplomatic language. We`re hopeful as that this pressure campaign which the entire world now is
going to send and with the engagement of China and Russia, two of North Korea`s closest neighbors, that they can begin to persuade the regime that
they need to re-consider their current path where they`re on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: We are all over the story from Asia. Will Ripley has the latest from Beijing. Journalist Robert Santos is in Guam. Will, to you first. The
Secretary of State saying the president is speaking in Kim jong-un`s language. What do you think the reaction will be in North Korea? You`ve
travelled there a lot.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: North Korea certainly listens to what the United States says and they respond accordingly. This is an inflammatory
remark from a U.S. president. Something that North Korea has never heard before. Although they do feel that the actions of the United States
indicate everything that Donald Trump said -- the U.S. president threatening to rain down fire and fury on North Korea.
North Korea believing that the United States for decades has been just waiting beyond their borders for the right time to invade. And in the
middle of all of this, you have China once again finding itself in a familiar position. It is allied with North Korea. It has an economic and
political association with the United States, and so they`re trying to tell everybody to remain calm despite those words from President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make anymore threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury
like the world has never seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: An extraordinary warning from the U.S. president, then North Korea`s threat to attack Guam, the U.S. overseas territory with two
military bases, all pointing to a potential nightmare for China, North Korea`s only global ally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONG ZHAO, CARNEGIE-TSINGHUA CENTER FOR GLOBAL POLICY: Avoiding a military conflict, avoiding the regime casting in North Korea is the top priority of
the Beijing government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: Analyst say China still views North Korea as a strategic buffer between itself and South Korea where the U.S. maintains a large troop
presence. Beijing also fears an influx of refugees if the Pyongyang regime collapses with a long border between the two nations. Over the weekend,
China voted along with the rest of the U.N. Security Council to impose punitive sanctions on North Korea for its recent tests of long range
missiles despite a U.N. ban.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZHAO: I don`t think even the newest U.N. resolution is going to have a magical difference impact on North Korea`s nuclear policy as a result after
a while, the U.S. will again be disappointed by the results and it will again put more pressure on China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:05:00] RIPLEY: Trump has certainly done that several times, most recently on twitter, accusing China of doing nothing and saying it could
easily solve the problem. Chinese officials have always brushed aside such criticism insisting China is not the root cause of the current crisis and
has faithfully implemented all U.N. sanctions.
As North Korea`s largest trading partner, China says it is going to bear the brunt of economic sacrifices to enforce the latest U.N. resolution.
Beijing also stresses the issue is not an economic one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The international community has told North Korea to abandon its development of nuclear warheads. This is a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: While the North Korean side believes it has been threatened and pressured militarily, which is also a security issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZHAO: For China, the only realistic objective for now is to have a near term agreement to firstly cap on a freeze North Korea`s nuclear missile
(END VIDE CLIP)
RIPLEY: With fiery rhetoric flying from both Washington and Pyongyang, analyst say Beijing simply doesn`t see what more it could do as the risk
rises for an accidental war on its doorstep.
And here in Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry putting out a statement calling for calm and what they call a very complex sensitive situation on
the Korean Peninsula, saying, China calls on the relevant sides to follow the broad direction of resolving the nuclear issue through political means.
Avoid remarks and actions that could aggravate conflicts and escalate tensions.
That remark aimed at both President Trump and the North Koreans. Also, they say make a greater effort to return to the correct path of resolving the
issue through dialogue and negotiations. Will that happen? We have to wait and see, Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes, and meanwhile, the North Koreans do seem to be making a lot of progress not just on their weapons program but their nuclear weapons
RIPLEY: It`s remarkable to see how much progress the North Korean have made. I remember when I went into the country in late 2014, officials on
the ground there were speaking with confidence about North Korea`s ability to have an intercontinental ballistic missile and of course there have been
two nuclear tests since my first visit to the country.
The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has really launched missiles and tested nukes at an unprecedented pace when you compare to the previous two
leaders, since his father and his grandfather. The world now does take North Korean threat much more seriously. They always took it seriously but
never before has North Korea been able to so rapidly advance their capabilities despite round after round of sanctions designed to slow them
But North Korea has resourcefully found ways to get around those sanctions and they`re promising to do the same in this instance in addition to their
threats of retaliation against the United States.
CURNOW: OK, keeping an aye on all of that. Will Ripley, thanks so much. But I want to go now Guam where Robert is standing by. Just give us some
sense of the strategic importance of where you are.
ROBERT SANTOS, JOURNALIST: Yes, absolutely. Guam has been a strategic area, strategic island because of where it is. Strategic for the U.S., you
know, right -- not completely in the middle of Hawaii and Asia but certainly just about. And you know, some often say that Guam is sort of the
edge of the sphere, the head of the sphere of the U.S. being a U.S. territory. And that sphere is facing towards Asia.
So it is very strategic for the U.S. in fact, people have been fighting for years to become a commonwealth. At least that was the rhetoric and the talk
here as of about 25 to 30 years ago and it just never happened. And the belief is that of course the U.S. will never completely let go of Guam
because it`s just too strategic an area, too strategic of an island.
CURNOW: Yes. It certainly has a huge population of U.S. military personnel. With all of these in mind, I want you to just standby, but I
want to go to New Jersey where our White House reporter is standing by, Kaitlan Collins. She`s in Bedminster, which is actually where the U.S
president is having a working holiday at one of his golf resort.
And while all of this is playing out across the world as you have been listening, he`s there and he`s tweeting again his (INAUDIBLE), warning
again this morning.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that`s exactly right Robyn. We do not know what is on the president`s schedule for today. He has no public
events on there and the White House has not told us if he`s meeting with staffers, playing a round of golf or what his plan is. But we do know that
he`s tweeting right on schedule this morning, talking about North Korea and nuclear weapons again this morning saying, my first order as president was
to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before. Hopefully we will never have to use this
power that there will never be a time that
[11:10:00] we are not the most powerful nation in the world. Now, as you know Robyn, this is not the first order that the president signed when he
took office, but he`s apparently referring to a memorandum that he issued about a week after he had been in office that directed the Department of
Defense to undergo this review of the nuclear arsenal.
This is a standard review that is mandated by Congress evert eight years and the president signed this one in January. Our last one was in 2010
underneath the Obama administration and this latest review officially got started around April. But all of this comes as the president is saying this
with a strong language that we are seeing against North Korea in light of his fire and fury statement from yesterday.
We just heard from a White House spokesperson this morning who said that the president and his new chief of staff, John Kelly, were in constant
contact with the national security team before and after that statement was issued yesterday, Robyn.
CURNOW: OK, thanks for that. Good perspective there from Kaitlan, also Robert and Will, all of you, appreciate your reporting across the world.
Thanks so much guys. OK, so all this aggressive back and forth between the U.S. and North Korea
is making Japanese feel pretty uncomfortable especially since today marks 72 years since the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Kaori Enjoji
reports now from Tokyo.
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Disdain and discomfort on the streets of Tokyo today over war of rhetoric between North Korea and the U.S. president,
especially as the exchange came on the anniversary of the atomic bombing in Nagasaki.
As the only country to have come, under nuclear attack, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe commemorated the day with hopes for peace, but that hope is more
challenging now as tensions grow in the Korean Peninsula. Because of its wartime experience, a vein of pacifism runs deep in Japanese society, even
after two North Korean missiles landed in Japanese waters in the month of July
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I don`t want to see a war. There must be another way to solve this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENJOJI: For some though, a North Korean threat to attempt Guam seems too close for comfort, particularly since Guam has long been a popular vacation
spot for Japanese tourists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think it`s encouraging to hear the American president say those words. I am grateful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENJOJI: For now, the Japanese government is sticking close to its usual line in condemning North Korea.
(BEGI VIDEO CLIP)
YOSHIHIDE SUGA, JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY: The United States has said all options are on the table. The Japanese government supports this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENJOJI: But some average Japanese are starting to ask, what if not what if there`s a war but what if North Korea prompts Japan to veer off its path if
its pledge, and that thought more than the thought of actual confrontations seems to be the most discomforting of all. Kaori Enjoji, CNN, Tokyo.
CURNOW: And of course we will bring you the latest on these rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea throughout the show. But we also
want to talk about a claim of vote fraud that has sparked some angry scenes in Kenya as police move in to disperse protesters as we have a live update.
[11:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CURNOW: You`re watching CNN and this is "Connect the World" with me, Robyn Curnow. Welcome back. And we know that there is anger in one Kenyan city
after the opposition leader called the country`s early election results fictitious and fake. In Kisumu, protesters on the street set fire. They set
fires ablaze and tear gas was fired.
Raila Odinga has accused his rivals of hacking the electoral system. And preliminary election results show him lagging behind the incumbent, Uhuru
Kenyatta. Always keep details on all of this, Farai Sevenzo is in Nairobi. Farai, just give us a sense of this protests. How widespread are they?
FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Robyn, the ramblings of protest always follow at disputed election in this country. And at the
moment we`re getting reports that Mathare, which is a slum just outside of Nairobi, there have been people marching there shouting we are right, our
right. We`re also getting reports that Kibera is very, very tensed and there`s kind of a peace, kind of a group that`s starting to work peace but
they feel that there`s nothing they can do because tension is so high there at the moment.
And of course, these protests are all being held in the Odinga strongholds where he`s very popular amongst the poor and the least (ph). And of course,
the tension is so high that the cabinet secretary for the interior ministry was urged this morning to come out and appeal for calm, and that`s all
we`ve been hearing including from Odinga himself despite saying that he thinks that these results are fake and fictitious. He`s asking his
supporters to remain calm and (INAUDIBLE) position.
So at the moment, the country is a little bit tensed, it`s a little bit waiting for these results and we`re wondering now, even with all the re-
assurance from the electoral commission, how quickly all of these will be calm down.
CURNOW: Yes, certainly and how quickly these results will be counted. Raila Odinga though, this is not the first time he`s raised concerns about
SEVENZO: No, it`s not Robyn. You know, this is a man who has gone for the presidency four times. This fourth time he really believed that history was
on his side, because if you remember, the polls were just so very, very different by a point here, by a point there. We`ve been calling it a very
But this morning as the opposition complained (INAUDIBLE) coalition they know, this is fictitious. It seems like their biggest gripe is how the
figures can`t be verified. There is no sort of paper count. This is electronic system spewing out results and no one seems to know where the
forms that all the candidates was supposed to sign and agree on the results are.
So that`s what the electoral commission is talking and they`ve told us they have at least five days to sort this out if they need this five days and we
are right now waiting for some kind of official confirmation on what the real results are.
CURNOW: OK, great to have you there on the ground in Nairobi keeping an eye on all of this, Farai Sevenzo. Thanks, so much
So staying on the continent, South Africa`s main opposition party want to dissolve parliament and call an early election. The motion which will be
tabled tomorrow needs to be debated and voted on, but comes just one day after President Jacob Zuma survived a no confidence vote. Well, it was a
very close call for the controversial leader who has faced many scandals over the years.
This was the scene in parliament yesterday as MP`s cast their votes by secret ballot. While most members of Mr. Zuma`s own party ultimately stood
by him, not all did and they are now real concerns about how this is going to play out. Well, let`s bring in David McKenzie for more on all of this.
Certainly the day after, as you say in South Africa, perhaps a little bit of (INAUDIBLE), I mean, what is the hangover? What are people saying there
after this vote which certainly was pretty significant?
DAVID MCKENZE, CNN: Well, it was very significant, Robyn. And yes, I think a bit about political hangover at the very least in South Africa right now
with the ANC claiming victory that the results are there for all to see, that President Zuma really is escaped just. Several ANC members, perhaps
more than 20 crossing the aisle and (INAUDIBLE) for the opposition vote of no confidence which would have potentially meant he was no longer the the
president yesterday while he escaped another political mess. I watched him as he
[11:20:00] gave his supporters just a few hundred there late into the night his own version of events and certainly said that he believes that the
majority of South Africans still support him and still support the ANC, striking though, Robyn, that in those messages from his own party in that
debate before the vote, no one really defended him. They either defended the party or said this was an attempt by the opposition for a regime change
and you say, it seems the opposition hasn`t stopped piling on the pressure.
CURNOW: And talking about the opposition, they`ve certainly, the DA and the (INAUDIBLE) have made gains in the past few years particularly in some
of the biggest cities across the country. What is their move, their suggestion in parliament? And what kind of impact if any would it have?
MCKENZIE: Well, the Democratic Alliance as you said is trying bring this, a move to dissolve parliament, which technically could be possible within
the constitution, but it`s probably highly unlikely given the fact they already lost this motion of no confidence, that they would win anything
like that, which would be dramatically raising the stakes or the ruling ANC.
But they`re going to try to keep up the pressure. I think it`s worth reminding people how extraordinary this moment is. The party of Nelson
Mandela had this lock on support in South Africa. But they`ve seen that support eroded many pointing the finger at the man at the top, President
Jacob Zuma. So by supporting him in this vote, they`re really throwing in their lot politically with Zuma and it could be very dangerous political
game there because the opposition will exploit that. And we could see fireworks in the next few months certainly up to the ANC conference in
CURNOW: And certainly ordinary South Africans frustrated at the corruption and the pace of change and that could have an impact on election results
coming up as well. David McKenzie, always great to see you. Sunset there in Johannesburg. Appreciate it.
OK, now to a big development into the investigation into the Trump campaign`s ties to Russia. We`re just learning that the FBI raided the home
of Paul Manafort under the cover of darkness. Now, this was last month.
Now you may remember Manafort served briefly as Mr. Trump`s campaign chairman. His spokesman confirms the pre-dawn raid saying FBI agents
executed a search warrant. What does all this mean? Jessica Schneider is standing by in Washington with more. Hi Jessica.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Robyn. You know, a source is actually telling us that this is actually a highly unusual move for an
investigation but as already been many months in the making, and the fact that Paul Manafort has been cooperating with congressional committees to
actually hand over documents. So this is somewhat of an unusual move, but yes, Paul Manafort`s spokesman confirming that raid, the "Washington Post"
reporting that happened on July 26th two weeks sago.
Paul Manaforts spokesman saying it this way, he`s saying that Paul Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious
inquiries but as we know, there are several ongoing investigations into Paul Manafort, both on the congressional side and of course by Special
Counsel Robert Mueller. And it`s interesting to note the timeline of this raid.
It did happen on July 26th. That was one day after Paul Manafort met with the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors and presumably also
to hand over documents. And it was also the same day that Paul Manafort was initially scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. That
hearing was actually postponed after the Chairman Chuck Grassley agreed not to issue a subpoena. That was an exchange for Manafort agreeing to
cooperate to handover the documents.
So, at the same time, as the Congressional Committee are moving forward, we know the special counsel investigation is always going full steam ahead.
And what`s been a particular significance in the past few weeks is this development that Paul Manafort was inside that July 2016 meeting at Trump
Tower. That was the meeting that was arranged by Donald Trump Jr. It involved the Russian lawyer and it initially came with that promise that
people inside that meeting would reveal damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
So of course, that`s pushed Paul Manafort to the forefront again of this investigation. So at this point what we know is that federal agents in
fact, they did raid Manafort`s home in Virginia. They took away documents and other materials and at the same time we just got word today that Paul
Manafort, he has been forthcoming at least with the congressional committees.
He actually handed over 400 pages of documents to the Senate Judiciary Commitment. But of course, the development and now the knowledge of this
raid happening just two weeks ago, it does peak interest to see has Paul Manafort been forthcoming with the special counsel`s investigation and why
exactly did the FBI feel the need to execute this raid? Again, a source telling CNN that that is a highly usual move so far into the investigation
and with someone who has supposedly been cooperating, Robyn.
CURNOW: OK, yes. You make a good point there. And why do they do this
[11:25:00] under the cover of darkness and the question is, just how vulnerable is definitely the White House and the Trump campaign. A lot of
question and still a lot of unanswered questions. Thanks so much Jessica.
Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead plus, our top story this hour. What exactly would fire and fury look like? We`re in Washington
to decode the U.S. president`s threat to North Korea.
CURNOW: You`re watching "Connect the World." The top stories this hour.
We are seeing some protest play out in Kenya. In one city, police fired tear gas to disrupt demonstrators. It came after the country`s opposition
leader claimed early election results were, quote, fake. Kenya`s electoral commission stresses they are not the final tally.
South Africa`s opposition party has announced plans to table (ph) a motion for an early election, the move comes just a day after controversial
President Jacob Zuma survives a no confidence vote.
A manhunt for a terror suspect in France ended in a shootout on a motorway. The suspect and the policeman were wounded. The man arrested is accused of
an attack on soldiers in a Paris suburb this morning. Six soldiers were wounded when a car rammed into them (INAUDIBLE) seriously. Well CNN`s
Melissa Bell joins us now live from Paris who`s been keeping an eye on all of these developments, concerning developments. What more do you know,
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRRESPONDENT: A lot of speculations of course as you`d expect at this stage, Robyn, in the French press, in the French media about
the identity of the suspect, who he was, whether he had links to any groups, whether he has was on any of the government watch list or not,
whether he was known to authority.
What we do know for sure for the time being is that the man is currently in the hospital after being shot a number of times in that shootout in the
very northern part of France bringing to an end a manhunt that lasted for nearly six hours that began just after 8:00 a.m. this morning in
(INAUDIBLE) in the outskirts of Paris.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: Another attack on security personnel in France, the sixth this year, this time on the outskirts of Paris. Military personnel were taken
(INAUDIBLE) as they left their barracks. Several were wounded when hit by a car, once again becoming the victims of the very threat they are deployed
to take on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): The threat today remains extremely serious and our security forces, our military forces are always a
BELL: February at The Louvre, it was the first terror attack in France here and it marked a change. Civilians were not targeted but rather the military
deployed to protect them. A man armed with machetes took on the soldiers patrolling the museum. Then in March, a man shot a policeman northern Paris
before taking on a military a patrol at Orly Airport.
In April, one policeman was shot at Champs Elysees after a policeman was attacked by a man who pledges allegiance for the Islamic State.
In June at Notre Dame, police were attacked by a man wielding a hammer and then, just a couple of week later, a police van was rammed car-carrying
explosives on the Champs Elysees.
The latest attack on security personnel comes even at France, plans for the lifting of state of emergency this autumn and a lightning of the very
present that has become the target of recent attacks.
BELL: Robyn, we wait to find out more now from that anti-terror investigation that has been opened to French authorities sent to be quite
quick in providing any information they can find as a result of that investigation.
But a reminder once more here again in Paris that eight months in fear and after six of these attacks on security forces, France is a country that
remains on high alert.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: That is very concerning. Melissa Bell there in Paris, thank you.
Well, Donald Trump is sending a strong message as the standoff with North Korea deepens, warning that the U.S. nuclear arsenal is far stronger and
more powerful than ever before.
Mister Trump use Twitter to convey that not-so-subtle threat saying his first order is U.S. president was to renovate and modernize the arsenal.
Well he went on to say that hopefully the U.S. will led that to use that power, but will remain the most powerful nation in the world. Barbara
Starr looks at how things today escalated since Mister Trump`s initial fiery warning less than 24 hours ago.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: An extraordinary warning from an American president.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea must not make anymore threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury
like the world has never seen.
He has been very threatening beyond a normal state. And as I`ve said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power to lights of which this world
has never seen before.
STARR: New details about North Korea`s nuclear weapons program that could unleash a catastrophic scenario.
U.S. intelligence analysts have assessed but not concluded that North Korea has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead potentially small enough to fit
on a ballistic missile according to U.S. officials familiar with the assessment.
One official warns that the entire intelligence community may not be in agreement on the assessment, which continues to be updated. It`s not clear
if the warhead has been tested and could even be use in an attack.
RET. LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: We thought in the past that we had some time to let the diplomacy work, to let the economic
sanctions work that -- that decision cycle has almost collapsed and now are faced with a North Korea that could potentially launch a missile in a very
short period of time.
STARR: The Washington Post was the first to report that North Korea has produced nuclear warheads that could be delivered to targets thousands of
miles away, even in the U.S. by intercontinental ballistic missiles like these recently tested by the regime.
The top U.S. military commander in the Pacific has long warned, he assumes North Korea have the capability to attack the U.S.
ADMIRAL HARRY HARRIS, COMMANDER, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND: And we have to assume that the capability is real. We know his intentions are and it`s
really toward them.
STARR: Although North Korea has successfully tested long-range missiles capable of possibly hitting the U.S., there are still many questions on
whether those missiles with the warhead on top could survive the heat and pressure of reentering the Earth`s atmosphere and hitting the target.
But the U.S. military and Intelligence Community is now planning as if it`s for real and Kim will continue to threaten and attack.
DAN COATS, U.S. DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: He has watched I think what has happened around the world relative to nations of processed nuclear
capabilities and the leverage they have and seeing that having the nuclear card in your pocket will result in a lot of deterrence capability.
STARR: A nuclear card, the Pentagon will try to keep Kim from playing.
GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS: What the North Koreans are capable of today is a limited missile attack. Our concern is growth in
capacity that has increased numbers of missiles over time, and the combination of an intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear weapon.
STARR: And so, the obvious question now, Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump both engaging in pretty hot public rhetoric. What will happen next? Robyn.
[11:35:00] CURNOW: Yes, that`s the big question. We also know that the U.S. president has been tweeting again this morning and he was kind of
boasting about the U.S. nuclear arsenal is far stronger and more powerful than ever before.
He went on to give more details and timing, and what he had done for it. Can you fact check that for us?
STARR: Well yes, indeed a better reality check might be in order. The U.S. nuclear arsenal has been under a modernization effort for many years
now, President Obama, in fact getting additional funding out of Congress for all of it.
But when you talk about being more powerful, stronger than ever before, this is all very limited by international treaties. You don`t just up your
news of nuclear arsenal. You don`t change the power of your weapons.
You can modernize some of your existing facilities. You can test your weapons under treaty obligations. Make sure they are safe and reliable but
there`s a lot of limits on what actually can be done and in terms of what can be done, it takes years. It is not something that`s going be
accomplished in just a few months in office. Robyn.
CURNOW: Barbara Starr, keeping it real at the Pentagon. Thank you. OK, still ahead, the diplomatic side to this conflict that makes messages the
U.S. secretary of state has to deliver.
CURNOW: You`re watching CNN and this is Connect the World with Robyn Curnow, welcome back, returning now to the escalating war of words between
the United States and North Korea.
The top American diplomat visited Guam today after Pyongyang warned it could attack the U.S. territory. Well, Rex Tillerson is facing a delicate
He is trying to downplay the crisis, keep things calm, but he`s also have to reinforce the boss` message. Tillerson says there is no imminent threat
from North Korea.
He`s saying he seen nothing to indicate the situation has dramatically in changed. But he`s also defending Mr. Trump`s incendiary remarks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, U.S. STATE SECRETARY: Well, the Americans should sleep well at night. I have no concerns about this particular rhetoric over the last
I think the president again, as commander in chief, I think he felt the necessary measure, a very strong state and directly to North Korea.
But I think what the president was just reaffirming is the United states has the capability to fully defend itself for many attack and defend our
allies, and we will do so. So the American people should sleep well at night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: So let`s bring in CNN`s Global Affairs Correspondent, Elise Labott at the State Department. We`re also joined by David Albright, the
President of the Institute for Science and International Security. He`s a former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq.
[11:40:00] Elise, just quickly to you, the perspective there from the State Department -- Rex Tillerson certainly trying to have a very difficult
balancing act and smoothing over his boss` words.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well I think he`s really threading the needle.
I mean, certainly you have Rex Tillerson out in Manila at ASEAN, and then in Thailand, and Malaysia, meeting with all these leaders talking about a
diplomatic solution, trying to keep everyone on the same page on a united message against North Korea.
I think that resolution that was passed over the weekend was, I think they thought a good step in that, and then you have the president coming out,
and making these bellicose threats that frankly sounds like more about -- you know something the North Koreans would say than the president of the
But I obviously doesn`t want to go against the boss, so you know -- and I don`t think there is really, Robyn, harm in showing the U.S. military
resolved. But I think that kind of speak for itself in terms of, you know, the U.S. beefing up its defenses in the region.
But certainly when you have this kind of rhetoric, you know, the North Koreans will respond in time and then there`s the danger that it can spiral
out of control, so it`s certainly is making Rex Tillerson`s job a lot more difficult.
CURNOW: And David, to you, I mean, Elise, haven`t mentioned that last two weeks, Tillerson said it. You know, the U.S. president was speaking Kim
Jong-un`s language. There has been decades of failed diplomacy. Is this an opportunity? I mean, should we perhaps be saying, maybe this is the way
to deal with this problem.
DAVID ALBRIGHT, PRESIDENT, INSTITUTE FOR SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY: Well, I don`t think (Inaudible), in this case, it maybe for
Trump, I mean one of the signals, I think President Trump is trying to send is, is that strong signal is China that things could get out of control,
and a (Inaudible) on the Europeans (Inaudible).
CURNOW: David, I`m sorry. We`ve got a really bad connection with you. We might try and just dial back up. In the meantime, I`m -- we`re going to
back to you, Elise.
And just talk about what you said there and the question I put to David, was this kind language -- in many ways, some people might say playing
Diplomacy has worked so far. Why not try talking Kim Jong-un`s language.
LABOTT: Well, you know there is danger in the sense that you know at what point do you push Kim Jong-un who is known to be a kind of erratic and
unpredictable into actual action if he feels that he`s cornered.
I mean look as I said, I think that, you know, the credible threat of U.S. military force is important not just to North Korea but also to China, as
David, said that it`s important to let China know, listen if you don`t want a nuclear war on your border, you got to help get this under control. I
think that there is...
CURNOW: So, Elise, how much was that message then, those tough talks -- tough talks about fire and fury as a message to China or as it was to North
LABOTT: Oh, very much so. I think it was as much to China as it was to North Korea. They say that China, we`re not fooling around here, you know.
And I think the president of the left a month or so has -- you know, kind of shown that he is losing patience with China. He did -- you know China
did sign on to that U.N. Security Council resolution over the weekend.
And I think that is both a credit to Ambassador Nikki Haley, who was leading the negotiations and Secretary Tillerson -- but also signifies that
China is worried about what`s happening here.
And you heard the Chinese foreign minister, very tough at the ASEAN ministerial on North Korea, a very tense meeting it seems with the North
Korean foreign minister to say, you know look, this has to stop.
But is China going to take that extra step and you know, cut off North Korean trade and really put the screws to North Korea. I think the U.S. is
hoping that it will.
But at some point -- you know, look, President Trump is going to have to make a decision about, you know, possible military action, obviously that
is the very last option. Nobody wants that option.
But I think the danger in what President Trump is doing here is he, you know, kind of setting out redlines that I don`t know that he and his
military commanders have decided that they`re ready to do something if North Korea crosses them.
So he`s almost daring Kim Jong-un and I don`t think that`s the leader you really want to dare because you`ve seen that you know, he`s -- you know,
certainly willing to respond.
CURNOW: Yes, brinkmanship is one thing but there are certainly risks attached to it. And when we talk about this language -- I mean, this is
the U.S. president, which is why you know, we are parsing all of these words coming from Donald Trump`s mouth because words matter as we all know.
But what`s interesting is that, some of that -- that Mister Trump said yesterday is kind of a turn off phrase he has used before.
[11:45:00] I mean he said fire and fury would be unleashed like never seen before but I want to show our viewers just how many times he said that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Grassroots movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before. We are all part of this very historic movement. A movement the
likes of which actually the world has never seen before.
Unemployment is the lowest it`s been 17 years, business enthusiasm is about as high as they`ve ever seen. We`re being very, very strong on our
southern border, and I would say the likes of which this country is certainly has never seen it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: So Elise, I mean to quote the president here, I mean we have seen a U.S. president, the likes of which are never seen before, whatever. I
mean -- I mean, well, the State Department is trying to catch up with this very unique way of communicating.
LABOTT: Look, they are and -- you know I think whether it`s Ambassador Haley or Secretary Tillerson, I think that, you know, they are just kind of
reside to the fact that this is a president that has his own way of communicating and he`s going to say what he wants.
I mean, I don`t think there`s any real use to these cabinet members. These -- these aids who -- you know, the president is going to do what he wants.
Hopefully with John Kelly coming in as the chief of staff, he might be able to tamper that a little and I think it`s just something that they have to
realize that they have to build in into you know their diplomacy.
Which is -- you know, yes, the president has this rhetoric, but you have to really look at what the president does and not what he says because I think
we`ve shown that this president while, you know he wants to be bombastic and he wants to be, you know rhetorical, he doesn`t -- he may not
understand the, you know, the importance of every little word in diplomacy.
And diplomacy -- you know, the State Department diplomatic reporter, were parsing every word. The State Department statements are so parsed, where
as its concerned or very concerned, or frightened.
I mean every word is -- it has extra meaning. So when the president says these things like, we`re going to unleash fire and fury, I mean I think
that on one hand, it`s scary for a lot of people.
And it certainly -- I`m not typical of a U.S. president who is supposed to not only give a tough message of resolve but also assure the American
I don`t think that was a very assuring message but I also think that people are starting to come around to the idea, yes, he`s going to tweet, yes he`s
going to say some things that might be considered, you know, very bombastic, but let`s see what he does not pay that much attention to what
Again, the problem is when you have a leader like Kim Jong-un, we`re not playing with the same level of -- you know, kind of rationality that you
might be with the leader of France or Japan, or something like that.
CURNOW: Yes, you make some excellent points there. We`ve manage to reconnect with David Albright. Great to have you. We`re going to see you
properly from much better Skype connection.
I mean you`ve been listening to us talk. What is your assessment? I mean just about the language coming from the American president, particular how
it will be received?
ALBRIGHT: Well I think, to me, part of the message that is important is what China hears. I think there`s a deliberate effort by the United States
to perhaps scare China a little bit that the situation could get out of control. And China needs to do more.
Now, one of their monitor innovative things president has done is to try to really forge a relationship with China to -- to press North Korea and to
draw Russian to that.
Who would have thought Russia would join that -- that vote, given all the - - all the animosity toward Russia from the United States right now.
So I think that coalition it`s building is a good one, but I think the same time, President Trump is trying to convince China that this problem really
needs to be addressed right away. And I think that`s part of what he`s thinking.
I mean I can`t speak for him, but I think he does know what he`s doing and while he may all be a little uncomfortable with the level of rhetoric in
that -- in this kind of the sound of what he is saying. I think that it`s -- it`s a very dangerous region and things have got to start to happen.
CURNOW: So do you think this is effective then? I mean do you think in many ways, China as you say will hear this message and the question is what
-- what they do?
ALBRIGHT: Well, we`ll see. I mean it`s really hard to judge. I mean it`s -- it`s a risky strategy for sure when you`re talking about North Korea.
But it`s -- it`s a strategy that may convince China that it really is an urgent problem and that it needs to put more pressure on North Korean.
And -- and Secretary Tillerson is going out of his way to send a signal that, you know, we`re not going to take over North Korea. We`re not going
to put our troops on the border. We`re not even really talking about regime change.
[11:50:00] We just want to get rid of those nukes and were serious about getting rid of those nukes.
We don`t want to freeze, it`s just whether it`s out after some X number of years and North Korea starts to rebuild its arsenal again or increase its
They want to have denuclearization and so I think this approach may work and what, Elise, says is very important. Let`s see what he does and let`s
see what China does. And I would add, I think there is time.
I think --- I think the reports from the Washington Post were a little bit hyped. I think CNN has done some great reporting on showing that were not
in imminent risk of having a nuclear tipped ballistic missile hit the United States or even U.S. territory.
So I think there is time to pressure to build and to see if North Korea is willing to start the process of getting rid of its nuclear weapons.
CURNOW: Great to have you`re perspective there. David Albright coming to us from Germany, Elise Labott there at the State Department in the D.C.,
thanks to you both.
OK, I just want to bring out today a story just into CNN. A Florida court says golf star Tiger Woods is into the special program for first offenders
after being arrested. If remember for driving under the influence.
In the program, he`s required to plead guilty to reckless driving as arraignment and complete drunk driving school, and attend victim impact
panels and serve 12 months of probation. His arraignment will be in October.
And we`re also getting news from Kenya, sources tells CNN, two protesters were shot and killed by police in Nairobi`s military area. One witness
said she saw police fire straight at the victims.
A journalist tells CNN one other demonstrator was wounded. The protest came after the country`s opposition leader claimed early election results
were quote, fake.
And still ahead here at CNN as North Korea`s threats to continue, Hawaii has been testing an attack warning system. We take a look how it works.
CURNOW: You`re watching CNN and this is Connect the World with me, Robyn Curnow. Welcome back. Turning now to our top story, the tense situation
between the U.S. and North Korea.
Pyongyang is threatening to attack Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific. Now, missile experts say Hawaii is also likely in North Korea striking
distance. So how is the state preparing? Sara Sidner is there and explains from Honolulu.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are inside a bunker inside the Diamond Head crater. We are six feet of concrete above me, six feet of concrete in
This is the place for the emergency operating center, State Warning Point is this and the reason why this place is so important is this is where the
warning to all the Hawaiian Islands will come from.
See that phone there? That phone will get a phone call from Pacific Command once they determined that a missile is coming from North Korea
headed this way.
Then this phone will be picked, (Inaudible) -- this will send out call to all of the county simultaneously and they will warn their population that
this is going to be an attack, and to prepare.
There were also be a tone that will be sent from here. That is the plan to all of the islands and you will hear a warning found and a siren coming to
all the islands.
And there will be also simultaneously, everything going out on the television, so that you`ll know that this is happening here on the Hawaiian
[11:55:00] Now one of the most important thing that people need to know is you can survive this if you are certain amount away from where the
And in order to do so though, you need to have a plan. Here`s the kicker. There is only 20 minutes from the time of launch from North Korea before
the bomb falls here in Hawaii. It doesn`t give you much time.
We`ll probably have 15 minutes warning to get somewhere safe and that is something that this state is the first to work on that plan to try and save
lives in case of a nuclear attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Sara Sidner reporting there. You`re watching CNN. We`ll continue to come at that story throughout the coming hours. I`m Robyn Curnow and
this has been Connect the World. Thanks for joining us.